Meet the last tent stake you’ll ever need: Orange Screws. This Washington state start-up advertises its product as the “ultimate ground anchor” that can handle hundreds of pounds of pressure. It’s a lofty claim that we decided to put to the test. Here’s what we found out.
How to use Orange Screws
Remove the screw from the hard clear sleeve (if it has one). Push the tip of the orange screw in the ground and rotate in clockwise direction. Once you get the stake firmly in the ground, you can slide the hard clear sleeve through the eyelet at the top of the screw and continue driving into the ground, taking advantage of the increased leverage.
Our testing experience
The TrailMob editors decided to go camping in eastern Washington on a particularly windy March weekend. We found a nice ridgeline after a few miles and decided to pitch camp and test our fate with the winds.
Having earlier decided a compare and contrast approach was the best way to settle the Orange Screws vs. other tent stake debate, I got the Orange Screws while my partner in crime got a grab-bag of other tent stakes (if you're like us you have a bunch of incomplete sets of tent stakes). Being that it rarely rains where we were, the ground felt like one part cement and one part bedrock, with a sprinkle of light gravel. I opted for the smaller 9.5 inch Orange Screws. Not going to lie, the ground was so hard it was a bit of pain getting them started, but after that they screwed right into the hard soil with minimal effort with the benefit of the the sheath, which surprisingly helps generate quite a bit of leverage.
With the tent pitched, I lassoed my disobedient dobie Klauss, who at this point was convinced he was going to finally be fast enough to catch a rabbit - he wasn’t, the only thing he caught was a couple of goatheads. I screwed in another Orange Screw and tied him to it for a bit while I poured myself a nice nip of scotch and sat back to relax, getting ready to take in the sunset. About 15 minutes had passed at this point. I got a warm belly and smile on my face. I glance over to offer my buddy a drink and he is cursing, bleeding and in general seems like he definitely could use a little Macallan. By this point he had chased various parts of the tent down the hillside, had bent two tent stakes, and cut himself trying to drive another into the rock-solid ground. He was in general rather frustrated. We’ve all been there. He got three metal stakes in before he decided to just use the large Orange Screws for the rest.Orange Screw Lever in use
As far as we can tell Orange Screws are just about indestructible. We’ve been using them for four straight months. They've been used in soggy California this spring, on the beach, in the frozen ground in Idaho’s mountains and perhaps where they came in most handy, the rock-hard ground in eastern Washington. If you’ve ever been to eastern Washington you will understand when we say the wind does not just blow, it relentlessly howls and anything that can be blown away will find a way to do just that.
While Orange Screws kept our tents secure, there is at least one drawback we need to mention, on the large screws in particular. The large Orange Screw weighs in at 3.6 ounces, a piece. That is simply too heavy for backpacking. The smaller Orange Screws, at 1.8 ounces a piece are still a little heavy, but perhaps justifiable. In the end what we decided the larger ones are DOA for backpacking but the smaller ones are worth the extra weight in exchange for their usefulness. Additionally, we decided there is no absolutely need to carry a half dozen of them and that two would be the optimal number for weight-conscience backpackers: one as a guaranteed tent anchor, the other for miscellaneous needs such as: additional tent anchor, a dog anchor, or hanging a bear bag.
Obviously our primary use for Orange Screws is camping, but there are many other uses which come to mind (securing dogs, mules/horses, tarps, bear bags, etc.). What we’d really like to see is a little paracord loop added to the smaller eyelet on the head. But that’s not a big deal and something we did ourselves. Perhaps most importantly however, if you are going to be throwing them in your backpack, make sure you tape the point of the screw with a little duct tape. It’s a fairly sharp point and I was a little nervous about potentially ripping my pack on accident. A set only comes with one of the cylindrical sheaths, which is not a big deal but we would like to see perhaps some sort of rubber covering for the tip of the screw (but then we'd just lose that...).
Orange Screws are made in the U.S.A out of 100% recycled polycarbonate plastic. They are available in two sizes, a 12.25” larger version and a smaller 9.25” version. Orange Screw sent us us four of each to test and get a feel for what this new Kickstarter-fueled product was all about.
The larger 12.25” Orange Screws are sold in packs of two and come with one cylindrical sheath (which doubles as a crank/driver) for $22, or, you can pick up a single large Orange Screw for $12. The small 9.5” screws are sold in packs of four for $22 and come with one of the sheaths.
This gear was provided to TrailMob.com free of charge by the manufacturer in exchange for our fair and unbiased review.