MSR Groundhog vs MSR Groundhog Mini

After snapping the top off of what was one of the better pegs I've had come with a tent (and test pitching a new tent in our garden and deciding I wasn't very confident about the longevity or stay-in-the-groundness of the pegs it came with) I thought it was finally time to buy some 'aftermarket' tent pegs.

There's loads of options, but really one stands out among the rest, whether this is because it's actually better, or its popularity is simply self perpetuating I don't know.

The MSR Groundhog (and presumably all its copies) are a peg that, if a tent peg can have a cult following, this is the one that does.

Initially I was only planning to get pegs for the new tent (a Durston X-Mid), so I wanted small ones and looked at both the normal groundhog and the mini. While I could find the length and weight measurements it was difficult to get a feel for the real difference in size.

Well, having ordered them both in the end, to cover all our tents (our big family one and a handful of smaller ones) I thought I'd take a few photos to show the difference. I found a couple of photos online, but most places that were comparing them either had no photos and/or were just boilerplate robotic text listing the product details.

The advertised difference in length is easier to see in person What wasn't clear is that the cross section is also smaller, not just the length These aren't lined up properly, but you can see the difference in bulk

Unsurprisingly the minis are just that, scaled down versions of the normal ones. So they'll have all the same strength and holding capabilities, just a bit less. But for backpacking/bikepacking etc they're more than enough for a 1 or 2 man tent, while being considerably smaller than the standard size.

I found that they went into the hard, dry, clay in our garden so easily I was convinced the ground had got softer since breaking the other peg. But on trying to pull it back out it proved that they just go in much more easily (almost too easily) and it was properly wedged.

So that's my one criticism of these pegs, is that they'll fool you by going into tough ground easily and then be a pain to get back out and they don't have the normal hook shape to hook something under and pull. I ended up making a little peg puller from some cord.

One loop at either end Then loop the loop through itself (cow hitch?) and around each peg. One end around the middle of something, a mallet, another peg, to form the handle. The other end slipped around the notches, to give an anchor point to pull against.

I've taken all the little loops off all the pegs, as they're not strong enough to really use to pull the pegs back out, and being red already the pegs themselves are easy enough to see, so I didn't see the benefit and thought the cord just got in the way.

I can see why these pegs are so often recommended, and will almost certainly buy more in the future (though I may try out one of the copies that seem to be the same for half the money).