I've decided I'm not going to lose any more of my titanium tent stakes! Despite taking care and doing a sweep of my campsite after taking everything down, I still manage to lose a tent stake every now and then - argh! They're just too darn expensive to keep replacing, so I'm transforming the dull, grey, satin-finish little buggers into high-visibility, bright yellow tent stakes similar to the prototypes I already have from Gossamer Gear. The ones show here are six new Vargo Outdoor Ti tent stakes in their natural form.
First step was to give them a good rub with fine wire wool to provide a key for the paint to bite into and then clean them thoroughly with denatured alcohol to remove any grease and dirt. Next, I used an old cardboard box as my stand to hold the tent stakes while I sprayed them and shoved them into it evenly spaced apart.
Painting metal can be a little tricky because it's such a hard surface and paint tents to flake off very easily. To combat I gave them all a coat of self-etching metal primer. The primer chemically etches the surface of the titanium and provides a matte surface for the paint layer to adhere to.
Tent stakes tend to take a heck of a beating, so rather than use regular paint that might chip easily I chose to use Valspar Tractor Enamel which is a premium quality, heavy duty anti-rust enamel designed for use on farm equipment and machinery. I used the spray can version to make it easier.
I applied three or four even coats of the enamel until the stakes looked heavily coated and glossy. I wasn't worried about the bottom half of the stakes because they'll be in the ground and taking a lot of abrasion anyway. All in all it took a couple of hours to complete this simple modification, most of which time was spent waiting between coats of paint drying. I'm really pleased with the end result and plan on testing the durability of the tractor enamel coating over the coming weeks. I just hope this will make the tent stakes bright enough to be more easily spotted on the trail floor! What do you think?
Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.
Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.