Is it possible to screw up a tent staking job? Yes, says Lauren Seidle whose Sierra blog posts are spot on. Her cautionary post on mistakes campers make include:
- Not driving stakes deeply enough
- using feet to do the job
- Angling stakes
- Choosing the wrong tent stakes
- Facing stakes the wrong way
- Failure to reinforce weak stakes
- Failure to pull guy lines taut
- Inept staking that produces odd tension
- Pitching a tent on soft ground
- Eliminating stakes completely.
Without further ado, let’s start with the best tent stakes for camping.
MSR Ground Hog Stake – Our Pick!
You couldn’t leave behind one or more of these MSR Ground Hog stakes if you tried; they’re bright red and at 7.5-inches, they’ll remain firmly in place as long as needed. Called “nearly indestructible” by the manufacturer, these stakes are made of sturdy Aluminum Easton and the signature three-sided design gives each one extra holding power.
The notch at the top secures guy lines during your tent’s install, and when it’s time to leave, grab the attached nylon pull-cords and you’re on the way. Despite being tenacious, each stake weighs just 0.5-ounces, so bring as many as you need without adding weight to your gear bag.
NEMO Airpin Stakes – Also Great!
If aesthetics are as important as the camping experience itself, get your hands on pairs of apple green NEMO Airpin Stakes and find out why these products received Backpacker magazine’s 2019 Editors’ Choice Award.
Weighing just 10 grams each and measuring 6-inches long, Airpins offer you a 3-point locking system that speeds the process of tent set-up because these stakes eliminate the need for cord locks, guy out tensioners and knots.
Manufactured of 7075 aluminum, these stakes deliver excellent strength and minimal weight (0.7-ounces), but it’s the tapered geometric design of each stake that earns raves from campers and reviewers.
If you’ve no desire to purchase tent stakes by single units, how about sets of four 10-inch Colman steel nails? If just the thought of steel spikes gives you confidence that your tent won’t blow away under any circumstance, this 4-piece set has you covered. These steel nails never met a terrain they couldn’t penetrate, including stone and hard-packed ground.
The durable, high-impact, polypropylene head design allows you to grip them firmly during installation and removal. Because the tops feature thread-through guy line ports and hooks, your tent will be up before you know it.
The secret to your winter camping success resides in red hot REI snow stakes that are so simply engineered, you sleep soundly at night, even when winds howl outside. These proprietary 9.6-inch stakes weigh just 1-ounce each but they’re clever.
Position them properly and snow will fill holes, adding extra heft for security. Insert these snow stakes upside down if necessary and use a lower hole to tie off the stake while burying cords in the snow. Once the landscape melts down, you don’t have to pack them away since they work equally well on sandy terrain. Got a beach in mind?
On the subject of buying in bulk, you can count on this 6-pack of nail pegs to equip you to pitch your tent by making a single purchase. These favorably-rated grey stakes fitted with red cords are powerfully strong and as a result of their sleek design, they slide easily into the hardest ground.
Measuring an impressive 10.5-inches each, these nail pegs may be slim but thanks to the reflective cords attached to each peg, removal is a breeze, and think of all the time you save by purchasing lots of 6 rather than buying individual stakes.
Own the motherlode of tent pegs by acquiring this 8-stake set. Recommended for tasks like tarp securing and shelter construction in addition to tent pitching, these anodized 6061-T6 alloy pegs are 8-inches long, weigh just .56-ounces yet the three-side design doubles down on holding power when you need it most.
Are you worried about hard ground? Don’t. Multi-height guy points minimize peg leverage and because each stake features a reflective cord and luminescent pull tab, retrieving your stakes to stow them in their Ultra-Sil peg bag takes just seconds.
Do you have checkered camping history that includes leaving behind the occasional stake in your rush to collapse your tent? Owning spares shows the world that you’re prepared for all eventualities.
In fact, should you find yourself responsible for installing canopies, mega-tents and other items at fairs, parties and social gatherings, come to the rescue by tapping your stash. At 8.25-inches long and weighing just 2.7-ounces, these stakes are ideal for replacing lost ones and since they’re made of steel, you can count on longevity, too.
As a second cousin to the aforementioned Co-op steel stake manufactured by REI, this aluminum stake is often purchased as a replacement for tent pitchers seeking a lighter stake (0.5 ounces v. 2.7-ounces) designed with a prominent hook top.
Despite feeling weightless, these stakes are made of tough 7075-T6 heat-treated aluminum so they won’t bend and will retain their shapes. At 7.25-inches long, they may not be the longest items on this list, but they’re highly rated and affordable, so what do you have to lose by trying one out?
If you believe that shorter is better, even when it comes to tent stakes, these 6-inchers could be exactly what the camping doctor ordered. This 4-pack makes up in strength what it lacks in length thanks to the carbon fiber core that provides extreme rigidity beneath each stake’s durable aluminum covering.
Made in the U.S.A., each MSR Carbon Core tent stake weighs only 0.2-ounces, but according to tent pitchers who wouldn’t own a different brand, these stakes stand ready to beat 10-inch competitors any day of the week.
When you hang out with fellow campers do you like being the dude with the newest innovation? Consider acquiring “The Ultimate Ground Anchor,” a beefy plastic anchor that may look gaudy, but when last did a manufacturer offer you a lifetime breakage guarantee?
That’s what you get if you acquire these 12.25-inch behemoths that weigh a hefty 3.6-ounces each and are referred to by the maker as “nearly indestructible.” Recommended by Mother Nature because The Orange Screw is crafted of 100-percent recycled materials, The Orange Screw is worth a second look, especially if you love the fact that this product keeps materials out of landfills.
Types of Tent Stakes
Type #1: Utility Stakes
If your supply budget is meager, but you need stakes, turn to plastic utility products, say bloggers at Sierra.com. They’re cheap but bulky, and you could have problems boring them into the soil because they’re not made of metal. But if you don’t mind trading bulkiness for better holding power, utility stakes deliver on value.
Type #2: V-Stakes
Deceivingly lightweight and extremely durable, V-Stakes not only lighten your load but they stand up to a variety of hard, sandy and rock-imbedded soils that can often make an anchoring job a pain in the neck. Position your guy line in the notch located at the stake head or thread it through shaft holes and enjoy more holding power than stakes alone provide.
Type #3: Nail Stakes
You’ll spend more money on these essentials, but in return, you gain reassurances because these stakes are usually crafted of steel or titanium. Yes, they look just like really long nails given their trademark flat heads and pointed tips, but this is not your go-to stake if you’re erecting a huge tent. Ideal for one- or two-person tents, the latest twist on these products is plastic material added to the head which is why this style is also called a T-stake.
Type #4: Y-Stakes
Named for the distinct shape that makes it easy to differentiate Y-stakes from other types, this stake style works nicely when embedded in all sorts of terrain, but the “fins” could make them hard to drive into hard or rocky ground. That said, the Y shape contributes more holding power, and they’re heavier than other types, so if you are able to get them to penetrate hard soil, Y-stakes are tenacious. They’re also pricey.
Type #5: Snow stakes
It doesn’t take a genius to identify the objectives of these stakes and as soon as temperatures start to fall, adding them to your stash isn’t optional. Easily identified by their large size and curves with holes that help freeze them in place, these are essentials, even if the snow isn’t particularly deep. You can try using your regular stakes if you are stubborn, but you’ll regret your decision because the length of these stakes gives you the edge you want to avoid literally being left out in the cold.
Stake material options
You have probably noticed while reading the aforementioned reviews that the sky’s the limit when it comes to materials used to manufacture tent stakes. In fact, just about every utilitarian metal is up for the job, and the newcomer – plastic – is fast becoming the choice of campers who prefer to spend their money on sexier products that enhance their outdoor adventures.
Folks at GoneOutdoors.com list aluminum, titanium, and forged steel plus plastic as the most common stake materials, so we were surprised to find the original material used to anchor tents back in the day: Wood.
Check out this 15-stake pack featured on the Sportsman’s Guide website in addition to other military gear sites. These 24-inchers with circular tops and pointed tips with dual rope loops must be popular because they were sold out! Weighing one pound each, the thought of soldiers having to stuff these heavyweights into rucksacks gave us an added amount of appreciation for their service to the country!
Weight and Size
-6-inch Y-type stakes weigh around .35 ounces and are made to secure between 40 and 50 pounds of weight
-6-inch carbon core nail stakes can handle between 32 and 40 pounds and weigh around .19 ounces
-6-inch titanium shepherd’s hooks at .32 ounces each can secure from 20 to 30 pounds
-6-inch plastic stakes weighing .40 ounces on average usually top off at 20 pounds of holding power
-6.25-inch titanium V-stakes weighing .38 ounces can secure between 25 and 55 pounds
-6.5-inch titanium shepherd’s hooks can secure 23 to 35 pounds at a weight of .23 ounces each
-6.75-inch aluminum shepherd’s hooks, at .45 ounces, will handle between 25 and 35 pounds
-7.5-inch Y-type stakes weighing .43 ounces are made to support between 60 and 70 pounds of weight.
Read more: Top Tips on How to Stay Warm in a Tent
How Many Tent Stakes Do I Need?
Don’t you hate it when you get to your idyllic site and take out your tent only to find that your stash of tent stakes isn’t as big as it was last time you camped? It happens. These handy items are fabulous choices for anchoring all sorts of items in addition to your tent, so if you dipped into your supply for other tasks, that’s how these situations come about.
No sweat. We again turned to the Hiking Authority’s Justin for words of wisdom. He brings along at least one tent stake for every corner and “1-2 extra stakes to cover my butt in rough weather.” To advert any potential tent erection glitches, he fills the toolbox he brings along to make repairs will a variety of stakes so if he gets to his location and discovers that terrain surprises await him, he’s prepared.
But Justin heads to his camping locations by car. What about the folks who intend to walk in with bare essentials? He recommends trekkers bring along 4 carbon core nail stakes and 2 Y-type stakes, each of which are so light, all 6 to weigh less than a single steel stake.
Justin says that rough weather calls for more stakes than one usually brings, otherwise he recommends keeping the total weight of your tent stakes to no more than 8-ounces. He’s referring to smaller stake sizes. Bring longer ones and you add weight to your load but if you’re insecure about holding power, it may be worth your while to trek in with heavier stakes just in case you’re a worrier!