When you build a house you start with the foundation. Without a sturdy foundation, a house is nothing more than a house of cards. Tent stakes act as the foundation for your tent, without them your tent is a kite patiently waiting for the right gust of wind to take it away.
Tent stakes are an integral part of the successful pitching of any tent. Without tent stakes, you risk taking a hike in the mountains to return to a tent on its side, upside down, or somewhere in the trees. Take a little time before you leave and discover the best tent stakes for your adventure.
Table of Contents
- Type of tent stakes
- Tips for using your tent stakes
- The 5 Best Tent Stakes
Type of tent stakes
Tent stakes come in different shapes and sizes and are designed for all types of terrain. Take into consideration the type of terrain that you will be camping on and pack the appropriate stakes. We put together a short list of the most common tent stakes and their best uses.
This is the classic style tent stake that is included with most tents. They are made of thin metal and tend to be shaped like a nail with a hook on the end. If you have memories of pounding a stake into hard ground and it bending, chances are it was a basic aluminum stake. These are what you can call starter stakes, they do the job sometimes but you can definitely do better.
Best use: moderately hard soil, fine soil
Titanium is a strong and lightweight metal that is used in a wide range of products. Tent stakes made of titanium have a smaller diameter, yet they are extremely durable. They rarely bend on impact and work well in medium to hard soil. They tend to be a little more pricey than others due to the high quality of the metal used.
Best use: Hard or frozen soil
These are the most common aftermarket tent stakes due to their durability and price. In terms of toughness, they are somewhere in between aluminum and titanium. They can take a beating and rarely bend on impact, steel is a reliable material that has been around forever (not really, but you get the point).
Best use: Medium to hard soil
Screw in stakes
Just like the name suggests, screw in tent stakes resemble a screw and behave like one. The biggest difference from traditional tent stakes is that you actually screw these stakes into the ground rather than use a hammer. They are easy to set and easier to take out, making them perfect for all types of soft soil and surfaces.
Best use: Snow, sand, and soft soil
Plastic stakes thick and have a wide body often with holes on the side. The holes are a way for the soil to get inside to keep them secure while in the ground. The biggest drawback is that over time the tips tend to dull, making them a challenge to pound into the ground after a few uses.
Best use: Moderate to soft soil
V shaped stakes
These stakes are shaped as a V and when they are set in the ground one side lies parallel to the ground. Sometimes referred to as delta stakes, they set easily and there is nothing protruding up from the ground. Perfect if you have a habit of tripping over tent stakes in the middle of the night, which we have all done at least once.
Best use: Packed or soft soil
Tips for using your tent stakes
Tent stakes seem pretty straightforward. All you have to do is pound them into the ground, right?
Yes and no, these tips and tricks make the process smoother.
1. Use big stakes
The bigger the stake, the better it will hold. Tents come with flimsy stakes that are prone to bend when you pound them into the ground. Look for beefy tent stakes that are thick, durable, and have a proven track record.
2. Pack extra stakes
Tent stakes are small and fit into the bottom of the bag with the tent and poles. They get lost easily and if your missing one, you’re screwed. Always pack a couple extra stakes for yourself or a neighbor. You’ll be the most popular person at the campsite and might even make a couple new friends.
3. Not all stakes work in all terrain
Small diameter stakes are best for hard dirt and tend to fail in soft sand and snow. Bulky and beefy stakes are meant for softer surfaces like sand and don’t work that well in hard dirt. Screw stakes work great for sand and snow. Bring the proper stake for the proper type of terrain, it will save you a few choice curse words and keep your tent grounded.
4. Rocks work too (dead man system)
There are areas that stakes just won’t pound into the ground, some areas are too soft and others are too hard. For situations like this, you can easily use heavy rocks as a replacement. Find a small and thin rock to tie the cord from your tent around, then place a heavier rock on top to keep the smaller rock in place.
5. Pack screw stakes
Screw stakes are tent stakes that are shaped like an oversized screw. You get them into the ground by spinning them just like a screw. They are meant for soft soil and are an excellent insurance policy for your next camping trip.
6. Bring a hammer
Using large rocks to pound in the stakes is a perfect way to end up with a smashed finger. Pack a hammer or rubber mallet to pound in your tent stakes. You’ll get them deeper in the soil and your fingers will survive without a scratch.
7. Use leverage to remove the stakes
There are times when the stakes don’t want to come home with you. When this happens you can tie a cord around the hook of the stake, using your hand for leverage you pull straight up. This is a good trick to get nearly any stake out of the ground and if you have to leave one, at least you have backups (refer to tip 2).
8. Stake them at a 45° angle
Staking your tents at or close to a 45° angle pointing away from the tent. This increases the stability and tension of the tent structure. It will hold the tent down securely and gives you the maximum tension out of the corners of the tent.
9. Give it a few small taps
Use your hammer or mallet to get your stakes started before going full speed. Hold the stake in one hand and tap the stake into the ground to get it started. After you have it in the ground about 2 inches, move your hand and swing with everything you got. This saves your hands from any unplanned contact with a hard object.
10. If you hit something, move the stake
There’s no way to see what’s in the dirt. If it feels like your hitting a rock or a thick root and your stake isn’t moving, move the stake a few inches. You will eventually find softer ground and your stake will eventually set.
The 5 Best Tent Stakes
These tent stakes are all made to take a beating and keep on sticking. Here is the top 5 tent stakes for stability and security.
All One tech Aluminum Tent Stakes
- An ultra-light, three-sided, Hhigh-strength 7075 aluminum stake that securely anchors your tent without adding unnecessary weight to your pack, you won't even feel them in your pack
- 7 inches long - Enough to make your tent firmly grasp the length of the ground
- Our "Y" design aluminum tent pegs penetrate and hold firmly in a wide range of soil conditions
- There is nothing worse than pulling out your bag of old tent pegs to find out that they are all bent and mis-shaped. With the Allonetech tri-beam ground stakes you don't have to worry about that problem! You might as well get the best and forget how to beat tent pegs back into shape!
These tent stakes have a “Y” design and they are 7 inches long. They work in a wide variety of terrain but seem to be the most effective when pitching your tent in softer surfaces like snow and sand. When these stakes are pounded into the ground the sand or snow fill the scooped profile and holes in the stakes work to increase stability.
The All One Tent Stakes come with a lightweight drawstring bag without too much plastic packaging. They work best in moderately soft ground and can be pounded in with a heavy rock or a small hammer easily. The loops on top of the stakes are reflective making them easy to see and easier to avoid.
- 11 inches long
- Y design stakes
- High strength aluminum
- Can bend in heavy soil
Eurmax 11” Galvanized Non-Rust Tent Stakes
- 10 - pack with Bonus 4 10ft Ropes & 1 Green Stopper
- Heavy-duty set of peg stakes，Approx. ¼", ( 8 mm )
- Material: galvanized steel for corrosion resistance
- Milled points prod easily into hard soil with large head for mallet driving
These stakes are made of galvanized steel that is corrosion resistant. They are 11 inches in length and have factory milled tips making them easy to drive into harder surfaces. They have green colored PVC tops giving you a large target for driving them into the ground.
Eurmax tent stakes are heavy duty tent stakes that are versatile, holding well in both soft and hard ground. They pound straight in with ease, hold extremely well, and pull out with ease. These are a little bit on the heavy side, however, they are built to last so that’s to be expected.
- Good length
- Includes rope
- Plastic tops can break
- Rare bending issues
Chill Gorilla Heavy Duty Lightweight Tent Stakes
Chill Gorilla tent stakes are close to 12 inches long and are made of 7075 aluminum alloy which doesn’t bend easily. They are also resistant to rusting and corrosion, making them perfect for wet or dry conditions. The top of the stakes has three latch points increasing their ability to hold and giving you flexibility on depth.
They come with reflective cordage on the top of the stakes for better visibility during day and night. These stakes have bite and once they are set they feel extremely strong in both hard and soft soil. They come in a little bag with a drawstring so you hopefully will have no issues losing them.
- Reflective cordage
- Great holding power
- 3 latch points
- Rare bending issues
- Sharp T top
Obecome Black Heavy Duty Steel Tent Stakes
- 8-inch Length and 0.4-inch Diameter.
- Penetrate the roughest terrain; able to be driven through asphalt
- Designed with a large head for driving into the ground and a hook that prevents the stake from going to deep
- Use the hook or hole in the head of the stake for pulling the stake out of the ground with tent hammer
Obecome Tent Stakes are 7 inches in length and close to 1/2 an inch diameter. They are made of forged steel and have a nail style head with an eye for attaching cordage. The stake has a lip that turns at a 90° angle so you don’t end up pounding it in too far.
The forged steel makes them super strong and able to handle nearly any type of terrain. Bending is not an issue and you can drive these in with the biggest hammer you can find without any concern for damaging the structure of the stake. These stakes are a great addition to supplement or replace the standard tent stakes that come with most tents.
- Forged steel
- Work in tough terrain
- 7 inches overall
- Tough to get out
SE Set of 10 Heavy Duty Tent Stakes
- Made of galvanized steel for corrosion resistance
- Essential tool for anchoring tents, canopies, patio/garden structures, landscape trim, and more
- Milled points prod easily into hard soil with large head for mallet driving
- Heavy-duty set of 10-1/2" long peg stakes
SE Tent Stakes are made of galvanized steel that is resistant to corrosion with factory milled tips that pierce soil easily. They are 10.5 inches long with strong PVC tops that give you a good sized target to beat the stakes in. The heavy duty steel pegs make them a good fit for most types of moderate and hard soil.
If you can use a rubber mallet, it will eliminate the chance of missing the steel peg and shearing off one of the PVC tops. The head has eyes on it for attaching cordage and a hook on the opposite end to prevent the peg from being driven all the way into the ground.
- 10.5 inches long
- Galvanized steel
- No carrying bag
- Brittle in cold weather
- Plastic heads