Best Tent Stakes To Secure Your Shelter While Camping
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it just your tent taking off in the wind?
Nobody wants to find themselves in this situation on a camping trip. With the right tent stakes, you’ll never have to worry about your stakes slipping out or breaking. It will help to keep your tent pinned to the ground. Here is a useful guide to the best tent stakes to secure your shelter while camping.
Why buy tent stakes?
Most tents already come with a set of tent stakes. As a result, a lot of novice campers don’t see the point of buying extra tent stakes when they already have a set.
However, the tent stakes that come free with tents tend to be poor quality wire pegs. They can slip out easily in soft ground and may not be able to penetrate hard ground. A wrong knock with the mallet can bend them out of shape. Plus, they tend to be plain metallic grey in colour, making it hard to find them in the long grass.
Buying a good pair of tent stakes can solve most of these problems. If you go camping regularly, you may already have dealt with many of these issues. Upgrading your tent stakes could be particularly worthwhile. If you’re thinking of giving wild camping a go, it’s in these situations that you’re more likely to deal with strong winds. You may also come across the harder ground in which basic wire pegs are likely to prove useless.
Of course, there are so many different types of premium tent stakes out there, which is why you want to do your research first.
What are some of the key qualities of a good tent stake?
A few key qualities are worth looking out for when choosing the best set of stakes. As you’ll see later, these are the main qualities we’ll be looking at when reviewing some of the best products on the market. These key qualities of a good tent stake include:
For most of us, this is the most important criteria. It’s important that your stakes don’t get bent out of shape the moment they hit a rock (or worse snap in half). A tough aluminium alloy tent stake should be resistant against such impact. Water-resistance is also handy so that your tent stakes don’t rust up.
No tent stake is going to be able to penetrate hard granite. But, there are tent stakes out there capable of penetrating harder soil types such as dry clay or partially frozen soil. This can allow for more versatile camping so that you’re not stuck camping on soft soil.
Once the tent stake is in the ground, it’s important that it doesn’t get tugged out easily. Premium tent stake manufacturers tend to have their own grip designs. These can help to prevent harsh winds to pull out the tent stakes, or wriggling loose as the soil gets wet. It’s also important to consider the security of the guide ropes.
When it comes to pulling tent stakes out of the ground in long grass, easy visibility can be useful. It can also stop people from tripping over them (an important design feature after a few drinks at a festival). Some of the best tent stakes are reflective and boldly colored to make visibility easy.
If you’re backpacking, you don’t want to be lugging heavy tent stakes around. Finding a lightweight set of tent stakes can be useful for such adventures. Aluminium is a good choice of material to look out for – as well as being durable, it tends to be very light.
Last but not least, you shouldn’t have to spend your life’s savings on a set of tent stakes. Most premium tent stakes cost an average of $10. There are tent stakes out there for over $20, but unless you’re hiking the Himalayas, you probably won’t need them.
Make sure you’re using tent stakes correctly
In order to get the best out of tent stakes, you need to be sure that you’re putting them in the ground correctly. Even the best quality tent stakes will likely slip out if you’re putting them in vertically instead of at a 45 degree angle. This is a mistake that even some experienced campers make.
The following video offers more information on how to secure tent stakes, and how to get the best out of guide ropes too.
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So, what are the best tent stakes on the market?
MSR Groundhog stakes have a pretty solid reputation amongst the outdoor living community. And, they pretty much live up to the hype. They’re made of 7000 series aluminium, which is very durable and light. In fact, when holding them in your hand, you may wonder how they could possibly hold down a tent given so small and light. Their Y-beam design helps them to penetrate the earth and stops them from budging. They’ve also got a convenient cord loop on top that makes them easy to remove. And their bright red color makes them very reflective and easy to spot in the grass.
If you do hit a rock, the tips may get blunted a little, so be wary of this. MSR Groundhog stakes also have flat tops. This means that the guide ropes do have a greater likeliness of slipping off. On top of this, they tend to be a little pricier than other tent stakes on the market.
- They really don’t budge
- Very light
- Will penetrate most ground surfaces (within reason)
- Cord loops make them easy to remove
- Bright and reflective (you won’t miss them)
- Guide ropes more likely to slip off due to flat top
- Striking a rock will cause damage
- A little pricier than other stakes
Eurmax’s stakes are designed for more than just tents. They’re built to keep everything from marquees to garden structures in place. A big selling point is their milled points, which penetrate hard soil easily. The fact that they’re built from galvanized steel also makes them corrosion-resistant. So, you can keep them out in the rain without having to worry about them rusting up. All in all, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty option, these might be the stake worth considering.
One thing you will notice about these stakes is that they’re a lot bigger and heavier. Backpackers may find them a little too bulky to carry around. Their plastic tops also have the potential to get brittle in cold weather, although their hooked shape does keep guide ropes in place. On top of this, the tops are green, so they’re more likely to camouflage amongst the grass and serve as a tripping hazard.
- Milled points are capable of penetrating hard soil
- Unwaveringly sturdy
- Plastic tops may slightly be brittle
- Heavier than other options
- Not particularly visible in the grass
Similar in shape to Groundhogs, these tent stakes from All One Tech use a similar Y-beam design to penetrate a variety of soil types and stay in place. They’re small and light, making them an excellent option for carrying around on a backpacking expedition. They’re also blindingly reflective, so you can easily spot them in the ground. On top of this, they’re made of 7075 aluminium, making them pretty durable and resistant to bending.
However, whilst they may not bend, they may break when faced with a particularly hard surface. Although made from aluminium like the Groundhogs tent stakes, this seems to be a more frequently encountered problem with All One Tech’s stakes. They also have fairly flat tops, so guide ropes are more likely to come loose.
- Very light
- Very reflective
- They stay in place
- Resistant to bending
- Will likely break if used on hard ground
- Guide ropes are less secure than some other stakes
Chill Gorilla’s tent stakes don’t get as much attention as other brands, despite offering a quality that’s definitely on par. Their striking color (aptly described by the company as ‘sexy red’) means that you won’t miss these in the grass. They’ve also got three latch points allowing to secure more than one line – something that few other brands have thought about. To add to their unique appeal, they’ve also got cord loops attached (which are bright yellow) so that you can remove them easily. Like many premium stakes, they’re built of high-quality aluminium, which means they’re also pretty durable and difficult to bend.
The edges of the guide ropes are a little sharp. So you do need to be careful when using these stakes, particularly if you’re putting them in by hand. Being made of aluminium, they also do have their limits. You may find that they break when trying to hammer them into hard ground.
- Colorful and shiny – you’ll spot these a mile off
- Three latch points allow for strong guide rope security
- Cord loops make them easy to remove
- Resistant to bending
- Sharp edges could be hazardous
- May struggle to penetrate hard ground
Lvgowyd’s tent stakes seem to have pretty good all-round qualities. They’re similar to Chill Gorilla’s tent stakes in that they contain three ridges. They allow extra support with guide ropes. They’re also light and resistant to bending like other tent stakes encountered here. Highly reflective cord loops on top make them easy to spot in the grass and easy to remove. On top of this, they’re also one of the most affordable premium tent stakes on the market (Lvgowyd also offers a 100% guarantee if there are any issues).
Being aluminium, they do suffer from the same old issue of not being particularly effective against the hard ground. Try not to hammer these into a rock if you don’t want them to break.
- Reflective cords that make stakes easy to remove
- Three latch points for strong guide rope security
- Resistant to bending
- Affordable and 100% guarantee
- The same old issue of breaking on hard ground.
Which tent stake is the best?
Whilst it’s a close call, the Lvgowyd tent stake seems to take the lead in terms of overall advantages. These stakes are lightweight making them great for backpacking. They’re highly visible thanks to their fluorescent pull cords, so you’ll always see them in the grass. They’re also very affordable, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money. Most importantly, they offer good security by both staying in the ground and keeping guide ropes in place. The fact they’re made from aluminium also means that they’re unlikely to bend, although hard surfaces may still cause them to break.
MSR Groundhog does offer a little more sturdiness, whilst nothing beats Eurmax for getting through hard ground. These could be other options to consider if you feel Lvgowyd doesn’t quite offer the ruggedness you’re after.