Best Tent Stakes – Reviews and Guide 2020

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Last Update: 25.May.2020

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MSR Ground Hog Stake

Securing your tent and rain fly in blustery conditions, the MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit provides 6 Y-shaped stakes that hold firmly in a variety of ground surfaces. Each 6-inch stake features lightweight, yet sturdy 7000-series aluminum with a notched head for securing guy lines.
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SE 9NRC10 Heavy Duty Metal Tent Pegs Stakes

Sometimes the ground is hard and you need a stake you can pound. These will take a beating without bending, and are rust and corrosion resistant. The milled points make them ideal for penetrating hard soil, especially if it’s frozen.

by Willie Test

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Last Update: 25.May.2020

When you pitch a tent, you won’t get very far without tent stakes. These small pieces of metal or carbon fiber are designed to keep your tent securely fixed to the ground in high winds and nasty storms. Tent pegs might seem like simple pieces of gear, but it turns out that there’s a whole lot of different options available on the market today for someone looking to invest in a new set.

So, with so many different tent stakes available, how can you possibly choose just one for your backpacking trip? That’s where we come in.

Coming up, we’ve got the ultimate buyer’s guide to tent pegs, so you can get the best tent stakes around for your adventures. Let’s get to it!

MSR Ground Hog Stake

This sturdy aluminum tent stake is nearly indestructible.
Securing your tent and rain fly in blustery conditions, the MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit provides 6 Y-shaped stakes that hold firmly in a variety of ground surfaces. Each 6-inch stake features lightweight, yet sturdy 7000-series aluminum with a notched head for securing guy lines.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Best Use

Camping

Material(s)

Aluminum Easton

Dimensions

7.5 inches

Weight

0.5 ounces

Pros

7000-series aluminum

Six-pack of Y-shaped stakes

Three-sided design provides extra holding power

Cons

Not advisable to use in snow

SE 9NRC10 Heavy Duty Metal Tent Pegs Stakes

The SE 9NRC10 Galvanized Non-Rust Tent Stakes are a well-known and versatile option for basic anchoring needs.
Sometimes the ground is hard and you need a stake you can pound. These will take a beating without bending, and are rust and corrosion resistant. The milled points make them ideal for penetrating hard soil, especially if it’s frozen.
Go to Amazon Shop
  • Technical specs

Weight

3.84 ounces

Dimensions

4.8 x 1.5 x 13.5 inches

Size

10-Pack

Material

Galvanized Steel, PVC

Included Components

1 tent stake set

Pros

Very durable material

Milled points – great for hard soil

Large head offers good striking surface

Cons

Plastic on head gets brittle in cold weather and will break

MSR Cyclone Stake

The spiral design of the MSR Cyclone tent stakes is ideal for creating solid anchor points in soft ground or for securing large tarps in a windy environment.
Fortunately they're designed to help keep your shelter UP instead of tearing it down. Small cord loops at the top of each stake help you get a grip on the little buggers when you need to tear down basecamp.
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  • Technical specs

Weight

35g

Length

10 in

Stakes Included

4

Best use

Camping

Material

aluminum

Pros

A reflective pull loop allows for easy removal

Lightweight and solid

Cons

Not very suitable for soft soils

REI Co-op Snow Stake

The REI Snow Stake is the perfect choice for snow camping.
This forged steel Solid Stake #50 is the largest stake offering from Snow Peak, and it's tough enough to be hammered through asphalt. At about 20in long, this bad boy is equipped to hold down your biggest tent or tarp with ease.
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  • Technical specs

Best Use

Backpacking, Camping

Material(s)

Aluminum

Dimensions

9.6 inches

Weight

1 ounce

Pros

Works in sand

Snow Stake can be used upside down if necessary

Great for camping on the snow or sand

Cons

May bend under strong pressure

REI Co-op Aluminum Hook Tent Stake

This aluminum tent stake is lightweight and can be used to stake down just about any tent.
These stakes easy to insert into all of the ground types, including rocky soil. In most circumstances, a firm push was all you needed to drive the stake into the ground to its full effective length. Slightly more than 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) of the Airpins must be left above ground to facilitate wrapping the cord through the self-locking notches.
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  • Technical specs

Best Use

Backpacking

Material(s)

Aluminum 7075-T6

Dimensions

7.25 inches

Weight

0.5 ounces

Pros

Made from tough 7075-T6 heat-treated aluminum

Сheap set of reasonably lightweight backpacking tent stakes

Quite durable

Cons

Not always convenient to use.

REI Co-op Steel Stake

This stake is a good choice when you need to hold down larger family tents, canopies and such.
You don't want to be second guessing your choice in tent stakes when the winds are howling and rains are ripping, so use the REI Co-op Steel Stakes and know your tent is securely staked to the ground.
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  • Technical specs

Best Use

Camping

Material(s)

Steel

Weight

2.7 ounces

Length

8.25 inches

Pros

Strong steel

Inexpensive

Each stake is a solid 2.7 ounces.

Cons

Heavily pulled out of the ground

Advantages of using tent stakes

Tent stakes are a critical part of any good backpacking gear list. These small additions to your pack help to secure your tent to the ground, which has a wide range of advantages. Here are a few:

  • Tent pegs keep your tent fixed to the ground below, which is important in high winds.
  • These devices help you tighten the guy lines of your tent to help facilitate rain and snow runoff.
  • The best ultralight tent stakes are so small and lightweight, you won’t even realize that they’re in your pack.
  • Tent pegs can be used to dig a hole when nature calls if you accidentally forget your trowel.

Types of tent stakes

As we can see, tent pegs are an incredibly useful part of a camping gear list as they provide essential benefits and safety features for our tents. That being said, there are a number of different kinds of stakes out there, so let’s look at them in more detail:

Shephard’s Hook

The classic peg design, the Shephard’s hook is perhaps the most common tent stake out there. Designed to look a lot like, well a Shephard’s hook, this tent peg has a large J-shaped curve at its top.

When compared to other tent stakes, this model is fairly easy to use, making it one of the best tent pegs out there since its wide-open hook is easy to sling with a guy line for easy set-up. However, while these pegs are easy to place in the ground, they are surprisingly easy to bend, especially if you use your foot and accidentally drive them into a rock.

But, while they aren’t the most durable stakes, the Shephard’s Hook is one of the most affordable options out there.

Y-Stakes

A newer addition to the tent peg market, Y-stakes have three “fins” to them, making them resemble the letter Y. The advantage of this kind of stake is that it has a whole lot of surface area packed into a reasonably lightweight package.

This means that Y-stakes have a pretty high holding power, making them ideal for remote places with foul weather. As far as pegs go, these are some of the best ultralight tent stakes around.

That being said, there is a slightly modified version of the Y-stake out there – the V-stake – with only two fins instead of the usual three. This makes the V-stake a bit lighter but also moderately weaker than its three-finned cousin.

Nail Stakes

Nail stakes are designed to look a lot like a nail, with one straight piece of metal and a plastic top to help you pull it up out of the ground come morning time. This kind of peg is very easy to place in the ground, though it isn’t the strongest in foul conditions.

Snow/Sand Stakes

Snow and sand stakes are critical if you’re going to be doing any camping in snowy or sandy conditions. In these places, regular tent pegs just won’t cut it as they don’t have enough surface area to provide traction in these surfaces.

Thus, snow and sand stakes tend to be quite large (often double the size of a regular stake). Plus, they usually have an assortment of large holes built into them, which helps them “fill up” with snow and sand to keep the peg adequately placed in the ground.

While these pegs are great for snow and sand, they’re not really of use if you’re using them in the regular ground, so they’re more of a specialty item than anything else.

What to look for when buying tent stakes

Tent pegs are surprisingly diverse, so it’s important to know what to look for when you’re searching for your next set of lightweight tent stakes. Here’s what to keep an eye out for:

Material

These days, tent stakes are made from a few different materials, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Aluminum is by far the most common material used for this application because it has a high strength-to-weight ratio. This means that aluminum stakes can be fairly lightweight without losing much int the strength category.

Alternatively, you can get a tent stake made from steel, which is a cheap and durable material. However, steel tent pegs are very heavy, so they’re not really recommended for anything but car camping.

Finally, you can get titanium or carbon fiber tent pegs, which are designed especially for the ultralight market. This kind of material is found in the best ultralight tent stakes on the market as they usually weigh just a fraction of the weight of a similarly sized aluminum peg.

That being said, these pegs, while strong, need to be placed properly as they can break when pushed into a rock. Oh, and the light weight of these stakes will cost you a pretty penny, so get your bank account ready before you buy them.

Weight

When it comes to anything we carry on our backs, weight is of the utmost importance. A lightweight tent stake has the added advantage of reducing the amount of weight in our packs which is a huge plus on a longer backpacking trip.

However, weight savings almost always come with an increase in price, decrease in durability, or both, so ultralight stakes aren’t the end-all-be-all.

Size and Length

The size and length of a tent stake don’t actually make much difference in reality (unless you’re talking about snow and sand pegs) so really this just affects your ability to pack them each morning. The longer the tent pegs, the more space they take up in your pack, so keep this in mind while shopping.

Holding Strength

Perhaps the most important thing to look for when buying a tent stake is its holding strength. This is basically a measure of how much force a tent peg can withstand when it’s placed in the ground.

In foul conditions, you’ll want a tent stake that can withstand heavy winds and keep your tent firmly anchored to the ground. While a lot of this has to with stake placement, we’ve generally found that Y-stakes are the strongest and most durable in terms of holding strength in a variety of conditions.

Stakes for snow and ground

As we’ve already mentioned, snow camping requires its own kind of tent pegs. Snow tent stakes are much larger than their regular-ground counterparts and feature an assortment of holes to help keep them anchored in the snow. However, snow stakes have little use outside of this particular use, so if you buy them, keep in mind that you’ll probably also want to get a pair of regular pegs, too.

When placing tent stakes in the dirt, you’ll want to angle them away slightly from the direction of pull of the tent. Be careful not to just step on the peg as this can easily cause them to bend if they get pushed into rocks underground. The best way to place stakes is to use a small rock to “hammer” them into the ground.

For snow stakes, you can do much the same thing if you’re working with very firm snow. Alternatively, you can bury the stake into the snow in a horizontal position, when compared with the tent. This is known as a “dead man” and is a very secure way of staking your tent in the snow.

Our recommendations

Here are our top recommendations for the best tent stakes for different conditions:

MSR Groundhog

Best All-Around

This Y-shaped tent peg is small, relatively lightweight, and ready for anything. Designed to be used in nearly every kind of ground (except snow and sand) these pegs are some of the most versatile out there.

MSR ToughStake

Best for Snow and Sand

The MSR ToughStake uses a revolutionary new design to help improve traction in snow and sand. Thanks to their innovative spade head, the ToughStake gets a lot of grip, even in the most challenging of conditions.

MSR Carbon Core

Best Ultralight Tent Stake

The MSR Carbon Core is one of the lightest tent pegs around. Built with an innovative carbon-fiber core and aluminum outer, these stakes tip the scales at just under 6g while still retaining the full holding strength of a regular weight peg.

Conclusion

Tent stakes are a must-have for any outdoor enthusiast. When it comes to pitching your best tent, there’s nothing better than a solid tent peg for getting a secure grip to the ground in harsh conditions. Happy camping!

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