Last Update: 15.Oct.2020
Six-pack of Y-shaped stakes
Three-sided design provides extra holding power
Not advisable to use in snow
A reflective pull loop allows for easy removal
Lightweight and solid
Not very suitable for soft soils
Works in sand
Snow Stake can be used upside down if necessary
Great for camping on the snow or sand
May bend under strong pressure
Made from tough 7075-T6 heat-treated aluminum
Сheap set of reasonably lightweight backpacking tent stakes
Not always convenient to use.
Elite fastpackers and weight weenies pay attention to every gram in their packs. MSR's Carbon Core Tent Stakes are the lightest full-strength tent stakes on the market, coming in at an amazing 5.75 grams each. Ultralight tent stakes styled for gram-counting backpackers Aluminum exterior with a carbon core to keep things light Aluminum tips are friendly against dirty campgrounds and hammers
Don’t exactly have the best holding power
Very durable material
Milled points – great for hard soil
Large head offers good striking surface
Plastic on head gets brittle in cold weather and will break
Each stake is a solid 2.7 ounces.
Heavily pulled out of the ground
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:
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:
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.
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 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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are our top recommendations for the best tent stakes for different conditions:
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.
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.
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.
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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