Have you ever left your tent on a windy day just to find it 20 feet away and stuck in a tree? I have. In fact, my expensive tent needed so many repairs I just had to trash it. So how can you prevent this all too common tragedy from happening to you? By purchasing high-quality tent stakes!
If I had taken the time and effort to do this research, I would have known to buy stronger pegs than what was included with the tent. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the most important things to consider, as well as some product recommendations.
|MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit
|REI / Amazon
|UM24 Set of 6 Heavy Duty Tent Pegs
|TNH Outdoors Tent Stakes
|Coleman 10-In. Steel Nail Tent Pegs
|All One Tech Aluminum Tent Stakes
- Tent Stakes 101
- The 5 Best Tent Stakes: A Comprehensive Review
- #1: MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit
- #2: THE UM24 Heavy Duty Tent Pegs
- #3: TNH Outdoors Tri-Beam Tent Stakes
- #4: Coleman 10-in. Steel Nail Tent Pegs
- #5. All One Tech Outdoor Tent Stakes
- And the Best Tent Stake Is…
Tent Stakes 101
What is Your Intended Use?
One of the key factors in deciding what stakes will fit your needs is the intended use. What type of camping trip are you planning? Will you be backpacking or walking in to the campsite? Is this going to be a car camping trip where you can drive right up to your site?
If you are going to be walking a considerable distance, consider purchasing lighter weight tent pegs. When backpacking, every ounce counts! If you have the luxury of pulling right into your spot, it doesn’t matter how heavy the stakes are.
What is the Weather Like?
When considering tent stakes, it’s important to know where you are headed. More specifically, what is the weather like where you are going? This is important because it determines how heavy-duty and long your tent stakes need to be.
If there is going to be a lot of wind in the forecast, I recommend going with a heavier, longer peg. Most of the time, these work better in high winds. Especially in thunderstorms and snowstorms.
Pro tip: You can always utilize guy lines and nearby trees or rocks to anchor your tent even more securely.
What is the Ground Like?
Consider what the ground is like in your camping location. Will you be setting up on slickrock or slab? Will you be fighting through desert hardpan? How about gravel? Are you camping on a sandy beach? Maybe you get lucky and spend the night on soft soil.
The rockier your surface, the sharper the tent stake you’ll need. Additionally, I recommend you go with a strong, flat-topped peg you can hammer into the ground.
Pro tip: If you are going to camp on rock, you will need to make anchors.
What Kind of Stake Material is Best?
Good question! If you’ve spent any time researching, you know there are a wide variety of materials used to make tent stakes. The following are a few you may come across.
- Steel – Strong and heavy, steel is a great option if you plan on car camping. It’s also durable, so it’s perfect for pounding into the ground. Finally, steel is a good material to purchase if you think you are going to encounter heavy winds.
- Aluminum – Aluminum is the second strongest material on this list. This is not always the case, but pegs made of this material are known for their hardiness. Aluminum is lighter than steel, but still a bit heavy for some backpackers.
- Titanium – Although titanium is known for its strength, most of the pegs are too thin to take advantage. If you are able to find thick titanium, I say go for it. However, most of the tent stakes of this variety bend easily and are best for low to low-moderate winds.
- Carbon Fiber – The lightest of the four, carbon fiber is becoming a favorite among many popular brands. These are great for anyone going on multi-day treks. You can even find some carbon fiber pegs coated with aluminum for a little extra stability. Regardless, these are best used in lighter wind conditions.
- Plastic – No list of material would be complete without the dreaded plastic tent stake. These are by far the cheapest in cost and quality. I recommend you avoid these at all costs! If you decide to buy plastic anyway, use boiling water to unbend them instead of purchasing new ones.
What Design is Best?
There are two primary designs used to make this product: L-shape and skewer.
- L-shape – The L-shape is the most common design. These are probably what you think of when you think about tent stakes. They are lightweight and best used in softer ground. L-shaped pegs don’t take kindly to be hammered into the ground.
- Skewer – The skewer design is a bit new to the general population, but it does its intended job well. In fact, this is by far the stronger of the two types. You can even cross them for extra strength!
The skewer features a spiral shape to make puncturing the ground easier. This feature also serves to provide extra grip in the dirt. In addition, a hammer, rock, or anything else you find handy can pound the top surface without causing damage.
Pro tip: For more information about the different types of pegs, check out this article.
The 5 Best Tent Stakes: A Comprehensive Review
#1: MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit
The MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit features some of my favorite kinds of pegs. You receive 6 per kit and have the option of two different sizes. The mini is 6 inches long and the regular is 7.5 inches long. For more difficult ground, choose the regular. Even though they are a bit longer, they still only weight .46 ounces apiece. The minis weigh a minuscule .35 ounces!
In terms of material, this kit only includes the best! All 6 pegs are made from 7000-series aluminum. If you are new to the world of tent stakes, the 7000-series means they are extra strong. MSR shaped these tent stakes in a Y-beam design with 3 sides. They are made to stay in a variety of different soils.
If you plan on setting up in a difficult location, these 6 Groundhogs can come in handy. All include a notch at the top so you can secure any guylines you use to stabilize the tent. Even though the tops of the stakes are small, they are strong enough to pound into the ground.
- – Reflective and strong pull loop
- – 1/2 inch wide for greater strength
- – Dig deep to hold your tent steady
- – Stay straight despite hitting underground objects
- – No carrying sack included
- – Tips get blunt after running into objects
- – Straight guylines are less secure than hooked guylines
#2: THE UM24 Heavy Duty Tent Pegs
Manufacturer THE UM24 has really done it this time. Their Heavy Duty Tent Pegs are a full 10 inches long and ¼-inch wide. This length is fantastic for anyone trying to secure their tent in a very windy area. The narrow diameter comes in handy for getting these UM24s in tight spaces. In fact, these tent pegs really shine in gravelly soils.
Like the previous stakes, these stakes come in a pack of 6. Unlike the Groundhogs, THE UM24 Heavy Duty Tent Pegs are made of forged steel. This fact makes them extremely strong and durable. I recommend this product if you are going to encounter extremely heavy winds or extremely tough ground. Even the point has been sharpened for maximum driving power!
The biggest downside I found is the plastic top portion. It is attached underneath the small, flat top of the peg, and is used for looping tie downs. As already mentioned, plastic is not a good material to use. Besides that, these are some of the toughest tent pegs I’ve ever used.
- – Easy to remove
- – Easy to drive into the ground
- – Basically large nails
- – Easy to remove plastic and replace with washer
- – Heavy
- – Plastic is more likely to break than not
- – Not great for backpacking
#3: TNH Outdoors Tri-Beam Tent Stakes
If you are looking to make an ethical purchase, look no further. TNH Outdoors is a company whose mission revolves around sustainability. Their goal is to eliminate 10 billion tons of waste. How do they do this? Biodegradable packaging.
In terms of the actual tent stakes, the Tri-Beams are designed similar to the MSR Groundhogs. They feature a Y-design in relatively the same width. However, the sizes differ. TNH makes their pegs in both regular (7 inches) and extra large (11 inches). This allows you to make a decision based on the type of weather and soil you will be camping in.
There are 10 tent stakes included in this package, and all are a bright red color for easy spotting. The material used is a lightweight 7075-grade aluminum. Even though the material is strong, each x-large peg only weighs a measly .52 ounces. The regulars weigh only .42 ounces.
- – Reflective paracord for nighttime safety
- – Easy to remove
- – Great customer service
- – Excellent return policy
- – Sharp edges on guyline slots (hook at the top of the peg)
- – Paracord wears out relatively quickly
- – Overhand knot on the paracord
#4: Coleman 10-in. Steel Nail Tent Pegs
These Coleman 10-inch Steel Nail Tent Pegs are very similar to THE UM24 Tent Pegs. However, there are a few noticeable differences. The first is the number of stakes you get. Coleman only includes 4. You can also purchase a tent peg kit from Coleman. This includes a rubber mallet, hand broom and dustpan, carrying bag, and stake puller.
The Steel Nail Tent Pegs are exactly as they sound. They are made from plated steel and include a durable polypropylene top. Unfortunately, polypropylene is just a fancy way of saying plastic. On the bright side, these steel nails are a full 10-inches long. Perfect for hard-packed or rocky ground!
If you are looking for tent stakes to take backpacking, these might not be the best for you. Since they are made of steel, they are much heavier than most multi-night adventurers want to carry. Although Coleman doesn’t give an exact weight, you know they are heavy because of the quality of steel used in the manufacturing process.
- – Reflective paracord for nighttime safety
- – Strong and durable
- – Almost impossible to bend
- – Holds down the tent is strong winds
- – Plastic on the top breaks relatively easy
- – Hard to pull out by the shaft, but necessary to avoid breaking the plastic
- – On the heavy side
- – Not great for trekking multiple nights
#5. All One Tech Outdoor Tent Stakes
All one tech makes an affordable Outdoor Tent Stakes. In fact, you get a pack of 12 pegs for an extraordinarily low price. The product itself is made of 7075 aluminum, so you know it’s are durable enough to hold up to moderately strong winds. These tent pegs are 7 inches long and weigh a light .42 ounces.
Similar to MSR and TNH, All one tech made their stakes in a Y-design. This means there are three distinct sides and three distinct beams working to keep your tent secure. Unlike the previous brands, you have some options when choosing the color. You can pick between black, blue, orange, red, and white. They also come with a convenient carry bag!
- – ½-inch width is perfect for pounding
- – Easy to remove with attached cord
- – Lightweight for backpacking
- – Nice balance of strength and lightweight
- – Not strong enough for hard ground
- – Not as high of quality as other stakes on the list
- – Tendency to bend and break
And the Best Tent Stake Is…
The time has arrived where I reveal the winner of the product roundup. It was a hard decision, because all of the tent pegs on the list have their own strengths and weakness. In the end, it really came down to material quality, weight, and overall versatility.
Without further ado, the winner is…the MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit! Overall, this product beat out the other four for use in moderate-strong soil. For high wind and hard ground situations, the Coleman 10-inch Steel Nail Tent Pegs would be my choice in. The pointed tip, steel construction, and length help keep your tent in place in even the rockiest soil.