Tent stakes are essential camping equipment to properly secure your tent during moderate to harsh weather events. However, not all tent stakes are created equal, and with all the different products available in the market, choosing the right one for your camping needs can be challenging.
In this buying guide, we’ve tested 10 of the best tent stakes available on the market in real camping scenarios, and based on our tests, the MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes is our top pick.
These tent stakes are lightweight, with unquestioned durability. Also, the MSR Groundhog is very versatile, so you can use it in virtually any camping terrain.
If you are still not sure about the MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes as our top pick, let’s jump in to our full reviews for the top 10 best tent stakes available in the market today, starting with the number ten.
Top 10 Best Tent Stakes for Camping
- Ultra-light, three-sided, high-strength 7075 aluminum tent stakes metal that securely anchors your tent without adding unnecessary weight to your pack, you won’t even feel them in your pack
- 7 inches long camping stakes
- “Y” design aluminum tarp stakes penetrate and hold firmly in a wide range of soil conditions
- Durable, high-quality material, won’t easily bend
- Pack of 12, adequate for most camping needs for you and your entire family
Pros and Cons
- Durable material, damage-resistant
- The Y-shape design offers added strength, and long enough to hold the tent firmly
- The pointy end makes it easier to penetrate the ground
- Wind-proof strength can hold our tent in place properly
- Might not be strong enough to penetrate a very hard rocky ground
- Breakable with excessive force
- 10 heavy-duty stakes included in the package (¼”, 8mm)
- Four 10 foot ropes and one green stopper
- Galvanized steel, corrosion-resistant material
- Milled points, easier penetration into hard soil
- Large head for easier mallet driving
Pros and Cons
- Great holding power, unbendable
- Easy-to-use with a larger head and milled points
- Comes with a rope and extra stopper
- Spare parts included great value for money
- High-quality galvanized steel material, rust-resistant
- Relatively heavy and bulky
- You’ll need a proper mallet/hammer for installation
- Unique redesigned tri-beam head engineered not to break
- Highly visible in racing read, easy to find in the long grass
- Highly reflective paracord ensuring easier removal and visibility
- Eight ground stakes in the package
- No-question refund/replacement warranty
Pros and Cons
- Affordable and budget-friendly with 8 stakes in the package
- Tri-beam, anti-break design for extra durability
- Great visibility, easy to spot day or night
- Comes with a carry pouch
- Might bend if you are not careful
- Not designed for hard or rocky ground
- Ultralight: Less than 6 grams per stake
- Durable: Protective aluminum skin and tip deliver lasting performance
- Carbon fiber cores for strength and rigidity
- Stiff aluminum skins are lightweight and strong for extra durability
- 4 tent stakes in one package
Pros and Cons
- Very light, 6 grams for each stake
- Strong carbon fiber core, holds well even in strong wind
- Can hold tents down in up to 40-50 mph winds
- Rare full-strength but ultralight tent stakes available on the market
- Integrated pull loop for easier removal
- The aluminum casing might scratch easily
- Durable, specially designed to take beatings from heavy mallets
- Great for stony or hard-packed ground
- Versatile tops—easy, thread-through design for guy-lines and hook for stakeout points
- Durable, high-impact, polypropylene tops and plated steel stakes
- Includes 4, 10-inch stakes
Pros and Cons
- Made from high-quality, heavy iron and steel
- Excellent for hard, rocky ground
- Affordable considering what it offers
- Made for all weather conditions
- Versatile top design, can hook both guy lines and stakeout points
- Not suitable for softer soil and loose sand
- Relatively bulky and heavy
- 12″x 1.38″ (L x W), Diameter of each Hole: 0.42″; Each weighs 1.8 oz
- Super Strong Aluminum Construction
- Anodized Finish
- Holes for a variety of rigging options
- longer and wider, with a “U” style design for a more secure fit
Pros and Cons
- Unique , U-shape structural design, ensuring very secure fit
- Lightweight (1.8 oz for each) albeit being quite strong and durable
- Great with snow and sand
- Easy and fast installation in any surface
- Comes with holes (6.43” diameter) for easy rigging
- Don’t work well on harder surface besides sand and snow
- May become unstable in harder snow
- Color: Orange
- Weight: 1.8oz
- Length: 9 1/2”
- Diameter: 7/8”
- Lifetime breakage guarantee
- Manufactured from 100% recycled polycarbonate plastics
Pros and Cons
- Light and durable, great screw shape for cutting into gravel
- Good medium length (9 ½”)
- Large circle on their tops, useful for screwing in the stake
- Pretty strong, can hold the tent down in 45 mph wind speed
- Great penetration, and pretty stable in softer ground
- Only in a pack of 4
- In some cases, the anchorage can be loosen easily
- Classic tent stake design
- Great for most staking applications
- Fluorescent orange coating
- Ultralight titanium construction
- Weight: 0.3 ounces (8 grams)
- Size: 6.5″L x 0.14″D (165 x 3.5 mm)
Pros and Cons
- Great visibility with fluorescent orange-coated heads
- Titanium material, super thin and super light while being hard and strong
- Comes with the shepherd’s hook design, allowing the stakes to drive easily into the ground
- Easy to drive down into any kind of soil, even harder, rocky ground
- The fluorescent orange finish might rub off over time
- Prone to spinning
- Made of galvanized steel, corrosion-resistant material
- Includes essential tool for anchoring canopies, landscape trims, patio/garden structures, tents, 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
- Tough PVC green stoppers features both hook and rope-stringing eyelet for anchoring versatility
Pros and Cons
- Corrosion-resistant material that is also durable
- Milled points, great for penetrating harder surface
- Extra long (10.5-inches) for extra holding power
- Unbendable heavy-duty galvanized steel
- Large head, more striking surface
- Relatively heavy, and doesn’t come with a carrying case
- The plastic tip is prone to breaking
- 6-pack of lightweight, durable, and versatile camping and backpacking tent stakes that stay put
- Three-sided Y-beam design offers superior penetration and holding power in a variety of soil types
- Notch at top for securing guy lines; attached reflective pull loop allows for easy removal
- Constructed from 7000-series aluminum; stakes are lightweight, yet rugged
- Includes six individual tent stakes; each tent stake weighs 0.46 ounces, and measures 7.5 inches long
Pros and Cons
- Bright, reflective cord for great visibility, even when the ground is covered with long grass and leaves
- Y-shape design, versatile so that these stakes can hold in a variety of terrains
- Lightweight aluminum material, but also very durable
- Notch at the top allowing us to attach guy lines stress-free
- Relatively expensive
- Might have issues in harder and frozen ground
Principles To Properly Secure a Tent with Tent Stakes
Although the actual process may vary depending on your tent, the terrain you are going to secure the tent on, and other factors, below are the general principles you can follow in securing our tent with tent stakes:
Identifying The Right Placements
It’s very important to make sure you are sticking the stakes in the right place. If you fail to do so, not only you’ll fail in securing your tent, but you may also risk damaging your tent and/or the stakes.
In general, look for dense enough ground and avoid softer soil. Sand surfaces are also a big no-no.
You can test the spot by pushing one of the stakes in with just your hands. If you can do this fairly easily, then the ground is too soft. You shouldn’t be able to push the stake in with your bare hands if the soil is dense enough.
Once you’ve found the right spot with dense enough soil, use a rubber mallet to hammer the stake in. Do not force to push the stake with your hands or your foot, not only you may bend the stakes by pushing with an awkward angle (more on this later), but you may also injure yourself.
Figuring Out The Right Angle
Another important consideration is the angle of your tent stakes when you push them into the ground.
It’s best to ensure your tent stakes are always perfectly vertical, 90-degrees from the ground. This allows the stakes to go deeper into the soil so they are much more secure.
Also, when they are all perfectly vertical, each stake will distribute equal energy when holding the tent down despite the direction the wind is pushing the tent.
While there are those who’ll swear for angling the tent stakes so that the point of the stake goes towards the tent, based on our tests throughout the years, it’s always better for the stakes to be driven in vertically for the reasons stated above.
Other Important Principles
Here are some more general principles you can follow to ensure your tent is properly secured with your tent stakes:
- If your stakes come with a J-shaped hook on the top (most do), make sure the “J” points away from your tent. This is to ensure the loop or line is properly secured so it won’t slip off the stake as the tent moves in the blowing wind.
- The heavier the stakes are, the more secure they’ll be. You may want to choose heavier materials
- Always carry more stakes than what you need
- If you can’t find dense enough soil, you can use more stakes to secure the tent
- If necessary, place heavy rocks on the stakes to secure them
How To Properly Get Tent Stakes Into Hard Ground?
As discussed, it’s very important to place the tent stakes in dense, hard ground to ensure your tent is properly secured.
However, it can be difficult to get the tent stakes into the harder ground without using a proper technique. Here is how:
1. Check the ground
The first thing you should do is to check the ground’s condition accurately.
There are two basic causes the ground is hard: rocks beneath the soil, or impacted dirt. YOu can test the ground by putting the stake into the ground and use your mallet to hammer the stake lightly.
Listen to the sound, if there’s just thudding, then the ground is impacted. However, if you hear a metallic clang, then the ground is rocky.
If the ground is just impacted soil, then you can just follow the steps below up to number 7, but if the ground is rocky, step number 8 is a necessity.
2. Water The Ground
Pour around a cup of water in the spot where you want to drive the tent stakes in. The idea is that the water will help to loosen up the soil, so it will be easier to drive the stake in.
Wait around three minutes or so before driving the stakes so that the water can get deep enough into the ground.
3. Find a Hard Rock
It doesn’t have to be a rock, per se, but it has to be a hard enough material that can handle a decent amount of pressure while also having a wide enough surface area.
This is important to spread out the pressure when you push the tent stake into the ground on the next step.
4. Drive The Stake In
Hammer the tent stake with your rubber mallet as far as possible (don’t force it). Then, put the rock (or any wide and hard material you have) on top of the stake, and use both hands to press down on the rock as hard as possible with even pressure.
You can also use your foot or your mallet, but make sure you are giving even pressure.
Just press, don’t kick or hammer it. The stake should go into the ground at least a little further, and if you are lucky, the stake will go in all the way.
5. Hammer It In
If the stake gets stuck again, you can hammer it in with your mallet.
Do not hit too hard, although you’d want to put a little power. Try 10 strikes or so, and if the stake isn’t yet driven all the way in, then you can move on to the next step.
6. Repeat Step 4 and 5 Until In
Repeat pushing on the rock and hammering the stake in as needed until the stake is all the way in (or won’t move anymore).
7. Repeat Step 1 to 6 With Other Stakes
Repeat the steps with the other stakes as needed. Chances are the ground won’t be all hard at every stake spot, but repeat the steps as required.
8. Weigh Down The Stakes With Rocks (Optional)
If the ground is too rock or the stake simply won’t go in, you can add a small pile of rocks to the stakes. This can help to secure the stake down, and also protecting you from tripping from the pointy ends of the stakes.
How Do You Secure a Tent Without Stakes?
Is it possible to secure a tent without stakes at all?
Yes, but it will depend on the condition of the terrain where you’ll set up the tent.
If the terrain isn’t too challenging and you don’t get too much wind blowing on the tent, then stakes aren’t absolutely needed. You do, however, need the right kind of structures available in the area to secure the tent properly.
The best natural resources you can find are heavy rocks and logs. In most cases, you should be able to find plenty of them available on any camping ground.
Alternatively, you can also use firewood, which is usually available for purchase on most campgrounds. You’ll also need some sort of string or line that is strong enough to hold your tent.
As a last resort, you can also use the tree structures around you to secure your tent if there are four trees that are placed close enough to each other (depending on your string length).
Tie the string around the base of the tree, and stretch it enough so that your tent is properly stretched. In using this method, however, you’ll need to calculate how long of the string is needed by each corner of the tent.
What Can I Use Instead of Tent Stakes?
When looking for rocks to secure your tent, avoid rocks that have any sharp edges, and look for those that are at least the size of your head. The wider the rocks, the better.
You can either place the rocks on top of the edges of the tent directly to secure the tent or tie the strings around the rocks. The latter method is preferred, but you can’t always use this method if the rock isn’t in the correct shape.
Logs are typically harder to find than good-sized and good-shaped rocks in most camping grounds, but they can be a very decent option to secure your tent.
The heavier the logs, and the longer they are, the better. You’ll need double the number of logs as the number of stakes you’ll use. Place or tie the logs as you would with the rocks as discussed above.
You can use a small stack of firewood as you would with rocks or logs. Also, you can split the wood and carve it into a wooden tent stake if you’re okay with slightly more effort.
As discussed, you’ll need at least four trees that are near enough to each other to use this method. We don’t really recommend this method unless as a last resort.
All ten of the best tent stakes we have reviewed above are of great qualities and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. So, choosing the absolute best among them is a very difficult task.
However, our top pick goes to the MSR Groundhog.
The MSR Groundhog is not the cheapest option, but it is lightweight and durable. Also, the MSR Groundhog is very versatile, so you can use it in virtually any camping terrain.
That’s not saying the other tent stakes we have reviewed are bad quality. As we’ve mentioned, each offers its own unique features and advantages.
We hope you’ve gathered enough information from this buying guide, and can make a better purchase decision with what we’ve shared.
If you enjoyed this article, consider checking out some of our other articles for some more great camping tips!
- 10 Best Camping Lanterns for Tenting
- Most Comfortable Way to Sleep in a Tent
- 10 Best Camping Axes and Hatchets
- Best Portable Grill for Camping