Which tent stakes are the best for camping?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a premium-quality tent or a less expensive budget option. Without a strong set of durable tent stakes, your shelter is at risk of blowing away from gusty winds or unexpected storms. If you already own a tent, chances are it came with a set of stakes. While they may provide some security and protection, most are not equipped to handle diverse terrains.
Depending on whether you prefer car camping or backpacking and where you plan on camping most often, there are various tent stake styles to suit your needs. The Eurmax Heavy Duty Steel Stakes are a great multi-purpose option that can keep tents, canopies, patio accessories and more firmly planted in the ground.
What to know before you buy tent stakes
Tent stake type
- V-stakes: As the name suggests, these stakes ultizie a V-shaped design, allowing them to cut through the tough and rocky ground easily. They are also highly durable and difficult to bend or snap.
- Y-stakes: Similar in shape to V-stakes but with an extra side, Y-stakes can handle hard ground but are slightly more challenging to remove. Due to their additional surface area, they are less likely to shift while in the ground, making them one of the most durable options.
- Hook stakes: Hook stakes and shepherd hook stakes use a classic design and tend to be small, affordable and lightweight. While sturdy, they do not provide the best grip and tend to bend if too much pressure is applied.
- Snow stakes: If you’re planning on doing any winter camping, carrying a set of snow stakes is a convenient way to secure your shelter to compacted snow. These stakes are usually broader with increased surface area and small holes to create a sturdy anchor in the snow.
- Sand stakes: Some sand stake models closely resemble snow stakes, with some used interchangeably. Sand stakes work in loose soil or sand when traditional tent stakes are not sufficient.
- Nail stakes: Nail stakes are best suited for larger tents, as they are somewhat heavy and oversized for backpacking trips. Resembling large nails, they have a straight design that requires a mallet to hammer them into the ground properly.
Tent stake material
- Titanium: The lightest and strongest tent stake options use titanium, which has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio. Tent stakes made from this material will be your best bet if looking for maximum security but will cost significantly more than others.
- Aluminum: Though not quite as strong as titanium, aluminum stakes are a more affordable option that can still firmly anchor a tent. They are also lightweight, making them an excellent choice for backpackers.
- Metal alloy: The least expensive tent stakes will usually use metal alloy. Though they can be lightweight, they are not the most durable, often bending and warping after extended use.
- Steel: Steel stakes are strong and resistant to rust, but their heavier weight makes them better suited for car camping or RV camping at established campgrounds.
- Carbon: Like titanium stakes, those made from carbon fiber have a high strength-to-weight ratio. Ideal for long backpacking trips, carbon stakes will be able to hold down your tent in a variety of soil conditions.
- Plastic: Tent stakes made from plastic are lightweight and are often manufactured using bright colors for increased visibility at night but are not nearly as durable as metal options.
Tent stake uses
While camping is the most apparent use for tent stakes, several other situations can be helpful. Other opportunities to use tent stakes include setting up larger tents for events, securing backyard gazebos and canopies and installing nets for badminton, tennis or other backyard sports.
What to look for in a quality set of tent stakes
The total tent stake weight matters most for those carrying them in their pack while hiking. If you’re a backpacker heading out on a long weekend trip or thru-hike, every ounce matters, which is why opting for lightweight stakes will benefit you in the long run.
Longer tent stakes provide a larger surface area that can help keep them firmly stuck in the ground, especially in loose terrains like sand or high wind areas. Shorter stakes are better for more casual camping or for hikers looking to cut down on weight.
The more bright and colorful your tent stake, the less likely you will lose sight of it when packing up your gear. You can find stakes in a variety of distinct colors and models with colorful tips and even options that light up at night.
The easiest stakes to drive into the ground are ones with flat tops. Curved tops are more difficult to press into hard terrains, leading to potential bending and other damage. The safest and most effective way to install tent stakes is with the use of a small mallet.
How much you can expect to spend on a set of tent stakes
The cheapest tent stakes can be purchased for around $3, though higher-quality options will likely range from $12-$24. Premium titanium or carbon fiber tent stakes can cost up to $50.
Tent stake FAQ
How long do tent stakes last?
A. The lifespan of your tent stakes will depend on how often you use them, the type of terrain, material and how you care for them. High-quality metal tent stakes can last for several years when used properly.
Does every type of tent require tent stakes?
A. Many tents will be sold as “free-standing,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t still stake them out. No matter what type of tent you use, it is always a smart idea to use tent stakes for extra insurance in unpredictable weather.
What’s the best set of tent stakes to buy?
Top tent stakes
What you need to know: Made from corrosion-resistant steel, these are ideal for securing large tents, tarps and other structures.
What you’ll love: You’ll receive 10 tent stakes per pack featuring top hooks and guyline holes.
What you should consider: They are not the best option for backpacking due to their heavier weight.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top tent stake for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly option is great for those needing a large number of stakes for a low price.
What you’ll love: The high-visibility yellow coloring and weatherproof design are perfect for casual camping.
What you should consider: These will not work well on hard ground.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A popular option among backpackers and avid campers, these are strong and reliable.
What you’ll love: The Y-shaped design provides extra grip, and the reflective grip loop makes removal easy.
What you should consider: Somewhat expensive for a six-pack.
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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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