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All tents should come with a set of tent stakes. However, included stakes are often flimsy and suitable only for soft terrain and fair weather. If you plan on camping in more challenging conditions, it’s a good idea to replace them with better quality ones. There are a surprising number of decisions to be made when choosing tent stakes. Do you prefer the traditional shepherd’s crook design, or will V-shaped or Y-shaped stakes better suit your needs? Is lightness a priority, or do you need specialist stakes for rocky ground or loose snow? In this article, we look at the best tent stake options for all budgets and terrains.
Our Top Picks
Best V-Shaped: DAC V-Best Tent Stakes
V-shaped tent stakes are stronger than traditional hook pegs and work well in hard or rocky ground. They also stack together, making them easy to pack. The popular DAC V-Best Tent Stakes are made of a high strength aluminum alloy that’s three times stronger than the aluminum used for budget tent stakes. There are three terrain-specific widths to choose from. The Small size is easiest to drive into and pull out of hard ground, while the Large has the most holding power in soft ground.
If you camp in many different places, Small Medium is the best all-rounder. Whichever size you choose, this product is amazingly lightweight, with Medium stakes tipping the scales at just 0.5 ounces each. The V-shape strike head is more than capable of withstanding a mallet beating. Wrap your guide rope once around the notched top to prevent it from slipping off in high winds. The stakes come in packs of four, six or eight. Colors vary depending on the size you choose but include fire, bright blue, gold, and orange.
Best Y-Shaped: MSR Groundhog Tent Stake Kit
Three-sided Y-shaped tent stakes are designed to penetrate and hold in a wide variety of different terrains. This makes them the ideal all-rounder for traveling campers who need to be prepared for anything — but don’t have space to carry different styles and sizes. People love the strength of the MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes, saying that they stay straight even when driven into hidden rocks. They are made from 7000-series aluminum and are as light as they are durable.
Use the notch at the top of the stake to secure your guide line, and the reflective paracord pull loop to remove it from the ground with minimum effort at the end of your trip. There are two sizes to choose from: Regular, which weighs 0.46 ounces and measures 7.5 inches in length; and Mini, which weighs 0.35 ounces and measures 6 inches. Both sizes are sold in a pack of six and come with a limited three-year warranty. The stakes’ bright red color helps increase their visibility at dawn and dusk so you won’t trip over them.
Best Nail: Galvanized Steel Tent Peg Nail Stakes
Nail stakes are named for their straight, slender shape and pointed tip, and are usually used for securing one or two-person tents. Reviewers recommend the Galvanized Steel Tent Peg Nail Stakes listed here as a long-lasting and effective alternative to the standard hook pegs supplied with most tents, claiming that they provide a strong anchor even in high winds. The stakes’ galvanized steel construction makes them exceptionally resistant to corrosion, while their 10-inch length offers great holding power.
Their milled points penetrate easily through hard soil. If you’re not able to drive them in by hand, the PVC stoppers on top of the stakes provide a wide target for your camping mallet. The stoppers are bright orange for maximum visibility and offer two different options for securing your guide ropes. Wind them under the hook or through the rope-stringing eyelet. The stakes are available in packs of 10, 20 or 60. Scout leaders or camping equipment hire shops who need to buy in bulk will appreciate the discounted cost of the 60-stake pack.
Best Plastic: Coghlans Ltd. ABS Tent Pegs
Plastic tent stakes are not as hard as aluminum or steel and are therefore more prone to bending or breaking in rocky ground. However, if you plan on camping on soft to medium terrain, plastic stakes are a worthy and affordable alternative. Coghlan’s Ltd. ABS Tent Pegs are made from ABS, a thermoplastic known for its durability and impact resistance — meaning you don’t have to hold back when wielding your mallet. Their Y-beam shape gives them extra drilling and holding power.
The stakes are bright yellow, which makes them easy to avoid when inserted into the ground and easy to find if they get scattered around the site in the process of pitching or breaking camp. At the top of each one is a large, non-slip hook and an eyelet for securing your guide ropes in whichever way best suits the current weather conditions. This listing is for two packets of six 12-inch stakes. The same style is also available elsewhere online in six- and nine-inch lengths.
Best Titanium: Vargo Ti Shepherd’s Hook Stakes
Those for whom lightness is a priority (if you’re planning a multi-day wilderness race or a long-distance backpacking trip, for example) should consider investing in titanium tent stakes. Forty-five percent lighter than steel and two times stronger than aluminum, titanium flexes under impact and can, therefore, withstand repeated hammering into all kinds of terrain. It doesn’t rust or corrode and is incredibly durable. The Vargo Ti Shepherd’s Hook Stakes measure 6.5 inches in length and 0.14 inches in diameter but weigh just 0.3 ounces each.
These are classic shepherd’s hook stakes — the same design that campers have been using to secure their tents for generations. Their slender shape helps reduce weight even further — and if you need a little extra holding power in bad weather, you can cross two pegs at each anchor station. The stakes are pointed for easier penetration and have orange fluorescent coated heads for increased visibility in low light conditions.
Best Heavy Duty: EXPLOMOS Heavy Duty Solid Steel Tent Stakes
The EXPLOMOS Heavy Duty Solid Steel Tent Stakes have a forged steel construction that allows them to keep their shape despite repeated hammering into tough ground. At 11.8 inches in length and 0.39 inches in diameter, they’re long enough to anchor large tents, canopies, and tarps — even in high winds. Of course, the stakes’ material and size means that they’re much heavier than other options on this list at 5.6 ounces each.
They’re ideal if you need heavy duty holding power and can drive to your campsite instead of hiking there. Each stake has a sharp tip and a metal stopper, enabling you to drive them swiftly into the ground with the help of a mallet. Use the eyelet hole or hook to attach your guide rope; and for leverage when removing the stake at the end of your trip. They are available in packs of eight or 10. Whichever you choose, your purchase includes a convenient nylon carry bag.
Best Snow & Sand: MSR Blizzard Tent Stake Kit
With their broad profile, concave shape, and additional length, the MSR Blizzard Tent Stakes are designed to provide holding power in sand or consolidated snow — conditions in which most other tent stakes will fail. Each stake measures 9.5 inches and has a hooked top and eyelet for securing a guide rope. If you’re camping in fresh snow or loose sand, you can also use the stake as a deadman anchor. Simply feed your guide rope through one of the pre-drilled holes in the shaft, then bury the stake perpendicular to the guide rope and fasten the tail end of the rope to the tight end.
The stakes are made from 7000-series aluminum and are lightweight for their size and shape at 0.74 ounces each. Their bright red finish makes them easy to spot in the snow or sand when packing up (particularly handy if the weather turns and you’re operating with minimum visibility in a blizzard).
Best Budget: Eurmax 7” Round Outdoor Camping Stakes
The Eurmax 7” Round Outdoor Camping Stakes are a great budget option — especially since free shipping within the continental U.S. and to the U.K. is included. With their basic shepherd’s crook shape and lightweight aluminum alloy construction, they are not intended for heavy-duty use in challenging terrain. Instead, they’re a budget replacement option for recreational campers who plan on sticking to soft terrain; or as an emergency backup set for those whose adventures take them out of reach of camping supply shops. A pointed shaft makes it possible to drive the stakes into the ground by hand. Each one measures 7.1 inches in length and weighs 0.5 ounces.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular tent stakes on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different stakes overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers and read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.