The 9 Best Tent Stakes of 2023

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TripSavvy's Pick

If you're looking for an upgrade or replacement for your existing tent stakes, it's hard to beat the MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes for most camping conditions. If you're on a budget, check out REI's Co-op Aluminum Hook Tent Stake. They're basic and very affordable. For any of the specific situations above, look at our recommendations in each category.

The Rundown

Best Overall: MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes at backcountry.com

"A lightweight, strong, basic tent stake for most conditions at a reasonable price."

Best Budget: REI Co-op Aluminum Hook Tent Stake at rei.com

"REI's house brand delivers simple, affordable replacement for basic tent stakes."

Best for Backpacking: NEMO Airpin Ultralight Stakes at rei.com

"They weigh in at a comically light 0.35 ounces each, so it's a perfect fit for the gram-counting ultralight backpacker. "

Best Ultralight: MSR CarbonCore Tent Stakes at Amazon

"Weighing only 0.6 ounces, this is an ultralight stake for the most extreme gram-counters."

Best for Snow and Sand: MSR Blizzard Tent Stakes at Amazon

"This pick is specifically built with snow and sand in mind."

Best for Wall Tents: Lakesstory Galvanized 12-inch Stakes at Amazon

"This is a heavy-duty, rebar-style stake for staking down heavy-duty wall tents."

Best for Cold Weather: Orange Screw Small Ground Anchor at Amazon

"These perform better in sand and snow than regular tent stakes due to the added surface area created by the screw shape. "

Best for Soft Soil: MSR Cyclone Tent Stakes at Amazon

"A lightweight, long tent stake for high winds and soft or sandy soils."

Best Splurge: Big Agnes Blowdown Tent Anchor at Amazon

"An innovative solution for camping in rocky areas where staking might prove impossible."

Tension is how a tent holds its shape and stands up to brutal weather, so tent stakes can be essential to your tent's structural integrity and performance. While it's tempting to think all tent stakes are made equal, some are better for rocky terrain, some are ultralight for long-distance backpackers, and others perform better in sand and snow. We'll help you understand the different features and qualities of the different tent stakes and make our recommendations for the correct stakes for you and the way you camp.

Here are the best tent stakes for any camping excursion.

Best Overall: MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes

MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Works in multiple environments

  • Durable

  • Limited warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

With a moderate length of 7.5 inches, these are great stakes for most environments without being too bulky or heavy. In fact, each stake weighs less than 0.5 ounces, meaning this set of six weighs in at a total of fewer than 3 ounces.

Unlike the cheap stakes that come with many lesser tents, the 7,000 series aluminum is stiff and won’t bend on any old rock it comes into contact with when you’re driving them in. While they’re not the cheapest stakes available, they’re worth the investment.

Price at time of publish: $27

Weight: 0.46 ounces | Dimensions: 7.5 inches | Material: 7000-series aluminum

Best Budget: REI Co-op Aluminum Hook Tent Stake

REI Co-op Aluminum Hook Tent Stak

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in one size

REI’s house brand delivers quality at moderate prices for lots of outdoor essentials. While their tents have loyal followers, these stakes may not, even if they should. For a meager price per stake, you can replace your lost or bent old cheapo stakes with these light, durable aluminum stakes.

Despite being our budget pick, these aren’t even the cheapest stakes REI offers. You can go with their steel stakes for half the price, but we think it’s worth saving the weight to go with aluminum. That said, if you’re strictly car camping, save the dollar and go steel.

Price at time of publish: $2

Weight: 0.5 ounces | Dimensions: 7.25 inches | Material: Aluminum 7075-T6

Best for Backpacking: NEMO Airpin Ultralight Stakes

NEMO Airpin Stakes - Package of 4

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Durable

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Can be used for guylines

What We Don't Like
  • Shorter than other options

New England’s NEMO is known for its camping innovations, and the Airpins are no exception. The unique heads are a long way from the traditional hook shape and can secure corner loops and guy lines alike with a minimalist shape and relatively short 6-inch length.

They weigh in at a comically light 0.35 ounces each, so it’s a perfect fit for the gram-counting ultralight backpacker. Each set of four costs is reasonably priced, and you might need two depending on your tent configuration, but if you’re shaving weight and need stakes that work in a variety of situations, these are worth the extra cost. Consider adding a four-pack of these for your guy lines if your primary stakes are good enough.

Price at time of publish: $10

Weight: 0.35 ounces | Dimensions: 0 x 1 x 6 inches, 8.5 x 4.0 inches (packed) | Material: Premium 7075 aluminum

Best Ultralight: MSR CarbonCore Tent Stakes

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Easy to use

  • Limited warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as other options

If you’re the type of backpacker that wants to know what the lightest possible tent stakes are, then the MSR CarbonCore Tent Stakes might be for you. At only 0.2 ounces per stake and with a straightforward and streamlined design, it’s obvious that MSR set out to make the lightest stake they possibly could.

There isn’t much here: no hooks, no fancy shape. Just a simple 6-inch pin made from carbon fiber coated in aluminum with a plastic head designed to hold your tent down. You can’t beat these senseless like a heavy steel stake, but if you treat them right, you’ll have an ultralight staking for years to come.

Price at time of publish: $40

Weight: 0.2 ounces | Dimensions: 6 inches | Material: Carbon fiber, aluminum, plastic

Best for Snow and Sand: MSR Blizzard Tent Stakes

What We Like
  • Wider surface area

  • Lightweight

  • Generous length

  • Limited warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

Snow and sand are special conditions when it comes to staking a tent. Regular stakes rely on the pressure and friction of the ground to hold them in place, and that pressure is non-existent in sand and snow. A broader stake creates more surface area for these looser materials, and the MSR Blizzards are built with snow in mind.

Despite being much larger in shape than regular tent stakes, these aluminum snow stakes are only 1.12 ounces apiece. Holes up the length of the 9.5-inch stake allow for tying off to the stake and allow sand or snow to push through it and firm up around it.

Price at time of publish: $30

Weight: 1.12 ounces | Dimensions: 9.5 inches | Material: 7,000-series aluminum

Best for Wall Tents: Lakesstory Galvanized 12-inch Stakes

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Great gripping power

  • Versatile

What We Don't Like
  • Not as lightweight as other options

Regular tent stakes just won’t cut it if you’re dealing with a large, heavy canvas wall tent. These galvanized steel stakes have a sharp point and sturdy construction, so they can be hammered into the ground without worrying about bending.

The rebar-style texture on the outside helps the stakes stay put versus smooth stakes that can more easily pull out, especially in looser soils. Each stake weighs over 1 pound, so these aren’t a wise choice for backpacking, but if you’re using a wall tent, you’re not carrying it in on your back anyway!

Price at time of publish: $20

Weight: 1.3 pounds | Dimensions: 13.27 x 2.76 x 1.06 inches | Material: Galvanized steel

Best for Cold Weather: Orange Screw Small Ground Anchor

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Great for larger tents

  • Works in multiple environments

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

Despite their 9-inch length and large handle for screwing them in, the Orange Screw stakes are remarkably light at less than 2 ounces each. While they’re a bit bulky for ultralight backpacking, the innovative design is great for holding down larger tents securely. Since you screw in rather than drive these stakes, it’s easier for them to naturally slide around buried obstacles, such as rocks.

They’re also better in sand and snow than regular tent stakes due to the added surface area created by the screw shape. The large hole at the top allows you to use a stick or other rod to make it easier to screw the stakes into place.

Price at time of publish: $30

Weight: 1.8 ounces | Dimensions: 9.5 inches (length), 0.87 inches (diameter) | Material: Recycled polycarbonate

Best for Soft Soil: MSR Cyclone Tent Stakes

What We Like
  • Pull loops make for easy removal

  • Includes reflective material

  • Limited warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Not as lightweight as other options

These long, 9.5-inch stakes are meant for challenging soils, and there’s a small weight penalty compared to MSR’s other mostly ultralight stakes. Still, at 1.2 ounces each, they’re not heavy by any means, and you could bring a mix of Cyclone stakes and regular stakes if you’re anticipating soft or sandy soils.

Because you’ll be driving these stakes deep, they also come with helpful pull loops at the top of the stake. As a bonus, these loops also have reflective material mixed in, so you can more easily see (and avoid tripping over) your stakes in the night.

Price at time of publish: $27

Weight: 1.2 ounces | Dimensions: 9.5 inches | Material: Aluminum

Best Splurge: Big Agnes Blowdown Tent Anchor

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Durable

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

Sometimes staking is next to impossible. Rather than fight to stake your tent in rugged soils, consider the Big Agnes Blowdown anchors that use a parachute-style holder that allows you to tension your guylines using rocks instead of stakes. 

These anchors can work in a variety of challenging conditions. Fill them with sand or snow if rocks are scarce. The heavy-duty tarp material is abrasion-resistant but not heavy and can even be wrapped around a tree and tied off.

Price at time of publish: $50

Weight: 0.38 pounds | Dimensions: 2 x 5 x 2 inches | Material: Nylon

What to Look for in Tent Stakes

Shape

The shape of tent stakes is an excellent shortcut to understanding their intended purpose. Sand and snow stakes are wider and flatter. All-purpose cheaper stakes use a traditional hook shape. Stakes with a screw or spiral shape are better in loose soils and sand. Better tent stakes often have a V shape with notches at the top of a straight stake shape less prone to bending, which holds lines and loops in place.

Length

For average, firm soils that aren’t too rocky, standard 6- or 7-inch stakes are usually plenty. Longer stakes are usually meant for softer or sandy soils. If you know you’ll be camping in soft soils often, you may want to avoid ultralight stakes, which are often in the 6-inch range to help keep weights low. Stakes over 10 inches are usually meant for heavier duty tents or other applications than camping tents.

Materials

Aluminum is the standard for lightweight tent stakes. If the manufacturer lists the grade of aluminum, that’s usually a sign that it’s a higher-quality stake. Steel stakes are heavier, and while they can be effective, they’re better suited to car camping. Be wary of plastic stakes. While some polycarbonates can be sturdy enough for light-duty work, there’s a reason most stakes are metal.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do I need to bring a hammer for driving my stakes?

    A hammer is generally unnecessary and can be an easy way to bend or damage your stakes. It’s also a lot of extra weight if you’re backpacking to your camping area. If you’re car camping and using heavier-duty stakes, a rubber mallet can make staking faster and easier and is less likely to damage stakes than a metal hammer.

    If you need help driving your stakes in the field, try using your hiking boot to press the stake in with steady pressure rather than stomping. If that doesn’t do the trick, try the same pressure but with a rock or flatter piece of wood. 

  • My tent has guylines. Do I need to use them?

    Many tents have guylines in addition to staking points at the base of the tent. Guylines help give the tent structure, especially in high winds. Guylines can also be important in precipitation as they may stretch the tent’s rainfly in ways that help divert water from the tent. 

    If you know that bad weather is unlikely and you have a protected camping spot, you can probably skip the guylines without too much trouble. Just remember that it’s much easier to tie off your guylines when setting up camp than in the middle of the night when unexpected weather rolls in.

  • Can I use sticks or rocks instead of tent stakes?

    Yes. If you have the woodsman skills to create your own stakes, you can eliminate stakes from your tent. Keep in mind, however, that finding materials and creating stakes of your own takes some skill and time. 

    One major advantage of carrying your own stakes is that you don’t need to worry about camping somewhere that will have materials for creating stakes, and you don’t have to spend time looking for and crafting stakes on the fly. Often the space and weight savings you get by skipping stakes aren’t enough to justify the hassle.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Justin Park has been writing for TripSavvy since 2019, and his journalism career spans almost two decades. He's researched and written about the outdoors, hunting, hiking, and more, and his travels have taught him the importance of how to stay safe and secure in the wilderness.

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