Best Tent Stakes

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
542 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best tent stakes

If you’re a tent camper, you know how important it is to have a high-quality tent for your getaways. But even the best tent isn’t worth much if you don’t have the right stakes to hold it in place.

Tent stakes prevent your tent from blowing away in a storm or collapsing in the middle of the night. These spikes are driven into the ground and attached directly to the tent or tied to it with loops. Nearly all tents come with a set of stakes, but they’re often not strong enough to work on all types of terrain and in all weather conditions. You’ll get more durable, sturdy stakes if you purchase them separately, and it’s a good idea to keep extras on hand in case of an emergency.

This buying guide offers the information you need to choose the best tent stakes for your next camping trip. For quick and easy shopping, don’t forget to check out the top tent stakes we’re recommending.

Before setting up your tent, clear the area of debris. Tent stakes can bend if you try to push them through rocks, branches, or other hard material.

Key considerations

Type

Here’s a look at the most common types of tent stakes.

Shepherd hook stakes: These stakes have rounded tips that make them look like shepherd’s sticks. As such, they aren’t likely to puncture your camping pack or other items in your bag. They’re not likely to hurt your hands or feet when you push them into the ground, either. Shepherd hook stakes are sturdy and easy to drive into the ground. They’re also incredibly lightweight, making them easy to pack.

V-stakes: These stakes have a unique “V” shape that allows them to sink almost effortlessly into the ground and remain stable. They don’t break easily, which makes them ideal for rough, rocky terrain. Notably, V-stakes have pointed tips, which means they could injure your hands when you push them into place.

Y-stakes: These stakes have a three-sided design suitable for a variety of terrains. With a flat head and pointed tip, they are relatively easy to press into the ground. However, removing them from the ground can be somewhat tricky. Consider Y-stakes if you’ve got a large family tent to secure.

Hook stakes: With a top that resembles a hook, these are the most affordable tent stakes. They work best on soft terrain but can bend easily if you press too hard on them. They aren’t very durable, but the budget-friendly price tag makes them easier to replace.

Snow stakes: As you might guess, snow stakes are meant for use in snow and cold weather. They are incredibly durable and provide a secure anchor for your tent. However, they can’t be pressed into ice.

Nail stakes: Perfect for family camping trips, these stakes are designed for use with large, heavy tents. They’re meant to be highly durable and heavy-duty, but a hammer or mallet is required to press them into the ground. Nail stakes are very heavy and therefore not suitable for backpacking trips.

Sand stakes: These stakes have anchors that help them stay in place in softer terrain, like sand. They work well on loose ground, too, keeping your tent stable.

Material

The material with which a tent stake is made plays a significant role in how long it’ll last.

Metal alloy: The stakes that come with a tent are often made of metal alloy. It’s easy on the wallet and lightweight enough for backpacking. However, metal alloy tent stakes are not very durable and can bend easily.

Aluminum: Aluminum stakes are also lightweight, but they are more durable than metal alloy stakes. They’re pretty affordable, too, and easy to find.

Steel: Steel is one of the strongest tent stake materials. It doesn't rust or corrode easily, which makes it very durable. These stakes are heavy and not ideal for backpacking.

Titanium: Titanium stakes are incredibly sturdy, and they’re also lightweight. The tradeoff is that titanium is a pricey material.

Carbon: These are some of the lightest stakes available, which makes them great for backpacking.

Plastic: Plastic is also very lightweight. Some plastic tent stakes are made in bright colors so they’re easy to locate. However, plastic is more likely to break than some other materials.

EXPERT TIP

Always bring extra tent stakes on a camping trip in case a stake becomes bent or otherwise damaged.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Length and size

A stake’s ability to hold a tent in place depends on its size, length, and surface area, all of which determine how deep into the ground it can go. Shorter tent stakes work well in areas that aren’t particularly windy, where a firm grip isn’t as necessary. Longer stakes usually provide a stronger anchor because you can press them further into the ground. Longer stakes are also ideal for sand and other soft terrain. If you’re backpacking, you should note that larger stakes also tend to be heavier.

Flat top

Tent stakes with flat tops are often easier to press into the ground. In harder terrain, the flat top also provides a larger surface area to hit with a hammer or mallet.

Tapered tips

To anchor a tent, tent stakes must be driven into the ground. If the stakes have a tapered tip, you don’t need as much pressure to drive them in, even if the terrain is especially firm or rocky. Avoid stakes with tips that are too narrow, as they’re more likely to snap off in hard ground.

Color and visibility

When you’re taking down your tent and gathering your gear, you don’t want to forget any of your stakes. That’s why it helps to choose highly visible ones, so they don’t get lost amidst the dirt and grass. High-visibility stakes are also less likely to trip you after dark. Some are available in bright colors, and some even glow in the dark.

EXPERT TIP

If you forget a mallet to push your tent stakes into the ground, try using a flat rock from your campsite.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Tent: CORE Equipment 9 Person Extended Dome Tent
You need a high-quality tent for your stakes to hold in place when you’re camping. This model from CORE Equipment is a favorite of ours because it’s large enough for up to nine people and is ideal for wet, windy conditions.

Camping pillow: Coop Home Goods Camping and Travel Pillow
Get cozy inside your fully secured tent with a comfortable camping pillow. We love this one from Coop Home Goods because it’s made of supportive memory foam and comes with a compressible stuff sack for easy packing.

Camping sleeping pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress
If sleeping on the ground inside your tent doesn’t appeal to you, a camping sleeping pad can make all the difference. This one from Therm-a-Rest is a favorite because it’s extremely easy to inflate and helps reduce heat loss on cool nights. 

EXPERT TIP

In windy conditions, it helps to place two stakes next to one another, so they cross beneath the ground for extra security. It can also be helpful to place a rock on top of the stakes for added weight.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tent stake prices

Tent stakes vary in price based on the type, material, size, and quantity. Most cost between $3 and $50.

Inexpensive: The most affordable tent stakes are usually made of plastic, aluminum, or metal alloy. They typically come in packs of 12 or less and aren’t particularly large. Expect to pay between $3 and $15 for these stakes.

Mid-range: For a little more money, between $12 and $24, you can find tent stakes made of durable steel. These typically come in packs of ten and are fairly large.

Expensive: The priciest tent stakes are usually larger stakes made of titanium or carbon. Expect to find packages containing 12 stakes or less for $16 to $50. You can also find bulk packs of tent stakes for over $100 that contain as many as 100 stakes.

Tips

  • The best spot to set up a tent is in an area with dense soil. It’s harder to stabilize stakes in loose ground.
  • When you’ve chosen a spot for your tent, try to push one of your tent stakes into the ground by hand. If you can do it easily, the ground is probably too soft to set up your tent.
  • Avoid using your hands or feet to push stakes into the ground. Not only could you injure yourself, but you could also bend the stakes. Instead, use a rubber mallet to drive them into the ground.
  • Don’t drive your tent stakes into the ground at an angle. Press them in vertically. This allows them to go in deeper and anchor your tent more effectively.
Press tent stakes fully into the ground. The more there is below the surface, the stronger the anchoring power. Doing so minimizes your tripping hazard, too.

FAQ

Q. Are tent stakes and tent pegs the same thing?
A.
In most scenarios, “stake” and “peg” are used interchangeably. However, in some cases, “peg” may be used to describe a traditional shepherd hook while “stake” describes a V-stake or Y-stake.
 

Q. Can I reuse tent stakes?
A.
Yes, tent stakes are reusable, which is why it’s so important to keep them in good condition. High-quality, durable stakes can last for several years, but cheaper stakes that bend easily may not make it through more than one camping season. Take care when you’re placing the stakes, and clean them thoroughly after each use.
 

Q. What are the best tent stakes for backpacking?
A.
For backpacking, you should choose lightweight stakes. Avoid steel stakes that are heavy; instead, stick to aluminum, metal alloy, plastic, carbon, or titanium.

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