Tent Stakes

9:44 p.m. on May 7, 2006 (EDT)
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I was wondering if all tent stakes are created equal. I am fairly new to backpacking and I need to buy a few extra stakes for my tent. Is there anything to take into consideration when looking at tent stakes? Is titanium better than aluminum? Is any brand better than the other? Any advice would be great. Thanks!

6:26 a.m. on May 8, 2006 (EDT)
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I use what ever is lightest.

My favorite tent stakes are made from aluminum welding rods that I cut to 8" lengths and bent a hook on one end.

8 of these stakes weigh next to nothing.

I camp in the southeast where the soil is mostly composed of packed organic matter and sand.

12:12 p.m. on May 8, 2006 (EDT)
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No, tent stakes are not created equal. In fact, far from equal. I would amend Ed's comment to "I use whatever is lightest that suits the place I am pitching the tent." Which means I need to know something about the place I am going.

The only set of Ti stakes I have has proven useless, since they were way too light and bend far too easily. But then, they were free, sent for evaluation as prototypes.

Anyway, it depends on the soil/rock/sand/whatever. In some soil that is fairly dense, but not too hard, wire stakes or a fairly sturdy aluminum wire-like, hook-shaped stake is just fine. A lot of SE US soil is like that (where Ed is). When we were in Mississippi and camped a lot in LA, AR, AL, GA, that worked great, except in August, the dry season, when the clay dried to brick-hard consistency. Then the light wire type would just bend and not go into the ground.

If you are pitching the tent on sand or snow, you need a fairly broad stake, like the U-cross-section aluminum. For really soft sand or for snow, the longer ones work better. But you might need the large "sand stakes" to get enough holding power, depending on the tent, wind conditions, and softness of the sand. Another possibility here is to use a "deadman" (lots of backpacking books explain the various varieties of these).

Sometimes with hardened soil, you can drive a sturdy stake into the ground, if it has a sharp point. But many of the "tent comes with a full set of stakes" types will just bend. So you might need to get something like the Black Diamond "superstakes" (very expensive for little piece of specially shaped, heat-treated aluminum alloy, but when you need it, there's no substitute).

Plastic stakes break pretty easily. I have never had them last long, and as a Scout leader, I have seen the youth break them in large quantities, just trying to get them into the ground.

If you are camping on on rock slabs or rocky ground where you might encounter rocks under a thin layer of dirt (as you find in much of the Rockies or Sierra), you may just have to find big rocks or logs to tie the guy lines to. Stakes often just don't work in those situations.

So-called "self-standing" tents still need to be staked down. If a goodly breeze comes up, dome tents and other self-supporting tents can (and do) take flight, sometimes even with your gear inside.

6:30 p.m. on June 8, 2006 (EDT)
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I find most Ti stakes and almost all aluminum tubular stakes to bend far too easily in hard packed soils.
My peg of choice is the MSR Ground Hog stakes: http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&productId=12276843&parent_category_rn=4500663&vcat=searchrefine
They are bomber and hold extremely well due to their increased contact area. Now, a peg that holds this well in compacted soil, can be a bear to remove, but the MSRs have a cord attached to make removal easy. With the Red colour, they are hard to miss and they are relatively lightweight at .71 ozs a piece.
Not cheap @ $1.95 each but worth every hard earned penny!

Dusty

5:00 a.m. on June 14, 2006 (EDT)
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I have backpacked ever since I was 10 years old. Im now 35. The best stakes I have ever used are Vargo Titanium Ascent tent stakes
( http://spln.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/p2352187reg.jpg ). Although reading some of the other comments here about other Titanium stakes I would have to say I guess you get what you pay for. Anyway these stakes are supposed to be designed for looser soil because of their bladed shape. They are so strong to I have been able to pound them into hard rocky soil and have noticed no bending of the stake. What I generally do is find a stick, put it on the top of the stake and beat the stick (rather then the stake directly) with a rock. Doing this keeps the top of the stake from marring.
I used to use some Easton aluminum stakes (http://www.ldpcampingfoods.com/TentStake.jpg) and they are light but you have to be EXTREMLY careful with them and make sure the go in perfectly straight and the you don’t accidentally trip over them or you WILL break them. Also they have to be used in soft ground. I will never use these again even though Easton makes great products. I just cant rely on them like my Vargos. So Im really sorry to disagree with some of the other folks here about their Ti stakes but as I have said the Vargos are perfect so far as I am concerned and they are extremely light as well.

7:50 p.m. on July 31, 2006 (EDT)
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I am honest to say that you can use the Titanium tent.The reason is as following:
First of all,the Titanium Skewer Stakes are the one of the best upgrades you can make to your backpacking package. Solving two problems at once—weight and strength—the Nobendium II's will be your best friend when setting up camp on hard or rocky ground. The lightweight titanium stakes weigh is 18.5g, and refuse to bend or break.
Secondly,The Titanium nail stake is applicable. In the ground, especially is frozen-earth or flintiness-earth, which makes it very easy. Meanwhile titanium nail stake is very lightweight and strong. Its weight is only 10g.
Thirdly,This is Titanium V-Shaped Tent Peg:
It is idea that you choose it if you was trying to pound tent peg into frozen ground with a round rock on Backpacking outing. Because It is Very lightweight and dependab...

The mentioned above which has some problems,please do not hesitate to let me know.

5:00 p.m. on August 10, 2006 (EDT)
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Stick to msr tent pegs!1 I cannot fault them at all! bit pricey but def worth it.

7:07 p.m. on August 12, 2006 (EDT)
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a.k.a. chris carlos, christopher, christopher carlos, cj

i have tried a lot of tent stakes, msr ground hog is the best!

12:53 a.m. on August 15, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

a.k.a. King

Ok,Could you have a try the The Tent Stakes or V-tent?
who can tell me these Tent stakes,which is better?

Thank you!

Sincerely
Jeff Lv
junfeng1086@hotmail.com

7:28 a.m. on September 28, 2006 (EDT)
(Guest)

Found something that really holds down a tent or canopy ! I've been camping and setting up tents for many years in ALL kinds of weather. Everything from FL afternoon storms to MI nasty summer weather. If weight is NOT a problem 4 or 6" "T-Bolts" from your local water deptwork extreemly well. These are the bolts that hold water line fittings togather in the cities water systems. The threads on the bolts hold in almoast all soils. And the are easy to put in and remove with a light weight hammer. OR...... 6 or 8" pieces of re-rod. I have used 1/2 " cement re-rod repeatedly with very good results. These are also a bit heavy to be carring on a long hike but lighter than the T-bolts.
GOOD LUCK.......... JUST HOPE THE WIND DOESN'T BLOW !

11:45 p.m. on October 21, 2006 (EDT)
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Hoosier, I have been a welder for over 20 yrs, and I have used welding rods for just about everything, including tent stakes. But you should first heat treat them.
You can do this for all store bought stakes as well (except for alluminum). It is very simple if you have a buddy or workplace that has a cutting torch or very hot fire.
Simply bend the stake in the desired shape (sheaperds hook style works best)with an extra long dog-legged hook, so that the hook section drives into the ground as well. Then heat up the stake until is cherry red and immediatly quench it in a bucket of cold salt water or cold used motor oil (motor oil prefered but water will do just fine).This makes them very hard and less ductile. I prefer to use a 5/16" or 3/16" 7018 or 308 Stainless rod. Bending is only a problem for me in extremely rock hard ground.
I do use alluminum stakes when I can, but they bend very easily in hard ground, but can also easily be bent back into shape. Titanium is not much better and tend to cost much more. My favorite, but which weights much more, is the long, old style gutter nails and washers. Typicaly used for my big cabin tent on family camp outs. You should try experimenting with all types of material and decide for yourself what works the best. Just remember that there are certain items in your pack that you don't need to reduce the weight of, for fear that it may cause you frustrations and hardships on the trail. "Dependability is and should always be the number one factor when purchasing your gear".

4:09 p.m. on October 23, 2006 (EDT)
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Hey Ed, Do you know if you can heat and quench those alluminum welding rods to make them harder, I have never tried it, but I've never welded with any al rods bigger than 1/8" tig filler rods, and their way to soft for that. I would like to try and see if this works. What size are the rods you use, and are they designed for sheet metal or castings. I have a good friend who is a Lincoln Electric sales consultant at work, I'm going to see if he has anything I can work with. I have discovered that if you make a longer hook, about twice as long as normal stakes, that you can drive the hook into the ground and it won't spin and release the grommet or tie rope, this is very usefull during high winds,or in soft or sandy ground. I have always prefered to make my own stakes because of this improvement.

7:01 p.m. on December 1, 2006 (EST)
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One caution on the Easton "Lightweight Tent Stakes". I bought 8 of them and had 3 fail on the very first use. What happens is that the aluminum top cap pulls off the stake leaving nothing to hold the tent attached to the stake. I returned tehm to REI for replacement, but found several more in their stock where the top cap was loose enough to be removed easily by hand.

I don't know if these stakes will last longterm or if the others will also develop loose top caps. I probably wouldn't buy them again.

9:39 p.m. on December 4, 2006 (EST)
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MSR Needle Stakes

IMHO MSR Needle Stakes are the cats meow. They are hardened aluminum, light as heck and relatively cheap. They drive, hold and extract very well and I have never had one break on me.

9:28 a.m. on January 27, 2007 (EST)
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I was at 5,300 feet in a nasty windstorm in the Kilmer-Slickrock wilderness and I was using a Hilleberg Nammatj tunnel tent but NOT with the pegs that came with the tent (and the ones they recommend). Instead I had the usual question-mark type stakes that come standard with Mt Hardwear tents, heavy duty aluminum.
The wind was enough to pull several stakes out on a regular basis and I had to place big rocks over each one to keep things squared away. Hilleberg includes what they call Pro Pegs with each tent they sell and I should of brought them(and I do now). They look like giant nails with a top to hammer into the ground and are very light and very strong but just a little bulkier than the MH pegs.

1:01 p.m. on February 19, 2007 (EST)
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I'm going to disagree with everyone here. I have never needed tent stakes!

Some tents require stakes for a proper set up. That sucks.

If you are camping in the trees, forget the tent stakes. 90% of the time it's not that windy. When it is windy, your body will hold down the tent or your gear will hold it down when you are not in your tent. If it's super windy and you are not in your tent, take it down.

If you camp on mountain tops forget everything I just said.

2:00 p.m. on February 19, 2007 (EST)
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I generally camp in forested areas and I stake down my tents, even those that are self supporting. One good gust can do a number on a tent.

That aside, many tents have guyouts on rain flys (and those that do not have guyouts on rain flys should have them). I think tents perform better when the fly is guyed out away from the tent body. The ventilation is better and the fly is less likely to collapse against the side of the tent body when wet. Where the two pieces of material meet there will always be condensation which always manages to get the end of a sleeping bag damp. Guying the perimeter of a tent fly away from the tent body will largely prevent that.

July 24, 2014
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