All About Tent Stakes

Your casual camper doesn’t put a lot of thought into tent stakes. They’re just little bits of metal or plastic, and there’s not much to them, right? Camping tent stakes seem simple, but there’s a surprising variety in features and options. Different conditions, terrains, and different types of camping require different types of tent stakes.

Choosing and using tent stakes correctly improves your camping experience.

Here’s a look at the different camping tent stake styles.

The most common type of tent stake is a standard peg or nail. These stakes come in many different diameters. You can find thin wire tent stakes for soft soil and perfect weather, and thick, heavy duty tent stakes for rocky soil and gusty winds.

Screw-in tent stakes get more purchase than a straight tent stake. These are used for sand and soft soil where a regular peg won’t stay in the ground.

Tent stakes for snow and sand will sometimes have large plates to increase surface area. Again, a regular peg tent stake won’t bite into sand or snow very well.

Another popular option for sand and snow is a deadman anchor. You can buy tent stakes designed specifically for this purpose, but all you really need to do is tie a line to a log, rock, heavy bag, etc. Bury it, tamp it, and you’re good to go.

There are several tent manufacturers that produce slight variations of these different types of tent stakes, but these are the basic tent stake designs.

Camping tent stakes are made from many different materials.

The shape of your stake is important, but the material your stake is made from comes in close second.Popular tent stake materials include aluminum, anodized aluminum, steel, titanium, and plastic. Each material has different pros and cons.

  • Aluminum is fairly sturdy, and good for basic camping needs.
  • Titanium is super light, but it bends easily.
  • Steel is robust, but heavy.
  • Plastic is cheap and light, but not great for hard, rocky soil.

You do occasionally find tent stakes made from other materials. For example, MSR makes tent stakes with a carbon fiber core – for an ultralight tent stake without compromising strength. Of course, you’re going to spend extra for this.


Make sure you have the right accessories.

A rubber mallet is the best method to drive a tent stake without damaging them. You can use a regular hammer, a sturdy stick or even a rock, but this can damage your tent stakes. In soft soil, you can press it in with your hand or boot.

Make sure you have a trowel or entrenching tool, when using tent stakes for sand or snow.

Always carry cordage so that you can attach guylines to your stakes.

Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters in Fayetteville Arkansas for any of your camping needs.

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