What Are The Best Tent Stakes That You Can Use?

A tent is only as strong as the stakes that hold it down – well, at least in some cases. That’s why having the best tent stakes is extremely important so you don’t end up with a tent that gets blown away in the middle of the night.

Usually, people only think carefully about selecting a tent, but stakes are a critical component that will contribute to your tent’s overall strength.

There are a lot of different types of tent stakes out there varying in material, size, shape, and weight, which is why choosing your tent stakes can be difficult at times. That’s what I’ll be helping you with right now.

What Are The Best Tent Stakes That You Can Use?

There are some things you need to know about tent stakes before you make your purchase. These include the type of tent stake, where you will be using it, and the holding power of the stakes.

Where Will You Be Using It?

Before anything, you need to look at where will you be using it. Of course, the purpose of a tent stake is to hold a tent down securely, no matter what the terrain is. But try to think about your camping trip first.

Are you going on an extended or multi-day hike or ultralight backpacking? Go for ultralight or smaller tent stakes. Are you going to the beach? Look for stakes that will hold up on loose, compact terrain.

If you think carefully about where you’ll be using your stake and for what exact purpose, you’ll be able to search for a specific tent stake that will hold up perfectly during your trip.

Types Of Stakes

There are quite a few types of stakes out there, which can make it a bit difficult to select just one. Here are some types of tent stakes that you can choose from.

Basic Aluminum Stake

These are standard stakes that make use of a uniform-diameter aluminum rod that’s bent at the head to form a hook, and sharpened on the other end to create a point to dig into the ground.

This is the standard type of pegs that most tents come with and are very inexpensive, ranging anywhere from less that $1 to $1.50 per stake. They tend to be lightweight and easy to drive into the ground.

The problem with these stakes is that they aren’t always very tough and might bend with abuse (but that means you can bend it back). The grip strength of these types of pegs is also not very good on loose terrains like sand or snow.

Nail Stakes

Nail stakes have a pointed bottom and a flat head, making them look like a nail. Some nail stakes will even have plastic on the head, creating a “T” shape. The T-shape makes it easier to attach your guyline to the stake.

These are pretty tough stakes that work in a variety of different terrain, although their holding power might not be as strong and they are better used in one to two-person tents.


Y-stakes are best for all-around terrain. The fins on the shaft are for better grip and stronger construction – they are more difficult to bend. They are very sharp and will most likely be made of aluminum as well.

If you are a bit unsure of the conditions you are camping in, Y-stakes will probably be your best bet since they can hold up on almost all kinds of terrain.

The problem is that these types of stakes can be quite expensive at $2 to $3 per stake (still cheap, but more expensive than others). You’ll also need some kind of hammer because these are painful to drive on the ground by hand.


V-Stakes are shaped like a “V”, which makes it more durable than a plain hook stake without adding too much weight. These stakes are made for hard, sandy ground, or in terrain where there are rocks hidden in the soil.

They usually have a notch just below the head to tie your guyline. Some V-stakes will have holes through the shaft to thread your line to for even better-holding power.

Ultralight Stakes

Ultralight stakes look very similar to the basic aluminum ones, except they are much lighter and will be made of titanium (a lighter material). Each peg will only weigh a fraction of an ounce.

These tents are specifically made for ultralight camping or backpacking, as they are thinner and smaller for better packability. The issue with ultralight stakes is that they may not be as strong or secure in loose terrain.

Snow Stakes

Snow stakes have a curved, parabolic design that works really great in the snow. They are made of aluminum with holes in the shaft to help freeze the stake in place making it very secure once it is positioned.

If you are camping in snow, these are the only ones that will work. Their design makes them “stackable” when packing and they can be easy to drive by hand.

The problem is that they are only useful in snow, which means you’ll only use them about once or twice a year. They are also bulky, heavy, and expensive.

Consider The Holding Power

Since the main purpose of the stake is to hold your tent down, you need to consider how well it holds on the ground. As I’ve already mentioned, the type of terrain might dictate the type of stake you use; snow stakes for snow, etc.

However, there are a few other factors that affect the holding power of the stake: stake design or the type of stake, stake length, and soil condition.

I’ve already talked about the stake design or type of stake and what they are best used for in the previous section.

When it comes to stake length, generally, a longer stake will have a better holding power than a shorter stake. Although, sometimes people opt for shorter stakes to save some space if they know they don’t need too much “hold” anyway.

When it comes to soil conditions, a stake that’s driven into hard ground will have more holding power than that of loose terrain since it has more “material” to grab. That is why special stakes have been made for just snow, for example.

Tips When Installing

Once you have your stakes ready, there are a few things you need to know when driving your stake into the ground to maximize its holding power.

Research has actually shown that driving your stakes into the ground vertically at a 90-degree angle will have a greater holding power than any other orientation.

This will maximize the soil wedge, which will provide resistance to the forces applied to the stake. If you are going to drive it down at an angle, you need to make sure your guylines are long enough so the stakes aren’t being pulled upward.

Also, the further down you drive the stake into the ground, the more surface area comes in contact with the ground so the holding power will increase.

Before you go on your trip, remember to test out your stakes first. Some of them may not work properly or be defective. Being prepared beforehand will save you the trouble when you’re actually out on your trip.

If you want to read more about the best times to use a specific type of tent stake, you can check out this short article from Section Hiker.

Top Five Picks

Now that you have an idea about what to look for when selecting tent stakes, let’s move on to my top five picks.

**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

#1: Coleman 10-Inch Steel Nail Tent Pegs

Coleman is a brand known by many and is often times among the top choices when it comes to outdoor gear, so you can be assured that they know what they are doing.

The Coleman 10” Steel Nail Tent Pegs are made of steel, which is a good choice if you are looking for strong, durable, heavy duty pegs. It is made for stony or hard-packed ground.

The top of the peg is made of high-impact, polypropylene and has a wide design, making it easier to hammer down. It also has a hole on it for easy, thread-through of guylines and a hook for stakeout points.

It also has a pointed bottom, allowing the peg to penetrate the ground easily without too much effort.


  • Friendly price
  • Comes from a trusted brand
  • Strong – holds tents down well
  • Easy to push down on the ground


  • Prone to rusting
  • Heavy
  • Tops not as durable

#2: MSR Ground Hog Stake Kit

The next peg on the list comes from another popular outdoor brand – MSR, which if you’re curious, stands for Mountain Safety Research and they’ve been making these pegs for years.

The stakes are almost 8” long and weigh 4oz each, which isn’t exactly ultralight but is still pretty lightweight. It is made from aluminum making it strong and rugged.

It also has a small cross section and sharply tapered Y-beam design to easily sink into soil using only your shoes.

The MSR Ground Hot Pegs have reflective pull-out loops to make them easy to pull out of the ground and provide better visibility, even when it is quite dark outside.


  • Good holding power
  • Lightweight
  • Reflective pull cord


  • Will get destroyed if you use a rock
  • Might be a bit too small and short
  • Hard to loop a tent cord around

#3: TNH Outdoors Tri-Beam Tent Stakes

These tent pegs come from TNH Outdoors, which is a company known for quality products and promoting sustainability. The pegs undergo strict quality control to ensure that it is in tip-top shape.

The pegs are made with 7075-aluminum making them strong and durable, but still lightweight. The set comes with 10 pegs, which is more than you will probably need.

It makes use of a highly visible red color and reflective pull cords so you won’t have difficulty finding them, which if you ask me, is a good bonus feature.


  • Friendly price
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a bag


  • Not great for hard surfaces
  • Prone to bending
  • Too short

#4: Vargo Titanium Tent Stake

This next tent stake is for those looking for an ultralight option. The Vargo Titanium Tent Stakes weigh only 0.3oz per stake and is very simple and minimalistic in design.

It is made of thin titanium with a fluorescent orange coating on the top of the stake for better visibility.

But since these tent stakes are quite thin, they need to be handled with more care compared to other tent stakes. The stakes need to be pushed down carefully with your hands and they aren’t intended for very hard or rocky ground.


Very lightweight – great for ultralight hiking
Penetrates the ground easily
Just the right size


  • Not as heavy duty as others
  • A bit pricey

#5: Tent Tools Premium Tent Stakes

Last on the list are pegs that come from Tent Tools. These tent stakes are made from a 7075 propeller aerospace aluminum alloy combined with a unique propeller shape and “Y” design.

The stakes are 7 inches long and weigh 0.46oz per stake. They come in a set of 10 pieces along with a bag for you to keep them in. And like a few of the previous products, it makes use of a reflective pull cord for better visibility.

Tent Tools also provides a Lifetime Guarantee for their products, which is a really great bonus for not just this product, but any product as well.


  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Good holding power
  • Reflective pull cord


  • Can be difficult to hammer down
  • Not great for hard ground

The Verdict?

It’s quite hard to pick a specific tent stake since these five choices are pretty great already. However, I suggest the MSR Ground Hog Stake if you need an all around stake and the Vargo Titanium Tent Stake for an ultralight option.

The MSR makes use of the Y-design, which will work on most terrains. Having this in your inventory will ensure that you’ll be prepared for almost anything, even if you are unsure of the conditions beforehand.

Which one is your favorite? Is it on the list or do you have other tent stakes that you use? I would love to know and hear from you. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends!

Rita Myers

I’m Rita Myers, and camping is one of my utmost passions. Growing up near the base of a mountain, hiking and camping have been in my system since I was just a little girl. My love for camping and hiking stayed with me well into adulthood. Now, as a mother of two boys and a wife, I keep my passion alive by bringing my family outdoors. Of course, my family isn’t always up to it, so I write these articles and tips in the hope that you and your family can enjoy the great outdoors like I do!

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