Best Tent Stakes in 2022


September 13, 2022 at 11 :08 AM

My go-to tent while backpacking is freestanding, which means if my tent stakes can’t find purchase in the ground, then I don’t have a tent. Over the years, I’ve been caught in a number of situations where my stakes failed for a whole slew of reasons: a sudden intense rainstorm turned the ground to mush, intense winds popped the stakes right out of the ground, and hard-as-concrete dirt roads. Nineteen popular stakes were tested to ensure that your tent will last. 

*Prices are provided for individual stakes; however, instances where stakes are only sold in bulk are noted in a parenthetical
**Measurements provided are based on manufacturer specifications; instances where I measured a different weight or length are noted in the parenthetical

Tent Stakes: How I Tested It 

Weighing

The first step in testing was to check both weight and length against the manufacturer-provided specifications out of the box. These generally matched the manufacturer’s specifications. However, there were minor differences as illustrated in the table. 

Powerful and ideal ground

Four locations were used to test the stakes. It first one was on what could be considered ideal ground for pitching a tent—firm enough that a tool (in this case, the MSR StakehammerThe ()It was helpful for pushing the tent stake in to ground, but it wasn’t too hard. The TOAKS Nail Peg (one stake) was snapped at this point. It was then removed to allow for more testing. 

The task of removing a damaged tent stake without a pull loop took longer than I thought. Laura Lancaster

I attached a guyline to each stake and pulled it in different directions. This was also done during the initial stage. It should be noted that while I tried to find similarly firm ground for each stake I looked at, there are inevitable differences—rocks, roots, soil density—that can and do occur during testing.

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Pulling on two shepherd’s hook stakes during the first stage of testing.
Pulling on two shepherd’s hook stakes during the first stage of testing. Laura Lancaster

Soft Ground

The holding power of the stakes was then tested on soft ground. It is hard to secure stakes because of forest floor debris. This is where I checked the stakes’ holding power and how well they held onto dirt or other debris. Finaly, I removed them. Next, I moved to the more difficult ground. It is usually found in highly used campsite areas. These include areas where vehicles or RVs might have crossed the exact area you wish to place your tent. 

It’s hard ground 

Both a rock and a hard-ground material were used. Snow Peak Steel Head HammerPlace the stakes in ground. We also looked at the ease of each stake and its ability to be removed again. Also, we checked for any durability problems (either chips or dents, bends). 

Durability (Boot Test).

Each stake went through a rigorous ground test. “boot test,”Step down and place the stakes at an angle of 45°. My foot will be on the stakes. This was helpful in identifying any stakes bent during this stage. Final test: To determine whether boot testing affected performance. 

The MSR Groundhog is the best overall tent stake.

It made it to the top

It was close in the race to win the top tent stakes. However, the MSR Groundhog was lighter and held the Sea To Summit Ground Control to a greater holding power than the Zpacks Super Sonic. 

The Key Features

  • Weighing 0.46 oz
  • Style: Y-beam
  • Material: Aluminium 
  • The length is 7.75 inches
  • There are pros

  • Amazing holding power
  • Very low weight
  • Durable
  • Cons

  • It is uncomfortable to push into the ground
  • Description of the product 

    It was very close. It was so close, in fact, that I added on a few additional testing protocols after I’d finished with the rest of the stakes just to try to separate out the Zpacks Super Sonic from the MSR Groundhog from the Sea to Summit Ground Control. All three had excellent holding power—the most important criteria during testing—at a low weight. They all held onto tons of dirt which was frustrating. design). Because of their remarkable holding power, I kept trying them. They were pushed into the sand. They were then put in the freezer for the night. Next, I placed them in a saucepan with boiling water. I drove on them. I could not see any stakes. All of them are great stakes.

    Even in sand, the three finalists had great holding power.
    Three finalists held their ground, even when they were in sand. Laura Lancaster

    Everything comes down to the very smallest of details. While I liked some of the Sea to Summit Ground Control’s features, including the three different heights for securing your cord or guyline, and a pull tab that was noticeably more comfortable to use than a simple nylon cord, it was ever-so-slightly less effective in loose soil. The Zpacks Super Sonic’s wavier profile and MSR Groundhog performed better than the straight lines of Sea to Summit Ground Control. 

    Author runs over top three best tent stakes with her car.
    You could just as easily have taken the after shot. Laura Lancaster

    While the Zpacks Super Sonic is slightly smaller that the MSR Groundhog in terms of performance, it was 2.5 grams more heavy than the MSR Groundhog. It is the MSR Groundhog.  

    I should note that, while holding power was more highly prioritized than ease of use or dirt during testing, a Y-beam stake that was actually comfortable to push into the ground would improve the user experience and likely win the best overall slot (assuming durability wasn’t compromised in the process). 

    The MSR Carbon Core were the best lightweight tent stakes.

    Why was it cut?

    MSR Carbon Core is not only the lightest stake for tents, it’s also very comfortable to use. 

    The Key Features

  • Weight: 0.22 ounces
  • Style: Cylindrical
  • Material: Aluminium and carbon fiber
  • Länge 6 Inches
  • There are pros

  • Extremely light
  • It is easy to use
  • Cons

  • It was my most expensive stake.
  • The shorter side
  • Description of the product 

    Carbon fiber is delicate, as anyone who has used it knows. It’s light as a feather and strong as nails when handled with kid gloves, but if you don’t treat it just so, it has a tendency to splinter. In soft ground, it’s easy enough to go easy on a stake, but on hard ground, where it takes some real force to get the stake into and out of the ground, things can go sideways. One of the stakes made with carbon fiber broke during testing. It was taken out of the ground in the firm ground phase.

    The MSR Carbon Core tent stake splintered during the hard ground test.
    When the stake of Zpacks Carbon Fiber was taken from the soil, it split during the hard ground test. Laura Lancaster

    MSR Carbon Core does not look the same because designDetail. The carbon fiber is located on the inside stake. The fiber is able to resist soil erosion and provide rigidity. The carbon fiber is protected by a protective layer of aluminum. It was very easy to get it in the ground, then take it out again. It had light scratches to its plastic head, and some color loss at the tip. 

    As with all stakes, the classic cylindrical design was not effective at holding soil in soft soil. design. The carbon cores cost twice as much than the most expensive tent stakes tested. If you are looking to reduce weight or be more cautious with your gear, these are the best choice. 

    The Big Agnes Dirt Dagger UL have the best holding power.

    It’s Why It Was Cut

    If you’ll be camping in the elements on less-than-ideal terrain for pitching a tent, then this is the stake that will keep your tent on the ground in basically any weather. 

    The Key Features

  • The weight of 1.65 ounces
  • Style: Modified Ibeam
  • Material: Aluminium 
  • Length of 10 inches (also available in 7.5 or 6 inches).
  • There are pros

  • Amazing holding power
  • You can choose from a range of lengths
  • Its size makes it light.
  • Cons

  • Backpackers often need more stakes than they usually do
  • Sometimes it is hard to keep your feet on the ground.
  • Description of the product 

    The Big Agnes Dirt Dagger Ultra UL’s second thing to notice is its unusual appearance design—if the top stakes in my test tended to be the V-shaped or Y-shaped stakes, this could be described as the serif T-shaped stake. It was not easy to tell if this stake was the best. designOverall, the stake’s holding power was the most important reason it held its ground (and the first thing you notice): At ten inches, this tent stake was easily the longest I tested. The Big Agnes Dirt Dagger UL just goes way deeper into the ground, and when it comes to holding power, that’s one of the most important factors there is. 

    During the hard ground test, the Big Agnes Dirt Dagger UL was Gulliver among the Lilliput.
    During the ground testing, the Big Agnes Dirt Dagger UL was Gulliver to the Lilliput. Laura Lancaster

    The stake weighed 1.65 ounces and was my heaviest backpacking stake. It is also the lightest stake you could consider to car camp with. So while it’s worth keeping a set of these in your gear closet for trips to destinations with thick topsoil or loose sand, they are unlikely to be your go-to choice for the majority of backpacking trips. 

    The NEMO Sweepstake is the best tent stake for neat freaks.

    It was Cut

    The NEMO Sweepstake was the only Y-shaped tent stake I tested that wasn’t a chore to clean off before packing away. 

    The Key Features

  • Weight: 0.65 oz (measured); 0.7 oz (manufacturer furnished).
  • Style: Y-beam
  • Material: Aluminium
  • The length is 7 inches
  • There are pros

  • It is very easy to clean.
  • You can use it in any soil type.
  • Durable
  • Cons

  • It is uncomfortable to use
  • Comparable to similar designs, heavy
  • Description of the product 

    I have a friend whose gear I’m a little reluctant to borrow: It’s always just So clean. My stake bag gets in the way of me trying to clean it and hanging up my rain fly and groundsheet from one my favourite backpacking tents. It is very difficult to clean stakes. It’s easier to just keep them separate from the rest of my gear.

    What’s the point of choosing a lightweight Y-shape design if you’re just carry around a couple of ounces of dirt as a result?
    What’s the point of choosing a lightweight Y-shape design if you’re just carry around a couple of ounces of dirt as a result? Laura Lancaster

    The NEMO Sweepstake eliminates this problem by attaching a small piece of plastic (the biscuit) to the stake’s top. You can simply pull the biscuit to the ground and take away dirt that has accumulated along the stake’s length. Voila. Voila! 

    Is there a downside to the NEMO Sweepstakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestakestaking? Extra weight comes with this extra function. It is very light at only a few grams but can be quite heavy if there are six of them. As with all Ybean design, the tent was difficult to push into soil. 

    The TOAKS Hook Peg are the best shepherd's hook tent stakes.

    It made it to the top

    The lightest shepherd’s hook may have bent during the boot test, but, since it’s made out of titanium, I was able to just bend it back again. 

    The Key Features

  • Weighing: 0.23 oz (manufacturer supplied); 0.20oz as measured
  • Style: Shepherd’s hook
  • Material: Titanium
  • Longitude: 6.5 Inches
  • There are pros

  • My ultralight pick is as light as mine
  • Tent loops attach easily onto any surface.
  • Design is simple and timeless
  • Cons

  • In terms of hold power, it isn’t as powerful as either the V-shape and Y-shape.
  • Bet during the boot test
  • Description of the product 

    The TOAKS Hook Pin was therefore bent in boot testing. What’s the point? It’s made from titanium—and it’s not It is that thin—just bend it back again and continue with your trip. Eight of these can be transported at 0.23oz. The Snow Peak Duralimun is thicker and more heavy. 

    The Toaks Titanium Hook (right) may have bent during testing, but it was easy enough to bend into something resembling its original shape.
    While the Toaks titanium hook (right) might have bent during testing, it was very easy to reshape into its original shape. Laura Lancaster

    But do you want a shepherd’s hook style stake? There are pros and con’s to each. Simple design is the first. design means that the titanium versions can get down to an impressively low weight—as low as the weight of my best ultralight pick. It is easier than attaching a tent loop using the Y-shape or nail peg design. It looks great. This makes them the best tent stake. It is not as strong at holding hard dirt than other cylindrical stakes. Worse, in my opinion, is that when pounding the shepherd’s hook stakes into firm ground, it can be hard to get purchase with the rock—these stakes have a tendency to just vibrate a whole bunch without actually going into the ground. They WillWhile it’s possible to eventually gain entry, the process can be significantly more difficult than with another style stake. 

    THe NEMO Airpin ist eh best tent stake for DIY tents.

    It’s Why It Was Cut

    Cord locking on the lightweight NEMO Airpin is very good. It was also the only stake I tried (or thought about testing). design. 

    The Key Features

  • Weighing: 0.35 oz (manufacturer supplied); 0.30 (as measured).
  • Style: Square-shaped
  • Material: Aluminium 
  • Länge 6 Inches
  • There are pros

  • Tension can be held without fancy or Lineloc knots
  • Reasonably low
  • Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • Inadequacy in holding power
  • Description of the product 

    The NEMO Airpin has been designed to be used by backpackers who have experience and are familiar with their requirements. That’s because, while this stake had some issues during testing, it’s solving for a specific problem that will appeal to those with a more advanced setup. 

    First of all, the biggest problem was the NEMO Airpin’s poor holding power. It wobbled even in well-prepared ground for tent stakes. It moved most among all stakes that I tried in loose soil. It was also the sole stake that had a square profile. This stake seems to be less durable than the standard cylindrical. Design Includes the stakes V-beam & Y-beam. This stake was bent slightly during boot testing.

    OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s why you might want to purchase this stake. This stake may be the best choice if you are looking for a small tent or the most effective camping cover. design, or straight-up DIY, then there is a fair chance that the cords and guylines didn’t come with the loop at the end to secure the stake onto. While you can tie your own stake, it’s not easy to attach it if it gets loose. That’s where the Airpin comes in. Secure your guyline/cord to the stake by wrapping it three times around (the NEMO Airpin features dots that indicate which direction). You don’t need to tie knots.

    It’s Why It Was Cut

    The low price and steel construction of the Decathlon Quechua Hard Ground made it a clear winner for trips where weight isn’t a factor. 

    The Key Features

  • Weight: 3 ounces (manufacturer provides); 3.15 pounds (measured)
  • Style: Cylindrical
  • Material: Materials available in steel or polyamide
  • Longitude 8.3 inches
  • There are pros

  • Great holding power
  • It’s affordable
  • Cons

    Description of the product 

    If you’re car camping with the family, weight isn’t an issue, but you do need to make sure that the stakes you put in the ground will stay there throughout the night. Losing the rainfly while the kids are sleeping just isn’t an option. 

    During testing, Snow Peak Solid Stake#20 had been and Decathlon Quechua Hard GroundBoth were tied for first place in the car camping stake. They were both made from steel, and each measured 8 inches long. This gave them great durability and hold power. They were cylindrical in shape and held dirt very well. design. But the Decathlon Quechua Hard Ground’s were just a hair longer, and a fair chunk less expensive, so it won my vote for the car camping slot. 

    While I have some doubts about the plastic pieces at the head of the hammer, which will undergo some stress when the stakes are removed from the ground, the low price of this set means it’s reasonable to purchase a spare set for the tent bag. 

    There are some things you should consider before buying a tent

    Design

    You have a lot of choices, even for something so simple as a stake to a tent. design. Most popular: A round tube with a pointed end. It is ideal for backpacking and car camping. Car camping is another common application. designA stake, also known as a Y beam is an excellent choice because it has great holding power and can be tested. They can become difficult to put in the ground, particularly if you have to move camp daily. 

    Y-shaped tent stakes have excellent staying power, but are pretty uncomfortable to press into the ground with your hand.
    Tent stakes in the Y shape are extremely durable but can be hard to press down into the ground by hand. Laura Lancaster

    Last, there is the V-shaped stake. design. During tests, it held slightly more than the Yshaped. DesignIt holds much better than the cylindrical. design. 

    Material

    My test revealed that the stakes consisted primarily of titanium, carbon fibre, and aluminum. Steel  is strong, inexpensive, and heavy. My best tent stake for car camping pick is made from steel, but you wouldn’t want to carry it on a 20-mile backpacking trip. On the opposite end of the spectrum is carbon fiber, which is extremely lightweight, expensive, and strong, with one small caveat: It’s only strong in one direction. Tent stakes have the ability to withstand impacts. It can be difficult to get the stake placed correctly due to its up-and down motion. 

    (Left to right) The Sea to Summit Ground Control, Hyke & Byke, MSR Groundhog, and Zpacks Super Sonic are all made from aluminum, but they did not all survive the boot test.
    Left to right: The Sea to Summit Ground Control, Hyke & Byke and MSR Groundhog are all made from aluminum. However, they didn’t all survive the boot test Laura Lancaster

    TitaniumAluminum has quickly become the standard in lightweight gear because it is lightweight and strong. Surprisingly, aluminum fared better than titanium in my testing, except for the lighter-weight stakes. This contrast was not evident in our review of the best camping knife. This is not to say that backpackers should replace all their titanium gear with aluminum—not all aluminum stakes performed the same in my test (reflecting the quality of aluminum being used), and once bent, aluminum was difficult to return to its original position. 

    Longitude

    While longer stakes are heavier, shorter stakes have less power. Consider what’s most important for the business when choosing stakes. Don’t go shorter than six inches. 

    Weighing

    A half-ounce might seem small to most gram-counters but when you carry six, eight, or ten items it can add up. Aluminum or titanium stakes are the most popular choice for backpackers. However, this does not mean that they will sacrifice their performance. 

    FAQs

    Q: How much do tent stakes cost?

    Tent stakes are typically $3 to $5, with $10 being the highest priced stake. 

    Q: What is the best way to stake your tent in snow?

    Buy snow stakes, or make your own. Deadman anchor by piling up snow on top of whatever you have attached your tent cord or guyline to; in this instance, it doesn’t even need to be a stake, although these work well for this purpose. 

    Q: Which tent stakes are suitable for use with sand

    If you are planning to backpack along the beach, the Big Agnes Dirt Daggers are an excellent choice, as they’ll cut through the loose top layer down to the more compacted sand below. A sandbag is essentially a deadman anchor that acts like a stake if you’re planning on camp along the beach. 

    Final Thoughts

    In testing, both the Zpacks Super Sonic and MSR Groundhog tent stakes performed identically. While I considered the MSR Groundhog the best tent stake I tested, the Sea to Summit Ground is my recommendation if performance and features matter more than weight. If price is your primary concern, the Zpacks Super Sonic will be your best option. MSR Carbon Core will be a favorite of ultralights. It maximizes strength and weight. Decathlon Quechua Hard Ground will be a popular choice for car campers. It is moderately priced. If you are in search of a tent stake that is strong enough to withstand anything, the Big Agnes Dirt Dagger Extreme Ultra is for you. 



    Best Tent Stakes in 2022

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