Anyone who loves to camp and explore the back country knows what a difference a quality tent makes. The right tent keeps you dry, warm and out of the elements.
Although many campers will spend weeks or months choosing the right tent, they don’t always spend so much time choosing the appropriate tent stakes.
That’s really a shame, because I’ve discovered that having the right tent stakes can make all the difference in the success or failure of a trip.
It may not seem like such a small item can make a huge difference, but when you know more about tent stakes, you’ll begin to understand why.
Comparing the Five Best Tent Stakes
How to Choose the Best Tent Stakes for Your Needs
Tent stakes are available in many different sizes, configurations and materials. When possible, it is advisable to choose stakes that are made by the same manufacturer as the tent you have.
That’s because these stakes should be specifically made to meet the needs of your tent. You won’t have to worry about whether or not the stakes you chose are up to the job of anchoring your particular tent.
However, if you find yourself with some options or needing to buy replacement stakes, then it helps to understand more about them.
You want a stake that is lightweight and easy to drive into the ground. It has to be durable, and it would ideally be able to withstand being hammered into harder ground.
Most tent stakes are made of either aluminum or steel. Aluminum is particularly lightweight, making it ideal for the smaller, more portable tents that are suited to long, back country camping trips.
Steel tent stakes are more heavy duty. This makes them the right choice for those family camping trips when you’re using a large, heavy tent.
The basic aluminum stake has a sharp, pointy end for driving into the ground. Its other end is hooked or curved to hold a line from the tent. These tent stakes generally are inexpensive, but there is a downside. They are not particularly durable.
If you have to hammer them into the ground, they are likely to get bent out of shape. Additionally, these stakes aren’t the best choice if the terrain where you’re camping has loose soil or is sandy.
Needle stakes also are made of aluminum, but tend to stand up better to hammering. This stake has a series of fins or ribs running down its length, which gives it superior gripping ability in the ground.
The thicker shaft makes it easier to penetrate hard soil, but attaching guylines from the tent is not always easy.
Ultralight stakes are constructed from titanium so that they are extra portable. If you’re going on an extended back country trip and traveling light is a must, these may be the ideal choice. The bad news is that they are comparatively expensive. Plus, they easily can be damaged with hammering.
Camping in the snow requires special considerations, which is why you may want to invest in specially made snow stakes. Made from aluminum with a slightly curved profile, snow stakes have holes that help them freeze into place wherever you put them.
This gives your tent a stable, secure anchor even in the midst of a blizzard. These are heavy and expensive, so it makes sense to reserve them only for snow camping.
Now that I’ve introduced you to the basics, it’s time to highlight the products that I believe are the five best tent stakes for general camping purposes.
These are all quality items that could form an important part of your camping toolkit. However, some models may be better than others depending upon the terrain where you’ll be pitching your tent.
Here’s my take on the five best tent stakes on the market today.