Knowing how to use tent stakes and how to secure a tent without stakes is one thing, but having the proper equipment is completely different. A good camping hammer is just as essential as having the best tent stakes for your conditions. Whether it’s windy conditions, rocky ground, or sandy terrain, you’ll need the best tent stakes and the best tent stake hammer available so you can have a safe and comfortable night in your tent. Read on to learn more about our top picks!
4 Best Tent Stake Hammers
The best tent stake hammers are the Nemo Meldr Hammer, Gerber Pack Hatchet, MSR Stake Hammer, and the Snow Peak Peg Hammer. A good tent stake hammer has to be light, durable, and preferably have more than one function to make packing the extra weight worth it.
If you are looking for a dedicated camping hammer with great durability and versatility, our top pick is the Nemo Meldr Hammer. The Gerber Pack Hatchet is an honorable mention because we love doubling up on applications when it comes to camping tools. Its primary function is a hatchet but can also be used as a hammer, decreasing the amount of gear you’re packing.
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MSR Stake Hammer – Lightest Stake Hammer
The MSR Hammer is the best lightweight camping hammer and it’s perfect for pounding in tent stakes. The head is made of hardened stainless steel, the handle is lightweight aluminum, and the entire tool weighs only 11 ounces.
This camping hammer also features an integrated bottle opener and high visibility pull cord, making it a versatile and handy tool for any camper. It’s even engineered with a perfectly balanced swing weight. At 11 inches in length, it fits into most tent storage bags, making it easy to pack and carry. The claw is also great for a digging tool to make a cat hole super fast, and the weight could be light enough for your next backpacking trip!
- Hardened Stainless Steel Head
- Aluminum Handle
- Pack Weight: 11oz
- Length: 11 inches
Snow Peak Copper Head Peg Hammer – Highest Quality Materials
The Snow Peak Peg Hammer is a great choice for anyone looking for a hammer. The solid oak handle is durable and provides a comfortable grip, while the forged steel head ensures that this camping hammer can take a beating. The copper head helps to absorb the shock of hammering, making it easier on your arm, and if the head does eventually wear out, it is easily replaceable.
- Forged Steel Head with replaceable Copper Face
- Oak Handle
- Weight: 1lb 6.4oz
- Length: 11.5 inches
Coghlan’s Tent Peg Mallet – Most Affordable
Coghlan’s makes some cool car camping accessories and we like their tent peg mallet as a cheap and affordable option for a hammer. It’s not very heavy duty so we wouldn’t recommend it for heavy use, but it’s a great option for casual campers who aren’t looking to spend more money on their camping gear.
It’s made of heavy duty plastic, which makes it the lightest hammer on this list, but also the least durable. For the price, it gets the job done and would be a great option for car campers or backpackers.
- Made of heavy duty plastic
- Weight: 7 oz.
What to Look for in the Best Camping Hammer
When shopping for the best camping hammer, you should take into consideration materials, weight, versatility, and price.
Each of these best camping hammers above have their own pros and cons, and each is made of different materials. In general, camping hammers made of metal are going to be preferred over plastic ones, mainly because the durability of metal is much better suited for steel stakes. While plastic tent hammers can work, they would be best suited for casual campers who don’t go out very frequently.
Steel is going to be the best material for the head because of its strength and durability, so you’ll notice that the best camping hammers above are made of steel. Rubber and aluminum are great materials for the handle or shaft because they are corrosion resistant and rubber and wood are especially great for shock absorption.
Finding a hammer with the right balance of quality materials and weight is important because you want something with enough weight to really get those tent stakes into the ground. If it’s too lightweight, it won’t have the striking force you need for tough terrain, but if it’s too heavy then it can become an inconvenience to pack and carry.
All your camping tools should be multi-use so you’re not packing extra unnecessary gear, and that’s one of the main reasons why everything on our list is multipurpose in some way. Whether the stake also works as a can opener, a digging tool, and/or a hatchet, it should at least be a tent peg remover so you can maximize on usage.
The camping hammers on this list range from $10 to $70, which is quite the price difference. So how much should you spend on a hammer? We personally prefer something in the middle of the range, something that balances price and quality. We wouldn’t want to go with the cheapest option, but we don’t really want a large price tag either.
No matter the price, it’s more important to consider what your typical usage will be, and pick something to best fit that. Look at what other features you want, the weight, and the materials, and pick based on what would best fit your individual needs.
Alternative for a Camping Hammer
If a camping hammer isn’t in your budget, or if you’re more the ‘roughing it’ type of camper, these are some other methods of driving stakes into the ground without buying a new piece of gear.
We absolutely love having campfires so we pretty much always have wood nearby when we go camping. Before we started using a hatchet (like the Gerber above) we used a piece of firewood. Simply hold it on one end and smack the stake with the other end. You have to be careful though: splinters are no fun. Try to use the weight of wood instead of forcing it down with your arm.
Our next go-to object was a rock, which are commonly scattered across most campsites. Just grab a rock that has a wider base and fits comfortably in your hand. Don’t use a small rock or something too thin, as you’ll risk missing the stake and hitting your hand, or even splitting the rock and hurting yourself.
A super simple way to drive tent stakes into the ground is using your boot and stepping on the stake. However, this only works if you have a heavy duty shoe like a hiking boot with a rock plate. It also requires soft ground, so you could be stumped if you plan on using your foot but then discover that the hard ground is rocky.
If you already have a hatchet, see if you can use the backside of the blade to hit the tent stakes. Most hatchets have this ability, which is why we’ve included the Gerber hatchet above. It works to split wood, but also has the ability to drive stakes into the ground, making it one of the more versatile options for a hammer.
What to use to hammer in tent pegs?
Technically you can use just about anything, a rock, log, or a hammer out of the garage, but to avoid damaging or bending your tent stakes, it is a good idea to have a dedicated tent stake hammer. Tent stake hammers are specially designed to efficiently and effectively drive your tent stakes into all kinds of soils and conditions.
Can you use a regular hammer for tent stakes?
You certainly can! But, beware, a regular hammer can sometime damage your tent stakes. In order to prevent damaging your tent stakes and prolong the life of them it is much better to use a tent stake hammer.
Do I need a mallet for tent pegs?
While it’s not necessary to have a mallet for your tent pegs, it makes it a million times easier to have one. Plus, it will help your tent stakes last longer than if you use a regular hammer or rocks.
Are camping hammers worth it?
While camping hammers may seem like an unnecessary item, they can actually be quite useful, especially if it’s multi-purpose. Using a camping hammer instead of a rock will be easier on you and help your tent stakes last longer.
About the Author
My goal with my writing and Know Nothing Nomads as a whole is to share my passions of hiking, camping, and a love of the outdoors with our readers. Making the difficult and uncertain feel more approachable to people that might not know enough to feel comfortable taking their first steps into the wilderness is a driving factor for me. When I’m not writing you can find me on a trail, in a forest, or next to a river with hiking shoes on my feet and a fly rod somewhere close by.