We’ve yet to encounter a tent that doesn’t come with stakes, and generally they are functional enough to use in most situations (if used properly). If you’re using a car camping tent, they will generally have a traditional silver L-shaped stake, while a lighter weight backpacking tent may have a less heavy-duty version. While it’s possible to continue using these, we highly recommend upgrading your tent stakes to something more durable, strong, and lightweight.
Depending on where you are camping or backpacking, there are a few things to take into consideration before heading out on your adventures.
Do Tents Come with Stakes?
Every tent that I know of includes enough tent stakes and guy lines to secure your tent properly for basic situations. If you camp on soft ground, don’t camp during inclement weather or high winds, and never camp on sand or in rocky areas, the included tent pegs will work – for a while. But, the first major downfall of the stakes that come with your tent is they will bend/break very easily.
Let’s look a few more issues with cheap tent stakes:
- Difficult to drive in – If you are camping on harder ground, these cheaper stakes that are included in your tent will more than likely bend, break, or not even penetrate the ground to secure your tent properly.
- Heavy – The steel that is typically used to make cheap tent stakes is quite heavy. If you plan on backpacking with your tent, you can save valuable ounces just by upgrading your tent stakes!
- Hard to Manipulate – Pulling out cheap tent stakes can be a real pain, in fact the sharp, cheap steel can easily cut or bruise your hands if you aren’t careful. The best tent stakes come with a pull cord to assist in removal or you can look into a tent stake hammer with a built in stake remover.
- Rust: this is something we didn’t encounter until recently, but our stakes became bent and some of them are completely rusted.
Why Should I Get New Tent Stakes?
So you are at the point where you are wondering if you should get new tent stakes and you want to know what the benefits are. Well there’s quite a few reasons, but here are some of the main reasons:
- Weight – This one is pretty simple. When you are backpacking there is a saying, “Ounces make pounds and pounds make misery”. If you can save yourself precious ounces by upgrading you tent stakes, why would you not? Not to mention your tent stakes will be more durable and less likely to break while you are out on trail. Our favorite ultralight tent stake is the MSR CarbonCore
MSR CarbonCore Tent Stakes
The MSR CarbonCore Stakes are our favorite tent stakes for backpacking. At 0.2oz, they are so light it’s almost like not carrying anything. But the aluminum coating on the carbon fiber core ensures a durable stake even in the hardest ground.
- Sand or Beach Camping – The tent stakes that come with your tent just simply wont secure your tent properly in the sand. If you are going to be camping on a beach or sand quite often, you need to consider special tent stakes for sand. They are quite different than your standard tent stakes. Our favorite tent stakes for sand are the Neso Ground Screw Stakes. They are designed to be screwed in to the deeper, hard packed layers of sand to keep your tent secure even in high coastal winds. Check out our Best Tent Stakes for Sand post for more info.
- Rocky Ground – Rocky ground presents different challenges, but still more of a challenge than cheap steel stakes can put up with. Tent stakes for rocky ground need to be extremely durable since you might hammer them into submerged rocks while you are trying to secure your tent. But if you can’t secure your tent with tent stakes you might end up securing your tent without stakes
- High Winds – High winds can create issues while you are camping pretty much anywhere. The tent stakes that come with your tent aren’t normally designed with the extra holding power it takes to keep your tent from blowing away. Luckily, there are some great options tent stakes for high winds that work well it a lot of different terrains.
If you overall just want a high quality and more durable tent stakes, there’s options for that too. We’ve assembled a list of our the best tent stakes with the top overall performers, and we have even researched how to make your own wooden tent stakes if you find yourself in a pickle. If you camp frequently and in varying soil conditions, it’s worth considering picking out an affordable stake. Something small and inexpensive can make a big difference on your future adventures!
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.