It’s amazing what items you forget when you go camping, and it always seems to be something you really need! On our most recent camping trip, we forgot a lighter and had to borrow a fellow camper’s. It seems like every time we head into nature, we learn a lesson about forgetting some random, yet necessary piece of gear.
Equipment You’ll Need
- Hatchet – A hatchet is an absolutely indispensable tool when you are out camping. Hatchets cut and process wood way quicker and more efficiently than a serrated knife, and can also double as a tent stake hammer. Also, they can be used for carving and whittling sticks in a pinch. Our favorite hatchet for camping is the Pack Hatchet from Gerber
Gerber Pack Hatchet
The Gerber Pack Hatchet is extremely affordable at less than $40 and is designed specifically with the camper or outdoorsman in mind. The full Stainless Steel Construction and full length tang is made to last a lifetime. The Choke-Up Ergonomics directly under the blade make detail oriented carving and whittling a breeze, not to mention it also functions as a great tent stake hammer.
- A Knife or Multi-Tool – Having a pocket knife or a multi-tool is another one of those items that you just simply shouldn’t go camping with out. Some of the knives of the market like the Strongarm from Gerber are great for a simple, light knife for camping but don’t carry as much utility as a Multi-tool. Carrying a multi-tool for camping means not only do you have a knife to whittle and carve your tent stakes. You also have 10+ other tools to assist you in everything from cooking, to eating, and starting a fire. Our favorite multi-tool for camping is the Gerber Stakeout.
Gerber Stake Out Multitool
The Gerber Stake Out Multitool is an incredibly useful too to taking camping or hiking. Even thought it is extremely light at only 3.3oz, it packs 11 tools into something the size of a medium sized pocket knife. On board there is access to a knife, a saw, a Ferro rod striker, and even a stake puller, just to name a few. Truly a tool made with your adventures in mind.
- Line or Paracord – After you make your tent stakes, you obviously need something to tie your tent down with. Paracord has a million uses, but the most obvious use would be tying stuff down. You can use cord included with your tent (guy lines) or pack extra cord.
Detailed Instructions for How to Make Wooden Tent Stakes
Gather Your Materials
You already have your, hatchet, multitool, and paracord, now it’s time to find the sticks to make your tent stakes.
You need 4-6 sticks about the same diameter as your thumb and 12in long. If you can find sticks that are 20-24in long with a consistent diameter these can be cut into 2 stakes
Begin Shaping Your Stakes
To begin the shaping process of your tent stakes, you are going to cut your sticks to the proper length. Ideally you want to cut or chop your sticks into 10-12in lengths. This is long enough to where they will have a good amount of holding power – any shorter than this and they could pop out to easily.
Carve the Notch for Your Guyline
Every tent stake has a notch for your guyline coming from your tent. Without this your tent stake is unlikely to do anything at all.
The best way to carve a notch into your tent stake is to first score or cut the wood where you want to top of your notch to sit. I recommend about 2in down from the top of your stake.
After that you can begin shaving, or whittling back to the cut line from below your cut to deepen that notch.
After each shave back up to the initial mark you made, deepen the line at 2in and repeat until your notch is a little less than half way through the stick.
Make a Tapered Point
On the end of your tent stake opposite the notch, you want to use your multitool to shave the end to a tapered point. When you are doing this make sure to not sharpen the end of your tent stake, only taper the square end. If you sharpen the end to a point it is lively to break.
Secure Your Tent
Rinse and repeat until you have 4-6 tent stakes ready to go. After that you are ready to stake down your tent. Always drive your stake into the ground vertically with the notch facing directly away from your tent. For more in-depth directions on using and installing tent stakes, refer to our post How to Stake a Tent Properly and Quickly.
Whether you’re just looking for a fun camp craft, or are stuck in a pickle with no functioning tent stakes in sight, knowing how to make wooden tent stakes is a valuable and cool DIY that you can know and put into practice.
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