It happens every year: I’ll be on my first camping trip of the season, I look over my camping gear, and remember…I still haven’t replaced those twisted, bent tent stakes. They’re never the first thing you think about as far as camping gear—in the age of hammock tents, truck bed tents and rooftop campers, thinking about the best tent stakes for your setup feels like the ultimate afterthought.
Despite their history as the footnote in your camping gear checklist, tent stakes are a pinch hitter—and prioritizing their efficiency is something you won’t be sorry you did. When used properly, they’ll keep you safe in all types of weather, and keep your tent securely on the ground.
The Best Tent Stakes for Every Camping Surface
The hassle of trying to push a bent stake into the ground leaves me swearing that this is the year I’ll finally replace them with the best tent stakes out there. Thankfully, countless outdoors brands know the importance of good tent stakes. These 12 options are all dependable upgrades to the cheap, bent ones you might be using.
Tent Stakes for Camping on Standard Soil
Made from Easton aluminum, these stakes are lightweight (0.5 oz) but tough. With three sides and a top threaded with a nylon pull cord, these are great little stakes for both backpacking and car camping. Buy Now: $2.95 per stake
These are a favorite for backpacking, made from 7075 aluminum and coming in at only 10 grams per stake. Thanks to the tapered geometric design, pounding them into the ground won’t result in bent, useless stakes. There are no pull cords, but you can attach your own if you’d like. Buy Now: $18.95 for a set of four
These 10-inch Coleman stakes are made from galvanized steel. With a good mallet or driver, you can use these stakes in just about any soil, no matter how hard-packed. The top is made of polypropylene, and although they are fairly durable, they will eventually break. Using a set of pliers to pull from the steel will result in a longer-lasting product.Buy Now: $5.30 for a set of four
Tent Stakes for Camping on Hard Soil
The stake that comes with your tent typically can’t withstand a heavy mallet swing into hard, compact soil. The following stakes are, in our opinion, the best tent stakes on the market for hard soil or clay surfaces.
These small stakes are virtually long, slender nails made out of titanium with a reflective loop attached for easy retrieval. They feature a flat top and straight shaft that won’t bend when hammered into even the hardest ground, and each stake weighs a mere 0.6 oz. This stake comes in a standard and ultralight version—the ultalight version is excellent for backpacking at only 0.3 oz per peg. Buy Now: 23.69 for a set of six
These three-sided tent stakes are made of anodized 7075 T6 alloy, which makes them extremely strong and durable while remaining lightweight (0.5 oz per stake). If you’re camping on hard ground, it’s tough to pound a stake deep enough for proper grip and leverage for your guy lines. These stakes, however, have multi-height guy lines, virtually eliminating this issue. Buy Now: $26.95 for a set of eight
Constructed from lightweight but rugged 7075 aluminum and cored with carbon fiber, these tent stakes have a solid aluminum head, a nice feature for driving these tent stakes into hard ground. There are two size options, a 6” (0.35 oz) and a 9” (0.5 oz), both with an attached reflective pull loop. Buy Now: $27.57 for a set of four
Tent Stakes for Sand Camping
Camping in sandy places like coastal areas, mountain lakes, and Death Valley is wildly popular, yet most traditional stakes won’t work for camping on the sand. If you’re a frequent sand-camper, these are the best tent stakes for your camping style.
Called simply The Orange Screw, these stakes are similar in design to the bottom of a beach umbrella tent. The long screw design digs down into the sand to really secure your guy line and tent, and the result is a stake that remains reliable despite soft sand or heavy wind. These are made in the USA out of recycled polycarbonate, and come in two sizes. The 9” stake is 1.8 oz, and the 12” is 3.6 oz. Buy Now: $26.95 for a set of four
These spiral-style stakes are designed to drill into soft ground, creating a secure anchor in windy conditions, sand, or even snow. At 10” long, they’re still lightweight at 1.2 oz per stake. Due to their length and collective weight, these are not ideal for backpacking. Buy Now: $24.95 for a set of four
Made of 7000-series aluminum, this lightweight tent stake is reliable in both sand and snow. The holes in sand or snow stakes are there for a reason—sand or snow pack fills in and around each hole to further anchor the stake into the ground. Buy Now: $24.95 for a set of four
Tent Stakes for Snow Camping
Snow and sand present similar issues when staking down a tent: lack of grip and a slick, slippery substance that typically doesn’t hold a stake. While there is some crossover between sand stakes and snow stakes, we found these are the best tent stakes for camping in snow.
Snow stakes all typically have one thing in common: holes placed throughout the stake. This design helps the stake to fill in with snow, which in turn helps anchor each stake in place. These aluminum tent stakes are 9.6 inches long and weigh only one ounce per stake, making them a fine option for both car camping and backpacking. Buy Now: $2.95 per stake
11. MSR Toughstake
Boasting “ten times the holding power” of standard tent stakes, the Toughstake is a reliable anchor in both snow and sand. Made of aircraft-grade aluminum and a stainless steel cable, these are some of the best tent stakes on the market for durability, reliability, and stability. Buy Now $39.95 for a set of four (small)
The most expensive on this list by far, this stake is shorter and wider than other models and offers a variety of options for anchoring. It’s also lightweight (0.5 oz each), making it an ideal option for winter backpacking in the snow. The (many!) holes in this stake act as a setting device. Snow hardens in and around the holes of each stake, creating a secure option for staking your tent in the snow. Buy Now: $90 for a set of four
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