The last thing you want when you’re camping is for your tent to fly away. That’s where tent stakes come into the picture.
These small but mighty pieces of gear are essential to keeping your tent anchored to the ground. Without them, we’d have a rough time camping in windy conditions.
But, finding the right tent stakes isn’t easy. While these pieces of gear might seem quite simple, the tent stakes you choose can have a big effect on your camping experience.
So, to ensure that you have the most amazing camping trip possible here’s our review of the best tent stakes around. We’ve even compiled a complete guide to everything you need to know about tent stakes so you can find the set that’s right for your needs.
If you don't have time for the details, here are our picks for the best rated tents stakes:
- 1MSR Mini Groundhog - Best for Backpacking
- 2MSR ToughStake - Best for Sand
- 3DAC V-Best - Best for Rocky Ground
- 4MSR Groundhog - Best for High Winds
- 5Coleman 10" Steel Nail - Best Heavy Duty Tent Stakes
- 6MSR Carbon Core - Best Ultralight Tent Stakes
- 7MSR Dart - Best Lightweight Tent Stakes
- 8Vargo Titanium Shepherd's Hook - Best Titanium Tent Stakes
- 9Vargo Titanium Nail - Best for Frozen Ground
- 10MSR Blizzard - Best for Snow
Table of Contents
- Best Tent Stakes on the Market Reviews
- 1. MSR Mini Groundhog - Best for Backpacking
- 2. MSR ToughStake - Best for Sand
- 3. DAC V-Best - Best for Rocky Ground
- 4. MSR Groundhog - Best for High Winds
- 5. Coleman 10" Steel Nail - Best Heavy Duty Tent Stakes
- 6. MSR Carbon Core - Best Ultralight Tent Stakes
- 7. MSR Dart - Best Lightweight Tent Stakes
- 8. Vargo Titanium Shepherd's Hook - Best Titanium Tent Stakes
- 9. Vargo Titanium Nail - Best for Frozen Ground
- 10. MSR Blizzard - Best for Snow
- Tent Stakes Buyer’s Guide
- The Verdict
Best Tent Stakes on the Market Reviews
Here are our reviews of the best rated tent stakes on the market today:
1. MSR Mini Groundhog - Best for Backpacking
The MSR Mini Groundhog is a more compact version of the company’s award-winning Groundhog stake. The Mini version is made from the same great material (7000-series aluminum), which provides the stakes with ample durability in a lightweight package.
These stakes are 6” (15.24cm) long and just 0.35oz (9.92g) in weight. So, they’re easy to pack and barely add any weight to your back when you’re in the mountains.
Since the Mini Groundhog is a Y-shaped stake, they have a lot of holding power, even though they’re quite small and compact. This makes them particularly good in medium to firm soil, like what you’d find on most backpacking trips. Plus, the Mini Groundhog has an integrated pull loop so they’re quick and easy to remove each morning.
2. MSR ToughStake - Best for Sand
Crafted specifically with sandy surfaces in mind, the MSR ToughStake is made to keep your tent anchored, even in challenging conditions. The stakes feature a unique design that provides plenty of surface area for maximum retention in soft ground.
They are self-diving, which means they dig themselves deeper into the ground, especially in sand and loose soil. Plus, the ToughStake is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and has a stainless steel cable for maximum durability.
The main drawback to the ToughStake is its size and weight. These stakes come in two sizes - small and medium. The small is 9” long (22.86cm) and 1.5oz (42.5g) while the medium is 13.5” long (34.29cm) and 5.5oz (155.9g). But, if you need the best stake for beach camping, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that’s superior to the MSR ToughStake.
3. DAC V-Best - Best for Rocky Ground
If you routinely camp somewhere with rocky ground, you’ll need a super-strong V-shaped stake. The DAC V-Best is an ultra-durable aluminum stake that’s made specifically to anchor your tent in challenging, rocky soil.
These stakes are simple, yet functional, thanks to their robust construction. They have a sharp tip, which makes it easy to drive them straight into the ground. The DAC V-Best has a small grove at the top, which is perfect for tying off your guylines.
However, one downside to these lightweight stakes is that they don’t have a pull cord. This makes it slightly more difficult to remove them from the ground each morning.
4. MSR Groundhog - Best for High Winds
The MSR Groundhog is an ultra-classic tent stake made with modern materials. These stakes are made from 7000-series aluminum, which provides them with plenty of holding strength in high winds.
While they are very similar to their smaller cousins - the Mini Groundhog - the standard Groundhogs are longer (7.5in/19.1cm) and slightly heavier (0.5oz/14.2g). Although this means a bit more weight and bulk in your pack, this added length and weight gives the Groundhog superior performance in high wind.
Their Y-shaped design is easy to place and has a lot of holding power in different soil conditions. They also have a pull loop for easy removal and are slightly more affordable than similar-quality options.
5. Coleman 10" Steel Nail - Best Heavy Duty Tent Stakes
When the conditions call for tent stakes that just can’t fail, the Coleman 10” Steel Nail is your best bet. These heavy-duty tent stakes are made with quality steel that can take a beating for years of harsh use.
The Steel Nail easily drives into hard-packed soil and has a high-impact polypropylene top that is easy to strike with a mallet for quick installation. The polypropylene tops on the Steel Nail also allow for multiple guyline connection points to make set-up a breeze.
The major drawback to these stakes is their length and heavy weight (4oz/113.4g). But, when you need a tent stake that can handle particularly harsh conditions, it’s difficult to beat the Steel Nail.
6. MSR Carbon Core - Best Ultralight Tent Stakes
If weight savings is something you’re not willing to compromise on, the MSR Carbon Core is your go-to tent stake. As the lightest full-strength tent stake available, the Carbon Core is a fan favorite among ultralight backpackers and mountaineers, alike.
At less than 0.2oz (6g) in weight, the Carbon Core is incredibly light. But, it also has an aluminum covering for added durability, unlike many other lightweight options.
Like many ultralight pieces of gear, the main drawback of the Carbon Core is its price. Due to its incredibly lightweight and high-end materials, the Carbon Core is also one of the most expensive tent stakes on the market today.
7. MSR Dart - Best Lightweight Tent Stakes
The MSR Dart is a fairly unique tent stake because it’s specifically designed for soft ground. However, despite this, it has a classic shape and a lightweight design.
These stakes are made with ABS-engineered plastic that helps provide ample weight savings. At the same time, it has a solid anodized aluminum tip to help it drive deeper into the ground.
The Dart comes in two lengths (5.9in/15cm and 9in/23cm), so you can decide which model works best for you. Since they’re so lightweight, the Dart is a great addition to your camping kit as they’re highly transportable for a longer backpacking trip.
8. Vargo Titanium Shepherd's Hook - Best Titanium Tent Stakes
Sleek and sturdy, yet super-light, the Vargo Titanium Shepherd’s Hook is a tent stake that was crafted with thru-hikers in mind. These stakes feature a classic shepherd’s hook design which makes tent set up a breeze.
They have fluorescent-coated heads to make them easy to spot. This means no more lost tent stakes on your next backpacking trip.
At just 0.3oz (8g) each, these 6.5in (165cm) stakes are some of the lightest around. They’re also super compact with a 0.14in (3.5mm) diameter, so the Vargo Titanium Shepherd’s Hook is a no-brainer for long-distance hikers.
9. Vargo Titanium Nail - Best for Frozen Ground
If compactness is your main concern, the Vargo Titanium Nail is sure to impress. These titanium stakes have a unique nail-shaped design, which reduces overall bulk for a sleeker silhouette.
The Titanium Nail has a flat head, which makes it super easy to bound into hard soil. It also has an attached reflective cord that makes it easier to spot and quick to remove at the end of a camping trip.
Like all titanium pieces of gear, though, the Titanium Nail isn’t cheap. But, if you are willing to invest in quality, the Vargo Titanium Nail is a solid choice.
10. MSR Blizzard - Best for Snow
Snow camping is no match for the MSR Blizzard. These ultra-strong stakes are made with 7000-series aluminum which offers maximum holding power in snow.
Unlike most stakes which can’t be used in snow, the Blizzard is crafted particularly for a winter environment. It features a broad profile that allows it to be used as a stake or even a deadman anchor.
Since it’s designed for snow, though, the Blizzard is quite large and heavy. Additionally, while it can also be used in sandy environments, the Blizzard isn’t useful in other types of soil, so it’s not the most versatile option out there. But, if you only need a tent stake for camping in the snow, the MSR Blizzard is a solid bet.
Tent Stakes Buyer’s Guide
Tent stakes might seem like simple pieces of gear, but it turns out that they’re actually quite complex. Here’s everything you need to know about tent stakes before you start shopping:
Tent Stake Shape
The shape of a tent stake has a huge impact on how it performs in the outdoors. Each shape provides better holding power in certain soil conditions, as well as other weight and bulk advantages and disadvantages. This is what you need to know:
Tent stakes come in a wide range of different materials, each with their own unique pros and cons. Here’s how each performs in different conditions:
Aluminum is perhaps the most common material used in tent stakes. It’s a popular metal for use in the outdoors because it is lightweight, yet fairly durable. Plus, aluminum is reasonably inexpensive, which means it’s an affordable option for most backpackers.
However, aluminum stakes do bend very easily when pushed into the ground with your foot. This is why it’s always best to place stakes by hammering them in with a rock.
Titanium is a high-end metal that’s known for being exceptionally strong and lightweight, all at the same time. Of course, this means it usually comes with a higher price tag than aluminum alternatives.
Titanium is actually quite a new material in the world of tent stakes. For now, it’s mostly relegated to the world of ultra-light stakes for the thru-hiking community, but they might become more popular in the future.
Like titanium, carbon fiber is a popular material for ultralight backpackers. Carbon fiber is popular because it provides a lot of strength in a lightweight package.
Since carbon fiber isn’t the most durable material, it’s often coupled with metal for added robustness. But, carbon fiber stakes are really expensive, so they’re generally used only by highly experienced backpackers.
Steel is affordable and very durable. However, as far as tent stakes go, steel models are very heavy. Because of this, steel tent stakes are generally only used for car camping purposes. For the most part, steel stakes are too heavy and bulky for most backpackers, but they provide an incredible amount of holding power.
When buying new tent stakes, it’s important to consider your unique needs. While many modern tent stakes are quite versatile, some are designed for very unique conditions. So, it’s critical that you understand what to look for in your best tent stakes before you buy them.