How to Choose Tent Stakes

How to Choose Tent StakesBackpacking and camping are popular activities enjoyed all over the world. A key aspect to enjoyable camping is having a tent that is comfortable and will keep you dry. Beyond the obvious components of tent materials, quality and size, tent stakes play an important role in keeping water out of your tent and the occupants dry and comfortable. There are many types of tent stakes varying in what material they are made out of, size, shape and weight, making choosing tent stakes sometimes difficult. There are a few things to keep in mind to make the process easier.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Tent stakes are typically made from either steel or aluminum depending on the type of tent they are used for. Backpacking tents are smaller and lighter and therefore use aluminum stakes because of their lightweight qualities. Family camping tents are durable with much heavier materials, therefore steel stakes are needed to hold the weight. By determining the type and size of your tent, you can determine the material of the tent stakes that you will need. Hard plastic stakes can also be purchased as a cheap alternative, but they are not recommended.
Step 2
Stakes are also sold in two basic forms. The L-shaped stakes are lightweight but can't be pounded in the ground with a hammer and are susceptible to bending. Skewer stakes are larger with a spiral shape and include a top surface for hammer use. Although they are heavier than L-shaped stakes, aluminum skewer stakes can be used for camping or backpacking and are more resistant to bending and breaking. They also have a stronger hold once in the ground.
Step 3
Buy stakes that are the same brand as your tent, if possible. Most companies make stakes with their tents in mind, so they are sold in certain numbers and qualities to meet the needs of your tent. Also, tent stakes typically come with the purchase of a tent or at a large discount when purchased with a tent.

Tips & Warnings

Avoid buying tent stakes from large camping retail stores. They hold cheaply made stakes and don't have many options. Tent companies are much better alternatives.
Test stakes before going on camping or backpacking trips. Some stakes are defective or won't fit tent inserts.

Article Written By Tyler Nall

Tyler Nall is a forestry technician and outdoor enthusiast. He received his Bachelor of Science at the University of Oregon with majors in psychology and sociology. Nall started writing professionally in 2004 and currently writes for various websites.

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