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Searching for the best tent stakes available today? We researched over 25 various models before buying and side-by-side testing 10 of the most intriguing ones. We created a test plan that pushes the limits and capabilities of the competition to gain insight because, let's face it, the last thing you need are tent stakes that can't handle the duty. So, we took measurements, weighed each contender, and used them in real-world scenarios at campgrounds, beaches, and remote areas in the backcountry. We also sought out various terrain and soil conditions, like sandy, soft, firm, and rock sediment, to get a sense of their holding power. Throughout our testing, we evaluated several performance aspects: packability, versatility, ease of use, and durability. We don't take out testing duties lightly; it's our mission to find the best. Our in-depth review will help you find the perfect tent stakes for your needs and budget.
Weight Per Stake: 0.39 oz | Material: 7075 aluminum alloy
REASONS TO BUY
Small packed size
Easy to use
High-visibility pull cord
Holds very strong
REASONS TO AVOID
Can be difficult to remove despite pull cord
Stuff sack not included
The lightweight and user-friendly 6-pack MSR Mini Groundhog is our top recommendation for anyone heading into the backcountry for overnight trips. There is good reason why MSR has kept this stake around for decades, and why its design has been imitated many times over. The tri-beam (y-beam) stake, made of aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum, drives into most sediment types we tested well and simply stays put in the face of strong forces. The shape and notched guyline placement points allow the Mini Groundhog to be placed in any direction, adding convenience when setting up camp. We are surprised that despite its shorter length, it doesn't suffer a significant loss in holding power compared to longer models we tested, which we attribute to its design. The shorter length makes for easier installation by hand and foot, allowing you to keep a stabilizing heel on the ground with a boot placement. The paracord loop on each stake is helpful in removing them from the ground, although some ultralighters will remove it to save weight.
While the MSR Mini Groundhog is our favorite model to take backpacking, it has a few drawbacks. Like many stakes, these can be difficult to remove by hand in hard, firm soil despite the pull cord's help. And being aluminum, it's far from impossible to bend or break. The thin neck at the notch, which helps keep guylines in place, is an obvious weak point. While we found it easier than others to install by stepping on it with our boots, using care is still required to get a decent placement and prevent unnecessary bending or breaking. It should be noted, though, that it's relatively easy to bend almost any tent stake we've tested or ever used personally, so careful use is always recommended. Overall the MSR Mini Groundhog is a great option for beginner backpackers looking to spruce up their tent pitching accessories and experienced outdoors people alike.
Weight Per Stake: 3.25 oz | Material: Galvanized steel
REASONS TO BUY
Impressive holding power
Versatile (holds in sand when others fail)
Easy to use
Replacement parts/ spare guylines included
REASONS TO AVOID
Too heavy/bulky for backcountry use
Installation is difficult without a hammer
Spins in place
Showing impressive stability in sand and scoring among the best for holding power and durability, the 10-pack of Eurmax Galvanized 10-inch round tent pegs proved to be an excellent option for front-country staking needs. With the help of a hammer or mallet, these stakes can be installed into hard and soft sediment easily. In our tests, they consistently and reliably hold up to the task at hand. The Eurmax pegs come with four ten-foot guylines and a polypropylene replacement top to ensure adequate preparedness for campground needs and repairs. The various guyline attachment points and straightforward installation make the Eurmax Galvanized pegs easy to use and reliable when installed fully into the ground. The long steel pegs are the opposite of backcountry models that favor lightweight materials that aren't as durable. Any stake can get bent, but the Eurmax is one of the least likely.
There are few differences between the Eurmax Galvanized pegs and the similar Coleman 10-inch Steel. The Eurmax is a little heavier, but as these are intended for camping, we aren't concerned by the minor weight difference. We wouldn't take either set on backpacking trips. We think the Eurmax presents a better value overall, as they come with replacement parts and extra guylines that are not included with the Coleman set. While these stakes are galvanized steel, they are still thin metal and still capable of bending. Like any stake, it's a good idea to carefully drive these stakes when working in firm and rocky sediment. Once the stake is bent, installation becomes more challenging. We also recommend getting a hammer to help drive long, thick stakes like these into the ground. Overall the Eurmax Galvanized pegs are still significantly stronger than most. It's a reliable heavy-duty option that performs admirably in campsites that don't range far from your parking spot.
Weight Per Stake: 0.53 oz | Material: 7075 aluminum alloy
REASONS TO BUY
Stellar value for backpackers
Stuff sack included
Performs almost as well as our favorite backpacking models
REASONS TO AVOID
Difficult installation by foot
Difficult removal in hard ground
Bulkier and heavier than ultralight sets
The best lightweight value in our review, the All One Tech 12 Pack tri-beam (y-beam) aluminum tent stakes receives top marks across all measured metrics. The All One Tech stake provides a great balance of length, design, and weight to achieve a powerful hold while still being a manageable size to take into the backcountry. Its tri-beam design and notched guyline placement points allow for multi-directional placements, and the included stuff sack provides an easy and convenient way to keep stakes together and packed away. While installing by foot can be tricky, even having the stake halfway in the ground proved durable and secure. And with 12 stakes at a low price, you can afford to bend or break a few while still having plenty of stakes to hold down the fort.
Dedicated backpackers will likely prefer the lower weight and smaller packed size of the Vargo Ti or MSR Mini Groundhog, though. The All One Tech is heavier and bulkier. Installation with a hammer is straightforward with the All One Tech stakes in all types of ground. However, installing by hand and foot can be a challenge. The taller nature of the stake makes it difficult to have a stabilizing heel on the ground when using your foot to install it. Instead of packing a hammer into the backcountry, a flat rock is a fine substitute. When the stake is fully set into firm and hard ground, removal can be difficult even with the use of the attached cord, demonstrating some serious holding power. Overall the All One Tech stands out as an excellent value for weight-conscious backpackers and weekend warriors.
The lowest-weight stake we tested, the Vargo Ti Shepherds Hook is a titanium stake made for the ultralight backpacker in mind. This six-pack of stakes is surprisingly flexible, allowing it to adapt to the ground it's driven into. This natural flex also allows the stake to bend with the direction of pull and almost completely rebound back to its original shape when removed. The hook design allows for easy removal even in the toughest ground, and its narrow profile allows it to settle in and around rocky ground quite well. The slender design also packs up small, taking up very little space in a backpack. It also proved more durable than the aluminum stakes we tested while being less weight and more packable. This model balances a backpacker's needs very well.
While the Vargo Ti Shepherd's Hook's natural flexibility and durability are mostly advantageous, there is one drawback to its bendy nature. Installing this stake by hand and foot can be a bit squirrelly underfoot before breaking into hard ground. You do have to be delicate not to stomp too hard on these to get them placed well, which is standard practice for lightweight stakes. While these stakes' small size is excellent, some testers wished they came with a stuff sack to keep them together. Many ultralight backpackers will leave such a stuff sack at home anyhow, though, to shave off weight. We also didn't find the smooth cylindrical shaft to have as much holding power as the tri-beam models, although it would take some impressive gusts to pull these hooks out if well placed. Overall, the Vargo Ti Shepherd's Hook is an excellent choice and our recommendation for those seeking the lowest-weight stakes that still function well.
Weight Per Stake: 1.82 oz | Material: 100% recycled polycarbonate plastic
REASONS TO BUY
Strong holding power
Easy to use
High visibility orange
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited to soft, loose sediment
No stuff sack included
If you often set up camp with a canopy tent on the beach or other areas with soft sediment, the Orange Screw Ultimate Ground Anchor is the stake for you. Its screw design, flexible plastic material, and length are the perfect recipe for a lightweight, durable, robust holding power machine in loose sediment where other stake designs struggle. Another bonus is that these screws do not require a hammer or an awkward balancing act to install by foot. Rather they use a plastic tube that threads through the top of the anchor for extra leverage to screw in by hand. Even if the anchor can only be installed 50% into the ground, the natural flexibility of the plastic and effective traction of the screw in the ground still provides an awesome hold.
Where the Orange Screw doesn't shine is in hard, rocky ground. The main challenge in tough rocky earth is gaining initial traction with the anchor. As rocks shift and get dislodged as the anchor tries to dig in, it loosens up the ground reducing any traction the anchor might have had initially. This limitation to soft sediment already largely disqualifies these stakes from backcountry use, while the bulky size of these screws makes them an unrealistic option for backpacking as well. Overall, the Orange Screw is a durable option for staking applications requiring a strong hold in both horizontal and vertical directions of pull in soft to firm conditions. While you likely won't see these miles away from the trailhead, there are plenty of uses like backyard canopies, camping, and festivals where these stakes can shine, plus the fact that it is made of recycled materials is an added bonus.
Why You Should Trust Us
We extensively researched the various types of tent stakes available on the market today, ranging from tri-beam, shepherd's hook, nail peg, screws, and v-shape designs, and compiled a list of dozens of the most popular models today. Keeping overall performance and cost in mind, we narrowed our focus further to the top contenders for meeting a wide array of end-user needs. We hammered, pushed, and pulled each stake in and out of an array of different ground densities repeatedly to gauge durability, holding power, overall versatility, and ease of use to suss out the best of the best. With 80 uses applied per stake, we installed and pulled on stakes over 800 times. We carefully weighed and measured each stake to gauge overall packability while considering the inclusion of a stuff sack or not. We kept detailed notes along the way capturing surprise or unexpected performances and logged ideal uses in order to provide you with all of the information you need in choosing your next set of tent stakes.
As an avid outdoor recreationalist and industry professional, Hayley Walker has been adventuring and working in the outdoors since graduating from college in 2011. Whether it is backpacking, canyoneering, climbing, mountain biking, trail running, pack rafting, or all of the above wrapped up into a multi-sport adventure, she has spent countless nights out under the stars pitching tents and shelters. Her several years of experience as a rental gear manager for an outdoor guide and outfitting service has given her a depth of knowledge and experience when it comes to assessing camping equipment. She is no stranger to the ins and outs of tent stakes and their unending ability to bend or break at the most inopportune times. With a keen eye for the details and vast experience testing equipment for quality, Hayley put her knowledge to the test with this tent stakes review sussing out the top performers to help others rest easy on their camping adventures.
Analysis and Test Results
The criteria for comparison considers the important role tent stakes play in securing a protective and reliable shelter while out in the elements. Keep in mind your own staking needs and preferences as you consider the metrics and comparisons made between tent stakes below.
Not all low-priced options are created equally. Some products present a better value than others, and though we don't score the products we test on their price, we like to make note of products that provide a great price-to-performance ratio. We love the All One Tech Stakes, which come in a set of 12 and are lightweight, packable, and easy to use. This set is great for backpackers looking to shave weight and save money on gear. For campers who are less focused on weight but just need a solid, affordable stake to hold their tent down, check out the Coleman 10-Inch Steel stakes, a 4-pack of heavy-duty steel stakes. If you need a few more than 4, we recommend the Eurmax Galvanized, which are very similar but come in a 10-pack for a few bucks more.
Durability is one of the most important metrics we used to rank each model. While material and design play an important role in predicting potential overall durability, we wanted to know how well each tent stake could weather being repeatedly used in a variety of ground types including sand, soft soil, firm ground, and hard, rocky conditions in order to arrive at a real durability score. We installed 1 of each stake into all 4 ground types 20 times per ground type for an overall total of 80 installations per stake. Of those 20 installations per ground type, we used a hammer for 10 of them and our hands and feet for the other 10. Stakes were then scored across 3 metrics associated with durability; bend factor, guyline attachment points, and stake tip.
Nobody wants to end up with bent or broken stakes. Shown here exhibiting durability issues are the Toaks and Fanbx stakes.
The recycled polycarbonate plastic Orange Screw Ultimate Ground Anchor surprised us with the highest durability score, showing very little wear and tear even after repeated uses. As expected, the steel Coleman 10-inch and Eurmax Galvanized stakes scored the next highest, especially under their ideal circumstances for use, with a hammer in soft to hard ground.
The Vargo Ti Shepherd's Hook received a high score considering its minuscule weight, displaying promising integrity with its titanium material and natural flexing capabilities. The aluminum models struggled to keep up with the sturdiest models in regards to durability, but with careful use, they can enjoy a long life, too.
Packability is another key area of performance, especially when considering a backpacking or backcountry setting. Campers can largely ignore this metric, while backpackers are advised to tune in more carefully. We carefully measured and weighed each tent stake using a kitchen scale and measuring tape. Each stake within its set was measured and the average weight was scored relative to the other contenders. We measured one stake from each set to log and score the length and width. The smaller and lighter the stake, the higher the score. We also considered whether or not a set of stakes came with a stuff sack or not.
The most packable stakes were the Vargo Ti Shepherd's Hook, the MSR Mini Groundhog, and the TOAKS Titanium V-Shaped, all of which were indeed lightweight and quite small in size. The Vargo Ti and the MSR Mini scored well for being the lightest of the bunch, while the TOAKS Titanium scored well for its ability to pack down into a neat, compact size by nesting into itself and for coming with a high-visibility, ultralight stuff sack.
The MSR Mini Groundhog (left, the size of a pencil) and Toaks Titanium (right, nested together) are both lightweight and portable options.
This test metric measures how strong of a hold each stake provides across soft soil, firm ground, and hard rocky conditions. Upon installing each tent stake into the ground during our durability testing, we then attached a guyline to each stake and pulled at a near-horizontal angle to the ground. Across 20 pulls, we judged how easy or difficult it was to pull out of the ground. Scores were tallied either as an easy single-hand pull, a difficult single-hand pull, or a hard two-hand pull. Difficult two hand pulls were then tallied for each stake across the soft soil, firm ground, and hard rocky ground types to give an average holding power score. We intentionally left out sandy conditions to give a more accurate representation of holding power under the most common circumstances. If a stake held strongly in one ground type but performed poorly in another, its overall holding power score was lower despite excelling under some circumstances.
Our strongest performers included the longer steel nail peg designs like the Coleman 10-inch Steel and the Eurmax Galvanized which were able to dig down deep maximizing their surface area and traction. The other top contender, especially in softer to firm ground types, was the Orange Screw Ultimate Ground Anchor with its wide screw design and length reaching and gripping effectively into the ground.
The other above-average performers included the TOAKS Titanium V-Shaped utilizing maximum surface area with its v-shape design and the aluminum tri-beam models like the MSR Mini Groundhog and the All One Tech stakes. Some of the shepherd hooks impressed us with more holding power than expected, but still landed lower than the models mentioned above in this metric.
Versatility determines overall stake performance and is based on scoring answers to a few basic questions. First, we consider how many guyline attachment points the stake presented. The more available options for attaching guylines increased the overall usability of a single stake. Second, we consider whether or not a stake requires a directional placement in the ground or if it can be placed in multiple directions. A directional placement requirement can be limiting, reducing its overall usability. Third, we consider the stakes' utility across varying sediment densities from loose sand to packed and dry dirt. Lastly, we consider whether or not it is still feasible to use a stake after it was bent or damaged through prior testing.
Our top performers for versatility included the All One Tech and MSR Mini Groundhog stakes for their overall solid performance in holding power, non-directional placement capabilities as tri-beam designs, and their ability to be used over and over again with minimal bending or damage. They are also lightweight enough for backpacking trips yet also work fine for camping.
The All One Tech (left) and MSR Mini Groundhog (right) both do well in hard ground.
The Coleman 10-Inch Steel and Eurmax Galvanized received higher scores for their ability to hold in sand where most others failed. Only the Orange Screw also performed well on the beach, although this screw is mostly limited to the beach or quite soft or moist sediment. The FANBX F Tent Pegs, while not the most versatile overall, did have a noteworthy performance in their continued usability despite getting bent out of shape early on in testing.
Ease of Use
Ease of Use is how user-friendly or not the tent stakes are. We used four criteria; ease of installation by hand and foot, ease of installation by hammer, the inclusion of a pull cord or equivalent, and the ease of removal from the ground. It should be noted that we did not use a hammer or foot to install the Orange Screw Ultimate Ground Anchor but rather, due to its design that utilizes its own mechanism for installation, based its ease of installation scores off of its intended installation method.
The top performers had pull cords and a tri-beam design in common, two factors contributing to easy removal and easier installation by foot. The winner here was the MSR Mini Groundhog, which was easier to install by foot than most others, hammered in quickly, and was a breeze to remove with the help of its pull cord. The notches are also very useful for keeping guylines in place.
The All One Tech came in as a close second. This model was equally easy to remove. However, its length made it a touch harder to install by foot. The Vargo Ti Shepherd's Hook was another close contender. The slim profile made it easier to install in and around rocks. It was also easy to remove by hand with its hook design.
Installing the MSR and All One Tech by foot.
We used our professional experience working with rental equipment, our depth of personal experience pitching tents, and our extensive research and hands-on testing to bring you our comprehensive review and recommendations. After relentless usage in all types of environments from sandy and soft conditions to our backyard lawn to rocky and unforgiving terrain, we documented stake performance through it all to identify the top models and their best uses, all with the hope of shedding light on what tent stakes make the most sense for your tent staking objectives and needs.
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