Choosing the right tent stake can make the difference between a cozy tent or a disaster in the event if a rain or wind storm. Tents stakes come in many varieties of styles and materials, so we need to look at the pros and cons of each to make an educated decision.
Most tent stakes you will find are made of aluminum, steel, plastic or titanium. The material you choose is determined by the tent size, weight restrictions, budget and the area you are camping in.
Plastic can be used in forested areas with looser soil, where wind or rocky grounds are not a consideration. Lightweight, they are inexpensive, but may not hold up well in the long run. In general, they are not a good choice unless you are in very soft ground, like forest floors or sandy regions, where a larger surface area will help hold the stake in the ground.
Aluminum is a great choice for non-rocky areas that have denser soil, and with smaller tents. They are a popular choice with many campers, offering strength and light weight. They are a good choice for backpackers or use on smaller tents.
Steel is generally used when you are camping in an area with dense or rocky soil, or are setting up a large family tent. Steel offers strength and a fair price. They are not recommended for backpackers looking to save weight.
Titanium stakes are for backpackers or hikers who need to save weight and need strength.
Then we need to consider the style of the tent stakes. They come in a few varieties.
L shape stakes are for use in medium soil or clay, and where you would not expect heavy weather or wind. They are the most common stake that comes with tents.
Hook stakes are generally a spike with a hook at the end, used to make sure your tent will stay secured in wind or heavier weather.
T-shaped stakes are one of the most common tent stakes available. They are made from aluminum or steel most times, and offer a good sized surface area for most soil types. These are great for area with clay or rocky soils in steel.
Auger stakes are twisted and screw into the ground, and are a great choice for loose soil and sand, as they are less likely to slide out of soil.
Most tents come with tent stakes, and it is recommended you replace these as soon as possible. Tent manufacturers generally put in inexpensive L-shaped steel or aluminum tent stakes, and they are inferior to even the least expensive tent stakes.
Selecting your tent stakes is an important aspect for when camping, and should be a consideration for your next trip.