Reader Poll: Tent Stakes: How Many? What Kind?

Cordage and Tent Stake Bag

Cordage and Tent Stake Bag

When I go backpacking, I carry a small stuff sack with my tent stakes and extra cordage. I typically carry 11 tent stakes with me, extra paracord and Kelty triptease, and eye hooks for pitching shelters on wooden tent platforms.

This is one of the more general purpose elements of my gear list, but it’s worked well in a wide variety of conditions, so I can tolerate the few extra ounces that it add to my pack. The entire lot weighs about 8 ounces which is more than most of the tarps I carry these days. Most of the extra weight is in the paracord which I use instead of other cord type to save money and because it’s easier to tie friction knots with.

Types of Tent Stakes

Rather than carry one type of tent stake, I usually carry three for different soil conditions and with different levels of holding power.

For example,

  • For sandy soil with a lot of buried stones in it, I like a beefier stake that’s unlikely to bend when I stomp on it. I’ve been using a V style titanium stake from Gossamer Gear this summer and they’re good for tarp corners in terms of holding power. You can thread a guy line through them or just rely on tension to hold it in the cut out notch. They weigh 11 grams each on my digital scale. I also like these stakes because their top edges are not sharp and I can pull on them without cutting my hands. I’ve had that problem with other manufacturer’s stakes.
  • For ridgelines on a cat tarp or the main supports on a flat tarp, I like to use a 9″ Easton aluminum stake. They have great holding power but they weigh 14 grams each so I only bring two. This is also a good stake to use with shaped high tension tarps like a Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid, which is where I think I got them from originally.
  • For tarp sides, where I don’t need a lot of holding power or in woodsy soils without a lot of rocks in them, I’ve been using a combination of short and long high visibility titanium shepards hooks from Gossamer Gear that weigh 6 and 7 grams each. The yellow high visibility paint really makes them pop out even against green moss or grass backgrounds and makes it easy to find stakes you didn’t even know you’d lost. The only downside I’ve found with the these is that they are very sharp and can easily puncture your stuff sack or pack. Remember this when you pack an inflatable sleeping pad. (disclaimer: Gossamer Gear gave me complementary V and Hi visibility stakes for testing; I bought the Easton stakes with my own coin)

What is in your cordage and stake bag? Do you use different stakes? What kind of shelter(s) do you camp with?

Most Popular Searches

  • least amount of stakes and lines for seedhouse 2
  • how much guy line for 5 stake tent
  • light weight tent stakes

, , , ,

20 Responses to Reader Poll: Tent Stakes: How Many? What Kind?

  1. Justin September 23, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    I generally just carry the stakes and guy lines that came with my tent (Big Agnes Seedhouse 2). I always carry extra cordage, but have never had a need to use any to secure my tent. I guess this is more of an issue for tarp tent users.

  2. Cranky Old Guy September 23, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    I'm a hammocker, I carry 2 stakes and 2 6ft. lengths of cord.

  3. Shawn A September 23, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Depends on if I am car camping for the weekend or backpacking for the weekend, usually just bring along the stakes from my Big Agnes tents. They are light weight, but bend easily in hard soil or gravel/sand. In that situation I always take along a set of 4 extra 3 sided aluminum stakes like these http://www.rei.com/product/682543/msr-ground-hog-… Those usually work pretty well.

  4. Rob September 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Generally n+1 where n is what I need, I tend to accumulate them as I go along. I always carry a length of parachute cord because that is often useful. If I'm going with a group of people I'll often use a work glove as a sheath for the stakes both to protect my pack and so I have the glove which can be helpful.

  5. TheBrewGuy September 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I swear by the MSR Needle stakes. They weigh about half of what normal aluminum stakes do, and they are very thin so they take up less space. I've used them in multiple types of earth with no problems. They are very tough, and I haven't been able to bend one yet. I bought 16: 8 for my 2-person tent, and 8 for my tarp shelter setup, and I usually will take 2 extra beyond what I need just in case. Great idea on the eye hooks for wood platforms! I ran into that problem on the AT in The White Mountains in NH. As for cordage I like the Kelty Triptease as well, but found some comparable reflective line from Nite Ize on Amazon for a little cheaper (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MMEHTC). I usually leave guylines tied on my tent/tarp and carry 50ft. extra. Anyone have any experience with using Spectra Cord or Dyneema?

  6. Grandpa September 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Add another vote for MSR Needle Stakes. Very light and easy to drive. I usually add one or two and have never damaged one so I don't know why I ever bring any extra.

  7. Victor September 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Another vote for whatever comes with the tent kit. But that's because I'm lazy about stuff like that. I do like the MSR needle stakes. I also carry at least one wooden stake, in case of vampires.

  8. George September 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    MSR Groundhog stakes are great. 6 for a tent, 6-12 for hammock/tarp.

  9. Jake September 23, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    I traded out the 6 inch aluminum Y stakes for 8 MSR Needle stakes on my Shangri La1. I carry no extra. I did buy some very skimpy 6 inch titanium ones. The standard 80 degree(ish) hooked ones. They're just not suited to the ground in the Ozarks though. Too many rocks and loose gravelly soil. The Needles excel there. I believe that the tool needs to match the job. I carry only a 50 piece of 2mm Dyneema for my bear bag. I will soon make a paracord strap for my watch though, giving me a bit of cordage for extreme need.

  10. Grannyhiker September 23, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    I generally take just the Ti shepherd crook stakes. In places where they won't go in, nothing else will either–no stake will go through a rock or a root! I use a rock to supplement the stake if it can't go all the way in. This is necessary only for the front and rear guylines on my tent or my tarp. When fully in, they hold just as well as the Easton stakes. I had trouble with the caps coming off the Easton stakes, so I stopped using them.

    I have one set of Ti stakes that have a fluorescent orange coating (easier than yellow to see in fall when the ground foliage turns yellow) that I got from Mountain Laurel Designs. http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product… The coating is quite durable so far (3 years). Those stakes are also a little more robust than most Ti hook stakes. For my older stakes I have that came in stealth gray, I do a yearly spray painting with fluorescent orange. The paint mostly wears off by late fall, so I have to start over each year. I've lost only one stake in the three years since I started doing this, so I'm now bold enough not to carry an extra stake any more.

  11. Philip September 24, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    I have REI sand tent anchors attached to my Tarptent, and find that putting a football size rock into or on top of each is usually enough to keep the small tent rigid even in strong winds. Works well even on Utah slickrock, where there is just plain no way to use stakes.

  12. jarra September 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    I use whatever comes with the tent in the summer, and SMC snow stakes on snow.

  13. Dave September 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    I like twizzle pegs, but I can't seem to find them in the US anymore. The ones I have are orange hard plastic and seem to work well in soft or hard ground. You just screw them into the ground. No pounding needed. Mine are 20+ years old. Link here shows what they look like: http://www.kitbag.com.au/products/Twizle-Pegs-Pac… but these are black which might make them easy to lose.

  14. marco September 25, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    For most of the ADK's, I find that the simple shepherds hooks work as well as any (with the exception of any car camping-base camp.) For the tarp, I find that 6 works pretty well when set up as a pup tent. For a lean-to, I use 5. I carry 7. Yellow or red paint does not work well in all the leaves, soo, I don't bother painting them. I loose one every couple years, but, that's not the point of carrying an extra. The extra holding power of a criss-cross double stake helps in windy conditions…at least on the one coner that is being wind hammered.

  15. Dave Cutherell September 26, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I do 2 9" Eastons for similar reasons as above. I usually use them for the ridgeline. Then I carry 4 6" Eastons since I can pound them in with a rock. I use them for the corners of the shelter. Then I carry 4 Ti Hi Viz for general purpose additional usage for high wind and loss scenarios.

  16. Old and Wobbly September 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I carry 9 Ti stakes when I carry the tent and 6 Ti stakes when I take the tarp. The stakes that came with the tent weigh double those of the Ti of the same number. Weight is weight, save it where you can.

  17. JJ Mathes September 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    with tent and tarp I use 4-Ti 6-inch shepherd hooks on the corners and 2-Ti V-stakes for the ridgeline, I carry 2 additional shepherd hooks for my cook kit that can be used if needed

  18. JJ Mathes September 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Phillip- how well do the screw eyes work on the synthetic boards of the newer tent platforms?

  19. Earlylite September 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    They work well no matter the substance. :-)

    I also use them to hang a head net over my face in shelters.

  20. Chris - TheGearHosue September 28, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    While I usually stick with the tent stakes that come with the tent, I'll sometimes switch them out for the Vargo Outdoors Hi Vis titanium stakes. They are really sturdy and the orange coating makes them easy to find.

Leave a Reply