Do You Use The Tent Stakes That Came With Your Tent?

Old School Tent Stakes
These factory-supplied tent stakes are too heavy

I usually replace the factory-supplied tent stakes that come with backpacking tents because they’re too heavy, too short, or they hurt my hands when I pull them out of the ground.

My goto tent stakes are:

  • MSR Mini-Groundhog Tent Stakes because the have superior holding power and stand up to rocky soil
  • MSR Needle Tent Stakes that have a special hook for guying out tents and tarps that have string and cord-based guylines instead of webbing. These are really good for pitching my hammock tarp.

I usually carry 4 or 5 of each on backpacking trips.

Do you use the tent stakes that came with your tent or did you replace them with ones you like better? If so, what don’t you like about the stakes that came with your tent? What did you replace them with?

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49 comments

  1. No. The tent stakes that come with most tents are really rather ridiculous. I always change them out with stakes that are most appropriate for conditions. That ranges to big yellow plastic for soft ground to highly engineered ti stakes for lightweight packing. It depends on conditions. Most given stakes are not suitable for most conditions unfortunately.

  2. I have a bag of several kinds of tent stakes for different conditions; grassy, sandy, hard, etc. I made a tent stake remover, which is a hook with a tee handle. It is long enough so I don’t need to bend over and just hook and twist. I mainly use home made stakes that are rods with a bent hook and a sharpened point which I can re grind or straighten. I also use plastic stakes for some conditions. You can guess I am not a back packer, but a hunter and tailgater. I have a hammer I found that looks like something from Fred Flintstone and is only good for hammering in tent stakes, but is perfect for that purpose. The stakes that come with tents are awful. Most are too short and are wire and will bend. I either throw them away or repurpose them for something besides trying to keep a tent up in the wind, rain, and snow.

  3. I often replace my tent pegs with Tarp Tent pegs . They are great , strong , light and I always order extra when ever I get the chance to order a TT.

  4. Warren Davidson

    The stakes that came with the tent were too heavy. I replaced with 6 Vargo 7″ titanium with orange head and 2 9″ aluminum stake (red)

  5. Some manufactures give tent weights with out the stakes.

    then supply the tent with cheap heavy stakes. Some claim

    low weights including stakes only suitable for picking your teeth.

    As an all year round backpacker I tend to choose stakes for the

    expected ground conditions and weather. Nine times out of ten

    it’s Ti stakes. Of all the manufactures I have used Hilleberg

    supply the best stakes for any conditions you might find.

  6. Those railroad spikes? No Way! I use MSR Groundhogs.

  7. I think you can make a nice wind chime with those.

  8. Regardless of what the mfg supplies with the tent (if anything at all), I find it absolutely essential to have a “quiver” of stake options. Every destination has it’s own unique type ground and stake selection must reflect that.

  9. I replace all mfg stakes, be it tent, tarp or 10 x10 pop ups, with yellow plastic stakes. The ones the mfg supplies are thrown in a box in my tool shed for recycling.

  10. Cameron Robbins

    I use the tent stakes that come with the tent. Most of my camping is in rocky locations, so I find that the included stakes, if they work, are fine. Mostly I’m tying off to rocks.

  11. I use the stakes that came with my BA tent most of the time. They are light weight aluminum. The only problem is that they tent to bend pretty easily. If there is hard packed soil I’m having trouble getting them pushed into, I carry 4 triangle shaped metal stakes like these http://www.rei.com/product/682543/msr-ground-hog-stake only made by Cohglans because I got them for very cheap. They work fine for their intended task and have held up with repeated pounding on with a rock or log.

  12. Doing most of my backpacking in PA. Almost any stake is going to be bent fairly quickly. I prefer to use MSR Groundhog for high pull guidelines and MSR Mini Groundhog for the rest. I think the needle stakes don’t hold well in a lot of areas here.

  13. I don’t like the stakes that came with my MSR Hubba because they are almost completely straight and have no ledge/corners to hook anything onto. They are pretty useless. I therefore use the silly aluminum stakes (like in your photo) that came with my two-person REI Quarter Dome even though they are heavy, because they are more user-friendly.

  14. We have the Six Moon Designs lunar duo, we bought stakes elsewhere (mostly because we found less expensive stakes that we were still satisfied with). I like the fact that Six Moon Designs lets you choose from a couple of options.

  15. I have an REI Quarter Dome that came with pretty good stakes.

  16. I usually use the stakes that came with my Tarptent Notch, however in some conditions I will switch to some MSR groundhogs.

    • Agree. The Tarptent comes with 6″ Easton stakes. Reviews of Easton stakes is mixed due to head coming off and breaking. I haven’t had any problem with mine so far but will bring a couple groundhogs or Y stakes.

    • I replaced the Easton’s I received with my notch with MSR Groundhogs as they were next to useless in windy conditions.

  17. Mostly I replace the stakes, opting for ones that hold better.

  18. As a general rule I replace the stakes with MSR Groundhogs. They are stronger for rocky terrain and hold better in soft ground. They are good all around stakes. I’ve had problems with other stakes bending and not holding.

  19. I use the Ti needle stakes for the most part and have had no problem. Any stake, of course, will either bend or just stop if you try to hammer it through a rock or a tree root! For a couple of tents (such as my Tarptent Squall 2), I use MSR Groundhogs for the two key stakes (front and back center) and the Ti needles for the rest.

    IMHO, it’s well worth getting the Ti needle stakes that are covered with a relataively permanent blaze orange enamel, such as those sold by Mountain Laurel Designs. Otherwise, your chances of finding one that flipped off into the vegetation are zero. You can paint the plain gray ones, of course, but you’ll have to repaint several times a year.

  20. I usually use the stakes that came with my Marmot Limelight which are a light aluminum, brightly orange colored so I don’t lose them. They’re not perfect, but they’re a reasonable balance of light weight and good strength. Since the tent is freestanding, they’re not super-critical. For my “new” MSR Trekker Tent (which has some interesting features that appear to be popping up on “new, innovative” tents now from other makers), I use my Marmot pegs, but also bring several MSR Groundhogs as insurance for loose dirt/sand, given the criticality of staking for a non-freestanding tent!

  21. In the past I have only used MSR Groundhogs stakes. Light weight and hold well. Past couple of trips I have used titanium v shaped stakes form ZPacks with good results.

  22. I use either Easton stakes that came with my TT or the “Y” shaped stakes, depending on where I’m going.

  23. Actually, it depends on what came with the tent. My Tarptent cane with some decent titanium stakes which I continue to use. I have, however replaced the main ridgeline stakes with some longer (i.e. better holding power) Ti stakes. Similarly, I’ve downgraded a couple of the stakes with the shepherds crook type stakes. Further, I’ve lost a few which I obviously replace. I’ve hit all of my stakes with a shot of orange spray paint to minimize the risk of further loss!

  24. With my square flat tarp I use MSR Groundhog Minis. They ARE pretty short, but have a Y cross-section and are 1.5″ shorter than regular Groundhogs, half the weight at 10 g/.35 oz.

  25. Yes and no. My go to tent is a Big Agnus Fly Creek UL2 and it came with a nice set of stakes. I bought some titanium shepherd hook stakes. I usually take a couple of the J stakes that came with the Fly Creek and as many titanium stakes I’ll need. If the ground is a little iffy I’ll use the J stakes for extra grab.

  26. I got some hollow aluminum gutter spikes at the hardware stove that are very light, durable, and work great for many applications. Also cheap. They look like this:

    http://www.raytecllc.com/wp-content/uploads/gutter-spike-square-shank.jpg

    • When I use the tent stakes that look like huge nails I take a hole saw and cut some circles out of an old tire or hose to use as a washer to make the nail head area larger to better hold the tent loops. People (children) have been hurt by tripping or cutting their foot on a tent stake. The big rubber washers help.

  27. Maybe?? I use an assortment of stakes I’ve found over the years. Some may be original.

  28. I don’t actively seek to replace tent stakes, but I will admit the light weight ones you pick up at REI are vastly superior to what has come with any tent I’ve bought. They tend to hold ground better and they don’t bend as easily.

  29. Yes, I use the stakes that came with my current backpacking tent, a Sierra Designs Lightning 2 UL. They seem lightweight and haven’t let me down so far.

  30. I replace all the tent stakes that come with the tent and use MSR Groundhogs. They work much better on various terrain.

  31. Kurt in Colorado

    I use the blue Easton aluminum stakes that came with my TarpTent. I added a set of MSR Groundhogs because blog posts said the Easton’s didn’t hold well. But they have held just fine for me in the Colorado Rockies and Utah desert. The Groundhogs really hold, but that Y shape hurts like heck when you try to push them in with your bare hands!!

  32. Not since I found Easton Stakes at REI so many years ago. I bought 18 of them right away that day…I switch them out with the Supplied Stakes on my Eureka, MSR, Coleman, LLBean, an Shires Tarp tents. My new Snugpak Onosphere came with some really sturdy Stakes so I have not switched them out…..yet…

  33. Walter Underwood

    I use titanium skewers for rocky ground and Easton stakes for soft ground. I carry a couple of titanium nails for really nasty ground. When tarping, I will carry a couple of V or Y stakes for the ends of the ridgeline. Those take extra stress.

  34. It all depends on the stakes that come with the tent, the ground conditions expected and the importance of a particular stakeout point of the shelter. My favorite stakes are Vargo ti stakes and MSR groundhogs.

  35. The only stakes I’ve used that came with a tent are the Easton pegs that came with my Tarptent. I usually use a combination of MSR groundhogs and Vargo Ti stakes.

  36. I generally DO use the stakes that come with tents, but that’s mainly because I’ve generally been lucky lately. In the past, yes, I’ve had to replace stakes mainly because the tent came with ridiculously cheap ones, but they generallycame with the cheaper tents. Since I started buying better tents, the stakes have gone up in quality as well. For family backpacking, the TarpTent Hogback I have came with Easton 8″ aluminum stakes, and I like those for most conditions. If I need something different, I have some v-shaped titanium stakes I can use. For car camping, my Cabela’s Alaskan Guide came with serviceable stakes, since I’m using mostly the originals after 6 or 7 years, and weight doesn’t matter much when car camping.

  37. Hey
    No I don’t use the pegs that came with my tarp, they are too weak and I don’t like their design, which is similar to the one you showed in your picture as in high wind and under pressure the flip and the rope comes off. They ask bend after I hammer them in. I used plastic ones which are stronger and hold the rope much more securely.

  38. Ditch the factory stakes and get a set of Sorex Stakes from Ruta Locura – 6″ Carbon fiber stakes weighing in at 6 grams each. Only $13 for a 4 pack

    http://www.rutalocura.com/Tent_Stakes.html

  39. MSR Groundhogs here. However, my big Agnes fly creek came with pretty good stakes, so i use those.

    • I find the MSR Ground hogs cut my hands to ribbons, can cause thinner guidelines to fray
      and still bend in stony ground.

  40. for the most part yes. my tents are all lightweight tents (Tarptent, Zpacks) and they all come with the alum hook stakes like you show in the cover picture. I have others, but the alum ones work fine for me.

  41. I just use whatever I can find at the local hiking stores.

    MSR Mini-Groundhogs are the best so far. Not always available though.

  42. This all depends on the stakes provided. As most of my tenting is on mountain terrain with stony or rubble filled ground so I favor soft aluminium stakes as they will deform yet give good holds in this type of situation. Most tents I have bought over the years have pegs that are too hard, too big and too heavy so I have made my own from standard grade 1/4 inch alloy rod. They are light in weight,6 inches overall and have a simple right angle bend of 1 inch; a little heat ensures a strong bend. If they deform too badly it is a simple job to straighten them out, a hammer stone and a larger flat rock does the job just fine.
    Last year I bought a low cost light weight 1 person bivi tent and was pleasantly surprised that the pegs were just as I would have made!

  43. No. The stakes that come with the tent are always lacking for one reason or another.

  44. I usually replace them with MSR Needle Stakes, although I’ve gotten a few backpacking tents from TarpTent with stakes that I like.

  45. I use MSR Mini Groundhogs and bring four regular Groundhogs for use when a longer stake is needed. The reflective loop makes it very visible via flashlight and helps avoid tripping. The loop also aids removal (or, use a homemade pulling handle made from a wooden dowel, paracord and hook).

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