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Fishbone Tent Anchors for Wooden Platform Camping

It can be difficult to anchor a tent to a wooden camping platform if it has to be staked out to set up. You usually need to prepare for this in advance by bringing extra cordage to rig up long guylines or platform hooks that you can drop between the platform boards to create an anchor point. I recently found myself in this situation at a state campground in Northern New Hampshire near the US/Canadian Border, but I knew I’d be tenting on a platform and had come prepared.

I found some no-name tent anchors on Amazon…the very long official product name is “BONANA 10pcs Ultralight Aluminum Guyline Cord Adjuster for Tent Camping Hiking Outdoor Activities, 2.6” Fishbone Shape Tent Awning Anchor for Gallery Road or Timber Deck,” which I must say is an amusing strategy for getting your product name to come up in Amazon search results. Gallery Roads (had to look that one up) are paths made with wooden planks that are attached to the sides of cliffs in China. Sounds like an interesting place to camp.

These fishbone tent anchors slide between the boards and create a good anchor point for setting up a tent. Sometimes, they’re too thick to slide between two boards that are fitted tightly together, so it pays to carry some extra cordage to reach a spot where you can anchor one, like the next board over.

There are a lot of different ways you can rig these anchors up, but knowing a few knots definitely helps. I’m sure some entrepreneur will make a knotless version eventually, though.

The nice thing about these fishbone anchors is that they have holes cut in them to thread line through. But you can also just wrap a line or webbing loop around them if that’s easier and sufficient. There are a wide variety of guy-out system on tents which makes it difficult to find a common anchoring solution that will work with all tents.  For example, some tents come with line loc adjusters and cord while others only come with static webbing loops. Your best is just to carry a bunch of extra cord so you can rig up something that works. It’s doesn’t have to be pretty, but you do want to avoid having your tent blow away.

There’s a wide variety of guy-out systems on tents, but you can usually make things work by bringing extra guyline cordage.

In my experience, the head and tail ends of these anchors are pretty interchangeable and it doesn’t really matter which end is up since they both work equally well in most situations. They are made with a lightweight aluminum however and will bend if you put to much pressure on them. Then again, sometimes a bend will give you a more secure anchor point.

Weighing 8 grams each, these tent anchors are light enough that you can carry a few of these them in your stake bag if you know you may need to sleep on a tent platform. The bright red color makes them easy to spot if you drop them on the ground or they fall through the cracks in the boards and you need to retrieve them.

These Bonana Fishbone Tent Anchors are a nice zero-impact solution to the problem of pitching tents on wooden campground platforms. They’re also relatively inexpensive since you get 10 anchors for $9.99, which is plenty for even big camping tents. I like them and think they’re a good find.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

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7 comments

  1. Thanks for the tip. Sometimes we set up tents on wood platforms at BSA and you’re right that proper tie downs are a problem. Maybe worth putting some of these in our bag of tricks.

  2. These would work well in combination with Andrew Skurka’s scheme for anchoring a tent with guylines using the McCarthy Hitch and Trucker’s Hitch.

    https://andrewskurka.com/guyline-tension-system-backpacking-tents-tarps-hammocks/

  3. I’ve been looking for something like this for a long time, thanks for sharing.

  4. These look interesting. I sometimes dread setting up on platforms because of the acrobatic guy line maneuvers required. How much do these weigh?

  5. We ran into this issue on Australia’s Overland Track earlier this year. We planned to bring our Zpacks Triplex, but were worried about pitching it on the wooden platforms that are often the only camping option. We bought a dozen cheap screw in cup hooks from the hardware store. They weigh almost nothing. Screw them into the platform where you need them, tie on a guyline, then unscrew them and bring them with you when you pack up.

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