MSR Needle Stakes are lightweight aluminum tent stakes with square-shaped shafts, a wedge tip, and a hook at the top. Weighing 9.6 grams each and 6 and 3/8″ long, they’re ideal for staking out tents and tarps that use cords as guy-lines. You can also use them to stake out webbing, of course, but there’s nothing better for staking out a cord. The square stake shafts hold best in packed earth or mineral soil but won’t break if you hit a rock when you pound them in. They’re not good for use in sand or snow, which requires a wider stake or deadman for more purchase.
I’ve been using these Needle Stakes since 2016. For a while, they were hard to come by and you could only get them if you bought an MSR tent, which is where I got my first set. But they’re more widely available again and are usually sold in packages of 4 or 6 stakes. I never use the tent stakes that come with the tents I buy or manufacturers send me to review because they deform to easily, they’re too heavy, or the heads have sharp edges that tear my hands when I try to pull them out of the ground.
I’ve never broken one of these MSR Needle Stakes, although I have bent a few, by stepping on them accidentally. The soil where I backpack is usually soft enough that I can insert them into the ground by hand since the points are thin enough that they slide in with a little pressure. I have hit them with a rock in denser mineral soil, but they’ve stood up to the abuse without any issues.
However, you don’t want to push them (or any other tent stakes) into the ground with your foot. That’s a good way to bend a metal tent stake. If you need extra force, find a flat rock and pound them in at a 45-degree angle instead. To pull them out, simply grab the guy-line and pull it out by the cord. That usually does the trick.
I’ve probably used every tent stake you can name at one time or another including MSR’s ground hogs and mini ground hogs, but these MSR Needle stakes have stood the test of time. Most of the ultralight tents and tarps I own use cord for their guy-lines and the hooks built into these stakes are great for anchoring them down.
Disclosure: MSR gave me these stakes long ago when I reviewed one of their tents.Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the affiliate links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.
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