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Three Ways to Anchor Your Tent

Stakes are inexpensive but invaluable in the field, so carry a few extras if you can and use them for other tasks besides locking your tent in place.
Stakes are inexpensive but invaluable in the field, so carry a few extras if you can and use them for other tasks besides locking your tent in place. (Eurmax/)

Most tents come with a set of stakes. But they are easily lost, bent, or fouled in some way that makes owning a few replacements a good idea. However, not all stakes are equally suited to the same scenarios. A backpacking stake isn’t going to do much to keep that canvas canopy from blowing away at the family picnic, just like a steel tent “nail” isn’t the best choice for a one-man bivy in the backcountry. The following stakes are affordable and versatile enough to cover a wide range of camping and shelter scenarios.

All-Around

Simple aluminum stakes are inexpensive and are able to hold a tent down in the strongest winds.
Simple aluminum stakes are inexpensive and are able to hold a tent down in the strongest winds. (Eurmax/)

Round aluminum stakes are a good choice for multi-purpose stakes. They offer most of the strength of a solid tent stake or nail at a fraction of the weight.

Heavy-Duty

If you’re worried about bending a stake while pounding it through especially
If you’re worried about bending a stake while pounding it through especially (Eurmax/)

There’s nothing more frustrating when setting up camp than driving a tent stake only to have it bend under the blow a hatchet butt or rock. While not a good choice for backcountry travel, a solid steel tent nail will handle anything you can throw at it while car camping or setting up large canopies, tarps, and other shelters that need a solid ground anchor.

Ultralight

If you are trekking into the backcountry and counting every ounce of pack weight, angled aluminum stakes will do whatever you need them to do without weighing you down on the way in or out.
If you are trekking into the backcountry and counting every ounce of pack weight, angled aluminum stakes will do whatever you need them to do without weighing you down on the way in or out. (MSR/)

For the best strength-to-weight ratio, a flat-cut or angled aluminum stake will hold down the fort in just about any terrain except snow and sand. The Y-bar construction resists bending and helps maintain gription in the earth, gravel, and soil when most tents are pitched.

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