If you’re new to camping or you’ve been out of the game for a while you might wonder what comes with a new tent. Do you need to buy tent stakes or do they come with a tent?
Do all tents come with tent stakes or pegs? Yes, every tent should come with tent stakes. Whether or not you actually want to use them is another question. If you plan on regularly backpacking and camping you should definitely pick up better stakes.
Before you head off to the store looking for tent stakes, check to see if your tent already includes them. I’m going to guess with 99.99% certainty that your tent comes with a set of cheap pegs.
Whether or not you actually want to use those pegs is another story altogether. Continue reading below for more information on why you should replace the cheap pegs that come with your tent.
Does My Tent Come With Stakes?
Every tent that I’ve ever seen/purchased had stakes included. Although I’m sure that there are a few oddballs out there, most companies include tent stakes. Tent stakes are cheap so there’s no reason not to include them.
Unfortunately, most tent manufacturers list the tent weight without the stakes and supply the cheapest heaviest stakes they can find. The tent stakes that come with most tents are ridiculous. They’re really heavy, short, weak and they hurt your hands.
Unfortunately, they just aren’t suitable for most conditions. Backpackers will definitely want to replace their stakes with ones that are made out of lightweight titanium. Switching over to the MSR Groundhog Stakes or the MSR Hook Stakes (budget option) will cut 1lb out of your packs base weight.
Every Tent Comes With The Same Cheap Stakes
So the good news is almost every tent comes with a set of stakes. The Bad news is that those stakes are garbage. If you plan on backpacking or camping regularly you will probably want to replace them.
I always replace the tent stakes that come with my tent. The cheap stakes that come with backpacking tents are just terrible. Here’s why I replace my tent stakes.
- Heavy: The weight of cheap steel tent stakes is just ridiculous. The 9″ stakes that came with my tent weigh about 4oz each. So the 5 tent stakes that I would have been carrying weigh more than my entire sleeping bag.
- Hurt My Hands: Ever try to pull out those cheap steel stakes? They will cut the palms of your hand if you’re not careful. You should pick up the Coleman Rubber Mallet with stake remover. It’s really cheap and only weighs like 5oz.
- Hard to Pound In: The stakes that come with your tent bend easily and they’re hard to pound in. Don’t even try to pound them into dry hard ground. They bend instantly and the tips snap.
What Are The Different Tent Stake Types?
I have a bag of several different types of tent stakes that I use in different conditions. Which stake I use depends on how far I’m hiking and the type of surface I’m camping on.
1) Shephard Hook Stakes
My Favorite: Toaks Titanium Shephard Hook Stakes Weight=.23oz
Just about every tent on the market comes with cheap steel shephard hook stakes. Tent manufacturers try to get away with giving the cheapest pegs they can possibly find.
These are usually 6″ steel pegs that weight about 4+oz each. Considering MSR’s Shephard Hooks only weigh .45oz that weight is ridiculous. Of course expensive tents usually come with better titanium pegs, but you can still do better.
Shephard Hook Style stakes(my favorite) have two major benefits. They’re ridiculously cheap and lightweight. You can usually save a few ozs just by swapping out your groundhogs. Ultralight shephards bend easily so you might want to bring along 1-2 groundhogs to use in hard ground.
2) Groundhog Stakes
- My Favorite: MSR Groundhog Weight=.46oz
- Lighter Option: MSR Mini Groundhog Weight=.35oz
Groundhog stakes offer the most holding power and superior penetration. You can pound all day without risk of damaging groundhog stakes. If it wasn’t for the added weight they’d be perfect. Weighing in at .46oz they’re just about twice the weight of my Titanium Shephard Hooks.
The added hold and ease of use is definitely worth it, but they are heavy. That’s why I normally use 2 groundhogs in the front and back for added stability and titanium shephard hooks everywhere else. This gives you a nice mix of strength without significantly increasing weight.
You can save a little bit of weight by using the MSR Mini Groundhogs instead. At 6″ they’re a little bit shorter than the regular version(7.5″), but they still offer excellent holding power.
Just think about where you’re going and the weather over the past couple of weeks. Groundhogs just give you a little extra “bite” in anything less than perfect conditions.
3) V-Shaped Stakes
My Favorite: Vargo Titanium Ascent Tent Stake Weight=10g (.53oz)
I have a love hate relationship with my Toaks V-Stakes. They’re slightly heavier than groundhogs, stack neatly and work well, but boy do they hold onto dirt. It really is a deal-breaker for me. I hate digging the dirt out of every hole before packing them back up.
With that being said, they are durable, hold well(like every V-Stake) and they’re relatively lightweight. The grooves make them lighter and seem to increase the grip.
Just be careful when hammering them in. The tops tend to bend over when you try to hammer them into tough ground. After a couple minor bends they eventually break off. Personally, I would just buy the groundhogs instead.
4) Nail and Spike Stakes
My Favorite: MSR Carbon Core Stake Kit Weight=.19oz
Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about Nail and Spike Stakes. They’re the lightest option available, but they tend to break. With that being said I really MSR’s New Carbon Core Stakes.
MSR looked at every other nail stake and fixed the one major weak point. They strengthened up the top so they couldn’t bend. They’re way lighter than the aluminum MSR’s I used to carry and hold much better.
The only downside I’ve found is the steep price tag, but the weight saving s and performance increase is definitely worth it. I still use the MSR Groundhogs as my 2 main holds, but the carbon cores work really well as supplements.
If you really want to save weight you can always use 2 MSR Groundhogs as your main tie-downs with sticks as additional anchor points. This type of setup would be both stronger and lighter.
Don’t scrimp on your nail stakes! Small, cheap and light is a recipe for stake failure. You’ll just end up with broken stakes and a tent that blows away.
Titanium Stakes Are Stronger Than Steel and Aluminum
Every Stake Bends Eventually
I don’t care how expensive your pegs are, every stake will eventually bend and break. They just can’t handle being hammered into a rock or tree root. With that being said, some stakes will last longer than others.
I really like the “Groundhog Style” tubular steaks like the MSR Groundhog. These seem to give you the most hold with only a slight weight increase over titanium needles.
You don’t even need to use them everywhere. Save a little weight by using 2 groundhogs in the front and rear, with needle style Shephard hooks everywhere else.
MSR’s Aluminum Shephard Style Hook Stakes are a lightweight, cheap, and reliable option. Weighing in at .45oz, it’s to beat their reliability/weight for the price.