You might have enjoyed the classic flick “Gone With The Wind” as a cinema lover, but you definitely won’t like the sight of your tent going airborne because of a swooping breeze. If you know how to use tent stakes the right way, you won’t have to face such a displeasing situation. In today’s article, we will try to walk you through that.
Facing difficulties driving stakes through the ground is one of the most common tenting complications newbie campers face. Almost every outdoor person has experienced this predicament at some point. For that reason, we have felt the need to discuss staking techniques that would benefit both new and seasoned campers.
How To Use Tent Stakes?
1. Pinpoint The Perfect Site
The most crucial step in staking a tent is to identify the perfect camping spot. The ideal place to set your outdoor home for the night is a dense, level patch of land. Loose soil and sand are not the most suitable surfaces for placing stakes. So, we would recommend avoiding these surfaces if possible.
Watch out for rocks and tree roots. You wouldn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night feeling an irritating lump on the ground. Take a few minutes to clear the site. Setting up the tent under pine corn, acorn, or coconut trees is also a bad idea as falling pines, acorns, or coconuts could wake you up, or in some unfortunate cases, injure you.
To check the ground density, take a stake and try plunging it to the ground with your hands. If the stakes penetrate the ground effortlessly, it is too pliable, and the stakes would come out easily when a strong wind begins to blow. Thicker soil would secure the stakes more effectively and prevent them from going out with ease.
Once you found the right location, plant the stakes. Don’t use your hands or feet while setting down the stakes. Use a rubber mullet instead. Without using the proper equipment, you might end up bending the stakes. A rubber mullet imposes the right amount of pressure on them, so they are the perfect fit for this purpose.
2. Stake The Tent As Soon As You Unpack It
Not staking your tent as soon as you unfold it is a rookie mistake to make. If you leave the tent unattended without staking it to the ground, a precipitous surge in wind intensity could blow your tent away. The first thing you have to do once you unpack the tent is to stake it and make sure it stays pitched.
3. Push The Stakes In Vertical Orientation
Some campers prefer to keep the stakes inclined towards the tent. At first impression, it does seem to be a practical decision. Whenever the wind threatens to whisk off the tent, the stake angle should create resilience against the wind pressure. But, as you learn how to use tent stakes, you will discover that it is not the optimal way to set down stakes.
When you force a stake straight into the ground, you can achieve maximum penetration. If you drive it in from a certain angle, you would never reach the same depth. Since you can get deeper into the ground by placing the stakes vertically, they can distribute pressure over a greater area. Therefore, a vertical stake can offer the most security in stormy weather.
4. Position The Stakes At 45 Degree Angles From The Corners
You can give away an abundance of space inside your tent if you are not mindful while setting the stakes. If you feel claustrophobic every time you walk into the tent, you can look for a quick fix repositioning the stakes. So, what’s the perfect corner-stake alignment for maximizing in-tent space?
Maintain a 45-degree line between the stakes and corners of your tent to ensure paramount area coverage. What makes this orientation particularly helpful is that it lets you pull the guy lines to their maximum length. Hence, it would increase the room between the tent walls. Moreover, it would boost the tent’s waterproofing arrangements.
5. The J Hook Must Face Away From The Tent
To learn how to use tent stakes, you need to look at another subtle factor. Many tent stakes feature a J-like shape towards the top. When placing the stakes, make sure that the J points towards the opposite direction of the tent. This seemingly minute detail can make a big difference in stabilizing your tent.
Since tents are made of fabric, they will never stay put when the wind hits. No matter how deep you push the stakes, the tents will always make some sort of movement to wind. As the tent moves, so does the stakes. If the J hook faces towards the tent, it is more likely to slide off and make the tent collapse.
6. Tie Guy Lines
After you complete stationing the tent stakes, you have to tie guy lines around them. Tying guy lines is fundamentally essential to put up a tent. Without these lines, it would have been impossible to give tents a particular structure. More importantly, it allows you to regulate the space inside the tent.
7. Select The Right Tent Stakes
The key factors to look at while choosing tent stakes are their length and surface area. For tougher soil, you would be well off with smaller stake sizes. The softer the camping surface gets, the larger your stakes should be. For example, 7-inch stakes are good for camping in woodlands or the mountains. But, it would be best if you had longer stakes for camping in snow and sand.
Here are three of the most common stake types:
- 7-Inch Aluminum Tent Stakes: These stakes are only 7-inches long, but they can do a fantastic job in anchoring the base of your tent in solid ground. The three-pronged design gives them a superior footing. They are durable yet ultralight. A dozen of these stakes weigh only three and a half ounces.
- 12-Inch Aluminum Tent Stakes: These tent stakes are 12-inches in height and have a distinctive curvature. The perforated body structure makes them suitable for a variety of rigging purposes. The downside is, however, they are quite heavy to carry and can weigh up to a couple of ounces apiece.
- 11-Inch Galvanized Steel Tent Stakes: In terms of portability, these tent pegs are far from ideal. Each of these can weigh as much as 3 pounds. But, when it comes to ruggedness, no other tent stakes can outmatch galvanized tent stakes. If you are not backpacking, then these could be a great choice.
- Don’t Be Shy Of Staking More Pegs
In some scenarios, it would be a good idea to use additional stakes. In sand or snow, you would have minimal ground support. So, we suggest tying your tent to some extra pegs in such conditions to keep your tent rooted. If you are short of stakes, then you can pull lines from trees for added support.
8. Put More Weight On The Stakes
For an extra layer of protection, you can put some heavy rocks on top of tent pegs. This is an excellent alternative to using additional pegs. However, check and confirm that the weights don’t pressurize the pegs in awkward positions and bend them. Drive the full length of the pegs into the ground, and put the rocks on its head.
How Many Types Of Tent Stakes Are There?
There are several types of tent pegs in the market, each of them specialized for different terrains. If you are well aware of the soil’s nature you would be camping in, and you should take along tent pegs that custom-made for that particular ground condition. Here are some popular tent stake variants:
You can also find these stakes in outdoor gear shops as “T-stakes.” In appearance, they resemble a nail with a T-shaped head. Aluminum and titanium are the most favorite choices as materials for these nails. These tent pegs are very backpack-friendly because of their lightweight build. T-stakes are best for smaller tents.
Y stakes have a three-pronged design, which enables them to bite into the ground with more tenacity. These pegs would give you an extreme level of traction. The wider surface area and aluminum construction make them incredibly heavy-duty. You can expect these stakes to remain embedded in the ground even if there is a storm brewing.
As the name implies, these stakes mimic a V shape, which makes it almost impossible for them to bend. Therefore, these stakes score high points in the durability test. Aluminum tent pegs have a notorious reputation for bending easily. Thanks to the thoughtful design of V stakes, they address this vulnerability of aluminum tent pegs.
Poorly staked tent pegs can lead to embarrassing camping fails. If you know how to use tent stakes properly, however, you will not have to worry about your tent flying away in the wind. Hopefully, our article will help you stake your tent pegs duly and let you rejoice in your camping escapades.