8 Best Tent Stakes For Hard Ground 2024

Last Updated on 27/08/2023

Best Tent Stakes For Hard Ground

What are the Best Hard Ground Tent Stakes?

In this guide, you will learn which are the best tent stakes for hard ground and for heavy-duty tents. These are the tent stakes that last for many years and are hard to bend even if you hit a rock underground. We look at titanium to see whether it is stronger than steel pegs and share the results.

For recreational campers, putting up a tent can be a stressful affair. From picking a place to pitch to figuring out which tent pole goes where, sometimes, things just don’t go to plan. There is one thing, however, that can frustrate even the most seasoned camper – bent tent pegs!

The average metal peg supplied with most lower – medium-end tents will be made from cheap steel that is fine for the soft ground but will crumple under any significant pressure. This happens more often than you think, with the hard or rocky ground almost always being to blame.

Choosing the best tent stakes for hard ground means that your tent always stays secure and taught, but also that you don’t have to replace a bag full of pegs every year. There are a few things you can look for to ensure you get the best tent stakes for hard ground, but it is mainly the material and shape that will make the most difference.

Top 8 Tent Stakes For Hard Ground


Vargo Titanium Nail Peg

Vargo Titanium Nail Peg
  • WEIGHT: 0.6 oz / 14 g
  • SIZE: 6 ” Long / 152 x 5 mm

The Vargo Titanium Nail Peg is incredibly strong with a simple nail design for holding down your tent on hard ground. The flat head allows you to hammer down hard and transfer all that force down the core and to the pointed tip, which will drive into the toughest ground. The short reflective cord loops are easy to spot and can be removed quite easily.

 


MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes

MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes
  • WEIGHT: 0.6 oz / 16 g
  • SIZE: 7.5 ” Long / 190 mm

The MSR Groundhog Tent Stakes are made from 7075-series aluminum in a Y-beam design to penetrate and hold in a variety of ground conditions. Being tough enough to be used in frozen and rocky ground but also designed for softer sand and soil makes these successful all-rounder tent stakes popular with backpackers.

The bright color and reflective cord make finding the MSR stakes easy, whether it is night or day. The pack of six is ideal for most small shelters, and you will not be disappointed with its durability.

 


Sea To Summit Ground Control Tent Peg

Sea To Summit Ground Control Tent Peg
  • WEIGHT: 0.6 oz / 16 g
  • SIZE: 8 in / 5 x 200 mm

The Sea To Summit Ground Control Tent Peg has a three-sided design for added strength and holding power. The triangular shape works well in all types of ground and will not bend under the pressure of a heavy mallet.

The multi-level attachment points are especially useful to minimize leverage in the frozen ground, where you can only penetrate a few inches into the earth. Made from a single piece of anodized alloy with a reflective cord and luminescent pull tab, the ground control pegs are easy to spot in the dark and retrieve after use.

 


Heavy Duty Rock Tent Pegs

Heavy Duty Rock Tent Pegs
  • WEIGHT: 0.5 ounces and up
  • SIZE: 6 inches and up

These Heavy Duty Rock Tent Pegs come in a multitude of sizes and cap varieties to suit your needs. They normally come in steel but can also be made from aluminum and titanium for a broad choice of materials to meet all budgets. They look just like a large nail with a plastic toggle on the end, but they are designed to be hammered into the hardest frozen ground and even rock without bending. They are also very cheap and come in large packs, just in case you lose any.

 


Tent Tools Propeller Tent Stakes

Tent Tools Propeller Tent Stakes
  • WEIGHT: 0.5 oz / 13 g
  • SIZE: 7 in / 178 mm

The Tent Tools Propeller Tent Stakes have a unique Y-shape design that is curved like a propeller to increase the holding power in soft ground and also find its way into hard ground easier.

Made from high-strength 7075-Grade Aluminum alloy for durability and to save weight. The Y-shape design helps increase tensile strength when hammering down, which naturally suits hard-ground camping very well. These are great value-for-money tent peg that makes an easy upgrade for old pegs and have lots of positive reviews on Amazon.

 


MSR Core Tent Stakes

MSR Core Tent Stakes
  • WEIGHT: 0.35 oz / 10 g
  • SIZE: 6 in / 15 cm

The MSR Core Tent Stakes are lightweight and rugged for anchoring your tent or shelter in hard ground. The solid aluminum head is durable for hammering down hard when the ground feels as ‘solid as a rock’. Available in both 15 cm and 23 cm lengths, both come with a reflective pull cord to make finding them with a torch easier. I have seen one of these pegs snap after being battered in with a big rock, but they never, ever seem to bend.

 


Vargo Titanium Nail Peg Ultralight

Vargo Titanium Nail Peg Ultralight
  • WEIGHT: 0.3 oz / 8 g
  • SIZE: 6 ” Long / 152 x 4 mm

The Vargo Titanium Nail Peg Ultralight is the thinner and lighter version of the popular Nail Peg also on this list of the best tent stakes for hard ground. The single piece of metal is unbelievably strong for the mere 8 grams that it weighs and will not bend when pounded into hard-packed ground. It features a flat head that is kind of small but functional and loophole with a reflective cord for securing your tent down and retrieving the stake after use.

 


Monk Industries Forged Head 12″ Stake

Monk Industries Forged Head 12 in Stake
  • WEIGHT: 1.375 lb / 634 g
  • SIZE: 12 x 5/8 in / 305 x 16 mm

The Monk Industries Forged Head 12″ Stake is extremely heavy in comparison to the other choices on this list but are almost indestructible. They are certainly not for the lightweight hiker or casual camper. However, they will hold down whatever you need them to without flinching.

More suited to larger teepee-like structures and gazebos than a tarp or two-person tent, but impressive nonetheless. They come in three lengths and are relatively inexpensive for a pack of six, even though they are made from high-carbon steel. The Monk Industries stakes are so reliable that they can even be used to anchor canoes to river banks or hold down circus tents.

 


tent stake hammer for camping

Which Tent Stakes Are Best For Hard Ground?

Titanium tent stakes offer the best strength-to-weight ratio available but also cost considerably more than other metals. If you are serious about camping or are simply trying to save weight on your gear, then Titanium is what you want. Aluminum alloy is also light and strong but doesn’t cost as much as titanium tent stakes which pairs them with lightweight backpacking quite well. If you want the toughest tent stake available and are not concerned about the weight, then a solid or forged steel tent stake will do the trick.

With most hard ground, your foot will not be able to drive pegs all the way in, which is why we recommend always taking a lightweight camping hammer.

What Shape Of Tent Stake Is Best For Hard Ground Camping?

In my opinion, the best type of tent stakes for the hard ground is the ‘Nail’ style which can be driven and beaten into the hardest ground. They are often hollow in design and made from either aluminum or Titanium alloy or solid when made from steel. They come in different shapes and sizes but almost always have a flat head and pointed tip (like a nail), and a piece of cord to help remove the stake from hard-pack ground.

There are, of course, many other styles of tent pegs and stakes you should carry alongside your hard ground tent pegs. Y-shape and V-shape tent pegs can be used in medium to hard ground as well, but for hard ground, I prefer a nail design. You never really know what the ground will be like at your next camp spot, so having a variety of different tent stakes for different scenarios is highly advised. Mix and match if you will.

pushing tent peg into hard ground

Different Types of Tent Stakes for Solid Ground

Here are the different types of tent stakes you can use to get through the hard ground:

Steel Tent Stakes for Hard Ground

When you imagine a tent stake, the traditional steel tent stake is what most likely springs to mind. They are roughly 5 mm thick and feature a C shape loop at one end to secure your tent and guy lines. They aren’t pointed, so they are not the best for compacted mud and rocky ground, and they are not the strongest. They do bend fairly easily if not pushed in at the right angle but are the easiest to bend back into shape if they do get damaged.

Titanium Tent Stakes for Hard Ground

Titanium tent stakes are ideal for the hard ground because they are so strong, and the big benefit is they are very lightweight. You do need to be careful not to come in at the wrong angle with too much force, or they will bend, but they are far less malleable than steel so they don’t get bent too often. They are the most expensive type of hard ground tent stake, and you may have to purchase them separately from your tent.

Plastic Tent Stakes for Hard Ground

Plastic tent stakes are not the best for solid ground because they can bend and it is hard to hammer them in if there are rocks there. While plastic tent stakes may bend, they normally go straight back to their original shape without damage. This is one benefit of plastic pegs that metal tent pegs don’t have.

Fabric Anchors for Solid Rock Ground

Fabric anchors are small pouches with straps on either side that you fill with rocks, sand, dirt, bottles of water, or anything with a bit of weight. They work in the same way as if you were to tie your tent down with rocks instead of pegs, using gravity to keep your tent taut. We didn’t feature any in this guide, but if you check out our camping on sand guide, you can see what we mean.

using a hammer for heavy duty tent stakes

What to Look for in Hard Ground Tent Stakes

While most tent pegs are very similar in looks, there are some things you can look for to ensure you are getting the strongest tent pegs:

Material

As we mentioned above in the different types of tent stakes, the material your tent stake is made of has the biggest impact on how well your tent stake hammers into the ground. Titanium is the strongest but can be hard to repair if you bend, and they are the most expensive too. Steel is the most reliable, plastic can work if you try hard enough, and fabric anchors are an option too.

Thickness

The thickness of your hard tent stake also determines how good it is for hard ground, and the thicker, the better if you can live with the extra pack weight. Metal stakes greater than 10 mm in diameter are where you start to find the really strong ground stakes, but if you want anything much larger, you will be looking at heavy steel.

Length

A shorter tent stake can help reduce the chances of bending; however, a longer tent stake can be driven in at a shallow angle and still have a good hold on the earth. The deeper you can push a tent stake into the hard ground, the better, but you don’t really want too much of the stake left sticking out as this can be a potential weakness in high winds. A good length to aim for is 20 cm long.

Security

By security, we are not talking about alarms and locks to stop people from stealing your tent. Rather we are talking about the type of hook or line attachment and how effective it is at stopping anything from slipping off. The good thing about tent peg hooks is that you can always rotate them face down, which makes it far less likely that any line will slip off the peg.

How to Hammer Tent Stakes into Hard Ground

The best way to hammer tent stakes into the hard ground is with a hammer. The alternatives include using your foot, using a rock, or some wood shaped like a bat. The main thing to remember is to come in at an angle and make sure that when you strike or push the tent peg, you are applying pressure directly down the shaft. If you aim the ten peg in at an angle but hit directly down, then you will bend your peg.

 


I hope these 8 best tent stakes for hard ground give you an idea of what you need for camping on frozen or solid ground.

Gear Assistant
Gear Assistant

This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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