The humble tent peg is the unsung hero of camping. After all, it doesn’t matter how expensive and fully-featured your tent is – if the stakes used to peg it down are flimsy, weak and bend all-too-easily, the stability of your shelter will be compromised. A high-quality, strong, lightweight and robust tent peg is essential, therefore, to a positive camping experience. It’ll keep your tent taut, well-shaped and secure, and contribute to a restful night’s sleep. Here’s what to look out for when shopping for a new set of tent pegs.
Tent Peg Materials
Modern tents pegs are commonly made from metal, usually aluminium or titanium. Both are light and strong – the perfect combo for a high-performing stake, particularly for long-distance trekking and wild camping. They are however the most expensive option.
Cheaper and heavier stakes are sometimes made from steel, which may provide additional strength and durability for campsite camping, but they’re generally considered too heavy for wild camping. Plastic pegs exist for use on softer ground such as sand or grass, but can be brittle – they may crack, snap or shatter if put under too much pressure.
For the purposes of this round-up, we’re focusing mostly on titanium and aluminium tent pegs, which strike the best balance between weight and strength, and are well-suited to all types of camping.
Tent Peg Designs
Tents pegs come in a myriad of different shapes and sizes, with almost innumerable design tweaks and modifications from brand to brand. But there are three main design types:
- Wire pegs – the most basic design, with a straight and long shaft topped with a hook
- Shaped pegs – these pegs often have a V-shaped or Y-shaped design, created to provide a greater surface area for gripping into the ground, as well as easier penetration into soil
- Specialist pegs – niche products for camping on particular types of ground, such as rock pegs (super-strong, nail-like pegs for hammering into very rocky ground), screw pegs (pegs with a screw-like swirly thread for twisting into hard ground) and snow pegs (very wide, long pegs for anchoring in snow)
Tent Peg Length, Weight and Packability
Longer tent pegs can be driven deeper into the ground for a more stable hold, but this will increase your chance of hitting rocks. Longer tent pegs are, of course, heavier and less packable, and therefore better suited to campsite camping where weight and size are not big considerations.
But holding power is, perhaps, more linked to surface area and design, rather than overall peg length. This is where shaped pegs, such as those with a V-shaped, chevron-like orientation or a tri-angled Y-shape design, come into their own. They grip the ground better with their two or three faces, and deliver a good compromise between weight and strength – making them ideal for backpackers and wild campers.