Stakes. Certainly not the sexiest bit of camping gear you’re going to buy or discuss with your friends.
But stakes are crucial. When it’s windy, they hold your stuff down. They make your tent stand up the way it’s supposed to. They make your tent stay in one place.
When it comes to stakes, you want two things:
1. Durable stakes
We used to have some plastic yellow stakes. Used to. That is because they all eventually became weak and broke as soon as we took a mallet to them. Even if they sell you 200 of them, don’t fall for that. That’s wasteful! They’ll all eventually break and wind up in a landfill, and that’s not cool.
Your stakes should be metal, ideally steel. Some stakes, like the green Coleman ones, are mostly metal with a little plastic. Don’t get attached to that plastic. These are the stakes we use at the moment and one by one, the plastic is chipping off. They still work great, but I wish that weren’t happening because they look wrecked.
Plastic may be cheaper, but you’ll spend more in the long run. Metal all the way.
2. A lot of stakes
Your tent has four corners. You need four stakes. Right? No. You should have about twice as many stakes as you think you’ll actually need. Or even more. Go for 16.
Not only do stakes hold down the corners, they can hold down any additional ties used to secure your tent. You’ll keep your rainfly securely in place. You may need stakes for any shelter you brought, including the tarp. Extra stakes can also be put to other resourceful uses, such as securing your dog’s leash or staking down your chairs in high wind.
And if your friends don’t read read this blog (and how sad for them) and show up unprepared, you’ll have extra to share!
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