When you are heading out on a wilderness adventure, it’s essential to pack equipment capable of handling the challenge. And when making camp after a long hike, proper tent stakes are the last thing most of us think of. If you’ve been there, you are familiar with the frustration of simple or plastic stakes that were included with the tent. Stakes that easily tie into your back yard may bend, break, or won’t pierce through rocky soils on the trail. The best tent stakes for rocky soil will be shaped well to drive past hard soil and will be strong enough to hold up to the extra effort.
What Makes A Great Tent Stake for Rocky Soils?
Some tent stakes are not designed for more demanding soil and quickly bend, break, or are impossible to hammer in. Trust us, the weight of your pack will not hold down your tent when you give up on lesser stakes. When looking for reliable tent stakes for your next trip, you must consider the following aspects.
- Tough Material: Wood, plastic, or aluminum stakes will work for soft ground. However, rocky and compact soils require tent stakes made of durable materials. High-tensile steel is the best choice to avoid bending and breaking under extended pressure. However, titanium is also good if you need a lightweight backpacking option.
- Piercing Shape: Wedged V-shape styles can work for rocky soils and are versatile enough to handle easier ground. However, nail or screw shape designs are best for piercing through tough rocky ground. Additionally, nail-style pegs are more durable and least likely to bend of all styles.
- Proper Length: Additionally, 8-12 inches in length will help your pegs grab a sturdy hold in rocky soils. Shorter options are likely to shift with wind drift and loosen the security of your tent.
Best Tent Stakes for Rocky Soil
We put a range of tent stakes to the test, looking at their length, shape, and durability. As we suspected, there were some that didn’t make the cut for hardened backpackers setting up camp on rocky treks. However, we discovered some pretty impressive products that we have detailed in the following post. We found these three stakes to warrant special mention.
- Our favorite for performance: Barefour Heavy Duty 8” Steel Tent Stakes
- Second best: RIY 12” Heavy Duty Steel Tent Stakes
- Best lightweight option: MSR Cyclone Aluminum 10”
We’ll delve into each in a with more detail below. See why they made the cut below.
Barefour Heavy Duty 8” Steel Tent Stakes
If weight is not an issue, material should to be second to none. And, if you are keen on finding a set of stakes that stand up to most challenges, then you need the Barefour Heavy Duty 8” Steel Tent Stakes .
Campers will love that these are forged from S45C steel which is as good as unbreakable.
Easy to Remove
When using the Barefour, we were impressed how the innovative design makes removal pretty much effortless. If you’ve tried to remove deeply lodged tent pegs, then you’re familiar with how tricky and frustrating this can be.
However the Barefour stakes feature two design aspects to aid you in their removal. First, there is the hook near the top of the peg that prevents it from being hammered too far into the ground. Second, the hole allows your hammer to swifty pull the peg out of the ground.
What’s more, the Barefour are crafted from high quality S45C steel which is known to withstand much more pressure than other types of metal.
As a result, these stakes drive through rocky soil and tightly packed hard pan with much less effort. In addition, they are highly resistant to bending and snapping. If you frequent a spot that is known for its particularly solid ground, you will notice a significant difference with the Barefour stakes.
Barefour Heavy Duty Stakes PROS
- Strong design
- Won’t bend
- Easy to remove
- Good 8” length
Barefour Heavy Duty Stakes CONS
- May need something longer for very loose/rocky ground
- Doesn’t come with a carrying bag
Who is These Heavy Duty 8” Steel Tent Stakes Perfect For?
The Barefour Tent stakes would be perfect for campers hiking up to a mile to set camp, or those at driveup campsites due to their added packweight. However, if you’re willing to carry the weight, this set is well worth it for a great secure hold. Find more information, including specs an current pricing, here: Barefour Heavy Duty 8” Steel Tent Stakes
RIY 12” Heavy Duty Steel Tent Stakes
The RIY Heavy Duty Steel Tent Stakes have an excellent length for dealing with rocky terrain. We felt confident that leaving the site with these super secure stakes.
Not only are they durable, RIY stakes are corrosion resistant. Additionally, we liked the option to buy either 4 or 8 stakes for our larger family tent.
While as short as eight inches will be sufficient, the longer the tent stake, the better the hold.
These stakes are 12 inches in length which gives you more than ample security.
What’s more, the RIY stakes come with a decently sized ‘nail’ head which gives ample surface area for hammering. This is a massive benefit that makes the job much easier.
Great to Keep in the Car
If you’re like me, you overpack. I never like to be caught off guard without the correct tools to set up a safe camp. So, in this case, I would keep a set of these RIY stakes in the car in the event we found a rocky spot for the tent. When lighter designs won’t cut it, these are a camper’s friend.
RIY 12” Steel Stakes PROS
- Comes in a 4 pack or an 8 pack
- Very durable
- Hook and hole design
RIY Steel Stakes CONS
- Heavy for backpackers
- Quite thin
Who Will Love These Stakes?
These tent stakes would be ideal for those camping in larger tents where the weight of these stakes could be split between a couple hikers. If you’re in very rocky, or compact soil these will perform wonderfully. Vie more information, including current pricing, here: RIY Heavy Duty Steel Tent Stakes
MSR Cyclone Aluminum 10”
Next up is our favorite lightweight option for hikers traveling through rocky terrain. The MSR Cyclone Aluminum 10” has a very reliable twisted design that easily secures past stones and dense soil.
We found this option to have a remarkable staying power that won’t budge once hammered in.
Unique Auger Design
For the most part, tent stakes come with a simple, straight shaft. However, this is not always suitable for slipping between loose rock to secure against winds.
The MSR Cyclone tent pegs feature a spiral design which is exceptional at gripping ground, making it much more difficult for them to move. Essentially, we’re talking about screws vs. nails in gripping through wood projects.
And, thanks a hooked end, they pretty much slide right out of the ground when you’re ready to pack up and move on.
Lightweight yet Durable
Aluminum will stand up to the elements with its natural resistance to water and corrosion while being exceptionally durable. And we’ve found these stakes to be a very good quality and thickness.
That being said, aluminum is also very lightweight and easy to pack if you’ve got a long hike to camp.
The MSR Cyclone weighs in at just 1.2 ounces per stake, for 4.8 ouces per set.
If you want to pack light, these are the best option, especially if you have a large tent and need multiple stake sets.
MSR Cyclone Aluminum 10” PROS
- Lightweight at 1.2 oz each
- Strong hold
- Excellent staying power
- MSR Cyclone Aluminum 10” CONS
Quite thick, take up more pack space
- Only come in four packs
- Too lightweight for mountain camping
Who Will Love The MSR Cyclone Stake?
Backpackers will love these stakes, especially when approaching densely packs sites. View more information, including current pricing, here: MSR Cyclone Aluminum 10”
Euromax 10” Steel Tent Pegs
Whether you have more points of contact with the ground, several tents to secure, or simply want some spares, this ten pack of Euromax 10” Steel Tent Pegs is great for those with more intense needs.
It’s important to have a stable and strong point for easy driving. In fact, you may have a tough time ᴘᴇɴᴇтʀᴀтing as far as you need with a dull point.
As such, we were very impressed with the milled points to these tent stakes that are specifically designed to pierce even the most dense and rocky ground.
What’s more, the stakes come with a flat head that makes hammering them much easier and quicker.
Everything You Need
For those just getting started with camping, you may need more than just a set of stakes. This is a great option as it comes with so much more.
Primarily, you will notice that the set comes with ten tent pegs as opposed to a four or eight set. This is ideal for more anchor points or for spares.
What’s more, the stakes come with four 10ft ropes and stoppers for additional security.
While these are very strong, we found them to be quite thin in diameter approx. 1/4″). That being said, we decided to use the extra stakes for additional points of securement along the base of the tent. We found the thin profile to pierce through hardpan very quickly.
If you have been looking for a kit that can stand up to tough ground, winds, and challenging conditions, this is a great choice.
Euromax 10” Steel Tent Pegs PROS
- Comes with ropes
- Easy to use
- Fast securement
Euromax 10” Steel Tent Pegs CONS
- Some slight bending noted
- Heavy at 2.3 lbs per set
- Doesn’t come with a carry bag
Who Would This Unit be Perfect For?
These Euromax pegs would be great from hikers with large tents, or For multiple days on the mountain. View moe information, including current pricing, here: Euromax 10” Steel Tent Pegs
MSR Carbon Core 6” Stake
Another great option for the alpin wilderness is the MSR Carbon Core 6” Stake. You could be forgiven for thinking that these lightweight aluminum tent stakes don’t have much in the way of durability. However, thanks to a robust carbon core, they are perfectly adept for any job.
Lightweight and Easy to Pack
One of the most notable things about the MSR carbon staes is their weight.
If you regularly head off to explore the wilderness, you will appreciate the MSR Carbon Core being 1.2 ounces for the whole set.
The MSR Carbon Core are made with a solid carbon core which is encased in aluminum.
Carbon is incredibly strong and won’t bend or break under pressure while aluminum is very resistant to the elements. Both materials are extremely lightweight and make an ideal option for campers who are on the go.
Quality Pointed Tips
A good quality piercing point is a necessity when tackling rocky ground. Moreover, regardless of their lightweight design, the MSR’s point is just the right shape to slide through tough ground with ease.
Additionally, this set also has a flat, round head which makes hammering much less of a chore.
Not only will this serve to make the job easier but it will also make it quicker, so you can spend more time enjoying your camping trip.
MSR Carbon Core 6” Stake PROS
- Easy to set
- Weather resistant
MSR Carbon Core 6” Stake CONS
- Only come in a four pack
Who Would This Unit be Perfect For?
The MSR Carbon Core would be a great choice for hikers with smaller on person tents, or for those packing minimally. View more information, including current pricing, here: MSR Carbon Core 6” Stake
iBasingo Titanium Alloy Tent Pegs
Finally, we found the iBasingo Titanium Alloy Tent Pegs to be exceptionally lightweight, very durable and suitable for use in a wide range of conditions.
Whether you are pitching your tent in high winds or are trying to overcome solid ground, they won’t let you down.
There are many different metals that can be used to make tent stakes, but none are quite as durable as titanium.
Titanium is a very resistant material that easily stands up to the pressure of being hammered into dense soil or rocky ground.
Furthermore, titanium is incredibly lightweight and won’t weigh down your backpack.
The iBasingo Titanium Alloy stakes are just 12 ounces for the set.
We found the iBasingo Stakes provide excellent staying power and leave us confident in their security.
Easy To Remove
Anyone with previous experience of trying to remove tent stakes from hard ground is familiar with how challenging this can be. But the good news is that these stakes have been designed for much easier removal, so when it’s time to pack up and go, you won’t be struggling.
For instance, the stakes feature a handy pull cord at the top which can simply be grasped and tugged to pull the stake free from the soil.
iBasingo Tent PegsPROS
- Great staying power
- Easy to remove
- 10″ length
iBasingo Tent Pegs CONS
- No carry bag
- Pointed end is slightly too smooth
Who Would This Unit be Perfect For?
These titanium pegs are super handy in rocky terrain, and campers in salty settings will appreciate their resistance to corrosion. View more information, including current pricing, here: iBasingo Titanium Alloy Tent Pegs
Before Picking Stakes for Your Next Trip
Most times, unless you’re camping somewhere you’ve already been, campers will be unaware of the terrain until they get there. We ere on the side of caution and assume the ground will be difficult and rocky. So, before choosing your tent stakes, be sure to look for ones that are:
A tough material. High-tensile steel is the best choice to avoid bending and breaking under pressure. However, titanium is also great if you’re looking for a lightweight backpacking option.
An ideal piercing profile. Nail or screw shape designs are best for piercing through tough rocky ground. However, wedged, V-shape styles are versatile for all soils and are great in rocky conditions. Additionally, nail-style pegs are more durable.
The proper length. Stakes 8-12″ in length will grab a sturdy hold in rocky soils. Shorter options are likely to shift and loosen the security of your tent. While you can’t always prepare for every terrain type, you really can’t go wrong with one of the amazing options we teseted.
Camp in Confidence
Camping is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, and it can be difficult to relax if you are constantly worried about your tent blowing away. Tough ground requires a heavier-duty tent stake than your average backyard soil. However, with stakes that consider these obstacles, your next camping trip will start and end effortlessly, aside from the surviving in the forest part. Just don’t forget your hammer and guylines. Enjoy the trip and embrace nature!