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Tent stakes, also known as ‘pegs’, are used to help keep your tent or canopy locked down to the ground. The general purpose stakes that came with your tent/canopy are rarely optimal for the beach. By using specific sand stakes that are designed for soft ground, you can make your beach setup far more secure.
The best tent stakes for sand are typically longer than general ground stakes (to reach in the firmer sand), and have different types of ridges and notches to anchor them in the sand.
Tent sand stakes come in a huge variety of flavors, for example: straight, sheppard’s hook, screw/pile driver, rock, u-shaped, v-Shaped, y-shaped, cyclone, plastic. This all makes it very hard to discern what will work, and what you’ll waste money on.
I have assembled what I think are the best tent pegs for sand, and then found tried and tested exemplars of those product-types in the marketplace.
I will reference things like weight and hold to steel stakes (the type that is most often included with a new tent/canopy), which are generally around 7-9″ and around 1.5 ounces. As most of the canopy stakes for sand reviewed here are longer than that, it’s helpful to know (as a reference) that a 10″ steel stake could be up to 3.3-3.5 oz depending on thickness.
Comparison Review Table
(relative to each other)
Price: Low / moderate / high
Grip in sand: low / moderate / high
Effort Factor: low / moderate / high
Best tent stakes for sand – reviews
U-shaped stake: Tesorrio Outdoor Products Aluminium Stake
These sand stakes are made of aluminium, so despite being 12″ long they still weigh only 1.8 oz each. The many holes along the stake give you options for how you secure guy lines to it. These holes are 0.42″ (~1cm) diameter, which allows decently thick lines to be attached. In general you want to choose the hole that arrives closest to the ground – the higher up the attachment the easier it is to pull the stake out (think back to ‘levers’ in physics class). You also have the option of burying these stakes to make a deadman anchor.
U-shaped stakes have a fantastic hold in soft ground like sand. This is due to their broad curved metal shape giving them lots of surface area to grip the sediment. Although they do appear comically huge at 12″ long, their length enables you to get them into the firm sand and provide a super-strong hold. This extra length is also helpful when trying to get them out, just make sure the kids don’t trip over them!
Things to consider
If you are looking for a solution that can also work in harder ground these are not ideal, as the thin aluminium will bend if you apply a lot of force to hammer them in. The bright golden colour might camouflage these stakes a little in the sand (good thing they are long!). These will take up a lot of room in your pack, so if you are short on space consider just bringing a couple for the windward side of your canopy/tent.
Cyclone shaped stake: MSR Cyclone Tent Stake
This interesting tent peg shape features a twisted body causing it to screw slightly as it is driven in, which increases the surface area (and therefore the hold). They are 10″ long, made of 7000-series aluminium, and finished in a very visible red colour. To help you get these out of the sand each have a reflective pull cord attached. At the time of writing they come with 4 stakes that weigh around 1.2 oz (0.14 kg) per stake.
Although they are aluminium they are still fairly strong due to their design. It’s much harder to bend these cyclone type stakes when hammering them in, compared to other stake forms (see the u-shaped designs). The length is great; 10 inches is enough to get into the firm sand.
Things to consider
The MSR Cyclone is not the cheapest per stake, but it’s also not a significant difference if a quality purchase is important to you. You will be able to use these even in moderately firm soil, although I would not recommend most aluminium products for very hard ground.
Screw Stake: Ground Grabba Pro Lite
The Ground Grabba brand differentiates itself from the competition with the ability to be applied with a standard hex head (3/4″/19mm) attachment on a power drill (or other tool). They are made of glass reinforced nylon, and come as two stakes weighing less than 12 ounces.
- The nylon material gives them high overall strength, however I am not sure how they will perform over time in the sun.
- They are 15″ long which is great for securing in loose ground like sand.
- Multiple anchoring options: you can drive it into the ground with a power drill, use manual tools like a socket set or wrench, or just twist them in by hand.
- Brightly coloured to see them well in the sand.
Things to consider
- The ability to drill your stakes in isn’t a huge drawcard for everyone. However keep in mind you can use manual methods too.
- Not as strong as metal tent stakes
- Will handle firm ground, but not hard/packed surfaces
Y shaped stake: Soleader
Y shaped stakes are probably the most versatile style of sand peg as you’ll be able to use them in loose sand as well as quite firm ground. Although not unique in the marketplace, Soleader offer a decent tent peg for sand at a very competitive price. These stakes are made of lightweight aluminium (weigh less than 1 oz each), are 9″ long and come as a pack of 12 with an included carry pouch.
- Will be effective in a wide range of ground types
- Great value for money
- Visible red colour stands out from the ground cover
- Paracord loops make extraction much easier
- Good hold
- Notches are smooth to improve life of your guy lines
Things to consider
- Aluminium will bend or buckle in very hard/packed ground
- Due to their shorter length, they may not be as effective in very loose sand as a longer stake
Plastic y-stake: Camco 12 inch ABS Tent Pegs
If you are looking for a basic but sturdy option for the beach, you can always rely on a classic plastic peg, especially in sandy conditions. The Camco 12″ plastic stakes have enough length to get you deep enough into the firm ground. Plastic pegs will always be around and serve a purpose to provide reasonable purchase in loose sand/snow up to firm soil. To help extract it from the ground there is a ~0.2″ hole in the top to tie a pull-cord or attach a stake puller.
They come in a pack of 6, making their price very reasonable. The Y shaped ridges provide good friction against the sand, much more than you will get with a standard metal tent peg. Plastic stakes will handle being pummelled, and should last you a long time if you use them for their intended purpose. They are more sturdy than most of the other aluminium beach pegs I have reviewed here. I really like the large hook which will fit a variety of rope sizes.
Things to consider
These are a cheap and cheerful type of beach tent peg. However, they are not going to provide the same in-ground hold that you might get from more specialised stake designs.
Screw stake: the Orange Screw
The Orange Screw is a bit of a crowd favourite with its unique pronounced thread that provides a great hold in sand and loose soil. I suggest you get the large size that has a 10 3/8″ long thickly threaded screw-end. They include a handy tube tool that can be inserted into the 1 1/4″ hole to give some leverage to the driving process.
Having a screw stake option is quite useful on the beach as it removes the need to bring a hammer along. The stake length is good for accessing the firmer part of the sand, and the handy tool will make easy work of getting them in the ground. I personally also like the fact that they are made of recyclable materials.
Things to consider
They are certainly one of the heavier stakes in this article (3.6 oz each), and also more expensive. As mentioned for the other stakes, you could choose to combine expensive and cheaper stakes. In the smaller version of the Orange Screw they had an open hook end, but this is not been carried up into the larger size. So if your canopy rope/tether ends in a loop that needs an open-ended attachment, you will need to attach a carabiner or similar to the stake first.
FAQ for sand tent stakes/pegs
What are sand tent pegs?
Sand pegs, also known as sand stakes, are used to create anchor points in soft or loose ground surfaces. Tent sand stakes come in a huge variety of flavors depending on the surface you are working with. Compared to generic smooth steel pegs, sand pegs are typically longer (to anchor in the firmer sand), and have different types of ridges and notches to lock them in place.
How do you secure a tent at the beach?
Staking a tent in sand securely can be done by:
- weighing it down with heavy bags or weights
- by tying it down with ropes with stakes and anchors for tents
- or by burying tent/canopy legs (if they protrude) in the sand.
What can I use instead of tent stakes?
Tent stakes are great for securing your structure down, as they are portable and ready to employ anywhere you go. If you are caught short however, you can use pretty much any object that is steadfast and unlikely to move in a gust of wind. You can tie your rope to an object that you then bury, which is called an anchor. You might have something heavy (eg. bucket filled with water/sand) or immovable (eg. tree) that you can attach a rope to. Or you may be able to bury parts of the tent/canopy (good when you are on the beach).
How do you use tent peg screws?
Tent peg screws are great when you are trying to tether your tent/canopy in soft soil or loose sediment like sand. To begin push the pointed end into the ground as far as your strength will allow. Now apply force downward while rotating the peg clockwise. Reset your hand and repeat until the attachment point is just poking out of the ground. Some screw peg models have sizeable open holes in their tops, which you can thread a short section of pipe/stick to give you more leverage while driving it into the ground. Less commonly people use screw pegs that have a standard bolt shaped head that allow you to power drill the peg into the ground!
How do you make homemade tent stakes?
You can make use of common outdoor equipment to create your own stakes. Anything with a pointed end will suffice, for example screwdrivers or scrap metal. In the field you can make use of the natural materials around you. You can whittle sharp points on wooden branches which you can then hammer into the ground. You can also tie your tent around a thick stick, and the pile rocks in front of it to restrain and hold the tension. Of course you can always craft your own metal tent pegs if you have the skills.