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How to Properly Place Your Tent Stake

Tent stakes should be placed all the way into the ground with no angle. When tent stakes are placed incorrectly they can lose 75% of the holding power. Here we show you how to properly place a tent stake while camping.

Paul Bodnar       Educational       07/26/2021
Paul Bodnar
Educational
7/26/2021

Staking

Stake holding power is directly related to the stake depth, stake width, and stake angle. This is because holding power is directly related to the surface area of the tent stake and the soil around the stake. Thin tent stakes have less holding power than wide tent stakes because they provide less surface area to grip the soil. Stakes placed halfway in the ground reduce the stakes contact area with the soil. The additional stake height protruding out of the ground also increases the torque on the stake. Because of this additional torque, a stake halfway in the ground has less than half the holding power of a stake placed all the way into the ground. Any angle in the soil reduces the grip of the stake in the soil.  A tent stake placed at an angle can drastically reduce the holding power. It is important that tent stakes are properly placed into the ground to maximize holding power.

different tent stakes in the ground showing their holding power at different angles

Summary

To get the maximum holding power from your stake place it all the way into the ground with no angle. A tent stake placed at an angle can drastically reduce the holding power. It is important that tent stakes are properly placed into the ground to maximize holding power.


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About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 90 guides for trails around the world.