Best Tent Stakes for Sand Reviewed
HikeMax Spiral Stakes
Orange Screw Ground Anchors
TriWonder Snow and Sand Stakes
Ian Fortey Updated on October 11, 2022. In Beachby
Camping is a lot of fun no matter where you go. But you need to make sure you’re adapting to your environment if you want everything to go smoothly. There’s nothing saying you can’t go camping on a beach or in the desert, you just need to plan ahead. Your average tent will be a little too hard to set up on loose, dry sand. So you need to make sure you’re getting the best tent stakes for sand to keep your beach tent secure. Let’s check out four of the best brands on the market today.
1. HikeMax Spiral Stakes
Hikemax spiral stakes are kind of a toned down version of the Orange Screw that we’ll get to next. These are not as burly and tough as the Orange Screw but they are still a solid, reliable stake when used correctly in the sand. Plus you get more of them in a pack for less money, so it makes for a great budget option. There are 15 stakes in total here, so this is a really great deal overall.
The stakes are 10” long which is ideal for a quality sand stake. They are also made of ABS plastic which the manufacturer claims is unbreakable. Okay, so that may be a bit of a stretch but let’s agree that they are incredibly strong. They do back this up with a full money back guarantee so you should be pretty confident that these aren’t going to fail on you. That’s the most important part here.
Screwing this into firmer soil can be a bit of a hassle so you’ll need to use something for leverage. Once you get them down though, they do stay rooted well. For loose sand I recommend the same process as the Orange Screw above. Either dig down about 6 inches to start, or use these as a dead man buried down about a foot and then securely bury them in sand again.
- High quantity of stakes
- Need a tool for getting them in and out
- Maybe more than you need
2. Orange Screw Ground Anchors
Some of the best ground anchors for any kind of camping, Orange Screw ground anchors are the perfect tent stakes for beach tents. They may cost a little more, but the perks more than make up for it. For instance, worried about breaking them? The company will replace broken ones for you! There’s a lifetime breakage warranty that really can’t be beat. Not that you’re likely to need it because these are actually incredibly tough. Arguably that’s why the company has the guarantee, because they know they’ll have to replace so few of them.
At 9.5” in length, this is some good, long stakes. They’re made from a very tough recycled polycarbonate plastic and can really handle a lot of abuse. That may not be as tough as steel or aluminum but you likely won’t notice a difference. Plus, since they’re plastic, you don’t need to worry about corrosion.
Now these aren’t specifically sand stakes but there is a reason we recommend them. The length makes them great to use as dead man anchors in sand, plus the corkscrew design makes them ideal to use in firmer sand or anywhere. These are perfect all terrain stakes so get some of these and you won’t need to switch between “normal” stakes and sand stakes, you can just use these all the time.
These can also be used more efficiently in sand if you dig down a few inches, at least three but 5 or 6 is best, and then screw them in. Make sure they’re at an angle, you never want them at a 90 degree angle because that limits holding power. Between 45 and 75 degrees would be great. Screw the anchor into the firmer sand and then bury them.
The stakes come with a gripping tool to give you more leverage for screwing them in place. And, if you want, you can get them in black rather than orange. Honestly, I prefer the orange because it’s easier to find, especially in bad light conditions.
- Very tough
- Tool included to help screw them in place
- Useful in any soil type
- Not just sand specific
- May need to buy some extras
3. TriWonder Snow and Sand Stakes
TriWonder makes a great stake for use in both sand and snow. The design of these allows you to really pack loose materials like sand and snow into the body of the stake. That gives greater holding power to allow your tent to stand up even in the worst wind.
At over a foot long, these are some of the longest stakes you’ll find. Most tent stakes are a fraction of this size. And notice the width here compared to normal stakes or even the others I’ve suggested. That flat surface is what gives you the strength you need to anchor your tent securely in soft soil or sand on your next camping trip.
The stakes are made from aluminum so they can stand up to a lot of abuse. Just make sure you keep them clean when not in use. Though they are painted, scratches can corrode over time if you’re not careful. But again, this is aluminum, and that’s not typically too big a problem.
One thing to keep in mind with this style of stake is that these are not all-terrain. These are made specifically for loose sand and snow. They won’t work well in hard soil at all and if you tried to hammer them in, you’d risk damaging them. They’re also big. Obviously we mentioned the length but keep that in mind. They’re big and wide and that needs to be something you keep in mind when packing up your gear – these take up room. If you plan to go backpacking along, for instance, you’ll need to use your space well.
Use a mallet and hammer these in a slight angle and you should have great holding power for any tent. Plant them as deep as they will go for looser soils or windier conditions and you’ll be set.
- Specifically designed for sand and snow
- Huge stakes that really grip
- tough aluminum construction
- May be too big for you
- Can’t be used in hard soil
4. MSR Cyclone Stakes
These Cyclone stakes are almost a cross between the two styles we’ve seen already. Not as wide as the snow and sand stakes and now as screw-like as the others, nonetheless they bring a lot to the table.
Because these are aluminum they can handle a lot of abuse and stress. In soft sand and windy conditions, these can anchor deep to hold a tent or canopy very well. They’re nearly 10 inches in length but also very lightweight thanks to the aluminum construction. The twisting design allows them to really be hugged by that sand and hold fast when the wind picks up.
Again, your best bet here is to anchor these deep. I always dig down a few inches before planting a stake in sand. It gets you closer to the firm sand and really ensures the best possible hold. Plus you can bury the stakes afterward to ensure greater hold and also keep the tops out of the way so you don’t stub your toe in the dark.
There are only four stakes in the kit so you may want to buy some extra if you have a larger tent or know you’ll be hitting a windy area and/or using a canopy. One thing to be aware of is that these really do hold a solid grip. Getting them back out of the ground can actually be a bit of a chore depending on the nature of the sand. Make sure you have a hammer or other tool handy to help pull them out if need be.
- Tough aluminum
- Good length
- Great gripping power
- Can be hard to remove
- You may need to buy extras
Things to Know About the Best Tent Stakes for Sand
Now that you know what tent pegs for sand you want to buy, you still need to keep a few things in mind about how to use them. Good tent stakes are decidedly different for standard tent stakes used in hard ground.
How to Put Tent Stakes in the Sand
There are actually a few methods for using tent stakes in sand. We cover them in better detail here but for a brief overview, you’ll want to try one or two different techniques. Each method can work great but tend to depend on the terrain where you’re trying to set up your tent. If the sand is very loose and very deep, the rock anchors may be necessary. If you can find some firmer ground, then the dead man is probably best. Or combine them!
Rock Stacking Technique
For this to work you need to bury your stake in the sand like you normally would but then stack large flat rocks on top of it once buried. A small stack of decent-sized rocks makes a great anchor. This should keep your stakes from pulling up, even if the wind gets rough. Of course, if there are no rocks around this idea won’t be very helpful. But it’s worth noting if you do have access to rocks, you can do this even without stakes. You just need to wrap your guylines around an anchor rock and then stack more on top.
Dead Man Technique
The best technique for securing a stake in soft ground is the deadman technique. This requires more effort than planting a normal stake for a regular tent on firm soil, but it will get the job done. You need to dig down about a foot, past the loosest, dry sand to firmer stuff below.
You’ll need to plant your stake at a very steep angle, almost parallel to the ground, really, with the spiked end pointing back towards the tent. Alternatively, if the soil still offers no grip, you can tie your guy wire around the center of the stake, bury it perpendicular to the wire, and then fill in the whole with sand again. Both should be fine. Remember, the deeper the hole the more secure it will be. It’s the weight of that sand with gravity pushing down on it that will keep your tent secure, so more is better. You can also use rocks here to pile on top if need be.
Is There a Difference Between Sand Stakes and Snow Stakes?
Technically snow stakes and sand stakes are different things. That said, if you have snow stakes, go ahead and try them in sand. They tend to work really well as we’re working with many of the same principles to keep your tent secure. Soft substrate is soft substrate whether that means snow or sand.
What About A Normal Tent Stake?
Obviously normal stakes are easier to come by and you may have some already. These are just not designed for use in loose sand, though. They are not long enough or wide enough to get the grip you need. And they won’t have a short enough spike to dig in, usually.
Many regular tent pegs are thin, narrow and plastic. You need more surface area to handle the job in sand because it allows the sand to hold it more securely. More surface area equals more pressure applied. Also, sand stakes tend to be made of aluminum and steel so they are stronger and more durable, which is something else you want.
If all you have is normal tent pegs, then you should 100% try the dead man technique. Make sure to bury them deep in the sand and pile it back on firmly to hold them steady.
The Bottom Line
There’s no terrain on earth you can’t set up a tent on if you try hard enough. But if you know you’re heading to a place with loose sand then plan accordingly. Remember, even if the stakes are giving you trouble, you can accommodate how you set them up by using rock anchors or planting the stakes as dead man stakes.
Always make sure you have some tools to assist in both driving the stakes in and digging them out again when you’re done. As always, stay safe and have fun.