Matt Johnson

Tips for How to Put in Tent Stakes

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Jul 10, 2022Updated: Dec 13, 2023

When camping, one of the most important things you need to do is set up your tent correctly. One of the most crucial steps in setting up your tent is putting in the stakes. If you don’t put the stakes correctly, your tent could come loose and blow away in the wind.

Here are some tips for putting in tent stakes so your tent will be secure.

Get your tent set up first.

You’ve arrived at your campsite and are ready to get to your site just the way you want. The first thing you need to do is get your tent set up. This will give you a better idea of how to put in your tent stakes and where they need to go.

We’ve previously covered how to set up a tent, so check out that post for more detailed instructions. For now, we’ll go over the basics.

Find a level spot.

The first thing you need to do is find a level spot for your tent. This is important because it will help keep your tent stable and prevent it from tipping.

To keep things cool, find some shade.

Something you might consider is finding some shade for your tent. This can help keep things cooler inside, which can be a relief on hot days.

Clear the area around your tent site.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to clear the area around your site. This means removing any rocks or sticks that could puncture your tent or make it uncomfortable to sleep on.

Tie on the guylines to the stakes.

Now that the structure of your tent is set up, it’s time to secure it with some guylines. You tie these cords to the stakes and stretch out to keep your tent taut and prevent it from blowing away in the wind.

First, tie the guyline to the tent. There are typically eyelets or loops on the tent that you can thread the cord through.

Next, tie the other end of your guyline to the stake using a taut-line hitch. This knot allows you to adjust the cord’s tension, making it as tight or loose as you need.

Now that you have the tent set up and guylines attached, it’s time to put in the tent stakes.

Do you need a hammer for tent stakes?

Before we get into how to put in tent stakes, let’s answer a common question- do you need a hammer? In short, it depends. If you’re using soft ground, like sand, you might not need a hammer. You might need one if you’re using harder ground, like dirt or rocks. It’s always best to err on caution and bring a hammer just in case.

I prefer a mallet because it’s less likely to damage the stakes. If you don’t have a mallet, you can use a rock or anything else that’s heavy and blunt.

Hammer the stakes into the ground.

Stretch the guyline out away from the tent and drive the stake into the ground at a 45-degree angle. We’ll dive into why this is important shortly.

Drive the stake into the ground with your hand until it’s about halfway in. Then, use the mallet to drive it the rest of the way in. If you’re using a rock or something else, be careful not to damage the stake.

Repeat this process for all of the stakes. You typically need four stakes for a single-wall tent and six for a double-wall tent. You may need some more if you have a particularly large or heavy tent.

Now that the stakes are in, it’s time to adjust the tension.

To do this, simply pull on the guylines until the tent is taut. You can loosen or tighten the knot using a taut-line hitch to get the perfect amount of tension.

Once the guylines are tight, your tent should be secure. If you’re using hard ground, it’s a good idea to check the stakes frequently to ensure they’re still secure.

What angle should tent stakes be?

Guyline Attached to Stake in the Ground
Tent stakes, like the one pictured here, should be in the ground at a 45° angle.

There are various schools of thought, but a consensus is that tent stakes should be driven into the ground at a 45-degree angle.

This is because it provides more holding power than if the stake was driven straight. This is especially important on soft ground, like sand, where the stake can easily be pulled out.

The angle isn’t as crucial on hard ground, like dirt or rocks, because the stake is less likely to be pulled out.

Do you have to use tent stakes?

In short, yes. Tent stakes are essential for securing your tent, especially in windy conditions. That being said, there are some situations where you might not need them. For example, if you’re using your tent on a hard surface, like concrete, you might be able to get away with not staking it down.

Another example is if you’re using your tent in an area with many trees. You can tie the guylines to the trees instead of using stakes. Make sure the tree is big and strong enough to support your tent.

And there you have it. You should now know how to put tent stakes in the ground and how to adjust the tension. With these tips, you should be able to keep your tent secure in any conditions.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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