Scramble Header Logo

Best Tent Pegs (For Various Conditions)

Clamcleats Alloy Y and Titan Titanium Pegs in the Snow

A Tent Peg Arsenal for Almost All Conditions

Preface

As always, we're looking at this collection of tent pegs (stakes) from the point of view of long distance solo trekking over challenging terrain. This will be most relevant to those who use tarps, hooped bivvies or lightweight solo tents. For an idea of where we're coming from see our companion post "Reasons To Go Modular".

For this outline we're going to depart from our normal format. Here we're covering five different tent pegs to mix and match to suit ground conditions and the type of shelter to be used. We've averaged the individual ratings and provide an overall rating for the collection as a whole, since the pegs are intended to work together.

Test items: Various
Kit Tests: Winter, Summer
Disclaimer: None required (items not provided by manufacturers)


Contents

 

Introduction

Ultralight backpackers are very fond of materials like aluminium alloys, titanium and carbon fibre for their excellent strength to weight ratios. But when it comes to manufacturing effective tent pegs, though these materials will make them lighter, they won't necessarily make them ultralight.

Pushed too far, the urge to shave off every possible extra gram will handicap function to such a degree that all you're really left with is an impressive yarn about how lightweight your gear is (just don't mention the fact that it doesn't work very well).

In our experience, the point at which a tent peg ceases to be of value (i.e. is no longer really a tent peg), regardless of the material, is around the 7g and below mark.

Outdoor forums are awash with ultralight backpackers shaving off a few extra grams and then airing their frustrations that 4g of miraculous titanium couldn't take a pounding, or disappeared in a bog or blew away on a zephyr (usually the former). When it comes to tent pegs, there's certainly room for weight savings, there's just a hard limit, that's all.

A Hard Knock Life

Baked ground can be very tough and if you have to use a large rock to get your peg into the ground then consider using the rock itself as an anchor instead (or a tree). In such cases a couple of heavy duty titanium nail pegs used for just the critical attachment points may suffice. We don't include this kind of peg in our review below, as the Scramble team have collectively got away (to date) without them, preferring instead a more versatile option (see below). More challenging than hard ground in my experience is saturated marshy ground, sand and deep snow.

A Few Good Pegs

Finally, when it comes to tarps and hooped bivvies, rather than downsize the peg, it's worth considering which attachment points are critical and only peg those points, but use effective pegs to do so. A few serious tent pegs is often far better than an army of trivial ones.
 

Strength, penetration and surface area

What gives tent pegs their holding power is penetration and surface area. A good tent peg will provide both of these (to varying degrees) without bending or breaking when set in place.

Titanium is not a miracle metal. There are some applications where its strength to weight ratio makes it a far superior metal to aluminium alloys, cooking pots, bowls and windshields are a few examples.

Titanium is 0.6 times more dense (i.e. heavier) than aluminium but 2 times stronger. So if you made two identically designed tent pegs, the titanium one would be 60% heavier. Traditionally titanium gets its ultralight credentials from the fact that you need less of it to achieve the same strength, but with tent pegs we don't necessarily want less of it - in fact we generally want more of it.

Tent pegs need to be strong and unyielding; when you shave off a sufficient volume of titanium to achieve a meaningful weight reduction you end up with something that is structurally compromised; either too thin or too short to be of practical value on anything but ideal ground.

Where titanium does have a role in tent peg design is where you want greater strength - i.e. where it's competing not so much with aluminium alloy as with steel. Steel is approximately twice as dense as titanium, so an equivalent high strength titanium peg will be half the weight of its steel counterpart.
 

Scramble's Recommended Tent Pegs / Stakes

We use and recommend 5 types of tent pegs for use with tarps and hooped bivvies (but this should be relevant for solo tent users too) and interchange them depending on location and conditions:
 

1. All-Round Tent Peg

Clamcleats Alloy Y Tent Peg

Clamcleat Alloy Y Tent Peg

Materials & Prices

Materials: Anodised Aluminium Alloy 100%
Pack Quantity (Pegs per Pack // Sold separately?) 6 // no
Manufacturer RRP (Pack Price / Pack Unit Price) £6.12 / £1.02*
* Clamcleat's standard discounted price (Pack Price / Pack Unit Price) £4.90 / £0.82
Scramble's Price per Unit on SYSTEM (all tent pegs are available individually + lower shipping costs) £0.89

Available on SYSTEM


 

Summary

The best all-round tent pegs we've come across (in terms of our standard measures of function, value etc.) are Clamcleat's Alloy Y pegs. They're very similar to the MSR Ground Hogs and weigh a little less and cost a quarter of the price of the outrageously pricey Hilleberg Y-Pegs.

Suitable for most types of ground (between the very hard and soft extremes), they're robust (we've yet to have one deform or buckle), hold well and offer good penetration. I use two of these for the guylines on the G-Mod 35 and most often carry two more for the hooped bivvy for when I need it pegged down securely. These pegs are the mainstay around which the other lighter and heavier duty pegs combine to suit conditions. Excellent performance for a price that should shame most of the serious competition. 

 


2. Non-Critical Utility Peg

The Robens Ultralite Tent Stake

Robens Ultralite Tent Stake

Materials & Prices

Materials: 6061 Anodised Aluminium Alloy 100%
Pack Quantity (Pegs per Pack // Sold separately?) 6 // no
Manufacturer RRP (Pack Price / Pack Unit Price) £6.00 / £1.00

Manufacturer's Page


 

Summary

For non-critical (by critical we mean where a shelter would collapse if it came loose) attachment points, where you require something pegged for convenience (i.e. to stop it blowing around), we recommend the Robens "Ultralite" Stake. They're not really ultralight at 9g, but they are strong, easy to see, and due to their compact, sloped head design, ideal for areas close to the shelter where you might lean on them (nothing like a tent peg to rip your expensive insulated jacket).

These pegs are very similar to MSR Needle Stakes, a fraction lighter and about 1.5cm shorter. The stock images make them look beefier than they actually are - the body of the peg is a long rectangular cuboid, 5mm deep. These pegs are more limited than the Clamcleat Y pegs and don't have the same steadfast hold, but they certainly have a role to play, keeping the overall weight down while complimenting the heavier duty pegs in this review.

 


3. Critical Anchor Points (Deep Penetration: Mixed, Hard & Rocky Ground)

Clamcleat's Titan Titanium Peg

Clamcleat Titan Titanium Tent Peg

Materials & Prices

Materials: Titanium 100%
Pack Quantity (Pegs per Pack // Sold separately?) 1 // yes
Manufacturer RRP (Unit Price) £3.66 *
* Clamcleat's standard discounted price (Unit Price) £3.10
Scramble's Price per Unit on SYSTEM (all tent pegs are available individually + lower shipping costs) £3.10

Available on SYSTEM


 

Summary

These pegs work extremely well with a tarp and are particularly handy on mixed, rocky and very hard ground. The Titan peg is something of a beast, verging on the indestructible, it provides excellent deep penetration and works on pretty much anything except sand, deep snow and water-logged marsh (although I have managed to get by with them on pretty marshy ground).

With the G-Mod 35 tarp (in most conditions) we use two of these, at the corners likely to take the biggest hit from the wind.

The hook design allows you to drive the peg very deep on sludgy, moist soil. The pegs are easily recovered by tracing back the guy lines or attachment loops. We generally attach these to the high retraction cord loops of the tarp which helps reduce strain on the DAC pole in high winds. Although the equally tough Spear peg would be a better bet if pitching only on baked hard rocky ground (say in Africa), the Titan's hook design makes it a better all-rounder.

 


4. Critical Anchor Points (Large Surface Area: Mixed Ground, Wet Or Loose Soil & Snow)

Clamcleat's Tornado Titanium V Peg

Clamcleat Tornado Titanium V Peg

Materials & Prices

Materials: Titanium 100%
Pack Quantity (Pegs per Pack // Sold separately?) 1 // yes
Manufacturer RRP (Unit Price) £3.66 *
* Clamcleat's standard discounted price (Unit Price) £3.10
Scramble's Price per Unit on SYSTEM (all tent pegs are available individually + lower shipping costs) £3.10

Available on SYSTEM


 

Summary

Designed to anchor shelters in high winds when snow or sandy ground may be encountered. The Tornado pegs are extraordinarily tough and can be driven into very hard ground without buckling, but they come into their own when you need a reliable anchor in moist ground, loose soil or snow. We always carry one of these for use with the Bush Cocoon hooped bivvy and if we're expecting a good covering of snow will swap out the Titans with these for tarp use.

If you venture off the beaten path there will be times when the gradient, ground conditions, wind speed and pitching space is far from ideal. A recent example where the Tornado peg showed its worth was during the 2018 winter kit test. In near darkness, the only place I could find to pitch my Bush Cocoon (hooped bivvy) was a narrow, angled ledge that pointed down toward a freezing river about 50 feet below. The ground was a mix of snow, icy mud and rock. To avoid sliding into the river. I planted my ice axe at the foot of the bivvy (at the end of the ledge) and used a Tornado peg at the head-end to anchor me to the slope.

There are times when you really need to be buckled in and when it really matters, I'd rather have a 19g titanium peg with a large surface area and good penetration, than an UL 4g needle. I slept well, didn't dream of drowning and when I woke I wasn't sailing down a freezing river in a hooped body bag.

 


5. Critical Anchor Points (Large Surface Area: Deep Snow & Sand)

The MSR Blizzard Stake

MSR Blizzard Stake

Materials & Prices

Materials: 7075-T6 Anodised Aluminum Alloy 100%
Pack Quantity (Pegs per Pack // Sold separately?) 4 // yes *
Manufacturer RRP (Pack Price / Pack Unit Price / Solo Price *) £20.00 / £5.00 / £5.50

Manufacturer's Page


 

Summary

If you know you're going to be pitching in deep snow or on sandy dunes then you'll likely need a few pegs with a larger than normal surface area like MSR's Blizzard stakes. These work well in conjunction with your ice axe and can be buried deep in the snow to function as a deadman anchor.

It's worth noting that when a snow stake is placed at a 25 degree angle to the perpendicular it gains about 40% in holding strength. Interestingly according to French Mountain Rescue tests, it turns out (rather counter-intuitively) that placing the curved face < ( toward the direction of pull performs better than the inverse < ).

 

Conclusion & Rating

Having used and tested the Clamcleat tent pegs for a good number of years we rate them very highly. What they don't offer is a good light utility peg and the Robens tent stake does this job very well. We prefer this hooked fatter design over the often favoured "pin pegs" that many employ as their "utility" option. Rounding out the ensemble are the popular (for good reason) Blizzard stakes by MSR, an essential item for anyone pitching their shelter on sandy dunes or snow swept peaks.

My personal arsenal of tens pegs comprises:

  • 6 x Clamcleat Alloy Y Pegs
  • 6 x Robens Ultralite Stakes
  • 2 x Cleamcleat Titan Titanium Pegs
  • 3 x Cleamcleat Tornado Titanium V Pegs
  • 2 x MSR Blizzard Stakes

Which at current prices would cost around £30.

 

Product Images

 

Rating (out of 10)

The official rating is the combined average ratings of all the pegs. For the sake of transparency we've put our individual ratings into a table:

Tent Peg Function Durability Weight Value Overall Rating
Clamcleat Alloy Y Peg 8.5 8.0 7.5 9.0 8.3
Robens Ultralite Stake 7.5 7.0 8.5 9.0 8.0
Cleamcleat Titan Titanium Hook Peg 8.0 9.0 6.5 9.0 8.1
Cleamcleat Tornado Titanium V Peg 9.0 9.0 6.5 9.5 8.5
MSR Blizzard Stakes 9.0 8.0 7.5 8.0 8.1


Overall Rating (Rounded Values)

Function
 
8.5
Durability
 
8.0
Weight
 
7.5
RRP Value *
 
9.0
OVERALL RATING
 
8.3


* The value score is derived from two factors:
1) Competitive Market Price (CMP). This represents our judgement of a competitive online price point if we were to stock the item. e.g. if we feel we would need to sell an item at 40% off (i.e. 60% of its full RRP) to be competitive, then our CMP score will be 6/10.
2) Customer Value Price (CVP). We then make an honest appraisal of the maximum price we would be willing to pay for the item (and we're mean). So if we'd pay 80% of its RRP our CVP score would be 8/10.
We then average the two scores to get our final value score, which in our example would be 7/10.

 

 

Last Updated: 13/04/18



Baselayers Icon
ctive Outer Layers Icon
Insulated Outer Layers Icon
Waterproofs Icon
Extremities Icon
Sleepwear Icon
Load Carry Icon
Shelter Icon
Other Equipment Icon