How to Stake a Tent Down:
For living in a tent, or long term camping, jump to #8
- Once your tent is laid out, depending on the specific tent you need to either stake or insert the poles first. Yes, it matters which order these happen in. Yes, the instructions sometimes have it backwards. Basically, when your tent is set up and you notice uneven bunching in the top or floor, remember to switch the order next time (if the floor is only bunching in waves, you probably didn’t pull your tent tight enough when staking it down).
- Determine which corner of your tent absolutely cannot be shifted around while staking. This could be the highest corner, ensuring your elevation. It could be the corner closest to your fire pit, making sure it doesn’t get pulled closer to it. It could be because of a pothole or animal dwelling or stream. Whatever the reason is, stake down that corner first with this technique:
- Take your stake and angle the top of the stake away from the tent. The stake top should be facing you with the bottom of the stake at a 45-degree angle to the ground, towards the tent. Stake it down to the ground so any sudden wind won’t pull your tent entirely away. Use this stake angle for the first stake in every location.
- Stake down the corner diagonal to the first. Grab the corner of the tent and start to lightly pull. If it moves a lot, slide yourself backwards and keep pulling until it feels stable. Avoid over-pulling or you could damage your tent when you lift the top. It takes a little bit to get the feel, and every tent feels just a tiny bit different, but you’ll get it. Make sure you are pulling directly opposite from the corner you staked. You want the shape of your tent to hold, and avoid unnecessary stressors on any sections or parts. Stake it down to the ground.
- Once these two corners are down tight, do the other corners. If you tent has more than four corners use assistance to keep the sides and floor as straight as possible.
- Stake down any other loops connected to the floor, except for the “welcome mat”. Even stake down the supply closet, if it has one.
- Connect your poles and raise your tent. Add your fly and any other tarps, keeping the grounding stakes at that same angle.
- If you are expecting winds, or a very damp ground, or are going to be staying in that location for more than a week or two, add another round of stakes to all the anchoring locations (corners, fly, tarp corners, etc). However, face these stakes in a different direction than the first set. For most locations, it can simply be the opposite direction from the first. Or, add two cross-wise from the first for better stability in storming conditions. This will help decrease the likelihood of your stakes coming out of the ground and, in particularly windy conditions, poking holes in your tent and whatever/whomever they hit.
- If any of your stakes stop going into the ground while hammering, or start having an echoing sound/feel, pull the stake back up (might take some effort) and adjust until you can get it close to the ground. The stake stopping is usually because you’ve hit a rock. The echoing feel is generally a tree root. Hammer on the sides, switching sides occasionally, and it may help loosen it. If it is a particularly large root and well and truly stuck, don’t expect to get your stake back.
For what kind of stakes to use, please see here.
Have you had any situations where you needed to get inventive with your stakes? Do you have a preferred type of stake? Mine are the steel tent stakes. Every time I lose one to nature, I’m able to pull up two others someone else missed.
Leave a comment and let me know!
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