Which MSR Tent Stake is Right for You?

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By MSR Tent Designer Terry Breaux

Your shelter is only as strong as the stakes that anchor it to the ground. That’s why it’s important to choose a stake that will hold strong in the type of environment you’ll be camping in. We’ve engineered a full line of tent stakes to meet just about any need—from the lightest full-strength stake available to specialty stakes for sand and snow. Here’s a look at each stake’s design and what it’s best for.

Carbon-Core Tent Stake

MSR Carbon Core Tent Stake

This stake has no equal when it comes to weight and strength. Its carbon core shaft is stiff and lightweight, wrapped by an aluminum sheath for durability. Its polycarbonate head is profiled for easily driving into the ground by hand. At less than 6 grams per stake, the Carbon-Core stake is for those times when saving weight is paramount. This stake works best in medium-compact soil, and for securing lightweight 1-2 person tents.

Core Tent Stakes

MSR Core Stakes


Constructed of full 7075 aluminum, the simple and rugged Core Stake was engineered for use in hard ground. Like its ultralight sibling, the Carbon Core, this stake offers high strength and holding power, but brings the added durability of a solid aluminum head to withstand being driven into defiant terrain.

Cyclone Tent Stake

The Cyclone’s spiral design screws the stake into the ground as it is driven in. The deeper it is set the more holding power it develops. This 7050 anodized aluminum stake is best for anchoring in sand and soft soil. The 10” design is also capable of securing large shelters and tarps in soft ground in windy environments.

Groundhog Tent Stake

MSR Groundhog Tent Stake

Originally introduced in 1989, our most popular stake was updated in 2013.

Our best for all-around use, the Groundhog is an extruded tri-beam design that is strong and holds well in most ground conditions. 7075 anodized aluminum makes this stake one of our strongest and most corrosion-resistant. At 7.5” it is long enough to secure most large tents, but at 13g it is barely noticeable in your pack. It is best for situations where the ground is firm or rocky, requiring you to drive this rugged stake in with something other than your hand.

Mini Groundhog Tent Stake

MSR Mini Groundhog Stake

A smaller version of our durable Groundhog stake, the Mini strikes a good balance between lightweight and durability and is good when the ground is firm.

Blizzard Tent Stake

MSR Blizzard Tent Stake

In our line since 1999, the Blizzard stake offers a great ratio of weight to holding power. Its 9.5” length and broad surface are perfect for snow and soft sand. It can be used as a traditional stake or girth-hitched and used as a deadman in snow or sand for ultimate holding. When you are in severe conditions and you can’t risk a stake failure this is the stake to use.

Dart Stakes

These lightweight, all-purpose tent stakes are constructed of strong ABS engineered plastic for reliable performance at a great value. They feature an anodized aluminum tip and are best for use in soft ground and soil.

MSR Dart Stake

ToughStake® Snow and Sand Tent Stakes

MSR ToughStakes

Thanks to their unique shape and self-diving design, ToughStake tent stakes deliver 10x the holding power of standard stakes. When tension is placed on their cable, they dive deeper into loose conditions, like sand and snow, and their spade head locks them into place. Made of strong, aircraft-grade aluminum, these beefy—yet lightweight—stakes are rock-solid in sand and snow, and are perfect for tarps and larger shelters, even in challenging conditions.