Sand Stakes for Tents & Shelters

Does anyone know where I can buy LONG sand stakes for my 19’ MSR Prawing tarp shelter? I need something that is at least 24" long and wide enough to actually hold the shelter when used on sandbars in stiff winds. I’ve researched a lot of the usual sources such as REI, NRS, and Campmor but have found only relative short or skinny stakes.



Why 24 inches long needed?

How important is compact storage?
If you don’t mind a little bulk the best sand stakes I’ve ever used are wooden ones you can buy for a song at any building-supply place and a lot of hardware stores. The ones I use are roughly 3/4" x 1.5" and 20 to 22 inches long. If you scrape away the loose sand to expose a damp surface, and pound these in all the way, you won’t be able to pull them out the next morning; you’ll have to dig around them first. Best of all, you can get about 20 of them for the same price as two or three sand stakes from an big-box outdoor store. These days I don’t ever consider using anything else. You’ve really got to hammer them to make them go in, but that’s one reason they hold so well. They start to crack and chip at the top after a while, but so what - they’re dirt-cheap and you can get more.

Necessity …

– Last Updated: Jul-14-07 6:00 PM EST –

Necessity is mother of invention.

Had same problem last year on Wisconsin river trip.

My solution: I took several stuff sacks, and the tent pole bag, filled them with sand, and laid them on top of the stakes I was using. It worked. The sand is there to use, and a few nylon stuff sacks, or actual sand bags are cheap, light weight, and take up very little space.


Get some mountaineering snow pickets
tie into them, then bury them. 24" is a common size.

Use sand anchors instead
They’re fabric pouches with attachment lines that you bury in the sand. They weight practically nothing and take up little space, plus you can make them yourself.

anchors away

– Last Updated: Jul-14-07 11:36 PM EST –

Sand Anchors:

They work great.

Or, try these: click on 'accessories' and find the SST pins (Sand, Snow, Tundra). They have some up to 32". Or you could just make some of these yourself.

arrow shaft stakes
actual arrow shafts, topped with a loose ring

(why make your own when you can buy!)

If you are good with your hands and power tools, what about splitting a 1.5" PVC pipe? You can drill the PVC and attachs hooks or lines. I thought about doing this for Florida beach camping.

I saw the sand bags on the Campmore site and thought this is the better alternative. As previously mentioned they weigh next to nothing and take up no space.

Sand Stakes for Tents & Shelters
Thanks, everyone, for the great ideas concerning functional sand stakes for my MSR Parawing. I knew I could count on folks who use!

Best wishes to all of you.


Ditto the above
I actually cut out slits for the rope 2" from the top. It has held in 30+ mph winds down on the coast camping on the beach of a barrier island. They are bulky but work well. They are a pain to dig out the next day but its nice to know everything will stay put even in high winds where the sand is battering the tent.

Plus like guideboat said they are really cheap.

Arrow shaft material is too weak
It will bend and/or break under any serious side load. Arrow shaft stakes will also pull out easily, since they will flex toward the load and have a very slick surface.

I used to own an archery shop and have a box full of scrap shafts that I use for various purposes. I wouldn’t even consider using them for tent stakes.

Army Surplus
You can get some good ones cheap at the army surlus

Deadman anchors
without using those sand anchors as linked above, you might be able to use deadman anchors, using sticks, poles, or some other kind of long object. Take the stick, tie the tent guyout about halfway and bury the stick as much as you can parallel to the ground and use it as an anchor…


Yep, that works great too. nm

sand anchors
i use in coastal Everglades is some plain plastic grocery bags (very lightweight) double up per anchor and fill with sand. Bury it with handle up so you can tie off then cover with more sand. Works in up to 40 mph winter front winds.

metal dog tie-outs
We use metal dog tie-outs (where the bottom part is spiral-shaped) to stake shade tents & camping tents in sandy soil or on the beach. Pros: Cheap & generally hold well. Con: Ends are sharp, so file them down so you don’t cut yourself.

Why not make them???
using #4 rebar. You can buy #4 rebar at Home Depot in 2 & 4 foot lengths. Use a torch to heat and bend the end to make a “L” and then you can sharpen the sand end. Cheap!!!

Website for Al tubing…

They’ve got Al 2024 T3 and 6061 T6 in tubing and sell by the foot. 2024 T3 is stronger and lighter of the two. Great overall site for learning about metals and what’s available. I’m making another tipi tent with woodstove inside held up by a single center pole and order several ‘nesting’ (OD of one tube is just undre the ID of the next larger size so they slide inside each other for compactness) diameters of Al tubing from them for an extendable, compact center pole. You name it, they’ve pretty much got it.