Whether you lost your tent stakes, left them at home, or simply need to secure your tent to the ground without staking it, we have a few alternative methods for you.
We asked seasoned tent campers what their go-to tent staking alternative is and came up with 3 of the best ways to secure your tent.
Let’s jump right in!
3 Ways to Secure a Tent Without Stakes
To secure a tent without stakes, you can weigh the tent down with rocks or logs, tie the tent to a tree or heavy object, or make your own tent stakes using sticks.
Which option you choose will depend on what’s available to you when you’re out camping.
Let’s take a closer look at these options and learn how to best utilize each.
Related: Do Tents Come With Stakes?
Weigh the Tent Down
The first, and the most popular answer we got from fellow campers, is to weigh the tent down.
Essentially, you’ll want to gather rocks, logs, or firewood from around the campsite and use them as tent weights to secure the tent firmly to the ground.
The same concept is used to secure a canopy tent, gazebo, or a tent indoors to the ground where a stake isn’t applicable. The only difference is in those cases, they typically use special tent weight bags or sandbags, whereas we are using what we can find in nature.
There are a few ways you can use these objects to weigh your tent down:
- If long enough, you can tie the stake loops around the rock or log. In my experience, however, stake loops are rarely long enough to do this.
- Place the rocks or logs along the outside edge of the tent. This is a little harder on the tent material but is effective. You’ll want to be sure there are no sharp or pointy edges on the logs or rocks that could puncture the tent body.
- Place the rocks or logs inside the tent around the perimeter (or at least in the corners). Again, make sure the tent weights are of uniform shape and don’t have any sharp or pointy edges. And be sure they are bug and dirt-free if you take them into your tent.
The best part about this method is it requires no extra gear, just a few things you can easily find out in nature!
And it works on any surface, from cement to sand.
Weighing a tent down is the best way to secure a tent on concrete and other hard ground since it allows you to secure the tent without piercing the floor. With enough weight, the tent should easily stay in place in high winds and bad storms.
Related: Best Tent Stakes for High Winds
Tie the Tent Down
Securing a tent without stakes can also be done by anchoring your tent to a large object like trees, bushes, or even your vehicle if you can park near your campsite.
It’s also my preferred method for securing a tent to a deck, as you can simply tie each stake loop to a deck board.
How to Tie a Tent Down
- You’ll need at least two anchor points to securely tie your tent down. And preferably more. If you just tie one corner of your tent to a tree it will still potentially blow over and/or rip.
- You can use your tent’s stake loops as tie points on the tent. Again the more tie points you use, the more secure your tent will be.
- If you can only find one anchor point, position your tent as close as possible to it. The less line between the tent and anchor point the more secure it’ll be.
Tip: You can combine this method with weighing your tent down for an even more effective way to secure your tent.
The downsides to this method are that 1) you’ll need rope, and 2) you’ll need multiple anchor points. But, if you have both, it’s an effective solution.
DIY Tent Stakes
Another effective option to secure a tent if you don’t have traditional stakes is to make your own wooden tent stakes!
So, how do you make a tent stake?
- Find and gather some sticks. You’ll want your sticks to be about a foot long and you’ll want at least one per stake loop on your camping tent.
- Using a knife, whittle a point on one end of the stick.
- On the other end carve out a notch to fasten the guy line to.
- Finally, near the pointy end, create several cuts in the stick. This will help the stake stay in the ground in strong winds.
Here’s a quick video showing you the exact step-by-step process.
While this is an effective method (that’s rather fun to do), you’ll need a knife, access to the right-sized sticks, and rope to secure the tent to the stakes. You’ll also need to be on soft enough ground that the homemade tent pegs will go in without breaking. It can be difficult to use this method on hard, rocky ground.
So, those are the three most popular and effective ways to secure a tent without stakes. Again, not every method is perfect for every situation, so choose the one that works best for you.
Do You Need to Stake Your Tent?
You typically don’t need to stake a tent in mild weather conditions. However, wind gusts can be unpredictable and could easily damage your tent if it’s not staked or weighed down. So, while stakes may not be needed, they’re always a good idea to prevent your tent from being blown away or damaged.
Check out our guide on how to use tent stakes for tips to stake a tent on different types of ground (sand, snow, soft soil, etc.). And be sure you get the right stakes with our guide to the best tent stakes for every situation!