Gear Review: Toughstake Sand and Snow Stakes
An innovative design that is a must have for camping in sand and snow.
UPDATE 2/9/2017: It looks like MSR has acquired the Toughstake design and is now selling them through their website and other online retailers (a 4 pack will now run you $39.95). Some information in the post may not be entirely up to date, but the design and quality looks relatively unchanged as of this update, so my recommendation for the stakes hasn't changed.
The most common solution for anchoring your tent in sand or snow involves filling and burying an anchor bag, a time consuming process that will have you digging holes like a dog who's lost his bone. Done improperly, and you're likely to find your tent taking flight during that late night thunderstorm. Other tent stake solutions can be bulky and ineffective in a windy environment.
Toughstake offers a unique design that is simple to use and effective at keeping your tent in place. The stakes resemble small spades, with a small opening at the wide end where a guy wire can attach. The nesting design and tough but light aluminum construction makes packing the Toughstakes an afterthought.
Better yet, Toughstakes couldn't be easier to use. After attaching the guy wire to the bottom of the stake, simply drive the Toughstake into the sand, angled so the guy wire extends at a 45 degree angle. So you won’t forget, a picture of the ideal positioning is printed on the top of each Toughstake.
Properly staked, the guy wire, thin enough to slice through the sand or snow to pull taut, extends to the low point of the stake. This Deep Anchor Tension System, as Toughstake calls it, is what gives the set up its incredible holding power. While I used Toughstakes for my tent, anything needing to be anchored to sand or snow would benefit from the system.
I paired my Toughstakes with a set of Nite Ize Figure 9 rope tighteners to secure my tent's stake-out points (or anything else I might be anchoring). They can be set up and tautened in seconds. Otherwise use a length of cord and a taut-line hitch knot.
I didn't think I could love tent stakes this much. If you've ever struggled to anchor your tent on a windy stretch of dunes, Toughstakes are the solution. Their easy to use design and stormproof reliability will erase any apprehension about setting up camp on a breezy beach.
-Pick up a set of 4 small 9" Toughtstake stakes at toughstake.com for $30. Medium and large designs are also available in both aluminum and stainless steel for even more serious anchoring needs.