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Reviews > Shelters > Shelter Accessories > Toughstake tent stakes > Owner Review by Jeff Ruhle

June 21, 2011



NAME: Jeff Ruhle
AGE: 24
LOCATION: Winter Park, Colorado, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

I developed a love for backpacking while spending the semester abroad in New Zealand. I enjoy playing games and seeing how little I can pack to keep my pack light, however, I always pack a lot of food. My favorite terrain is steep, rugged, alpine terrain with more vertical and less horizontal. Living in New England, I find a lot of this terrain since the trail makers don't seem to make many switchbacks. I also am highly involved with a large number of other outdoor activities like skiing, kayaking, climbing, and biking. Generally, I like to push my comfort zone.



The Toughstakes
Manufacturer: Toughstake
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: Small - US$19.99, Medium - US$34.99, Large - US$39.99
Listed Weight: Small -1.18 oz (33.45 g), Medium - 4.2 oz (119 g), Large - 7.0 oz (198 g)
Measured Weight: Small -1.2 oz (34.02 g), Medium - 4.2 oz (119 g), Large - 7.2 oz (204 g)
Color: Dark Satin Orange
Material: 6061 T6 Aluminum


The Toughstakes (from herein referred to as '"stakes") arrived in fairly simple packaging. The sets of small and medium stakes arrived bound together with a nylon zip-tie and the large one arrived separately in a bubble-lined envelope. The metal cables were just floating around in the box. In a rough shipping environment, this may cause some surface marks, but the stakes I got appeared to be unscathed.

You can see they are relatively thin
The stakes themselves appear to be made of a fairly thick sheet aluminum. The small stakes are made with a thinner aluminum than the medium and large stakes, but still seem fairly flex resistance and I feel confident that they will not break as I try to shovel them into sand or snow. The wire guys seem just as durable, with one end having a metal stopper molded directly into the wire and the other end looped and crimped around a metal ring. My only concern is that these wires, like almost all wires, might begin to fray after a while, causing dangerously sharp pieces of protruding metal. I suppose we will just have to see how they hold up to use.

My other concern is one of functionality. I am fairly sure these will hold well in sand, but here in the High Rockies, we get some very light fluffy snow. It will be interesting to see if even the large stake will effectively hold against high winds in this type of snow. It is spring, however, so we are getting heavy, wet, and cohesive spring snow, so I may never actually be able to test this out.

Functionality aside, they are fairly attractive pieces of hardware. I find the anodized orange finish quite attractive. There is also a little diagram at the top of each and every stake showing the correct positioning of the stake and included with, with a phrase telling you "tent this side." These are such simple devices, and with the included diagram, I feel it would be very hard to misuse these. However, I did read somewhere that you should not pound these in, but push them in by hand. I imagine there will be several people who try to pound these in and end up ruining them.


Things I like:
-Ingenios design that will keep me from having to scavenge for rocks and sticks to set up deadman anchors
-Solid construction
-Relatively lightweight
-The look great

Things I don't like:
-The included wires look like they may fray over time.



These Toughstakes were primarily used on a three week trip out to Utah. During that time, we visited the areas near Moab, Canyonlands National Park, and Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. They saw the most use in Canyonlands and Escalante, as we were not backcountry camping in Moab, and the camp sites were filled in with a material that was far to hard to the stakes. In general, the weather does not matter much for these stakes, except for wind. There was definitely several night where it was extremely windy.

I also did test these out in snow outside my building, just to see how they would fare. But I did not actually get a chance to use them in the snow backcountry.


In my opinion, these stakes seems to do their job quite well. Just trying these out and sinking them into sand or snow, I tested how much I could pull on them before they broke loose. I was quite surprised with how much resistance they provided. I wish I had some way to measure this, but I do not have a hanging scale or anything similar. Even after a night in very loose sand with high winds, they had not budged by morning.

That being said, you do need a loose material that is several inches deep to use these stakes. You are not supposed to pound them in with anything, as I assume this would bend them. But pressing them into anything even slightly firm is quite hard, and even painful with something that thin pressing into your palm. At one campsite in the Escalante region, the surface was very loose but it apparently got harder an inch or two underneath. We had trouble getting in even the smallest stakes, yet the regular stakes would not stay in place for any extended period of time. Luckily it was right off the road, so we were able to park the car in front of the tent as a wind-block and anchor.

There were two minor problems I have had with these. The first was that they were fairly easy to bend. I got up in the middle of the night to relieve myself, and accidentally kicked one of the stakes. In the morning I found that it had been nearly bent all the way down to the ground. To me, however, this is not really a big deal, as I have several normal tent stakes that are far more flimsy than these. You just need to exercise some caution. The second problem I had, which I mentioned in the Initial Report was the fraying of the wire guys that attach to the stakes. I have already had one of the wires stick me, and they are still quite new. I think these would be much better if coated with a thin layer of some durable plastic.


Things I like:
-Ingenius design that will keep me from having to scavenge for rocks and sticks to set up deadman anchors
-Solid construction for the size
-Relatively lightweight
-The look great
-They have handled every load they have been put against

Things I don't like:
-The included wires have started to fray relatively early in the testing.
-They are difficult, if not impossible, to get into anything but very loose material
-They will bend if kicked or stepped on

I would like to thanks Toughstake and for the opportunity to test this wonderful product. Please come back in two months for my Final Report.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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