How important is the correct tent peg?

When I started camping my tent arrived with a small bag of tent pegs. They were standard looking things, like a straight skewer with a bent over top. And I went camping and they held the guy lines OK and nothing fell down.

tent pegs and mallet on a lawn

I did bend a couple of the pegs when I hit a rock under the soil surface, but I tossed those away and replaced them with a pack from the pound shop. After all, a tent peg is a tent peg, it's just a thin bit of metal..or it is!?

When I was next off on my adventures the ground was much harder than before and without even hitting a rock I bent some pegs, and the cheap pegs were the worst for bending, so it seemed that all pegs were not created equal.

And then while staying on The Isle of Wight on it's peaty soil, in a rain storm all of the pegs on one side of the tent tugged loose in the night! And how ever much I replaced them, at whatever angle, they slid free again!

This needed some investigation. I started a search both online and in camping shops and began buying different types of tent pegs and trying them in various soils.

And so here I present my findings...

A Basic 18cm roundwire peg is fine for average soil with average or still weather. They need to be placed in the soil at an angle away from the tent as otherwise they will swivel and the guyline can slip off. Ideally they should go all the way into the soil so that both ends touch the groud and fix the guyline firmly. They are easy to bend, especially on rocky ground. They will pull out of loose soil, or soft damp soil very easily. They are useful as marshmallow toasters if you decide not to use them in holding up the tent.

Roundwire pegs are also available in hardened metal. These will be more expensive but much less liable to bend. Halfords have a 'groundhog' tent peg specifically for use in harder ground.

red plastic tent pegs

Plastic tentpegs are the best choice for soft ground. These are what we needed on the Isle of Wight! Thicker and sturdy they could snap if you try to use them in hard ground but their ability to remain firmly in soft or damp soils makes them an essential for your kit.

Steel V tent pegs are constructed from very strong steel. The V shape provides extra security in soft ground and easier insertion into hard ground. They can be rippled for extra grip. They are a great all rounder.

blue bag of tent pegs

You can buy heavy duty pegs for truly hard ground! At 20 cm they should anchor your tent well, they have a pointed end and are all metal construction.

For festivals, where you are camping on land that may go back to livestock when you leave, you can even buy biodegradable pegs in case you lose any - so there will be no harm to the animals (do always remember to dispose of bent and broken pegs safely)

Towsure whose website I've linked to, specialise in trailers and towing, are so are also experts at awnings and therefore tent, fixing. They have a wide range of tent pegs including screw-in rock pegs! (which is why I linked to their site - other tent pegs sites are available LOL)

I see that they even stock a wooden peg! I would imagine this would be excellent in soft soil and I am tempted to try them out - if I do I will report back!

So there is a mini review of pegs, check out the soil where you will be staying and pack pegs accordingly - always take a few of each sort so that you can at least use the correct type for the corners as a minimum.

This is not a sponsored post - but I hope it's been a useful one! 

Fancy chatting about tent pegs (like sad camping obsessive) or other camping stuff, pop over and like my Facebook Page - or tweet me @TentSniffer

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