Tent and Awning Pegs
Veteran campers may be shocked by just how many types of pegs are available these days, so we thought we’d take a look at the range, to help you secure your campsite on any kind of ground.
Humble awning and tent pegs have been the focus of a huge amount of research and development in recent years. It wasn’t long ago that a bit of bent wire or simple bar was all anyone would consider. These were easily damaged, expendable, and didn’t work well in some terrain types. With specialist versions now available for every situation, let’s take a look at what’s out there and the right use for each.
Your standard hammer-in tent pegs usually have a large head design to be easily hammered into the ground. Generally made with standard grade polypropylene (versatile, durable and lightweight) and high impact polycarbonate (stronger and more durable) these days.
While a little bulky, they are light and great for soft ground. They have both a hook and loop on the end, and are rounded on the top and plastic, so they won’t hurt if tripped over. They come in a range of sizes and are very affordable.
These are ideally used for soft ground or sand. Their larger surface area will hold pressure from guy ropes well, and they tend to be cheap and widely available. The downsides are they can be difficult to pull out of the ground when leaving camp, and the need to hammer them in means being careful to avoid injury.
Snow and some types of sand or soil can cause standard sand pegs to fail, which is where screw pegs come in. As the name implies, these are designed like a screw, driven into the ground with a cordless drill or a socket wrench.
They’re perfect for sand, soft or wet soil, snow, or even underwater. Their added grip strength means multiple lines can be tied to a single peg, and they’re easy to set up and remove, with the right tools. Without those tools, however, screw pegs can’t be used at all. They’re also unsuitable for hard soil and tend to be on the expensive side.
Key Head Pegs
Key head pegs are simply a straight length of metal with a bent section at the top to create a hook for guy lines. These are the simplest and cheapest pegs on the market. They’re useful in hard, rocky soil, but don’t do very well in soft, wet or sandy ground.
Angle Steel Pegs
These pegs are designed to anchor awnings and tents in extreme conditions, with the hook securing either a trace spring or a rope. Once they’re in the ground, they’re less likely to twist. Their strength allows them to hold down heavy loads, such as large tarps or shelters in high wind. Angle steel pegs are suitable for the hardest soils, though they can be difficult to get into rocky ground, and as a very specialised item they suit other types of terrain poorly. They’re also the most expensive type of pegs on the market.
Sand and Snow Pegs
These pegs, as the name implies, are specifically designed for sand and snow. The curved stake has a number of holes that help to increase holding power, especially in snow. The folded top allows for easy striking into the ground. They also stack neatly together into limited storage space, good for small vehicles or trailers. Their downsides are that their use is limited in other terrain types, and that they are pretty expensive.
Ground Anchor Pegs
This design of pegs are ideal for when camping with children or older members of the family as they lay flat to the ground, rather than poke up. They also provide a strong hold on your tent or awning. They’re made for solid dirt and soil, not soft sand, and are very easy to place in the ground and remove.
Choosing the Right Peg
The ground you intend to camp on is the most important consideration when picking awning and tent pegs. The softer the ground, the bigger the surface area the pegs need to maintain their grip.
The best pegs for sand are ones that are typically longer so that they can reach into firmer ground, many having ridges and notches to hold them in place. As a tip, when camping in sandy areas, scoop off the dry, loose sand to expose the densely packed sand underneath and start your pegging from there.
Regardless of which peg you choose, make sure to hammer or screw them into the ground on a 45-degree angle to the ground, as this gives them greater holding strength.
In terms of how many to bring, carry enough that you can tie down everything that will fly in the wind, whether it be your tent, awning or loose gear, including enough for those additional guy lines on your tent for when it’s windy. It’s always recommended that you bring additional pegs to the ones that come with your gear, as the ones provided are often very basic and will only work in average conditions.
Some pegs are easy to remove, especially screw-in pegs, while others are a struggle. If you have the spare room and weight available, pick up a peg puller. With that you can stand holding the T-handle with the peg puller hooked into the peg and pull it out using your legs, not your back. A more expensive option are the pullers that work on leverage, where you tuck the side bar under the head of the peg and place the pivot point on the ground. Stand on the outer end of the lever and the peg comes right out.
While the prices can add up, it’s a good idea to have a range of pegs for different types of soil or sand conditions, so that you’re ready for wherever your adventures may take you.