There are many variations of tent stakes. From the very inexpensive but prone to bending aluminum type to expensive, but light, titanium stakes.
My personal stakes of choice in the past year or so have been:
- MSR Groundhog minis for backpacking. A good, all-purpose tent stake that is somewhat expensive but is light (.35 oz), versatile, sturdy and holds down well. Works well for the off-the beaten path areas I often favor.
- Colghan’s Ultralight tent stakes: The budget alternative for above that happens to be much longer. I use them in my car camping tote. The areas for car camping tends to have harder ground and beats on stakes. Why not use the budget, but still capable, alternative?
But there is a third option. Something I’ve been using for about 5+ years now. An item that is inexpensive, has good holding power, durable, light (.40 oz), and at only $5-$10 for a pack of ten, very affordable: 7″ gutter nails.
The gutter nails are a little more crude than the two previous items above and don’t pull out of the ground quiet as easily. The gutter nails work surprisingly well overall, however.
Along with bank line or paracord, I use gutter nails with the tarp I have stored in the vehicle. Perfect for erecting a sun shade, gear cover or a rain fly when car camping
or doing a bivy on the way to a backpacking destination. If a gutter spike should bend on hard ground, I am out of an item that is inexpensive, easily replaceable and found at any hardware store.
So consider gutter nails as a good, inexpensive, durable, light and very useful alternative to a traditional tent stake.