High Stakes Tent Anchors

| June 17, 2008

Getting your tent shredded by wind or snow is an educational experience you only need to do once to appreciate how bad it is.  They don’t just kind of explode, but go in a chain reaction of snapping poles and ripping fabric which leaves you wrapped in a cocoon of nylon and sharp aluminum pole ends.  Fun!

Most good quality tents can take very high winds if they are secured properly, which can be problematic in soft snow.  A good trick is to use those worthless looking little stakes which often come with tents, but instead of driving them in like nails, bury them as mini deadman anchors and attach them to the tent with a length of accessory cord.


6-10 eight-inch aluminum tent stakes
6-10 forty-eight inch lengths of 3mm accessory cord.

Tie the cord into loops with a Fisherman’s knot.


Girth hitch the accessory cord loops to the tent loops.  I usually leave them on the tent.

 Girth Hitch to tent end.

Girth hitch the other end of the accessory cord to the tent stake.


 Girth hitch the stake...

The finished anchor looks like this:

 The assembled tent anchor.

Set the tent up, pull the anchor taut, note where the stake is in the snow, dig a hole with your shovel at that point, then cut a slot for the accessory cord, place the stake down in the hole, bury it, then stomp the snow down around it.  After a few hours, the snow should set up and the anchors will become bomber.

 The finished work of art...

As an added bonus, these anchors are fairly easy to dig out afterwards and the accessory cord can take direct hits from a shovel.  If it gets cut, just tie it back together. The aluminum stakes are also good if you happen to be on firm, dry ground where you can pound them in.

 Here’s a little video of a tent withstanding a 45-knot storm using this type of anchor. 


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Category: 14 Travel

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (2)

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  1. Bob says:

    Love where you’re going with the blog, but I have a minor nomenclature issue. That fisherman’s knot isn’t a water knot. This is a water knot:



  2. admin says:

    Thanks Bob! That sounded a little suspect to me as well as I only knew the water knot with webbing, but when I saw in on a knot website, I figured it must be true since it was on the internet. :)

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