How To Stop Tent Pegs Coming Out

No matter what time if year you are camping there is always the chance your tent pegs will come out of the ground. It was always the case with atleast one during our trips and so we started picking up some tricks to help keep them in place. But you might also be wondering what causes it and how to stop it happening.

To stop tent pegs from coming out of the ground place the peg at a 45-degree angle away from the tent, this will keep the rope taut. You also want to use strong tent pegs and a rubber mallet to push the tent peg deep into the ground as possible to give it the most stability and grip in the ground.

Over the years we have used a number of different pegs, tricks and worked out what works best for us and the best ways to stop tent pegs coming out. You can upgrade your tent pegs and buy new stronger ones from a number of places or simply use the tips below to better stabilise the ones you have.

What Are Tent Pegs?

A tent peg is a simple part of the makeup of a basic tent that is used to secure the body of the tent into the ground. Typically, they are a spike with a hook or a hole in the end. The spiked end is driven into the ground, typically with a mallet, and the cord is laced through the tent peg in order to maintain tautness and strength in the structure of the tent. In some tents, no cord is required to connect the tent to the pegs, as the pegs are connected directly to the tent.

Traditionally, a tent peg is improvised from a section of a small tree branch near the campsite. If possible, a small side branch is used so that it can be cut to create a hook to connect the tent to.

Why Do Tent Pegs Come Out Of The Ground?

There are a few different reasons why tent pegs can come out of the ground. Every campsite around the world has slightly different soil to the other ones, so it’s hard to predict whether your tent pegs may come out of the ground at your next campsite. There are a few predictable ways in which tent pegs can come out of the ground.

As with a lot of different problems with camping, weather can have a huge effect on the usefulness of tent pegs. Let’s say you arrive at the campsite and hammer in your tent pegs in dry, hard earth. That soil will hold your tent peg in much a different way to the softer, wetter ground. Therefore, if there were to be a sudden rainstorm, the rain would disturb the soil around the pegs, potentially leading to them moving and coming out of the ground.

While it’s a little rarer, high winds can lead to tent pegs coming out of the ground too. The primary force which acts against tent pegs being anchored sufficiently is the wind, as it is what pulls the tent from side to side. A sudden increase in the speed and aggression of the wind around you could lead tent pegs to be pulled out of the ground.

Another factor that could lead to tent pegs being pulled from the ground is the depth that they’re hammered in to. In general, the deeper a tent peg is in the ground, the more strongly it will maintain its hold. If a tent peg is only hammered half as deep as it could be, then it won’t be as strong as it potentially could be. 

Hammering a tent peg in at a good angle is integral in allowing it to maintain as much of a hold as it could in the earth. Ideally, it should be at a forty-five-degree angle from the vertical, pointing away from the tent. That way, the weight of the earth around the peg will be working for you and keeping the peg in the ground. If your peg is at a different angle to that, it is more likely to come out of the ground under the force of the wind pushing against the tent.

Finally, there is one other problem that tent pegs may have. If you’re hammering a tent peg into particularly hard ground, it may misshape under the force of the hammering. After the tent peg is misshapen, it is much more likely to lose its grip on the ground and come free under the force of the wind.

How To Prevent Tent Pegs From Coming Out Of The Ground

Thankfully, there are as many ways to stop tent pegs from coming out of the ground as there are ways that they’re likely to spring out. We’re going to break down the common causes above and talk about how to stop those from happening in an ideal world.

Firstly, we have the problem of weather changing the conditions of the soil and leading to a tent peg slipping out of the soil. The way to prevent this from happening is to ensure you hammer in your tent peg at the correct angle. That way, as water rains on the soil, it will get heavier, keeping the peg in the ground. If you hammer the tent peg in at the wrong angle, it will be more inclined to slip out during rainfall, as the water will make the peg and the earth more slippery.

There is also the issue of high winds pulling tent peg out of the ground. As well as making sure you hammer in the tent peg at the correct angle, you need to make sure hammer it all the way in. Having only some of the peg buried in the ground will lead to high winds being more able to wiggle the peg back and forth. This wiggling will lead to the earth being disturbed, and the peg coming free. Therefore, make sure you hammer the tent peg all the way in, making the wiggling impossible.

As I said above, the depth of the tent peg is extremely important in making sure that it stays in the ground. While it’s important to stop the peg from moving while buried in the ground, it’s also important to bear in mind thanks to the natural friction of the material of the peg against the soil. All materials have natural friction which makes them less inclined to move past one another, and so do tent pegs and soil. In order to prevent the pegs from slipping out, burying them deeper in the soil will lead to more friction acting on the pegs.

The next problem that I mentioned above is a big one: ensure your tent peg is angled correctly when it has been hammered in. The ideal angle is forty-five-degrees from the vertical, pointing away from the tent. Ensuring that you use that angle will lead to the maximum amount of dirt being on top of your tent peg, weighing it down and preventing it from being pulled out.

Having a misshapen tent peg is the final problem that I posed above. In order to prevent this from being a problem, you have two options: buy stronger tent pegs, or be more gentle with the ones you have. If you opt for the first one, the strongest begs are delta pegs, which are made out of plastic, and shaped like a 7.

The base of the seven goes very deep into the ground, while the top protrudes for you to attach your tent too. Because of this shape and the strong plastic that they’re made from, they’re particularly strong. You can also find them in metal which is also very strong to use, these can be bought or often come with the tent itself.

If you choose to be more gentle with the ones you have, then you need to make sure you’re being gentle during the hammering, as that’s when they’re most likely to be damaged. In order to prevent damage, ensure you’re swinging the hammer straight down onto the top of the peg, rather than at an angle. This will drive the peg into the ground without bending the top of the peg one way or the other.

The Dangers Of Tent Pegs Coming Out Of The Ground

Realistically speaking, there are two dangers of a tent peg coming out of the ground: the foot-level hazard that it creates, and the collapse of a tent.

When a tent peg comes out of the ground, it, and the rope to which it is attached, are likely to gather on the floor. This creates a trip hazard, which could lead to people falling and hurting themselves. Depending on the sharpness of the tent peg, too, it could also create a hazard for anyone walking around with insubstantial footwear. If someone’s on their way to the shower block with some flip flops on, a sharp tent peg could be a hazard for very obvious reasons.

The collapse of a tent is typically less of a dangerous hazard and more of a comedic one. Either way, it’s still a hazard that should be addressed. If a tent peg comes out of the ground, then that corner or panel of a tent could collapse on the people inside it. While this is likely to just be a laughable temporary setback, it could be an issue if, say, you were camping while it was snowing. In that situation, snow could fall almost directly onto someone, both weighing them down and lowering the body temperature dangerously.

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