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The Humble Peg
Ah, the humble tent peg, a small but essential part of any camping setup. Tent pegs are a vital part of our camping equipment and set up and when we buy a new tent, they come with the bog-standard wire pegs that can be used on good ground for fair weather camping. But, as most of us, campers know our peg bags need to be stocked with more than just your average wire peg to ensure that you are ready to be able to pitch on almost any surface and in any weather to ensure you get the most from your tent and your holiday.
Tent pegs now come in differing materials of all shapes, and sizes. Getting to know what tent pegs are used on what surfaces or in what weather conditions can be a really useful piece of knowledge and by ensuring you have pegs for all occasions, ensures you get the best from your tent and pitch whilst on holiday.
Before we go on to talk about the different tent pegs on offer these days I’d like to speak a little about using tent pegs.
Using Tent Pegs
Firstly, it is recommended to use a mallet to put your pegs in the ground. Many people and I have done it myself in the past when forgetting my mallet, will stick a peg in then use their foot to push it further down into the ground. This is not advised as you may not be putting your peg in at the desired angle to the best hold your tent securely and it is also a sure-fire way to damage or break your tent pegs.
When pulling your pegs out at the end of your stay it is also best to use a peg puller. As well as reducing damage to pegs it saves you hurting your hands or being cut. The one thing you should NEVER do is to pull your pegs out with your guy line. This will weaken or could break or damage your guy lines.
If you do damage pegs while away on a camping trip please ensure you discard of them in a proper way, there is no need to leave them lying about. If you can bin them at the campsite, please do. Please take them home and discard of them.
These are small lightweight pegs with a rounded head for keeping your footprint or groundsheet in a fixed place. Groundsheet Pegs are placed straight into the ground and are absolute lifesavers if setting up in the wind. These will securely hold your footprint or groundsheet in place while you pitch the tent. The round head means they won’t damage your tent once put on top of the footprint or groundsheet. Ideal for soft to firm ground, may not work so well on gravel unless ground underneath is softer.
Round Wire Pegs
Round Wire Pegs are the most recognisable pegs and normally come supplied when you buy a tent. These pegs come in various lengths and thicknesses and are made from varying strengths of metals. They are good for pitching on grass that is of soft to medium firmness. They do tend to bend easily if you hit a buried stone or rock with them.
Skewer Pegs are similar to the above round wire pegs with various lengths and metals. The difference with these pegs is as you can see the metal is twisted on the length of the peg. This helps the peg grip the ground better but as with the round wire pegs, they can bend and break easily if you hit a buried rock or stone with them.
Ripple pegs are a more flattened peg with ripples down the length of it. The flattened shape means the peg covers more ground surface and the ripple effect helps with the grip on the ground. Again, these are made of varying metals and strengths and can bend. These are good on soft grounds and even sand from what we hear, although we have never used them in the sand.
The Plastic Peg is another common peg you will see campers using. They provide great grip once in the ground and most have good surface coverage due to their shape (many are T shaped). Like the above pegs, they can bend or break on stones or brinks underground.
*Top Tip – if they are only slightly bent you can soak them in boiling water for a few minutes and if not too badly damaged they will regain their shape. Don’t use for a few days to allow them to strengthen again.
Delta Pegs (ground anchors)
The Delta Peg, the peg that most campers love. Once you use a delta peg you are very unlikely to go back to using any other, especially if you have a large tent. These angled pegs are designed to sit flush in the ground and if that wind gets strong and your guy lines are pulling all the delta peg will do is dig that little bit deeper.
Half Round U-Pegs
Like the ripple pegs, these pegs give good ground coverage and come in varying lengths. These are normally made from steel so are a little more durable and can be used on soft to firm ground. The head of these pegs have a low profile and sit closer to the ground to prevent trip hazards.
Tent Stakes are more commonly used by wild campers and backpackers. Made from a light but tough alloy material they can help keep your carry weight down while ensuring you have a peg that can be used on almost any surface. These to come in varying lengths and if weight is a main priority ensure you only carry the size you need depends on the size of tent you use.
Screw Pegs do exactly as they say and screw into the ground with either a handheld attachment or cordless drill with an adapter. These can be used on firm to soft ground but not on rocky or concrete areas unless you were to drill a hole with the drill first.
Rock Pegs as the name suggests is for using in rocky or hard standing areas. These pegs are like large oversized nails and can be hammered into place with a conventional hammer rather than a mallet.
Some rock pegs have plastic tops to help hold the guy lines, but these can break over time. Others may have a prefabricated cross at the top to hold guy lines in place.
Screw type Rock Pegs
As above these are designed to be used on rocky or hard areas and the screw shaft is designed to turn slightly if you hit a stone underground. These give some additional grip compared to the straight shaft ones above and if the head of the peg is compatible can even be put in the ground with a drill.
These newer Biodegradable Pegs are mage from a degradable plastic and are designed to degrade if left in the ground by accident. Although this would take some time, it is less damaging to the environment. There are now varying types of degradable pegs on the market, so it is worth shopping around for ones to suit your needs.
So which do we think is best?
There really is no right or wrong here. It really depends on your preferences and where you camp. If wild camping we always choose to take tent stakes as they are suitable for most ground types and we never know where we will be setting up before we leave.
If going to a camping site where the ground is going to be of slightly better quality on grass we would be taking plastic pegs or Delta ground anchors.
Don’t worry too much unless you are planning on going away in a storm, these can always be added to your kit once you have your other essential and it is always good to have a mixture of pegs.
Hope this post helps solve some queries and points you in the right direction for making an informed purchase when the time comes.