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26/07/2015

Pegs, Pegs, Pegs!

It's common sense to have a few different types of pegs for camping to cope with different soil conditions and to cope with the stress put on the peg by stormy weather. In most cases the tent is actually standing upright only because of pegs. I cannot stress how important they can be especially in bad weather conditions, where they could potentially save you from injury or worse! (Edit: what could be worse? Well your tent could blow away, and for me that would be a fate worse than death)

A tunnel tent for example, is not a self supporting structure. A dome tent is, but a Tepee or Bell Tent only has one pole, and the pegging points give them their shape. So pegs and guy ropes are essential. 

My advice is to have a selection of wire pegs, yellow plastic pegs, V pegs and Rock pegs at the very least. Add in a couple of Delta Ground Anchors and you are ready for anything. You also need a rubber or wooden mallet, and a claw hammer. 

Here are a few different types and their uses:

Wire Pegs

Wire pegs are flimsy and bend easily. They come with your tent when you purchase it and although they vary in quality they are mostly good for spare pegs, or lending out pegs. They are not suitable for guy ropes unless used in mild weather wth no wind but you can use them to peg down the main tent, although best to use something a bit heavier like a V peg for the corners of the tent. You can sometimes get away without using a mallet, as you push them in with your hand or drive it home with the sole of your shoe (needs must!). You can buy replacement packs for a few pounds, and discount shops like B&M Bargains will do a pack of 10 for 99p.

Rock Peg

Rock pegs are like very long nails and you need a claw hammer to bang these in to the ground. They are designed to go through stony or hard ground and come in a variety of colours, most commonly green but also a glow in the dark yellow. They are very good in stormy conditions and are a must have in my opinion. They are a bugger to get out though, so keep that claw hammer ready as the back of the hammer is great for levering these things out. A pack of 6 will come in around a fiver. In Halfords they are called 'Ground Hogs'. There is also a screw in version which you can insert in to the ground with a drill and Blue Diamond and Kampa both make screw in versions. 

Plastic Pegs

These pegs nearly always come in yellow, and they are made from a rigid plastic. Because they are thicker they have a lot of  grip on the ground and are ideal for soft muddy ground. They are also the peg to use on sand or sandy ground so if you are pitching a windbreak on a beach and need to add guy ropes to the windbreak, these are the ones you'll need. In soil you will need a mallet but in sand you can probably push them in. They are cheap at about £3 for a pack of 6. 

Steel V Pegs

I use Steel V Pegs in the corners of my tent, and also on guy ropes. They are wide, which increases the surface area that is in contact with the soil. They will power, with a good amount of whack, through stony soil and hard ground. Some tents will come with a few of these as part of the pack. They also come in Titanium for weight conscious backpackers. You will need a mallet to insert these into the ground, and either a peg puller or the back of a claw hammer, to get them out again. A pack of 5 if currently £4 on Amazon Uk

Delta Ground Anchors

These are the life saver pegs. These Delta pegs come in to their own in windy conditions. In soggy soil, they are wide enough to provide some grip. They are designed in such a way that the more pressure that is put on them from the guy rope, the further they embed in to the soil. There are metal versions of this peg as well. A few deltas, particularly on the windward side, could seriously save your tent. An additional bonus is that they sit flush with the ground so they are much less of a trip hazard, and the bright yellow means they are still visible in the grass. They are sold individually from Camping World at £2.49 each. I got a pack of 10 direct from Delta Ground Anchors. You will need something strong like a peg puller or the back of a claw hammer to extract them from the ground. 

Wooden Pegs

These are the pegs that Bell Tents often come with, and they are stronger and sturdier than most pegs. They appeal to bushcrafters and with a little bit of effort, you can make them on the go out of found wood as long as there is a notch to hold the guy rope in place. Great for windy conditions, they are also good for very churned up 'pea soup' ground as they are driven in to the ground further than most pegs. Free from any forest or about £10 for a pack of 6. 




In extreme circumstances, you may want a marquee peg. These are the pegs used to hold down Marquees (funnily enough) but also used by the bouncy castle industry. When would you use these? Well, possibly when you are trying to hold down an awning with a storm strap (wide webbing strap), or when you have extremely poor soil or extremely bad weather. In which case I'd have to question your sanity of camping in the first place. I saw a pack of 4 (38cm length) on Ebay uk for £14. 



Mushroom Peg 
Groundsheet Peg 

Both these pegs are designed to be flush with the ground, and are ideal for holding down the footprint or builders tarp underneath your tent. They are designed so that you do not trip over them. They are supposed to pushed directly down into the soil, and not at an angle as all the other pegs I have featured are. The Mushroom Peg usually comes in grey. I picked some Mushroom pegs up for 99p in a discount store. 



Pegging Methods:

You need to insert your peg in to the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle from the ground to ensure it does not get pulled out by the guy rope as the tent flexes in the breeze. 


Cross pegging is a method to increase the strength of your pegs in windy weather. Put the peg slightly sideways on and hammer in. Then insert another peg through the same loop, and in to the same ground surface but turn sideways in the other direction before hammering in. It is incredibly difficult to remove both pegs at the same time as the base of the pegs are spread far apart underground. 



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