The age old argument continues and may just continue to do so even after you read our findings.
We set out to answer this question once and for all. Did we answer it, you be the judge.
How we went about it
After setting up our 5T Post Puller we were ready to carry out tests to determine the maximum ground holding in Kilograms.
We used many different tent pegs, stakes and ground anchors and tracked the results.
* Please read the foot notes
Our first lot of tests were with spike stakes to represent the old hammer-in style tent pegs. These had a 10mm diameter shaft which is the same diameter as our GroundGrabba Pro Series. The lengths of 300 and 450mm also replicated our GroundGrabba Pro and GroundGrabba Pro I.
First we hammered them in straight down (vertically) and pulled up directly above for a vertical pull out load. Then we did two more tests for each of the same type of tent peg, tent stake or ground anchor used. These tests placed the peg at a distance away from the puller to represent a similar angle of strain when using a tent guy rope. For one of these tests we hammered the tent peg down vertically the other we hammered them in on an angle away from the load as this is a common practice when out camping.
All of these tests were in a small area of our back yard which is grass on top of a very sandy soil as we live very close to a beach. The crane scale used was not calibrated but I have tested it with our shipping scales to find about a 2.5% variation. See foot notes below.
Note: Tests were carried out approximately five dry days after 6mths of almost continuous wet weather.
The Spike tent peg stakes tested were:
- 300mm x 10mm
- 450mm x 10mm
We tested the spike stakes, then our range of GroundGrabba ground anchors and then also couple of different brands:
- GroundGrabba Pro (300mm)
- GroundGrabba Pro I (450mm)
- GroundGrabba Pro II (600mm a vertical lift test only at this stage)
First the spike tent peg stakes for a control result
(Peak results highlighted in orange)Test 1
- 300mm spike tent peg stake vertical inserted and vertical lift
- Results = 17kg
- 300mm spike tent peg stake vertical inserted and angled lift
- Best Results = 35.5kg
- 300mm spike tent peg stake angled inserted and angled lift
- Results = 29kg
- 450mm spike tent peg stake vertical inserted and vertical lift
- Results = 30kg
- 450mm spike tent peg stake vertical inserted and angled lift
- Results = 89kg
- 450mm spike tent peg stake angled inserted and angled lift
- Best Results = 96kg (This bent the mild steel shaft)
Next GroundGrabba Pro Series
- GroundGrabba Pro 300mm vertical inserted and vertical lift
- Best Results = 63kg
- GroundGrabba Pro 300mm vertical inserted and angled lift
- Results = 59.5kg
- GroundGrabba Pro 300mm angled inserted and angled lift
- Results = 55.5kg
- GroundGrabba Pro I vertical inserted and vertical lift
- Results = 176kg
- GroundGrabba Pro I vertical inserted and angled lift
- Best Results = 179kg**
- GroundGrabba Pro I angled inserted and angled lift
- Results = 138kg
- GroundGrabba Lite screw in tent peg ground anchor vertically inserted and vertical load
- Best Results = 101kg
- GroundGrabba Lite screw in tent peg ground anchor vertically inserted and angled load
- Results = 98kg
- GroundGrabba Lite screw in tent peg ground anchor angle inserted and angled load
- Results = 54kg
Conclusive? In my opinion I don't think so but it gives us food for thought!
Perhaps these next results may give a little more clarity.
We tested two other brands. One design is a long coach bolt and the other brand made for purpose as screw-in tent pegs / ground anchors in two varieties.
Please note that this is not a comparison test for which tent peg is better. The word 'better' is subjective given things to be considered 'better' would mean different things to different people. Some things to consider is price, ease of use, any special equipment needed, how much they'll hold in what type of ground, longevity, warranty, where they're made and so on. What is 'better' is for you to decide.
First the long screw Coach Bolt style Tent PegTest 6
- 270mm coach bolt style tent peg stake vertical inserted and vertical lift
- Best Results = 36.5kg
- 270mm coach bolt style tent peg stake vertical inserted and angled lift
- Results = 21kg
- 270mm coach bolt style tent peg stake angled inserted and angled lift
- Results = 12kg**
The Made for Purpose Screw-In Tent Peg Ground AnchorsTest 7
- Stainless steel screw-in ground anchor tent peg stake vertical inserted and vertical lift
- Best Results = 30kg
- Stainless steel screw-in ground anchor tent peg stake vertical inserted and angled lift
- Results = 18.5kg
- Stainless Steel screw-in ground anchor tent peg stake angled inserted and angled lift
- Results = 23kg
- Aluminium aggressive spiralled ground anchors vertical inserted and vertical lift
- Best Results = 78kg**
- Aluminium aggressive spiralled ground anchors vertical inserted and angled lift
- Results = 64kg
- Aluminium aggressive spiralled ground anchors angled inserted and angled lift
- Results = 46kg
Evidence suggests that there is a difference between screw-in tent peg stakes and the old traditional hammer-in tent pegs when it comes to lift out holding ability.
Hands down, all screw-in tent peg stakes held much more vertically installed and vertically pulled than the traditional tent peg and the results suggests that vertical installation to be the better choice of inserting against the 45degree angle.
The screw-in variety of tent peg stakes or ground anchors seem to mostly hold best in a vertical load situation. This of course is not always practical with guy ropes given they are used usually in combination of tent poles so need to be inserted at a distance from the pole.
Traditional hammer in spike tent peg stakes gave mixed results with vertical insertion and an angled pull out force. The 300mm tent peg maxed out at 35.5kg for vertical insertion, angle pull and the 450mm tent peg stake maxed out for the angled pull out load and angled insertion at 96kg! It seems a little counterintuitive doesn't it?
These two results contradict each others logic yet, that's what we found. The shorter 300mm did better hammered in vertically and pulled at an angle yet the longer 450mm tent peg held better when both the insertion and pull out were at an angle.
Surprisingly almost all screw-in type tent peg ground anchors gave the highest pull out force readings when inserted vertically and pulled out vertically. Sometimes an angle pull out force equalled the vertical pull out and only once surpassed it by a marginal amount of 3kg (176kg vs 179kg peak of the GroundGrabba Pro I) and that difference may be because the ground density may have been a little higher in this particular spot than the average of the other ground in the tests. See the foot notes below.
Will a conclusive answer be found testing in different substrates?
So, what do you think now? Did this answer the question if tent peg stakes are supposed to be put into the ground vertically or horizontally?
To be continued...
* Foot Notes
- Crane scales used were not calibrated but checked against our shipping scales found there to be about a 2.5% inaccuracy factor
- We cannot guarantee the substrate was the same density in all tests done
- Angled pull out tests were around the 45 degree mark + or -
- Vertical pull out tests may not be exactly vertical
- We only did one test for each finding, if we did say six for each then perhaps there'd be a better figure averaged out
- Maximum peak values per the digital readout were noted if only momentary
- Different ground types may give different results
- The spike stakes used were all 10mm diameter in shaft thickness and shaft length which is the same shaft thickness as the GroundGrabba steel tent pegs tested
- The other brands tested shaft lengths and shaft thicknesses differed to the spike stakes and were only tested to find out the answer to the question if vertical or angled insertion of tent pegs is best
- ** The highest result was seen on video playback