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How to stake out tents on a sandy beach


Q. We went camping on the beach last weekend. It was fun, but the wind blew all night long and made our tents flap like crazy. It was so loud that it was really hard to sleep. Any advice?
— Sleepy Seth, Point Clear, Ala.

A. Same thing used to happen to me. But there’s an easy solution. The first mistake most people make when beach camping is they fail to properly stake out their tent. Don’t stake your tent out and you’ll have less ventilation and with the slightest wind will have your tent flapping like mad. Sure, the sand makes it difficult to pitch a tent, but you still should always set the guy lines off your tent (and/or tent fly) solidly into the sand. Regular tent pegs won’t really work in the sand. Instead you can buy sand anchors at some outfitter stores — or better (and cheaper!) you can just use stuff you find around the beach like pieces of driftwood, rocks, etc. to anchor your tent. For instance, find a smallish branch, tie your guy line to it, and then bury the branch below the sand so the line is taut. That should hold it well. Repeat for each of the lines of your tent.

If the wind is really blowing, which happens a lot at the beach, I usually push up a wall of sand all around the base of my tent. Sometimes I even cover the edges of the fly with a couple inches of sand. That’ll hold your tent fly tight, minimize flapping, and helps stop sand from blowing inside your tent all night long.

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12 Comments on How to stake out tents on a sandy beach

  1. we use 12-14 inch pvc pipes and old canopy poles for tent stakes in the sand. drive them in at an angle! And yes, tie down all the anchor lines.

  2. Officially hate sand/camping mix.

  3. Camper dad // June 16, 2016 at 7:22 am // Reply

    We always use pie tins. Punch a hole in the center, run the guy line through it and tie a knot to prevent it from pulling out. Now bury it in the sand. Works just as well in the snow too.

  4. I’ve always used 2x4s with nylon cord buried about a foot in the sand instead of pegs

  5. Old Scoutmaster // June 8, 2016 at 12:57 pm // Reply

    I use plastic grocery store bags. first fill them with sand.tie the guidelines to the handles, and bury the bag. I have done this on the beach at the Jersey Shore and it has stood up to 45 MPH winds. Never lost a tent!!!

  6. Beach or peaks, it is the same solution. Two parts to solve: 1) The flapping happens because the wind is dynamic and your tents’guy lines are static. You need to insert a dynamic element into the system. Tie loops at the end of your guy line and attach your guy line to the tent with a larks head. Stake out guy lines to a solid point such that the angle the guy line intersects the ground is 45degrees or less. Use three to four 54″ pcs of stiff shock corde (3 to 5 mm) and tie hoops using a double fisherman’s knot. On the windward side of the tent insert these these dynamics members between the tent pull-out and your guy line. Do this by inserting one end of the shock loop and then larks head the two loop ends using your guy line – this would be easier with a picture. This gives you 4 equalized strands of shock corde to absorb the vibration. 2) Attach the rainfly to the pole structure. Everybody does the perimeter, but most forget the inside of the fly. Everywhere a pole crosses or where you find a pullout on the outside, should have a loop of velcro on the inside that should be wrapped around the poles. If you haven’t done this, loosen your guy lines and do it. Doing this eliminates the clapping harmonic between the inside and outside of your tent. Last but not least, learn the tautline hitch. Stack the tautlnes up and keep your lines tight.

  7. Get yourself a few clamp on guideline fasteners and pinch them to your fly where the flapping is, tie a few anchor lines to them and spike it to the ground taunt. Should solve the problem easily. Mine cost about $2.00 each at Gander Mountain.

  8. joe cool the coolio // March 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm // Reply

    I’ve never camped on the beach!

  9. eagle7-25-10 // December 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm // Reply

    in addition to what gamer 394 said, spread the stakes out as far as you can to make the tent fabric more taught and will move in the wind as much

  10. hey make srue next time all flapes are tied down. I that helps me.

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