My wife and I are thinking about camping at the beach on out next trip to Florida and the question came up, how are we going to anchor the tent in the sand. With soft ground and big winds we figured the tent steaks that came with our tent may not get the job done so I ended up online just like you looking for the answer. I found a few solutions and my favorite one is to add something heavy like sandbags, rocks, or heavy log over the steak after it was in the sand. You can also buy special sand anchors or tent steaks made specifically for sand but I suggest including something heavy on top to help keep the tent steaks in place with strong wind gusts.
How To Use Sandbags as Tent Anchors
From what I found online the best way to anchor a tent on the beach is with sandbags, tent steaks, and tent rope where needed. The main reason I prefer this method is due to the portability factor. When empty, a sandbag can fit right into my tent bag without taking up much space and you can fill them up with sand at your campsite. Growing up on the beach my entire life and understanding the wind makes the basic concept of this setup a no brainier.
There are several ways people describe this setup where some include tend steaks and others just use sandbags. First method you would tie about two feet of tent rope to the four corners of the tent where the corner tent steaks would go. Next, loop the tent rope around the sandbag and keep it near the edge on the tent. Dig down about six inches or so, set the tent steak, tie off and bury the steak. Make sure pat sand down so the steak is firmly in place.
The second method is pretty much the same steps but instead of using the sandbag tent steak together you leave the tent steak out altogether. You start off the same way with adding tent rope to the four corners of the tent like previously described but instead of two feet it may work better with three feet of rope. You can leave the sandbag on the surface but if the wind picks up your tent is not fully anchored. Best setup will have you bury the bags to ensure your tent will stay in place.
How to Use Rocks as Tent Anchors
Another great way to secures your tend anchors in the sand is to place rocks over them. Obviously its a bit much to drag 100 lbs. of rocks around just to camp so this tip in for people who forgot their sandbags at home, didn’t plan on setting up in sand, or have been to the area enough to know if they can find the rock when they get to their campsite. Setup is going to be pretty similar to sandbags. You just tie about three feet of tent rope to the four corners of the tent where the corner tent steaks would go. Dig about six inches down and on each corner and set your tent steak. Loop the tent rope around the rock trying to keep it near the edge on the tent, tie off, and bury the steak. You can also just dig a hole on each corner of your tent, drop a large rock in the hole, tie off to the rock itself and bury it. If you do it correctly your tent should be about to stand up to most wind conditions you see at the beach.
How Deep Should Berry Sandbag Tent Anchors
Most of the time setting a 15 lbs. – 20 lbs. sandbag on each corner of your tent will get the job done but if you are getting some good wind and need more security bury your sandbags or rocks so they will have about 6 inches of sand on them. You can always dig deeper but most people that I have talked to about it say that 6 inch is just fine. The deeper you go down the the harder it will be to move your anchor but there is no need to go more then a foot. If you cant anchor your tent at that point its time to find a better shelter because you are probable in putting yourself in danger in weather like that.
Pro Tip: How to Make Your Sandbag Ten Anchors Heavy
There can be a hundred reasons why you need to add weight to your sandbags. Planning a beach camping trip during a a tropical storm for some reason, the weather comes out of nowhere and is sending your tent down the beach, or you just didn’t get big enough bags for the weather conditions in that area. Use wet sand from the waters edge to to fill your sandbags up. If you have already fill the bags with dry sand and need more weight, drag them down to the water and drop them in for a few minutes to let them soak sum up. If you are already setup and don’t what to do everything over you can use a cup, jug, or any container to dump water right into the hole. The wet send should pack pretty well help to keep your tent a bit more secure.
How to Anchor a Tent on a Pebble Beach
Lots of beach camping going on near lakes and most of those areas are covered in small rock and pebble. Wind conditions tend to be a bit better in most cases but can still have you chasing your tent down the beach if you get a good wind gust. Rock and pebble is tricky and what works in one area is not going to necessarily work in another. If you can, try to clear out a small circle about 8 inches in diameter down to the sand where each tent stand is going to be. Next, set your steaks and tie off so they are snug. Place sandbags or large rocks on each tent anchor to hold them in place. Please remember that you were there second so make sure when you are packing up to try and put the rocks you pushed out of the way back in place.
If you find yourself in a situation where the rock is just too deep and can’t sink an anchor you can use a similar method to one we talked about already. Fill your sandbags with sand if available or just use the rocks and pebbles from the beach to fill the bag. You can also just tie off to bug rocks and logs in the area. Set the sandbags or large rocks near the tent at all of your post points and anchor point and tie off. Make sure your lines a tight or you may end up having to set your anchors again if the ten shakes too much.
How Many Sandbags Should I Use
This really depends on if you are camping on rocks or sand, in big wing or small wind, if there is anything in the area you can anchor to like trees and logs. I am sure I can keep going on that rant of scenarios so I will give you this. If you have seven tent post to set I would bring seven sandbags. You may not need them all but you are better off bringing one bag per tent steak just to be safe. If it makes sense only use what you think you need. Most scenarios will only call for two sandbags on the windy side of your tent. If you see your tent anchors starting to loosen up add more. The goal is to keep you tent there as long as you are there and a solid anchor is one that your not going to question.
Will You Need Any Special Equipment
Most out of the box tents will come with the most commonly used tent steaks for the area you buy it in. There are several style you will want to look at to see what works best for your trip.
Sand Tent Steaks – For sand you will want a tent steak that will dig in like a shovel that is flat and wide. This will give some resistance at the right angle will keep it from cutting through the sand like a knife.
Rock Tent Steaks – Rocks can be tough to navigate so you want a tent steak that is thin and long, like a big nail. Nothing like the out of the box super thin steaks, you want a strong tent steak about 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch thick and 8 inch. – 12 inch. long. Needs to be something you can hit with a hammer that wont get hurt too bad.
Pro tip: Call the campground, check online, and really do your homework on the campsite you plan to visit. That will help you determine what tent steaks are going to work best for that location. Please remember to leave your campsite the same or better then when you were there!
Ken McClary is a seasoned outdoor enthusiast, blogger, and outdoor marketing specialist who has been working in the outdoor industry since 2016. As the owner and author of the outdoor blog MakeCampingFun.com, Ken shares his passion for the great outdoors with others, providing them with valuable tips, advice, and insights on all things camping and outdoor adventure-related.
With a deep appreciation for nature and a love for exploring the great outdoors, Ken has established himself as a trusted voice in the outdoor community, inspiring others to get outside and experience the beauty of the natural world.
In addition to his work as a blogger, Ken has also worked as an outdoor marketing specialist, helping outdoor brands connect with their target audiences and reach new customers. Through his work and his blog, Ken continues to inspire others to live their best lives and make the most of every adventure.