Rebar Tent Stakes

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Introduction: Rebar Tent Stakes

This is a cheap and easy way to make heavy duty tent or tarp stakes. I'm using them for Burning Man to tie down my dome and stake a tarp from my truck to the playa. Reading Burning Man's playa tips I've learned that two foot long pieces of rebar seem to be the best way to go. I've also learned that rebar can be very dangerous if left exposed. I've added a cap to the top to give a slightly larger area to hammer and to make them safe.


UPDATE: I've redesigned the stakes for this year's burn. I think they are work better than the old design because they're more reliable. Maybe it's because I'm not the best welder, but some of the loops and caps have fallen off the old stakes. My new method seems like they will last longer without any problems. I've listed the new materials in the list of materials. I may weld a loop to the nut for holding rope and ratchet straps. It would be easier than using the carabiner. I used a grinder to sharper the end of the rebar a little to help it go into the ground with less resistance. Pulling them out of the ground was easy. I used a wrench to turn the stake while pulling. The washers help give extra grip. Use Loctite on the threads to keep the bolt from coming out (or weld it in place).

Step 1: Materials

The materials are cheap and easily found at most hardware stores.

New stake materials:

1. 1/2" x 24" rebar - $1.50

2. 5/8" x 2" nut - $1.20

3. 5/8" x 1" bolt - $0.70

4. 5/8" washers (2) - $0.20


Original stake design:

1. 1/2" x 24" rebar - $1.50

2. 3/8" x 2" steel rings - $0.95

3. 1/2" black pipe cap - $0.49

Step 2: Tools

1. Welder

2. Wire brush

3. Vise

4. Personal protection - Welding helmet, gloves and jacket

5. Hardibacker - I have a 1/2' piece to protect my concrete from welding burns.

Step 3: Welding

Clamp the rebar horizontally in the vise. It should be as level as possible so your cap and ring are straight. Wire brush the rebar clean before welding. Put the cap on the end of the rebar and tack weld. Once you have the cap in place you can weld it to the rebar from the back side. Turn the rebar 180 degrees so the tack weld is facing down. Place the ring against the bottom of the cap and tack weld it in place. Once the ring is tacked, you can finish welding it along the cap and the rebar. After the ring was welded, I turned the rebar back 180 degrees and filled in the hollow area inside the cap with the welder to make it as solid as possible.

Step 4: Rebar-rific

After you're done welding, clean the slag with your wire brush and you're done. You could grind the weld boogers and paint them bright colors, but I'm not going to do that.

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    32 Comments

    Using a simple
    torch, bend the rebar into a long legged P and hammer (while hot) a flat
    top on it.. 1 piece solution (we use these to hold guy lines on stages
    etc.)

    Use a pin jig to make the bending easier and consistent...

    Weld a short piece of rebar across the back of the P (so it looks like a T at 90 degrees and a P straight on) grind off all the burs and what not.. The T allows for attaching different ways and using a large forked lever makes removal easier..

    Great Idea! These look like they would work great in sandy areas, like beach camping, too!

    could use an acid bath to get to iron then weld and then reapply a coating to prevent oxidation. would be more resilient and last longer.

    Wow, talk about over kill, although necessary if you are going to keep your tent in place during a hurricane. This was well thought out and is a great starting point for building your own tent stakes, and you have room for improvement if you decide to recreate these again later on. Nice Job, this is something unique and though I wont be building something like this, its a good reference to see what other people have done.

    2 replies

    Yes, they are overkill for the average camper, but the winds can get pretty fierce at Burning Man. The stakes are used to keep big shade structures from blowing away. You're essentially holding a sail to the ground.

    When I bought my canvas bell tent for LARP events, it came with everything, including massive groundsheet, industrial strength guy ropes, rebar pegs with 7 spares and a metal mallet.
    Oddly enough my tent has never blown away. Not even dislodged by drunk people tripping over the guy ropes.
    One peg goes walkabout each year and I only just have enough now, can't find anywhere that sells them as the place that made the tent was closing, hence only £120 for the lot.

    It occurs to me that a bunch of old tennis balls
    with slots in them would make these stakes a
    LOT less hard on the toes.

    the cast metal cap will not last, it will disintegrate with muliple hits.

    and the ring is expensive to buy by itself

    what I would use is a large chain, cut down each link and weld with the REBAR inside the link end. set the link down, and place the REBAR end into it standing up and weld from the bottom,

    you end up with a solid flat top to pound on, and still have a ring. and it won't disintegrate, only bend, and if the weld starts to crack, you can reweld. You can't do that with a cast cap.

    Get a can of white, and a can of bright orange paint. first paint white, then overpaint with orange. it will really stand out

    1 reply

    Why not bend rebar into a u shape and drive it into the ground. No tiny end to puncture anyone and that little U at the top is great for holding a knot or bungee.

    This is a great idea. I am totally going to make some for this year. I noticed that your steel ring is coated in zinc. Thats what makes it so shiney. It also makes it rust resistant. Most importantly, when heated, zinc creates zinc oxcide smoke. If you breath too much you will come down with "metal fume fever". Its alot like having the flu for a couple days and it sucks. Also, it puts impurities into your welds, weakening them. I would sugest investing in an angle grinder and some flapper wheels. Clean them off untill you get to the raw steel, then you can weld. Super strong welds and no zinc poisioning. Thats a plus in my books. See you on the playa!

    1 reply

    I did have two of the rings fall off as I was pounding them into the playa. It could have been the zinc coating or my inexperience with welding (or both). Luckily I had extra stakes. They've lasted three trips to Burning Man so far. I usually have a fan going or I hold my breath (really) when I'm welding because I'm just a little paranoid of breathing anything bad. Thanks for the tip on the zinc coating. I've learned the hard way that the metal should be cleaned very well before welding in order to get a good weld.

    Those are great steaks! Though these look good in the natural metal color, you could paint the top cap a bright color so they can be seen by playa eyes in the dark.

    One trick that I use for removing the steaks from the desert floor is a medium size monkey wrench, just grab the steak mid way, pull up and twist. They come out of the ground without much effort. Beats pushing them back and forth.

    Gravity Boy

    1 reply

     I hammer them all the way into the ground so painting them isn't necessary. The ring makes them easy to remove without wrenches.

    I like the addition of the ring and cap(soo much better than simply bending the end into an L shape, and driving it in) Good instructable, and have fun on the playa.

    5 replies

    Thanks for the info. I am planning on taking a course soon. I looked online a lot and watched the video that came with my welder but I'd like to be more proficient. I'm building a bike trailer now out of some left over rebar and other things I had in my garage and backyard. I'll post it here as soon as I finish.

    Update: I gave up on the trailer and just used a basket on my bike. I needed it at Burning Man to carry ice back to my camp. The trailer was a little too much.

    shouldn't it be more of a J shape, so that the sharp end is pointed completely down?

    The sharp end is in the ground. The ring stays above ground...it's not sharp.

    Oh, I was commenting to ironsmite about bending it into an L... and how somebody can still impale themselves on the piece that's perp to the ground...

    you could easily weld those together using a oxi / white gas and a steel coat hangers. just melt plastic coating off first.