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How strong are marquee stakes?

We recently decided to put a range of marquee stakes to the test to determine which stakes are most suitable for anchoring down a DIY Marquee.

marquee stake puller

What stakes did we test?

In this test we tested a range of stakes including, longer and shorter stakes, J shaped stakes, rebar stakes, rusty vs new stakes and our deluxe marquee stakes.

The test involved using a marquee stake puller attached to 1 tonne crane scale for the smaller stakes and then an engine crane set at 2m from the ground and 1.5m away for the larger stakes, this was to replicate the side height of 2m on most of our marquees.

Weather & ground conditions

It is worth noting that the tests were conducted in November 2023, it had been raining for several weeks, it was 12°C, 78% humidity and the ground was sodden. We expect a higher pull figure in summer time with dry ground.

Stake pull test results (non DIY Marquees stakes)

First up we tested a small J-shaped rebar stake 300mm x 10mm. This test resulted in a max pull of 12.4kg

Second we tested another, larger J-shaped rebar stake 380mm x 18mm. This test resulted in a max pull of 41.6kg

Thirdly a road pin knock halfway into the ground. This achieved a result of 48kg.

Following that we tried a spiral stake 400mm x 8mm. This test resulted in a max pull of 112.6kg. We were quite impressed with the spiral stake, although it moved and stared to twist out from the earth, the fixing remained and didn't completely fail.

diy marquees stake pulled at angle

Stake pull test results (DIY Marquees stakes)

DIY Marquees are J shaped stakes measuring 500mm x 20mm and achieved an average of more than 120kg over 6 tests in two locations when knocked in at an angle and pulled at an angle.

Over time stakes will rust so we also tested an old rusty 500mm x 20mm DIY Marquee stake. This had an average of over 140kg. The rough surface rust gave better adhesion to the soil allowing a higher max pull to be achieved. After 6 more tests we concluded that when your stakes start to rust they will perform even better!

Finally, we wanted to try out largest stakes. The Deluxe DIY Marquee stakes are 900mm x 25mm with a mushroom head and a straight spike. We couldn't pull them out with the stake puller so had to attach a 1 tonne engine crane to a tree branch at 2m high to test. These achieved an average of over 270kg when knocked in at an angle and pulled at an angle.

Note: during these tests no stakes completely pulled from the earth. The reading taken is the maximum pull before significant movement ie when it fails.

diy marquees stake pulled at angle

Knocked (in straight vs at a 45degree angle)

All of the stakes we tested knocked in straight and pulled at a 45 degree angle as well as knocked in at around a 45 degree angle and pulled at 45 degrees (right angle from the top of leg). We found that on average we were seeing pulls around 20% higher when the stakes were in at an angle 90 degrees from the top of the leg. This was conducted on both J shaped stakes and straight spikes.

Extra testing

Out of curiosity we also decided to make and test a stake bar which are normally used on larger 12m+ wide marquees, this is a right angled plate with three holes drilled in for multiple stakes on a single fixing. We found that with two stakes it almost doubled the max pull of our stakes to 195kg and with three almost tripled to 283kg. These however could only be knocked in straight, not at a right angle from the top of the leg as recomended.


Marquee stakes perform better when knocked into the ground at an angle rather than straight down. The length and thickness of the stake significantly impacted its performance, with longer stakes performing much better. Marquee stake bars also improve performance with multiple stakes used on a single fixing.

This testing was done on a wet winters day with sodden ground. Tests are likely yield higher results with dryer ground. Not all soil types and locations are the same. It is up to the marquee erector to survey each individual site and determine the best course of action when anchoring the marquee down.