Family Camping is the Mother of Invention for Steve Cheslock

Camping spot at East Harbor State Park

East Harbor SP (basile12 on Flickr)

Every year, Steve Cheslock takes his family camping at East Harbor State Park, on Lake Erie in Ohio. Like most of us who camp, Steve had seen his share of people struggle with tent stake removal over the years, but last year he got to experience it for himself when it came time for him to tear down his tent. This got Steve to thinking about a better way to remove stubborn tent stakes from the ground and, in January of this year, the STAKE BUDDY™ was born.

I spent a few months mulling over design ideas and by October, I had filed the preliminary patent paperwork. We bought an industrial sewing machine and tested various fabrics for the handle and the straps, trying to find the right mix of how it looked, quality, and cost.

Tent stake removal with the STAKE BUDDYJust when you think every outdoor product that could ever be invented has already been invented, along comes Steve and his STAKE BUDDY to prove me wrong. The beauty is in the simplicity of the design, which gives the user the leverage needed to effectively remove a stake without damaging the tent (or turning the stake into a projectile!).

Possibly the best feature of the STAKE BUDDY is that it will easily fit in your tent bag or stake bag, so it’s always available when you need it. I have traditionally used a standard claw hammer when I run into stuck stakes, but sometimes the car can be a long ways away  –  which encourages tugging on the tent strap, instead.  $15 is a small price to pay for insurance against a ripped tent.

For more information about the STAKE BUDDY visit

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17 thoughts on “Family Camping is the Mother of Invention for Steve Cheslock

  1. Comments to this one have got me laughing…Actually this product is an interesting idea. A claw hammer generally works well for me too, but for someone who is backpacking this might make more sense due to the weight.

  2. This is an embarrassment to outdoorsy people. You can save $15 by tying a loop at each end of a rope. If that’s too much for you, maybe camping isn’t for you…

    • Jon – I don’t see why designing something to solve a problem is an embarrassment? Taking that logic to the extreme, a tent would also be a superfluous product, since a tarp and some rope performs a similar function.

      • Then…don’t take the logic to the extreme. I feel that if we buy a little gadget for every conceivable job, we end up losing the distinction between “camping” and just “sleeping outside”. Should everyone know how to build a shelter out of tarp and rope? Of course not (though I encourage anyone who wants to to try.) Should everyone know how to yank a stake out with their own hands and maybe a little intuition and/or invention (i.e. grabbing a rope, or other item they already have on them, if it’s really that hard)? Absolutely. These are two entirely different ideas.

        I’ll reprint the original way I found out about this–and this is someone much less talented with regards to outdoor skill than myself.

        “First, how hard is it to take stakes out of the ground? Seriously! I’ve set up more tents than I can count in my life, sometimes even blindfolded, and I’ve never had an extreme amount of difficulty removing a stake from the ground.

        Second, it’s TWO LOOPS with a piece in the middle. Here’s a novel idea. Take a piece of rope. Tie a figure eight on a bite [sic]. Then take the other end and do the same thing. WOW. You could make MILLIONS! I seriously suck at knot tying and I can tell you that much.”

        I dunno, if even she thinks it’s excessive, that says a lot to me. But hey, this is all just our opinion.

  3. Cool idea. I like it. Of course, when I camp on Jupiter I don’t have to worry about tent stakes. The crushing gravity takes care of it all…

  4. That looks like something that could double as some kind of game thing for kids. Just give the kids a couple of them and tell them to invent it.
    You could attach a dog leash to it, attach the thing to your arm and walk the dog.
    How about a stiffener in it and then you could attach those marshmellow sticks to it.
    If you have a kid who walks in their sleep you could put a longer line on it from you to your kid when you bed down for the night.
    Do you think the fluffy brown part would double as a pot holder to grab things off the fire?
    I think its great!

    • Hey Jenn, that pot holder idea sounds like a winner! Of course, digging into the tent bag for a pot holder isn’t much better than digging into my pack for a glove, so I’m not sure if this is a net-gain 🙂

      • Good point. A cruddy pair of old leather gloves are the best for around the fire.
        Hes got a great idea and I think it has more uses then he thinks it has.

  5. Hmmm… I usually just give the stake a few kicks this way and that with the trusty heel of my boot (I almost always have it with me!). Good design idea, but not sure I’d end up using it that much. Guess I’m just not ready to stop ‘getting a bigger hammer’ as my solution of choice! Congrats to Steve for actually thinking through a problem though, rather than just apply more force!

    • It’s that rocky Colorado soil, Marc – you just can’t get the stake in far enough to lose it 🙂

      • Yep, the bottom of the heel works good for driving those stakes home too. Guess I consider my boot/foot combo a multi-tool!

  6. Good idea! Now … if he could just come up with a good tool for getting the stakes IN the ground in the first place, I’d be in line to buy one. (I’ve tried mallets and all sorts of other pounding devices … and rocks, but all I ever seem to do is mutilate the stakes.)

    • Time for some better stakes, Deb! Take a look at the blade-type stakes (like MSR Ground Hogs) next time you’re in an outdoor store – you won’t break those 🙂

  7. What’ll they think of next? If you are used to carrying a small claw hammer around then this must be a much better option. Thanks for sharing.

    • Right – something that can be kept in the same bag as the family tent, so it’s always handy.