Many of us have been there – you are leaving a festival after a long, tiring yet enjoyable weekend, packing up quickly in a storm or in heavy rain, or simply struggling to make it home from your family camping trip in time for dinner. However it happens, it is often the case that our tent pegs get left behind. Tent pegs often go astray. This is a concern for those of us who value the environment and are concerned about the impact we have on the world around us. Fortunately, there is a solution: biodegradable tent pegs.
Metal tent pegs are not the greenest option. First, there is the energy it takes to make these tent pegs in the first place. Then, there is that fact that when left in the ground, these will rust and can be sharp and dangerous – to other humans and to any wildlife that may stumble across them. On festival sites which are mowed to provide sillage to cattle or other livestock, metal pegs can break into small pieces of metal and kill cows. The environmental concerns of plastic pegs are even worse. So, what are the alternatives?
One option for tent pegs are the biodegradable pegs that are now on the market. Biodegradable tent pegs have been around for a while. Throughout the first decade of the 21st Century, biodegradable tent pegs made their way to Glastonbury and are now becoming much more widespread at festivals. Earlier in their evolution, biodegradable tent pegs made of organic materials such as potatoes and wheat were simply not up to the job. They were brittle and broke very easily. Now, however, materials science has moved on a long way and biodegradable pegs are becoming more useable for festival and weekend campers. Still, they are not as easy to use on rough ground nor as durable in bad weather.
Wooden pegs are the simplest solution of all. You can even make your own. When a durable hardwood is used, wooden pegs can cope with ground conditions that are less than ideal, though of course they will not be as easy to force into rocky ground as metal pegs. Wooden pegs are likely to be a good solution for campsite and festival camping, though will likely be less suitable for a lightweight camping expedition or longer expeditions to more rugged and remote locations.
None of the options is ideal and each of the materials used to make tent pegs has its disadvantages. The key with sustainable camping, however, is simply to think about the impact we are all having. Whatever pegs we use, we should be more aware of the impact of all our decisions.