Hammock vs Tent Camping: 7 Factors To Consider

Planning for camping is no less than an exciting adventure. Everything about camping is exciting, from sleeping under the open sky to cooking food using primitive methods. But things can go downhill if you haven’t planned one thing: the sleep setup. 

Should you opt for a hammock or a tent? Choosing the better one depends on your trip location and its weather conditions. So, let’s see which is better in Tent vs Hammock Camping.Hammock vs Tent Camping: 7 Factors to Consider

For instance, you are planning a hiking trip where you want to spend your nights under the open sky, lying in midair. Then a hammock is an absolute choice, or you will need a rain tarp if it is raining.

Whereas, if you’re planning an adventurous trip to a snowy location, nothing better than a tent will serve you best.

Of course, while debating about the hammock vs. a tent, we cannot ignore their pros and cons. Each one has distinct advantages, but there are certain drawbacks as well. To buy the best one yourself, you’ll have to consider the bad and good in both hammocks. Hence in this guide, we’ll go through all the advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s start with a no-brainer hammock. There are various types of hammocks out there. Hammocks are appealing to the eye and provide a deep level of comfort. But ever wondered what made them so appealing? Is it the way they mold to the person’s curves lounging in them, or is it the fact that its inhabitants look utterly insane dangling from death-defying heights like a trapeze artist with no harness or safety net below?

No matter what the answer is, hammocks always win. Remember, we’re not campaigning for class president; we’re going camping. Camping isn’t about looking fabulous. Instead, it’s living the best on minimum terms assessing different life-skill activities. A hammock will also protect you from wet ground, tree roots, creepy crawlies, etc.

While travelling for kilometres in the expansive unknown wilderness, self-supported, it is vital to be self-sufficient and prepared. Practicality is paramount on a backpacking trip. So, what should you look for when determining which sleeping method is best for you?

#1 Shelter

Shelter

A hammock has the advantage of not requiring open space or level ground to set up compared to a tent. It will, however, necessitate the placement of two sturdy items at the proper distance apart that can support a person’s whole weight, provided you have all the necessary hammock gear or hammock accessories.

It can be challenging to locate an open space to pitch a tent in a dense forest, but it will be ideal for any suspension system, such as a hammock. Flat surfaces and open expanses abound in desert regions, making them suitable for a tent camping trip. Also, tents need some trekking poles to stand. We’re going to call this a tie.

#2 Space

Space

Though a one-person tent won’t allow you to sleep like a five-point starfish, it will be more spacious than a hammock, which has approximately the same amount of space as a cocoon. It’s nearly impossible to sleep in a hammock overnight with more than one person, even if using two-person hammocks. Consider a two-person tent even if you’re sleeping alone to get that extra space.

A two-person tent provides double the sleeping area for the same weight and expense of a single-person tent, plus it allows you to bring your gear inside. If you need something, you won’t have to leave the tent, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing it won’t be stolen in the middle of the night.

It’s normal to hang your backpack when hiking with a hammock. However, this exposes it to the weather. You might be able to tuck your bag under your hammock if you’re short enough.

#3 Weight

Weight

The weight of the sleeping setup is a crucial factor, especially when you are on adventurous trails like the Appalachian Trail. As every ounce counts, it may become tough while hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, adding some extra weight.

A hammock is easy to carry and lighter than a tent set up all over, though an ultralight hammock might require extra setups if you are planning to hike. Tent poles are usually the most fragile component of a portable tent.

You’ll first need a sturdy rope or webbing to hang the hammock. You’ll also need a rain fly to keep you dry in case of heavy rain or morning dew accumulation. Bug netting is necessary for most hikers who need insect protection while sleeping.

Support ropes are also included to give the hammock more stability and prevent it from swaying too much as you sleep.

These days, you can add a few necessities with your tent or hammock-like mosquito nets, rainfly, straps, repair kits, etc. We’ll compare the hammock weight to that of a single one-person tent because a hammock can comfortably sleep only one person. 

#4 Warmth

Warmth

Warmth, in our opinion, is the most significant benefit of a tent. Hanging on a hammock exposes one to chilly winds making them feel cold due to loss of body heat with the surrounding.

As a result, any hammock camper sleeping on a hammock is at risk of developing the cold-butt syndrome.

People often find it difficult to keep themselves warm when they are on a hammock, especially where the temperature falls rapidly during the night and a campfire is the last resort.

If you’re planning on sleeping in a hammock overnight, you’ll need an insulated sleeping bag. 

But, if you are not sensitive to changing winds, hammocks are as pleasant as they seem, just like sleeping under the roof of tiny little bulbs hung too far.

A hammock can’t have multiple people sleeping; that’s why it’s not a good choice if you are seeking warm cuddles with your partner.

 If you’re camping in a tent, you can bring a snuggle friend to keep you warm. A tent will be far warmer than a hammock in the long run.

#5 Protection Against Harsh or Cold Weather

Protection Against Harsh or Cold Weather

That won’t be the case if you seek proper rain protection from a hammock since the hammock’s design is not the same. The hammock can’t guard you against rain pouring along with solid wind movements.

If you live somewhere where puddles form quickly during a downpour, you may observe that rain falling into those puddles splashes water up, creating a rainfall that defies gravity’s laws.

As we said above, the tent’s design offers proper protection against rain in any direction and, thus, guards against rough weather conditions.

#6 Comfort

Comfort

An inhabited hammock is always in the shape of a U. Though, many people claim that sleeping in this position for more than a comfortable night or two might cause back pain. Others, on the other hand, are entirely unconcerned about it. 

If you sleep on your side, sleeping in a hammock will likely be incredibly uncomfortable, even if it is a popular hammock. People with broad shoulders sleeping in a single hammock for long periods squeeze them together, resulting in morning pain. But, a more oversized sleeping pad and a double-wide hammock resolved the issue.

#7 Price

It might be an off-topic comparison since there is a significant difference in the price of hammocks and tents.

 A hammock is less expensive than a tent in and of itself. When you factor in the cost of the extra camping gear you’ll need to go with your hammock, you’ll find that the price is roughly the same.

A good mid-range hammock, for example, will set you back between $50 and $80. A lightweight hammock tarp may be $100-$150, and an ultralight down underquilt could be $200-$400. Straps, bug netting, and guylines will also be required. If you are going for a lightweight hammock camping setup, the price can range between $400 and $800.

Meanwhile, if your eyes are on an ultralight tent, the price can range from $200 to $600. A sleeping mat, which costs between $50 and $150, is also required. Expect a lightweight configuration to cost between $250 and $700.

You can save a couple of hundred bucks by not using an underquilt if you only camp in warm weather. You may use cheaper foam cushions as insulation if it’s only a little chilly. A hammock camping setup may be more cost-effective in this instance.

Conclusion

Tents and hammocks are worlds apart. Changing from tents and ground shelters to a hammock necessitates a complete overhaul of your equipment and processes. Tents also need flat ground. However, it may be an excellent move for the proper people that is enjoyable and fulfilling.

You should be aware that hammocks aren’t all fun and games. They can be fussy, difficult to set up, and require a lot of testing and tweaking until they’re “just perfect” for you. Hammocks, in our opinion, make the most sense for people who, for whatever reason, are unable to locate a suitable sleeping solution. Hikers with back difficulties are one such example, as we previously described.

Do your homework, get some clarity on the hammock vs. tent debate and learn from others to get the most out of your hammock. Before you commit to redesigning your entire gear arrangement, borrow a camping hammock setup from a friend and try it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible To Sleep Above Inaccessible Areas?

Yes, you can sleep on top of places where a tent would be impractical. However, finding an area with no acceptable tent sites due to slope or impediments is extremely rare, usually due to the hiker’s poor planning.

Is It True That Hammocks Aid In Leaving No Trace?

While there is an argument to be made about hammocks not flattening vegetation, it is a weak point. Most of the foliage around your hammock will be trampled by your boots or shoes as you set up your hammock and go about your nighttime campground activities. Furthermore, the tree straps used to hang can damage or scar tree bark if not appropriately handled, so you need to find suitable trees and make good tree straps.

Is it true that hammocks help with the Leave No Trace philosophy?

While there is some merit to the notion that hammocks do not flatten vegetation, it is weak. As you set up your hammock and go about your nighttime campsite activities, the majority of the vegetation around your hammock will be trampled by your boots or shoes. Furthermore, hanging tree straps might damage or scar tree bark if not appropriately handled.

Kevin Macey
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