Hammock vs. tent camping

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Thread starter #1
What's better an more affordable using a hammock or a tent when camping. Pros and cons too would be helpful to me

Thanks for the good advice


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Bob

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#2
Not many trees in the desert to hang a hammock :D
 
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#3
I love the idea of backpacking in a hammock, and I think I could make it work ~60% of the time I'm camping, but I can't sleep in a hammock. I've tried a decent grand trunk, and I've tried lying diagonally like you're supposed to, but I still couldn't sleep in it. Plus it was cold without an underquilt.

A lot of people make it work, and wouldn't camp in anything else. Where do you live?
 
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#4
What's better an more affordable using a hammock or a tent when camping. Pros and cons too would be helpful to me
I've really enjoyed the Hennessy Hammock. Overhead cover, versatility (can ground pitch with trekking poles), bug protection, and comfort. Hammocks don't work for everyone, but a lot of folks will tell you that it is the best sleep you can get on the trail.

Andrew Skurka's blog has a 3-part post on comparative advantages of hammocks and ground systems and gives you a look at a few different setups: http://andrewskurka.com/2012/hammocks-advantages-disadvantages/

I actually have two Hennessy's. Just upgraded to a lighter model. The setup has worked great for me. I'm selling the other (which is still a pretty light setup at 2lbs 9oz. http://backcountrypost.com/forum/threads/for-sale-hennessy-hammock-expedition-asym-zip.3088/
 

Parma

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#5
Tents to me are worth the extra weight. The protection from the weather and bugs is well worth a couple extra pounds in my pack. And I like the ability to have a tent where you can sit up in it too.
 
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#6
If I'm guaranteed a place to hang my hammock (warbonnet blackbird) I'd take it 100% of the time over my tent (copper spur ul1) even though it's a little heavier. I don't have to worry about finding level ground that's free if debris. My hammock is much more comfortable, to me. I can use it as a chair and I have much more room under my tarp to get out of the weather. If it's raining I can set up my tarp first and never get the hammock wet.

Most of my trips, however, I'm going somewhere I've never been (or above tree line) and opt for the tent, to be on the safe side.
 

Howells Outdoors

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#7
So I never use a tent. i have a tarp that I take with me to set up for weather. Gets rid of a lot of weight just going with a tarp (bit more work to find a suitable spot like @Bob said). The good thing is when i'm going to an area I know there are trees I can use for a hammock, i also have a tarp set up for weather.
My pros for hammocking is weight reduction of a tent and freeing up the space. There are places to set up a hammock all over the desert, but you have to know what you're looking for (Be smart where you put it so you don't destroy things). Hammocks are more comfortable than the ground, especially for sleeping, lounging, sitting, etc.
Cons - They do require a certain set up for...set up. They do leave less of a trace than sleeping on the ground, but they can damage trees if not done right.
Just a bit on what I think
 
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#8
I am determined to only pack my hammock this summer. I have the complete ENO system and I love it, I've just never used it to sleep in. I know that of I pack both my hammock and tent, then I will always stay in my tent, so I'm not even going to tempt myself and leave the tent at home on all my trips except for the ones with the wife.

Are there any tricks/tips to keep warm in the hammock since there is no under quilt?
 

Dave

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#9
Are there any tricks/tips to keep warm in the hammock since there is no under quilt?
If you're using ENO, get their Reactor which has a sleeve for an inflatable pad. It works - I know from first-hand experience.
 
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#10
A down underquilt for my hammock was a great investment. But, before that I used a blue foam pad or a partially inflated thermarest. I was surprised by just how cool my back got even during summer nights.
 

WasatchWill

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#11
My interest in hammock camping was piqued late last year. I was looking at a full ENO System, Hennessy, and the Exped Scout Combi. After seeing the versatility and features of the Exped Scout Combi, I was almost committed to that until I discovered the Switchback Lighthiker. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, especially since a tarp wasn't included with it. So...I made my own version of it. Using materials purchased from diygearsupply.com, I was able to make a full system with tarp for about half the price. I'll have to post some pics of it a little later.

Depending on the system, a hammock set up can weigh a bit more or a bit less than an ultralight tent. Also, depending what tents you are comparing to, hammocks systems can be both more and less expensive.

As for my set up, I'm really enjoying the versatility and overall lighter weight it gives my pack. The hammock, tarp, and suspension all together weigh in at just under 3 pounds. The hammock has two layers so that I can insert my Z-rest or any other pad to provide insulation from underneath without it slipping out from under me as is often the case when using a pad in a single layer hammock. I also bought a cheap sun shade at the dollar store that weighs only a couple ounces and adds a wider layer of insulation that I can lay on lengthwise or width wise to become "wings" around my shoulders and hips. I then unzip my mummy and use it like a quilt, or if it gets colder, I'll zip it back up and slide into it as it would normally be used. I am still experimenting with different sleep setups. An under-quilt would probably be more ideal, but then I lose the other feature I like about it: When there are no trees, I can go to ground with it. I can pitch it on the ground with my trekking poles and tarp thus making it a small solo tent. This allows me to use it in just about any terrain. I've only had the opportunity to sleep in it a couple times thus far and it certainly feels different and takes some getting used to after being so used to sleeping on the ground in tents. I'm still trying to dial in the optimal hang angle for myself. I can also leave the hammock at home and just take the tarp if I really want to save weight and if bugs won't be a concern. I can follow up with some pics of it in various modes, if interested.

In the mean time there are a lot of pros and cons between both tents and hammocks. You can also throw in tarps as another category to consider. Hammocks have evolved a lot of the last decade or so such that you do not need to worry about bugs any more. Hammocks can be set up as a modular system (i.e. hammock only, hammock with tarp, hammock with bug net, hammock with tarp and bug net, etc) and can be adapted to just about any season, climate, and weather. Modular hammock systems allow you to adapt it to whatever conditions you expect to face on a trip and leave what you don't need at home to cut down on weight and space in your pack. Then there are more integrated systems, like mine, that have a bug net conveniently attached so its always there. Point being, do not let a fear of bugs or lack of trees keep you away from trying out hammocks. You can protect yourself from bugs with a hammock just as well as you can with a tent and some hammocks can be set up on ground with no trees around. Hammocks can also be nice when heading into more popular areas where all the good tent sites may all be taken by allowing you to set up camp wherever you can find suitable trees and away from other noisy groups. Lastly, hammocks can also double as a camp chair and so on...just don't hang it too close to a fire!

I think the most immediate benefits a tent can offer over a hammock is more space to spread yourself and gear out, especially during stormy weather, and with that said, more space and privacy for changing clothes if that is important to you.

For all the benefits certain hammock systems can provide, some people will still prefer a traditional tent and find them to be more comfortable. If my wife comes with me, we'll still use a tent and just split the tent and fly up between the two of us while I will probably more often load up my hammock for solo outings or when going out with any friends.

If you really want to educate yourself on hammocks and all sorts of possibilities with them, there is a whole other forum you can explore at hammockforums.net.

Also, if you do decide on a hammock, make sure to use tree straps at least 1 inch wide with the suspension in order to distribute the weight more evenly. Some hammocks, especially cheaper models, will come with ropes to secure around a tree and that can scar the bark of trees.

Sorry for the long post, but hope it helps!
 

WasatchWill

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#12
Are there any tricks/tips to keep warm in the hammock since there is no under quilt?
If you're using ENO, get their Reactor which has a sleeve for an inflatable pad. It works - I know from first-hand experience.
Or try their Hotspot. Supposedly, it helps secure a pad to a single layer, but reviews seem to be mixed on it.
 
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#13
I'm looking at getting a hammock for when I backpack with a friend or solo. When me and the gf go together we use a tent but by my self I think a hammock would be nice to save space and weight.


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#14
I have been hammock camping for the last four years and don't miss being on the ground. I made a warbonnet copy.
 

Duke

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#15
Just a bump for an old thread. There are a couple of other Hammock threads too. I see in the above that several of you were going to go "all Hammock" this summer and I am hoping to get the feedback on how it went. ???

I keep wanting to go hammock...but just never make the jump. I have a hard time keeping warm in the mountains and in fact I usually fill a liter bottle with hot water and keep it at my feet at night while tent camping. When I read about getting an underquilt "system", and a down quilt for the top, and a tarp, and maybe an underpad, and a pillow for under my knees I start thinking.....hmmm......this is starting to sound more complicated that just throwing the Kelty two man or Alps 3 man in. ??

I do have a simple one that I take, but just for lounging and thinking about being too lazy to assemble my flyrod ;) Never been in one for more than a couple of hours.

LRes-2796.jpg
 
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#16
To keep things simple, I think of my hammock as my sleeping pad and my tarp as my shelter. As the hammock itself has zero R-value (unlike some pads) and air flows freely underneath, I need to insulate above and below me. So the top quilt and under quilt together equate to my sleeping bag. Unlike the bag/pad combo, however, I am not crushing the down underneath me and the under quilt maintains its loft and is quite warm. I always take a pillow—tent or hammock. So, that's a wash.

It's really not as complicated as it sounds. I prefer the hammock. But, as most of the time I'm going somewhere I've never been, I typically default to the tent for fear of not finding appropriate trees to hang from.
 

WasatchWill

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#17
I enjoy my hammock for summer trips in wooded areas. I don't have winter ready system for it yet. While my hammock can be pitched on the ground with trekking poles able to suspend the bug net and tarp as a bivouc setup, I still tend to favor a tent for trips out in the desert or high alpine areas. I have much more headroom and thus more comfort for sitting out a storm, etc.
 

Duke

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#18
To keep things simple, I think of my hammock as my sleeping pad and my tarp as my shelter. As the hammock itself has zero R-value (unlike some pads) and air flows freely underneath, I need to insulate above and below me. So the top quilt and under quilt together equate to my sleeping bag. Unlike the bag/pad combo, however, I am not crushing the down underneath me and the under quilt maintains its loft and is quite warm. I always take a pillow—tent or hammock. So, that's a wash.

It's really not as complicated as it sounds. I prefer the hammock. But, as most of the time I'm going somewhere I've never been, I typically default to the tent for fear of not finding appropriate trees to hang from.
Thanks JO, that does explain it better.
 
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#19
I enjoy my hammock for summer trips in wooded areas. I don't have winter ready system for it yet. While my hammock can be pitched on the ground with trekking poles able to suspend the bug net and tarp as a bivouc setup, I still tend to favor a tent for trips out in the desert or high alpine areas. I have much more headroom and thus more comfort for sitting out a storm, etc.
X2

I love my hammock, but like Will, I enjoy the simplicity of a tent when no trees are easily accessible.
 

Duke

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#20
Unfortunately it seems to be much like when I wanted to try riding an Alpine snowboard vs a Freeride snowboard. There aren't too many ways to test it first. One just has to make the jump, buy one, and give it a shot after purchase. The problem with that is ....once again...much like with the Alpine SB, the hammock gear costs mucho. The two down quilts alone will cost about $500. Yikes. Then a hammock and a tarp. cha ching! cha ching!

They do SEEM to be awesome though. Perhaps I can add it to that list of awesome things I get when that rich relative I don't know about leaves me a platinum mine :)
 

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