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Tent vs Hammock

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  • Tent vs Hammock

    I'd like to get an idea of which is preferred. I prefer hammocks, mainly because they are generally lighter weight, I am not sleeping on the hard ground, and it for me it's a lot more comfortable. Tents seems to be the standard, probably because they tend to be cheaper, warmer, and more than one person can occupy each one. Of course, these factors vary depending on the tent/hammock.

  • #2
    I've converted to hammock camping in the last 18 months or so. I find it more comfortable than sleeping on the ground (even with my big plush camp Thermarest), and I like being more open and exposed (but off the ground away from the creepy-crawlies and critters). With a tarp, underquilt and top quilt, I stay dry and warm. I've hammock camped down to about 20 degrees (with a stiff wind), and I stayed plenty warm.

    It's also lighter and more compact than a tent. As long as there are trees, you can nearly always get a decent hang. I've spent too many nights on rocky or sloping ground in a tent.

    There are a few downsides or at least adjustments to be made after tent camping for so long. In the tent, I had all my crap (gear) all around me and it was easy to get to in the night. I miss having a convenient place to keep a book and water bottle. I'm still figuring out the best way to do that. But, overall, I'm much happier in a hammock.

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    • #3
      I hammock primarily for my back. I also like the airiness. I use a pad and sleeping bag (open as a topquilt). If you have a structural ridgeline, it is a great place to hang a book. You can hang a water bottle too, with a carabiner. If you have a big enough tarp, use a small foldable table for your stuff. I did that on a few days of summer camp.

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      • #4
        There was a thread here a while back on this topic. Have no idea if it's available now with the site changes that have happened, but it really got my curiosity up about hammocks.
        I'd love to try one some time to see if I like it before buying..... I'm just not confident enough that I'd like it to spend the dollars up front. I tend to be a side sleeper so I think I might have issues. Seems like a great concept though IF there are plenty of trees and IF you can tie to them.

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        • EagleScout441
          EagleScout441 commented
          Editing a comment
          You should do what I did and find a friend who owns a hammock and try it out, then make your decision about buying one. If you have questions about hammock camping try looking here: https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/index.php.
          BTW, I also tend to be a side sleeper, but hammocks feel completely different and it isn't a problem for me.
          As far as trees goes, the camping in my area tends to be either woods, or fields surrounded by woods so finding trees isn't a problem.
          "IF you can tie to them." If you're worried about the straps tearing up the trees, many hammocks have what are called "tree huggers" that are made to prevent the straps from doing just that.

        • blw2
          blw2 commented
          Editing a comment
          The IF you can tie to them comment, was meant more about rules. Some places have rules against tying anything to trees.

      • #5
        We had a problem at summer camp as there were not enough trees not in the clear for six that had hammocks. LNT would likely have a problem trampling the brush all week.

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        • #6
          While it is more expensive and arguably lighter than a conventional setup..

          It is a comfort thing for me......Air circulation in the summer, and up off the cold ground in winter.

          Down side is needing trees.

          I really love my set up.....I have 3 different tarps depending on weather or time of year. 2 different underquilts and 3 top quilts...... Been accumulated over about 5 years or so.

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          • #7
            I am a huge fan of Hammock Camping. After I got one, My oldest son wanted one. Then the three younger ones all wanted one too.

            So now, All of us but Mom sleep in Hammock tents on our Scouting trips. (Found some good deals on Hennessey around their fall clearance sales)

            The only problem is when there are not enough trees.

            Without a good underquilt though, winter usage can be quite chilly. (Use Pad/reflector and Sleeping bag, but it still makes for a cold backside.)

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            • #8
              I have a just converted to hammock camping in the last year or so. They work really great for backpacking and when you are moving each day or even for a day or two plop camp when you are travelling light. The cold can be an issue but I have taken to using my big agnes thermal air mattress below me for insulation. I have found that even at 50F and below you need insulation below you to be truly warm and comfortable.
              I spent my week at summer camp in the hammock and rigged up a backpacking fly to act as an additional roof and also as a privacy screen of sorts. Summer camp means I pack a lot of stuff, heck I'm there all week and want to be comfortable. I'm still working on storing this stuff neatly and safely but I'm not about to give it up.

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              • #9
                Been a hammock boy for five years.

                Pros:
                1- EXTREMELY comfortable.
                a- My back is fine in the morning. Don't have to climb out of bed, just swing my feet out.
                b- .I don't snore in the curved posture (put a bolster under my knees)
                c- Interior pockets for light and glasses. Hang a 'C' cell lantern under tarp for reading light.
                2- Light weight,
                3- Versatile, don't need no stinking level spot without roots and rocks. Quick set-up once you have your routine down.
                4- Can be inexpensive - $45 hammock and a $10 tarp:
                http://www.rei.com/product/736088/by...veller-hammock

                Cons:
                1- Have to cover your pack separately. (And close it when you retire.)
                2- Carry a few extra ropes to adjust for trees.
                3- I'm not good for below 30 degrees. Double Thermarests keep the backside warm, but my shoulders push so hard against the sides that they make a thin spot. At 25 degrees this past March, I just had to let my shoulders freeze.

                Comment


                • MattR
                  MattR commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Summer backpacking sounds like an interesting use of this. I don't know much about them but am curious. I use a syl-nylon tarp and sleep on the ground. It would be nicer to just move it all up a couple of feet. I've read that you can sleep on your side or even stomach if you sleep at an angle to the tarp. Doesn't that make it harder to get insulation underneath? Can you hang a down blanket underneath? My pad, which isn't that big, is really big compared to a lot of things I carry and getting rid of that would be a real bonus..
                  Last edited by MattR; 08-16-2013, 09:39 PM.

                • JoeBob
                  JoeBob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Hey MattR,

                  You really should try the cheap REI Mokito Hammock.
                  The instructions advise you to sleep diagonally, which makes you flat. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
                  I think one of the main reasons that I find hammocks so comfortable is the stretchy fabric. No hard spots, distributes your weight evenly.
                  I always use a thermarest pad in the hammock. In warm weather a little 3/4 pad is up around my head and shoulders to hold the mesh away from my face. Bzzzzzzzz...

                  At Camp Napowan last summer, the highs were 95 and the nights only dipped to 82/83. I couldn't have slept in a tent or on the ground. As it was, I was laying semi-nude in the air taking advantage of every little breeze.

              • #10
                Both my son and I use hammocks and love them. The cons are well stated above. A down underquilt is an essential investment against the cold but will set you back some serious cash--more than the hammock. But it is worth it for the comfort, and the weight when backpacking.

                One con to add is that I find I have to use the porta-tree more frequently in the hammock than in the tent for some reason, and others have reported this as well. Try to avoid drinking water long before bedtime.

                Comment


                • JoeBob
                  JoeBob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Brew, does an underquilt cover your sides?

                • Brewmeister
                  Brewmeister commented
                  Editing a comment
                  JoeBob, yes it does. So with a top quilt or unzipped hammock inside it's full coverage. My son manages to wiggle himself into a sleeping bag but I'm not always quite that coordinates.

              • #11
                Never noticed having to use the porta tree more often???

                Brew do you sleep with your feet higher than your head??? Or could it be a function of temperature???? Or maybe your not sleeping as deep as you do on the ground and the hormone that turns of the kidneys at night isn't working????

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                • #12
                  When I was a kid, our troop was known for its "hammock boys," so a few years ago I went out and bought one o give the boys a laugh and maybe some inspiration. The first night I slept in it, I actually ended up on a picnic table to do the sleeping. The second time, I finally managed maybe 3 hours of sleep. 3rd time I was so kinked-up and stiff the whole next day I wanted to die. 4th time I said bollocks and it's been in its package since.

                  Comment


                  • EagleScout441
                    EagleScout441 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Philmont, really?! If you have "tree huggers" then hammocks don't leave any trace whatsoever, but without them the straps could damage the bark. What perdidochas said below makes sense, tents give you a lot more protection from bears than hammocks.

                  • jblake47
                    jblake47 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Bears? You shouldn't have a problem if you hang your hammock as high as the bear bag....

                    Stosh

                  • EagleScout441
                    EagleScout441 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'd rather not climb to the top of a tree in order to get in my hammock.

                • #13
                  Our boys like hammocks when allowed. (Usually only 2 or 3 actually bring a hammock, they rest just play in those during the day.) Not all places allow hammocks though. While in the Grand Canyon this year the rangers told us not to use hammocks because they were a danger to the Elk on the Rim, and could damage the trees below. If you are a tent user check with local authorities first, or plan on brining a tent or tarp use just in case.

                  Comment


                  • 5yearscouter
                    5yearscouter commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Most of the places around here in AZ say NO to hammocks in the trees, especially the scout camps.

                • #14
                  We just came back from our monthly camp out. I had the Scouts all bring a bed sheet and their para-cord. We made hammocks with that and basic knots. I provided the webbing to protect the trees from damage. 17 Scouts in attendance; 2 already hammock; 15 made hammocks; 13 started the night in them; 8 slept thru the night in their hammock.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
                    When I was a kid, our troop was known for its "hammock boys," so a few years ago I went out and bought one o give the boys a laugh and maybe some inspiration. The first night I slept in it, I actually ended up on a picnic table to do the sleeping. The second time, I finally managed maybe 3 hours of sleep. 3rd time I was so kinked-up and stiff the whole next day I wanted to die. 4th time I said bollocks and it's been in its package since.
                    Could be a number of reasons you didn't sleep well. You may have had the hammock strung too tight (the lines should be hanging at a 30 degree angle or so for best comfort for most people). Did you sleep at an angle?

                    In terms of Philmont, I think the main reservation against them is bears. Tarp camping is also not allowed at Philmont.

                    Comment


                    • blw2
                      blw2 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I was thinking the same thing.
                      I haven't seen a bear open a tent but can't imagine why a tent would be different than a tarp or hammock.....
                      unless there's a theory that a tent looks more like a big boulder than a sausage.

                    • perdidochas
                      perdidochas commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The theory goes that they sometimes cook under tarps at Philmont, but never in tents. Tents are not associated with food, tarps are. One of the keys to hammock camping is the tarp.

                    • JoeBob
                      JoeBob commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I will admit to feeling somewhat vulnerable to mischief in a hammock. Although there are no critters in the Southeast that worry me, two-legged-dogs have left their spoor in some of my haunts.

                      There is no graceful way to exit a zipped hammock in a hurry. My emergency plan is to roll over, fall through the screen and bounce on my face...
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