Hammock vs. Tent Camping

Which is better?

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We all know a hammock is a wonderful and relaxing way to spend your free time, swaying gently in the breeze, catching some sun, or reading a book. But is it a viable option for sleeping in the wilderness?

In the age-old debate of hammock vs. tent camping, there’s plenty to be said for both sides.

You probably don’t need a reminder, but here are the definitions, just in case:

  • Hammock: A suspended bed made from fabric, typically stretched between two points, such as trees or posts.

  • Tent Camping: A portable shelter made from lightweight materials, supported by a frame of poles and anchored to the ground with stakes or guy lines. 

In this guide, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of both hammocks and tents, and you can decide which one is the winner. Let’s take a closer look.

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Many people’s first reaction to the idea of sleeping in a hammock is “what about the rain?”

You may also wonder about their protection against mosquitos, cold weather, or wind. Tents provide excellent protection against all of the above, but in a hammock, you will be a little more exposed.

For most lightweight hammock models, you can order over quilts and under quilts to provide warmth and protection from wind. You can buy tarps and mosquito nets to go over the top, too. It’s also worth mentioning here that hammocks are usually quick to dry out if they happen to get wet. 

Good quality camping tents are made from strong and sturdy materials, such as ripstop nylon and polyester, which are designed specifically to deal with bad weather. 

The rain fly covers the tent, keeping you and your fellow campers dry and cozy inside. The tent’s footprint provides extra protection between you and the ground to avoid heat being lost. 

A good tent can provide a comfortable shelter for you, your friends, your dogs, and your belongings, no matter what the weather is like. 

Advantage: Tent

An ultralight tent weighs a little over two pounds. A heavier-duty tent can easily weigh six pounds, eight pounds, or more. Contrast that to a hammock. Even a heavy-duty hammock will weigh two pounds at most, making hammocks the clear winner in this category.

You will need to carry the necessary hammock accessories, such as a mosquito net, a rain tarp, quilts, or some combination of the above, which will add a little bulk to your pack. This will still be a lighter load than a tent, which will include more heavy equipment, such as tent poles.

Advantage: Hammock

Your sleeping preferences will be personal to you, but there are several benefits for both sleeping methods.

Sleeping in a swinging hammock underneath a canopy of trees means you can enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature as you fall asleep. You don’t need to worry about rocks or uneven ground, and the gentle rocking motion of the hammock can help you to fall asleep. 

Hammock campers will also tell you that a hammock is a handy item to throw in the car for a car camping trips, so you can use it for reading or sunbathing during the day.

Tents, on the other hand, offer an all-round superior outdoor sleeping experience. You will have privacy and a better living space. You can shelter from the weather, change clothes in peace, and even hang out and read a book in your own happy space. 

For a good night’s sleep in a tent, you will also need a quality sleeping bag and a sleeping pad.   

Advantage: Tent

For about $200, you can get a reasonably dry summer tent. For $400 or $500, you can get a well-built all-season tent. For $800 or $900, you can get a tent that will feel like a little slice of luxury. 

Hammocks are a lot cheaper. For $50 or $60, you can get a nice rig for camping on dry summer nights. For $200, you’ll be set up for rain and mildly cold weather. For around $500, you can have some of the best hammock sets around.

Advantage: Hammock

Which are you going with?

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