Hammock Vs Tent Which Is Better For You
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As a camping enthusiast, you are likely well aware of how adamant campers can be about their preference in gear. When it comes to hammocks and tents, you will find ample supporters on both sides. It’s easy to see why some prefer one over the other. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. However, when faced with a decision for your next camping trip, “they are both good” just doesn’t cut it. In this article, you will be learning about some of the major advantages and disadvantages of each. By the end, you should be able to make a final decision on which one is best for you.
What Exactly Is A Hammock?
A hammock can be made from various materials. It is an invention that historians say dates back nearly 1,000 years to the Maya civilization . You will find hammocks made of everything from ropes to netting to various types of fabric. The purpose of a hammock is to be a bed suspended in the air generally supported by two separate points which are typically trees. While hammocks are very commonly used in many places, for camping they offer unique advantages that you should be aware of.
Advantages of Hammocks:
The hammocks that you will find designed for campers are going to be extremely light and portable. This makes hammocks very practical for the average camper. You will generally find hammocks made up of synthetic yet sturdy and wear-resistant material like nylon or polyester. As a result, the entirety of the hammock can generally be folded into a small bag while adding virtually no weight to your camping gear. Because you likely have enough heavy things to bring along with you during your camping trip already, this can be seen as a major advantage for anyone looking to lighten the load.
There are plenty of campsites that may have poor terrain and conditions for tent setups. The versatility of hammocks can allow for sleeping setups in areas that would otherwise not be conducive to it. While you do have inherent restrictions of your own with hammocks having to be separated by two supporting trees, the ability to suspend the system above rocky and unsuitable terrain cannot go unnoticed.
Being able to sleep off the ground comes with numerous benefits on its own. For one, it will allow you to keep yourself off the ground which can keep you from getting cold or uncomfortable due to wet conditions. Also, you won’t have your body against the cold ground which can transfer the cold to your body through conduction. For those scared or worried about creepy crawlers, hammocks can keep you suspended in the air where you are much less likely to have them crawling all over you while you are dreaming.
While tying the appropriate knots to secure your hammock may take some getting used to, the setup process is a relative breeze compared to the complexities of setting up a tent. The process involved with setting up a hammock is very straight-forward which can make it much easier to wrap your head around. For those who are experienced campers, you will find it much easier and much quicker to have a hammock set up and ready to use versus a tent.
Cheaper and More Affordable
Hammocks are inherently much more affordable than tents. After all, a hammock is rather simple in its construction. Because of this, you will be able to find one for a very affordable price point compared to a tent. Even when you add a bunch of hammock accessories that should be considered must-have’s for campers like a tarp and even a bug net, you are looking at big savings when compared to a tent.
Disadvantages of Hammocks
While Versatile, They Require Suspension Points
In order to set up and even use a hammock, you need to have two spaced out and adequately sturdy suspension points. While you can generally find two trees capable of holding your weight while camping in the forest, there are certain situations where you may be out of luck.
Not Great For Large Groups
Don’t plan on having your entire family nestle into your hammock. While you can find hammocks suitable for two people use, you don’t want to sleep with two people in a hammock. Therefore, you would need to bring along multiple hammocks and setup different hammocks to accommodate more people. While this isn’t necessarily too much of a disadvantage, it is something to consider.
You’ll Need Accessories
As mentioned briefly above, with a hammock, you are pretty much forced to purchase accessories for a comfortable experience. If you are camping in an area with colder temperatures, you will need to get an under-quilt for your hammock. Without one, you can expect to get very cold at night as the cold air will be sweeping underneath your hammock causing you to lose a lot of heat. The quilt will insulate your hammock to help you retain more heat and keep you warm. With a quilt, you can remain very warm in your hammock. Also, you will need to purchase a bug net if the hammock doesn’t come with one built-in already. After all, you will be suspended above the ground where a lot of mosquitoes will be treating you like dinner.
What Exactly Is A Tent?
Tents really have been used as the go-to shelter solution for campers for a long time. Tents offer a lot of unique advantages that make them objectively better than hammocks in certain situations.
Advantages of Tents:
Accommodates More People
A lot of people tend to go camping with friends or their families. Because of this, you may want a shelter solution that can accommodate more than one person. You can find tents that can range from accommodating as little as two to more than five people at a time. This alone makes them a much more practical option for those who are camping with their family.
Hold Your Belongings
Along with being able to provide shelter for more people in your camping group, but the tent will have extra space that can be used for your belongings. With a hammock, you will not have any space to store your camping equipment or your bag. This can be a big problem as your things will be exposed to the elements more often than not.
Can Withstand Strong Winds
Hammocks are really not suitable in conditions with a lot of wind. When there are strong winds, you will find the hammock swaying dangerously. Because of this, it wouldn’t be recommended to take a hammock as your lone shelter option in an area or during a time that is prone to strong winds. A tent will be stable enough to withstand strong winds and it can handle other poor weather conditions just as well. While a hammock with a tarp may work better in rainy and wet conditions, a tent can offer good enough protection assuming you get a quality one.
Disadvantages of Tents:
Tedious Setup Process
One of the major pitfalls associated with camping with tents has to be the long and tedious setup process. Unfortunately, it can take quite a while to set one up. This is especially true if you have never set the tent up previously. Each tent has a unique setup process that you will need to account for and adjust for. Therefore, you can expect it to take much longer than setting up a hammock which can prove to be a problem if you don’t pitch your tent before it gets dark.
Limitations In Setup: Flat and Even Ground
You are going to be much more limited to where you will be able to set up a shelter with a tent. You really need even ground. With a hammock, you can get away with suspending the hammock over rocky or uneven terrain. With a tent, you don’t get that same luxury and you have to worry about keeping your tent away from water runoff areas.
While the newer tents on the market are incredibly compact, portable, and lightweight, they still are much bulkier than hammock alternatives.
You can expect to pay a lot more money for a tent than a hammock, even accounting for all of the much-needed hammock accessories. However, they do accommodate more people.
Winner: It Depends...
As you can see, choosing between the two is not as clear-cut as you might want it to be. Choosing one of the two is a complex decision. It really involves looking at your own personal situation. You want to choose the shelter that is best suited for your camping style and your respective camping situation. A tent can prove to be a much more practical option for a family that camps together. However, for someone who camps with few people, a hammock can prove to be an excellent alternative. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each and figure out which one fits your use-case the best.