We have talked to several hikers about the usage of hammocks. Most of them are impressed by the relaxation they get when sleeping. But, some of them dislike the use of equipment. While some hikers love to sleep in hammocks, others don’t find it comfortable due to incorrect position and usage. High quality hammocks are […]
Is a Hammock Better Than a Tent (Tent vs Hammock)
Published: July 14, 2021
Some people prefer to camp on a hammock, while others choose a tent. Comparing a hammock with a tent can be difficult. It requires wide coverage before you can come up with a conclusion.
Hammocks are more comfortable than tents, but tents can provide you better protection and warmth. It is regarded on how, where, and what kind of camping you’ll be engaging in. Before choosing, always consider the place where you’ll camp and the surroundings.
Since there is no definite answer to this question, we will be comparing hammocks and tents in this article. After reading this, we hope that you can identify what fits your needs. We included several topics in order to shed light on which is the best option for a specific use.
What is a hammock?
A hammock is a fabric suspended on two points. It can be used for sleeping, swinging, and resting. Some other hammocks are also made with a net or rope-like materials. Both ends of this equipment are tied on certain structures to make a sling where a person can lie down.
The term “hammock” takes its origin from the Spanish word “hamaca,” which means “fishnet” in the Arawak culture. Hamacas were not initially created for leisure purposes, but for protection.
There are a lot of hammock types that are casually used by people. Maybe your neighbor owns one in their backyard, or even inside their house. The variety of this material is wide, and allows people to use hammocks in many ways.
In terms of camping, manufacturers created a specific hammock for this activity. The materials used are refined for durability, unlike the standard hammocks that are casually used. These are created for a specific purpose, although you can still use them anywhere.
Pros and cons of camping in a hammock
Hammocks are versatile, lightweight, comfortable, easy to set up, and provide good ventilation. But, the downside of camping with one is the limited space and the fact that it requires a suitable location. Plus, hammocks can expose you to cold temperatures and possible accidents.
Pros of camping in a hammock:
Since you will be hanging it on the trunk of the trees, you don’t need to look for a flat terrain. This difficulty is commonly encountered by campers who use tents, as tents need to be set up on the ground, and are therefore unsuitable for rocky surfaces. With hammocks however, you can set up anywhere, even on a not-so-plain surface.
Hammocks are naturally lightweight. Due to their structure, all of the materials needed can be compressed into your pack. Unlike tents, they don’t require you to pack poles. Thus, hammocks can solve your problem if you’re trying to save weight when packing.
If you’re looking for an ultralight camping hammock, we suggest you take a look at the Hennessy Hammock Ultralight Backpacker Zip on amazon.com. Not only is it lightweight, but we also presented this product with our Best Overall Camping Hammock award. It’s durable, comfortable, reliable, and you can use it in almost any weather condition.
As we discussed in our article “How to Make a Camping Hammock Comfortable,” hikers expressed that this is more comfortable to use than tents. The elevation brings numerous advantages that can contribute to your sleep. Nonetheless, we advise you to know your preferred sleeping position beforehand.
If you are sleeping-on-your-stomach enthusiast, then maybe hammocks are unfit for you.
- Simple set-up
All you have to do is hang this equipment. If you can find an ideal spot, then you can immediately set-up your hammock. There are no other steps you should ponder. However, be careful of your surroundings to avoid putting yourself in danger.
Always check the upper and sides, to see if there are obstacles that can cause accidents.
- Good ventilation
The temperature and airflow are different when sleeping in a hammock and in a tent. In hammocks, since your body is elevated, the air has easy access. It contributes to your good night’s sleep, according to other hikers. The temperature is also cooler, but brings some underquilts to battle this. The cold usually strikes on the bottom area of the hammock.
Although we can’t fully assure you that insects won’t attack you, it just keeps you away from those who stay on the ground. To prevent flying insect or mosquito bites, pack some mesh cover. Don’t be complacent.
Cons of using a hammock:
- Limited space
Obviously, hammocks are specifically made for one person only. It is a disadvantage if you are camping with a group. If all of you use a hammock, it is indeed hard to adjust to the space, unlike with tents.
- Requires a suitable location
You can’t hang a hammock in a location without trees. That forces you to look for a proper place where you can set up properly.
- Cool is good, but not too much
Exposure of the body to cold temperatures is expected on hammocks. However, sometimes, coolness is not advisable for your body. Thus, you should put on some extra layers to allay this.
- Difficult to stay warm
Apart from underquilts, it is suggested to thicken your outfit for a warmer temperature. The idea is to regulate the temperature. But, you cannot ensure while you’re asleep.
The person is elevated in a hammock. And if you tend to unconsciously roll too much on one side when you sleep, that may cause you to fall.
Hammocks don’t have a cover on the top area, unless you put up some rainfly. Indeed, hammocks are innately open, and therefore, provide no privacy. It is also hard to store your stuff with such equipment. Plus, you should also hang the rainfly.
What is a tent?
A tent is a foldable shelter that is supported by poles. Made for camping, it serves as a short-term home for the outdoors or when partaking in any recreational activity. It is portable and good for backpacking. Tents have been used for several years, even B.C.
A lot of varieties of tents are being utilized by people nowadays, whether for occasions, leisure, recreational activities, or camping. But, when someone say ‘tent,’ we always immediately think about camping.
What to look for in a camping tent?
Before you buy a tent, you should first examine its size, design, height, and the materials used. Other essential features you should bear in mind are the rainfly, vestibules, ventilation, and loops. Gear loft may also fit your necessities in camping.
- Size (floor and capacity)
Know the amount of people you are going to camp with. That will give you an idea of how big your tent needs to be, and the sleeping capacity that you need. Some tents have a wide floor size, which can shelter a huge group. Everything also depends on the size of your companions. Better ensure everything.
There are two designs of tents: 3 seasons, and 4 seasons. A 3-season tent is made for spring, summer, and fall, while a 4-season tent covers all seasons. If you are going to a place where snow is expected, use a 4-season tent. They are more capable of enduring extreme weather conditions.
Tents with a high-peak height permit good ventilation. Or, if you and your companion(s) prefer to stand inside the tent, then the height is the key feature you should check. Also, note that high tents are fragile for strong winds. Since they are tall, they have a weak hold.
They are used to cover your tent when it’s raining. Some rainflies offer light entry inside your tent, and also provide standard rainproof capacity. Some other rainflies provide full coverage, which renders the entire defense against rain and wind.
This is the type of fabric used to create a tent. The type of seams influences this area.
They are one of the salient features of a tent. Vestibules are used as stashes for your gears and equipment. Without these, you will be forced to sleep with your stuff inside the tent. Always inspect if your prospect tent contains vestibules.
The mesh panels that can be seen in numerous parts of the tent are the ventilation system. Aside from halting the entry of insects, these holes allow the airflow inside the tent. You should research the temperature of the camping place beforehand, as these mesh panels may be a disadvantage if the place is cold and windy.
You can use loops to hang your stuff inside the tent. Vestibules are usually used to store bulky gears, but loops can be used to hang your handy, important stuff. On the other hand, there are also loops for gears like shovels or axes.
Pros and cons of camping in a tent
A tent allows you freedom of sleeping movements, can welcome many people, be used to store your gears, gives you privacy, and keeps you warm. However, it can be fragile and uncomfortable, and it can increase the temperatures when it’s hot, and flood when it rains hard.
Pros of using a tent
- Protection from weather and insects
Compared to hammocks, tents are more capable of protecting you from the rain and wind, because it has walls and a rainfly. This also prevents insects from entering the tent.
Weather protection is critical, especially if you’re planning to camp in a place where it can rain anytime. The TETON Sports Mountain Ultra 2-Person Camping Tent (View tent on amazon.com) is one of the best waterproof tents on the market today, because its inner floor is durable, and because it has a ripstop rainfly to protect you from the rain and strong winds.
- Freedom of sleeping position
Since you are sleeping on a flat surface, this is like sleeping in a bed. You can move anytime you want.
- Tent size
This main depends on the type of camping. There are tents that are made for a particular purpose, which is an advantage.
The vestibules allow you to store and secure your gear, which will leave you satisfied. On the contrary, on hammocks, you don’t have any storage, unless you create an alternative.
- Privacy and security
Hammocks lack this advantage. Tents can indeed be closed, so that it can give you privacy. Plus, you are more secured inside a tent, as you are not exposed.
Similarly to the privacy reason, tents are warmer because they are surrounded by walls.
- Can shelter more than one person
They bear floor sizes that can welcome more than one person, which is a huge advantage for campers travelling in groups, as they can guarantee enough space for your companions.
Cons of a tent:
If you’ve been a camper for a long time, we assume that you already experienced camping in the rain. Sometimes, the ground can get soaked or even flooded. In the worst cases, it may even enter inside your tent.
- The setup can be wobbly or fragile
Large and tall tents are easy to move or even to be destroyed by strong winds. Although this is a negative feature, it can sometimes be prevented. For this, you should always check the weather of the place you’re heading to before using this kind of tents.
Allowing groups inside a tent is an advantage, but also a disadvantage, as it reduces the privacy component that a tent provides.
- May not be comfortable
If you prefer sleeping on your stomach, then tents are the best choice. But if you like elevated position, hammocks can meet your needs. Don’t use hammocks if you feel apprehensive of the idea.
- Accessible to insects on the ground
There are flying insects, but there are even more of them on the ground. Even if your tent is covered, in some instances, the tiniest insect can crawl inside your tent.
- Increased temperature
Tents can keep a warm temperature, but if the place where you are camping is already hot, it will make the temperature even hotter inside the tent.
Which is warmer: Tent or hammock?
In general, a tent is warmer than a hammock. Tents are enclosed with walls, like a portable house, and prevent the air from entering. Hammocks are elevated with a total exposure of the upper area, which allows the air to flow freely.
Seeing the structure of both equipment, you can clearly judge which is warm and which is cold. Some campers prefer hammocks, while others like tents better. When we conducted our survey, campers gave similar answers, which we can use to examine this point.
Some people expressed that they sleep more comfortably in hammocks. This is due to the freedom of airflow, which contributes to their relaxation. But, there can be a drawback if the place is too cold. In such cases, this may not be advisable to use.
In cold places, a tent is the best option. Tents are enclosed with fabric walls, and therefore can defend the person inside against external factors such as rain and airflow. Plus, tents compress your body inside with a cover for warmth, compared to hammocks, which leave you exposed to the outside.
A simple comparison is to sit inside your house and outdoors. Your house is surrounded by walls and a roof, whereas, if you sit outside, your body is unprotected and vulnerable to the temperature and air. Now, it is easy to determine which is warmer.
However, hammocks are compatible with gears that can be used to keep you warm throughout the whole night. You can use underquilts, a sleeping bag, or wear thick layers of clothes, for instance. A rainfly can also tremendously reduce the ventilation, so you better pack it.
Are hammocks lighter than tents?
Some hammocks are heavier than some tents, and vice versa. Considering the existence of lightweight tents, hammocks cannot be considered as the lightest equipment. The lightweight tent can be lighter than a hammock. There are several factors to be considered on both equipment to know the answer.
Usually, if we think about the structure of hammocks, we always jump to the conclusion that they are lighter than tents. But what makes the topic complicated is the existence of lightweight tents. These types of tents are lighter than some hammocks.
People may be conceiving that the less gear to carry, the lighter the equipment. However, hammocks require some extra gears to secure and insulate you, such as underquilts, and a rainfly or nets. If you think hammocks are easy to carry, then we can’t assure that.
As we previously said, there are lightweight tents that are good for light backpacking. With these tents, you can be sure that the weight won’t increase much in your pack. With such a convenient feature, they act as the mediator between tents and hammocks when it comes to weight.
On the other hand, heavy-duty tents are obviously heavier than hammocks. In this case, we can assure you that hammocks are lightweight. With that in mind, the choice of the fittest sleeping equipment for your needs is yours.
There are a lot of comparisons to be made between these two, but to make it simple, associate these two equipment with your type of camping. If it is lightweight, then you should choose the lightest alternative. If you like sleeping at a cool temperature, then you can pack a hammock. In the end, your verdict is still the premier basis.
As we go along discussing this topic, there are numerous points that you should consider when asking which is the better option. Temperature, protection, security, and capacity are the few factors that influence the answer.
For us, there is no definite response to this. It depends on how each equipment can be affected by the surroundings and the user. If you like hammocks because they are comfortable, then you should go for a hammock. The same goes for the tent. The key idea is to scrutinize your needs, and the place where you’ll be camping.