Hammock Pros and Cons

I won’t deny that I’m a fan of hammock camping.  However, I’m also a proponent of the oft quoted phrase: hike your own hike.  Meaning, I know that hammock camping isn’t for everyone.  What works best for you is best for you.

On this page I’ve listed some pros and cons about hammock camping.  These may be helpful to someone considering purchasing a hammock set up.

Pros

  • Comfort.  In my opinion, sleeping in a hammock is far more comfortable than in a tent or on a shelter floor.  However, this is a subjective observation.  Some have found hammocks uncomfortable due to back problems.
  • Lightweight. Generally speaking, a hammock rig is lighter than a tent set up.  For me, I was able to shave over 5 lbs from my backpack by going to a hammock.
  • Off the ground.  Being off the ground can be advantageous in torrential rains or when there are critters roaming around.
  • Uneven terrain.  I’ve hung my hammock on hillsides and over rocky ground where no tent could have been reasonably pitched.  Hammocks have great versatility.
  • DIY possibilities.  Hammockers have published countless DIY instructions for hammocks, suspension systems, underquilts, topquilts, and nearly anything else related to hammocks.  If you have an interest in making your own gear, than this is something you may like to explore.

Cons

  • Weight: If you regularly sleep on the ground under a tarp than going to a hammock will probably add to your pack weight.
  • Learning curve.  Most people can learn to pitch a tent on the first try.  Getting a hammock right takes practice.
  • Staying warm.  The air passing beneath a hammock will rob the sleeper of precious body heat, unlike sleeping on the ground.  Therefore, additional equipment, such as an underquilt, should be considered.
  • Trees.  If you are camping in the desert or above the treeline, then a hammock will not likely work for you.  They can’t be used everywhere.

Weighing the pros and cons of hammock camping could help you decide if it is the way to go for you.

 


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