Tent vs Hammock?

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Tent vs Hammock?

Postby n3870v » Wed May 14, 2014 6:36 am

My whole life I have always used the typical tent for all of my outdoor adventures. Well, I have heard the talk and hype of the hammocks and thought I would give it a try. After numerours hours looking at all that is out there, I decided on the Lawson Hamock, mostly for the reason that it can double as a tent if needed, and it uses spreader bars at each end which doesnt allow for the "cocoon" affect of alot of hammocks.

Well heres how it went on my 8 day wilderness adventure: Setting it up sounds simple, but the two trees you pick do require a certain dimension, cant be to close or cant be to far. After setting it up and geting in, I was a little concerned about the tipping affect on the Lawson model because of the spreader bars, so I did anchor 2 of the sides. The first night went very well, the sleeping comfort level was 10 times better than on the ground. The 2nd night, there were no trees, so I pitched it on the ground as it is designed for that purpose, and it worked well. The 3rd night only had one tree, but I was able to anchor the other end to the SUV door post and it worked well. The problems started on the 4th night and after. The temps had dropped to the upper 30's at night and I found out the flaw of hammocks. The air going underneath the hamock completely changes the ability of your sleeping bag to work properly. I was shivering and shaking, finally had to get in the SUV to warm up and sleep. What I noticed most is that whichever side I was sleeping on, that was the part of me that was freezing.

I know the hammock will be great for most of a 3 season camping season. If I continue with the hammock method, I will have to invest in a pretty heavy duty insulation pad, and still dont know if that will totally work.

Anyone have any suggestions or methods for insulating these things? Will a R5 pad efffectively work for colder temps?

Thanks - N3870V
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Re: Tent vs Hammock?

Postby aroth87 » Wed May 14, 2014 8:32 am

Yep, much below 50* you're going to want some kind of insulation for underneath you. Its the same idea as sleeping straight on the ground vs having a pad under you except you're dealing with convection instead of conduction. A high r-value pad would work but is bulky and kind of defeats the point of a hammock. Most hangers use a down or synthetic underquilt when the temperatures drop. Its basically a quilt you strap to the bottom of your hammock. There are quite a few people that make them, check out Jacks R Better, Hammock Gear, and Warbonnet.

I go back and forth on wanting a hammock. I've slept in one a few times and it is comfortable but they take more time to set up than my tarp and when it comes right down to it I'm really lazy once I get to camp. I'm sure one day soon I'll value comfort more than weight/convenience and break down and buy one.

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Re: Tent vs Hammock?

Postby CharlieW » Wed May 14, 2014 11:15 am

If you are not ready to invest in an underquilt you might want to try a blue foam pad, the cheap kind you get at Walmart. Many hangers swear by them.
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Re: Tent vs Hammock?

Postby Jim » Fri May 16, 2014 1:13 pm

Yup Cold butt is the worst. If we are car camping I usually take a wool blanket and line the hammock...it seems to stay in place better than a thermarest. ENO (Eagles Nest Outfitter) sells a hammock with a sleeve for the thermarest to slide into.
Underquilts are nice, but very expensive.

Even in summer I usually have a fleece blanket inside my sleeping bag...cuts the breeze just enough.

ps...it takes a bit of practice to pick the right spread of trees. keep at it and before you know it you will be sighting trees miles before camp...
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Re: Tent vs Hammock?

Postby Big Jim Mac » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:52 pm

IMHO, hammocks are certainly the way to go. How many places on the OT are level enough for a tent, and where have you ever pitched a tent where there wasn't a rock, stick, or other lump under you? Also where have you been on the OT where you couldn't find 2 trees to hang from? The key to hammock camping is to spend a little time making or buying all the right pieces. As someone who struggled to get geared up, let me direct you to http://hamockforums.net where you can find more info than you will know what to do with!

Essentially, you need a hammock with adjustable suspension since trees tend to grow where they want to. There are many options for this, but one of the best is the lightweight and adjustable Whoopie Sling, which works like Chines handcuffs to keep you from falling.

You will need a tarp to keep the rain off of you. You need a bug net to keep the bugs off you (optional in winter of course). This is built in to many camping hammocks. Then you need something to keep you warm. Best bet is an under quilt and a top quilt. You can use a sleeping bag but it's real difficult getting inside while in the hammock. You can use a pad like the thermarest but again this likes to slip out from under you when you get in. ENO makes wings that slide over the pad and helps hold it in place: http://www.rei.com/product/830279/eno-h ... -pad-wings

You can lay on the sleeping bag and put a small blanket over you, or lay on the blanket and put the sleeping bag on you!

Most of my gear is homemade. The hammock is super easy. I've been using a North Face 20 degree Cats Meow bag and I have used it with a Thermarest pad. I've got an under quilt kit I bought but haven't put it together yet. I use an Eno bug net and a huge tarp I made myself.

A few years ago I bought my sons Warbonnet Blackbird hammocks, tarps and under quilts. I've camped with these on several occasions and they are the best thing going. Still need a top quilt for these, looking at one from Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works: http://www.mid-atlanticmountainworks.com

Here's a link that shows all the basics of hammock camping. I would also recommend the book by that same name. http://www.whoopieslings.com
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Re: Tent vs Hammock?

Postby jam350 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:28 pm

While tents have been the standard sleeping preference for my past outdoor travels, I purchased an all weather hammock this year and I'm not going back to sleeping on the floor again (given the circumstances). Initially, I thought I was going to be cramped and claustrophobic but it was rather spacious and comfortable to sleep in. I actually had a better nights sleep in the hammock and woke up with no back aches. The one I bought came with a rain fly and bug net (which is an $80 value), with all the necessary materials to set up the hammock, all for probably half the price of all the other brands that have the same stuff in the set.

Shopping for the best deal and quality, the one I bought was from Amazon called, Oak Creek Outdoor Supply

https://www.amazon.com/Camping-Hammock- ... supply+llc

With all the accessories included, this brand was probably the best bang for your buck. Also, when it comes down to it, the hammock is definitely a more versatile alternative than a tent.

For the colder weather, I set up a little fire, layered up and found it not to be as cold as I thought it would be. Or you can invest in a pad of your choice for the extra cushion.
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Re: Tent vs Hammock?

Postby Drift Woody » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:41 pm

I used a variety of tents for decades until I finally switched to a hammock. My biggest problem with sleeping on the ground as I got older was a very stiff lower back. I'm a back sleeper and need a concavity for my glutes. I bought thicker inflatable backpacking pads until I ended up with an Exped Downmat 9 -- true luxury if you're willing to dish out the cash and carry the weight -- but I still didn't sleep all that well.

I'd been reading more and more about hammocks and was fortunate enough to have someone loan me his Warbonnet Blackbird for a trip. It has integrated bug netting, and you sleep at an angle to the line of the hang so you can lie fairly flat. You can sleep on your side, but I don't recommend a hammock for belly sleepers.

The very first night in this hammock I slept better than I had in many years of tent camping. That is perhaps the best reason for my switch to hanging, but there are many more. It's great to be able to set up camp anywhere with suitable trees and not contend with ground that can be unlevel, abrasive, and muddy. The first thing to go up is the tarp, kept accessible on the outside of the pack. Once that goes up I have shelter for everything else -- no more unpacking and setting up a tent in the rain or packing up a wet filthy tent.

On the inside the Blackbird has a gear shelf off to one side to keep items within easy reach. I have a model with a double layered bottom, suitable for a sleeping pad in between the layers for needed insulation. This is OK in moderate temps, but an underquilt which hangs below on the outside underneath works much better and is good well below freezing. I have not yet invested in a top quilt; instead, I use one of my lightweight down sleeping bags as a topquilt. I zip it up about a third of the way from the feet and have the open part under me. It works just fine.

When I need to get out I just toss off the topquilt, open the side zipper of the hammock, swing my legs out, and slip into my shoes. It's a lot quicker than climbing out of a mummy bag and a tent. If there's no threat of rain I can dispense with the tarp and gaze up at the stars, though the view is never wide open suspended between trees.

I highly recommend hanging above the ground, but you never really know until you try it.
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