With a million different camping methods to choose from including tents, hammocks, campers, RVs, yurts and more, it can be tough to choose which is best for you and your gang. Not to mention you need to consider camping locations, weather and the number of companions who will be accompanying you. We’ve made the decision process for our fans on the indecisive side a little bit easier by laying out the pros and cons of tent vs. hammock camping.
You aren’t regarded as the most iconic piece of camping gear by being inferior. There is a reason why generations of campers have chosen tents as their go-to option for catching some shut eye in the great outdoors; they’re comfortable and work flawlessly in a variety of situations.
Pros for pitching a tent
Escape The Weather
Inclement weather is no match for a quality tent. The goal of camping is to immerse yourself in the outdoors but when the weather takes a turn for the worse, you need some protection. Four walls and a solid rain fly will protect you from rain, wind, and snow.
Endless Sleep Options
In a tent you are able to customize what you sleep on to perfectly fit your sleeping style. Everything from cots to sleeping pads are easily integrated into a tent. So spread out and relax; a great night’s sleep is in your future.
Sized to Fit Your Needs
Tents allow you to store gear and equipment out of the elements. With a variety of size options you can also select a tent that fits your capacity needs. From solo to group camping, there are options for everyone.
Even advanced campers have a hard time pitching a tent so it stays completely dry in a rainstorm. It can certainly be done, but all too often you end up overlooking that one little channel that funnels a healthy dose of water your way.
More moving parts
With a larger structure comes more parts that can fail or be lost. Tent poles can malfunction, tent stakes become lost, and zippers fail because there is more wear and tear on them.
Sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The whole family has to climb into that hot tent at some point. Grandpa’s snoring can be helped with earplugs. Not much you can do about the fallout from that chili he made for dinner though. That smart cousin of yours will be 50 yards away sawing logs in his hammock.
The rope hammocks that were around for several years were not great for camping. They were heavy and didn’t fair well in the elements. Today’s nylon hammocks have truly evolved into incredible and for many, a preferable, way of camping. Allow me to present my case.
Pros for hanging a hammock
Have hammock, will travel
My hammock (with a rainfly and sleeping pad) packs down to the size of about two Nalgene bottles. The packed weight is about 3 pounds and I can set it up in one minute. Yes. One.
No flat ground? No problem.
This benefit cannot be overstated. The ground simply doesn’t matter at all. There could be rocks everywhere or straight up marsh. No big deal. Crawl up in your little personalized space to stay high and dry all night (because it’s also much easier to weather a rainstorm in a hammock).
Sleep through the night
Hammocks like the Hennessy Hammock are stitched in an asymmetrical way, so you end up lying askew, and thus, flat. You’re guaranteed to be level, and you can even sleep comfortably on your side.
Where’s Fido Sleeping?
Camping with pets has become hugely popular. Sleeping in a hammock leaves your four-legged friend out in the cold. Now you have to bring along extra bedding for your dog instead of them climbing inside the tent with you which negates the huge advantage of a hammock being lightweight and packable.
No Trees, Bad Deal
Hammocks are amazing for camping in hard to reach or inaccessible places. You don’t need a traditional campsite to string it up; two solid trees of proper distance and you are set. The issue of accessibility arises when you are camping in a campground. You will often find the campsite you are assigned or booked doesn’t have trees suitable for securing your hammock. In that case, you are up a certain creek without a paddle. You know the one.
Banana Shape Blues
While sleeping in a hammock can be quite comfortable, many people find the “banana shape” sleeping position to be unruly. It is something that you have to get used to. Also, if you tend to toss and turn in your sleep or enjoy changing sleeping positions, a camping hammock could cause some sleep issues.