Camping season is upon us, and if you’re planning on trekking for a few days or just chilling out by a fire with some friends you need a place to sleep in the woods. Tents are utilitarian, but not so comfortable if you’ve set up your stakes on rocky ground. Hammocks are versatile and lightweight to carry, and they are super comfy to sleep on. But beware, if trees are sparse you’ve got a glorified sack to sleep in. Here are my pros and cons:
Pro: Hammocks are lightweight and easy to carry if you’re hiking.
Con: If they don’t have a built in bug net and rain fly you have to pack those separately. In cold weather, you’ll need an underquilt in addition to your sleeping bag.
Pro: Hammocks make camping on rocky uneven ground a breeze.
Con: You need two big sturdy trees at the right distance apart. Good luck hammocking in the grand canyon or on the beach if you don’t bring a stand.
Pro: Tents are usable anywhere, trees or not.
Con: Rocky grounds and hills can make for a less-than-stellar sleeping experience. This can be remedied with a high quality sleeping pad as long as you don’t mind carrying it.
Pro: Tents are roomier. You can sit up in a tent, keep your shoes in a tent if it’s raining, and you can fit more than one person in a tent.
Con: Two person tents mean two people sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder. If you’re not cool with snuggling, you’ll need a bigger tent.
Basically, you need to decide what is best for the trip you have planned, and get creative to make it work. One quick tip – make sure your hammock is tethered to sturdy trees! I once pulled a tree right out of the ground with my hammock after a week of rain softened the ground. If I’d looked up at the branches, I would have noticed the tree was dead! Live and learn my friends.