Using a hammock as a shelter when camping has grown more popular in the last few years. While car and tent camping are still favored by plenty of campers, more and more outdoor enthusiasts are trying their hand at hammock camping. Many say it's more comfortable and more convenient!
But it all depends on you own camping style - the best type of camping is the one that works for YOU!
But if you're planning to try camping in a hammock, it's best to learn about its PROS and CONS to find out if it's truly suitable for you, and for the campsite you're going to!
Hammocks are designed for comfort and good sleep
One problem for many campers (especially newbies) is the comfort of sleeping outdoors. With a hammock, your body is elevated off the ground meaning you don't have to deal with rocks or roots on your back while you sleep. You can enjoy a more bed-like feel surface, that is supportive and lump-free.
Compared to a tent, a hammock provides a better quality of sleep. This is proven by a study done at the University of Geneva, which highlights that the rocking motion of sleeping in a hammock provides a similar effect to a baby in a cradle.
They sleep cooler
Being out in the open in the woods or at the campsite allows you to enjoy a cool breeze, which is especially more useful during summer season, where camping is at its peak. Condensation won't also be a problem and won't build up in a hammock as it allows more airflow.
Easier to pack, set up and carry
For fair weather camping, a hammock is a good choice for solo campers and hikers. It's very portable and set up is a breeze. Even if it rains, you'll only need to set up a tarp and an underquilt. It's also a good choice if you only camp once a year, in the summer, as it is cheaper than a tent.
Finding a campsite is easier
This depends on the terrain where you'll be camping, but out in the woods. all you need are 2 trees or objects to hang your hammock and you're good to go. It doesn't matter if the ground below is rocky or sloping.
When you have a tent, you'll have to find a smooth, clean surface to pitch your tent, and it's not always easy to find.
Also, there are no laws against hammocks. You can set up just about anywhere, unlike with a tent. Of course, this legality depends on where you are so it's still better to check.
Hammocks have multiple uses
At the campsite, your hammock can become your bed, your chair and a place to rest and relax. It's still handy and useful out of the campsite - use it in your yard (for great afternoon naps!), bring it to the beach, at the park or in day hikes!
Hammocks offer less privacy
When you're in a hammock, you're always exposed - no private space to change clothes, get cleaned and even store your gear. This isn't a problem in the backwoods, but at a high-traffic campsite, you'll need privacy. A large tarp can help if you're proceeding with hammock camping.
You are more exposed to insects and wildlife
Because you're sleeping in the open, you are more exposed to insects like mosquitoes and ticks. So if you plan on camping on buggy areas, get a hammock with a built in mosquito net to keep the insects and crawlies away. Also, you are safer from bears, snakes and other wildlife if you're in a tent.
You'll sleep alone in a hammock
Hammocks are designed to sleep 1 person only. There are 2-person varieties, but they are snug and uncomfortable. Therefore, it's not an ideal set-up if you're camping with family, especially if you have kids.
Your gear aren't protected
Hammocks are only designed for sleeping, so all your stuff will be left on the ground. This is not ideal at busy campsites as it opens the opportunity for theft or damage from the weather.
Tents allow you to camp in more environments
While they are good to use in fair weather, hammocks are not stand-alone shelters. It cannot protect you from the rain, the wind and the cold like a tent can. You can't also use a hammock above the tree line, if that's where you like to camp.
So there you have it.. there are both PROS and CONS to hammock camping. It all really boils down to your personal needs, style and preference. The best thing to do is to try it and see how you feel about it!
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