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John says that hammocks are too difficult to set up. He prefers to stick to his tents.
But Mike says the difficult of setting up hammocks is worth it.
Just hearing them debate about this is causes you to be confused.
Now we’re here to lay out the differences between backpacking with a tent and a hammock clear as day for you.
Comparison Table for Hammock and Tent Hiking
Ease of Use
Additional Equipment Required
Between trees 10-20’ apart
Tarp, bug net, and stakes
Scroll left and right to view the rest of the table
Some Quick Caveats
Some of you are weight weenies, or cheepos and that’s okay.
These are both things you should be concerned about, weight especially since you’re a backpacker.
But know that there isn’t a significant difference between the weight or price of these shelters. Since hammocks need more parts they end up being slightly more expensive though, this is not by much.
As long as you follow the rule of the more you spend the lighter it can be you’re going in the right general direction.
Hammock shelters are modular. Meaning you can buy a tarp from one company and a hammock from a different one, or you could get an all in one setup.
Pros and Cons of Tent Backpacking
This is usually where everyone starts.
There first time out on the trail is in a tent, and to take that one step further probably their first time camping too.
They’re battle tested. Everyone has used them and been somewhat successful.
Now where they comfortable?
Let’s get into that list I promised you.
Pros of Tents
Battle tested. Camper, backpackers and even the military have been using tents for years with success. All the kinks are ironed out, so if you run into an issue a simple search will send you in the right direction.
Easier to set up. Tents are very simple to setup. Everyone’s done it before. And even if you haven’t it’s not that hard to figure out.
Completely enclosed shelter. Nothing is getting in when you take all the right steps in preparing and using your tent. This means waterproofing it, my friends learned this lesson the hard way.
Cons of Tents
You have to sleep on the ground. You can get a sleeping pad but still I haven’t used a sleeping pad more comfortable than a hammock or a real bed.
The ground has to be clear of sharp objects. Once you pick your spot if you care about your hammock you have to spend time making sure there’s nothing that will damage the bottom of your tent on the ground.
Pros and Cons of Using a Hammock for Backpacking
Hammocks are the new kid on the block.
They’ve exploded in popularity as of late and they aren’t going anywhere soon.
And that increase in popularity is for good reason, they’re very comfortable.
Pros of Hammocks
Very comfortable. I don’t think I have to explain this one to you if you’re reading this. Have you every slept on a cloud? You could if you slept in a hammock.
Can set up anywhere there’s trees. No need to hunt for a flat, clear spot on the ground. You can set up on the side of a mountain or over water as long as there’s sturdy trees to tie your hammock off to.
You don’t have to sleep on the ground. Even the most uncomfortable hammock will be more comfortable than sleeping on the hard ground. There is a technique to it of course but we’ll get to that.