Consider These Downsides to Hammock Camping
For all of the benefits associated with hammock camping, and there are many, there are some important downsides that should be considered as well. It's important to look at both sides of the coin in order to prepare accordingly so you can have a safe, productive and enjoyable time out in the field. Let's take a look at a few drawbacks that can help you to decide whether or not to bring along your tent instead.
The biggest issue that people tend to think about once they're on site has to do with privacy, or the lack there of. In a tent, you can close the flap and shut yourself off from the outside world. You don't need to worry about someone watching what you're doing, and sometimes you don't want to have to find cover in order to change your clothes. While you can close yourself off in your hammock, the lack of space and ability to maneuver may turn something as easy as changing clothes into an exhausting challenge.
Protection from the Elements
Hammocks are an excellent option for light hikes and short camping trips, but they should not be considered as replacements for long adventures that involve prolonged exposure to the elements. While you can improvise and incorporate attachments or accessories to cover your hammock and shield it from the wind and rain, nothing compares to a tent when it comes to providing as much shelter from inclement weather as possible.
Unexpected Learning Curve
With a tent, all you need to do is set it up and climb inside. Once you get the hang of how to set up, adjust, get in or out and sleep in a hammock, they are a dream come true in terms of sheer comfort. However, people generally need some time to get in the swing of things, no pun intended, and it's important to practice before you head out on your next hike or camping trip. It may also take a few nights to get used to how to position yourself in order to have a good night's sleep without worrying about falling out.
Not Ideal for Cold Weather
While you can technically sleep in a hammock all year long if you are properly dressed and equipped to stay warm, chances are that you will be happier in a tent during winter camping. Of course, there are some hearty folks who prefer to bundle up for the sake of sleeping above ground when it's freezing outside, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. Give this some thought before you head out in the cold weather months.
Lack of Storage Space
Another problem with hammocks that people tend to overlook until they're in the field is that they don't come with extra storage space that you automatically have with tents. You will need to find a place to keep your gear safe and dry while you're swaying in comfort as you drift off to sleep.
That being said, don't let these little issues discourage you from experiencing hammock camping first-hand. Just be prudent, plan ahead and consider the conditions you will be encountering while you spend time in the field. Sometimes it just makes better sense to pitch a tent and use the hammock when conditions are more favorable.