Should You Ditch Your Tent for a Camping Hammock?

Should You Ditch Your Tent for a Camping Hammock?

Camping hammocks are proving to be one of the most convenient, comfortable and efficient ways to have a good night's sleep in the great outdoors.  However, there are a few important reasons why you should think twice about leaving your tent at home for good.  Let's take a closer look at some of the inherent weaknesses associated with hammocks in order to ensure that you always hit the trail with the right gear on hand. 


Hammocks are Fair Weather Friends

Hammocks are excellent for relaxing, enjoying a lazy day at the beach or for short-term outings in moderate and relatively-dry climates.  However, once temperatures start to drop or the weather turns sour, chances are that the hammock will not provide you with a comfortable and secure night's rest.  Tents tend to be more sturdy and they provide better protection against the elements. 

While you can wrap yourself with a blanket, sleeping bag and line the bottom of your hammock with an underquilt, you will still be rocked in the wind and exposed to rain or snow in one degree or another.  When it comes to less-than-perfect weather, tents are the preferred option, hands down.   


No Trees?  Now What?

One of the biggest selling points of hammocks has to do with the fact that you can sleep above ground instead of having to search for the best site to pitch a tent.  While this is advantageous in many situations, what about when you are in an area that is devoid of trees? 

Keep in mind that you don't have to be above the treeline or on a beach to have problems finding suitable trees for your hammock.  You will undoubtedly come upon a site, even in the middle of a forest, where trees are either too small, weak, sparse or spread apart that setting up a hammock will be a challenge.  And, if Murphy's law has anything to do with it, chance are that it will occur in a spot where the ground is just perfect for a tent.


Hammocks are not Always More Comfortable

While hammocks generally provide for a more comfortable sleep due to how they cradle the body and distribute weight, they are not for everyone.  Some people feel more secure and sleep better being on the ground.  Some have difficulty learning how to get in and center themselves properly so the hammock doesn't sway too much.  It is also not uncommon for some people to get motion sickness from too much swaying as well. 

At the end of the day, tents will still be a better option for many, even if they enjoy hammocks from time to time.  However, this article isn't intended to knock hammocks, rather to remind you that they have their place, but they also have their limitations.  Keep this in mind as you plan your outdoor adventures, and you will increase your chances of being as comfortable and secure as possible every time.