The Superiority of Hammock Camping

Throughout my many years of camping and exploring the beauty that our planet has to offer, I have found one method of camping that is strictly superior to traditional tent camping. Many people are unaware of this alternative method. This form of camping in wild nature is known as hammock camping. This unorthodox type of camping has a fringe following, and is often looked upon as being an outlier within the camping community. However, hammock camping is superior to traditional tent camping in every respect.

The first of many reasons as to why hammock camping is superior to every other form of camping, is the simplicity of setting up a hammock. While tents require poles, and will often take an extended period of time to set up, depending on the size of the tent. Hammocks will always require a very low level of effort to be set up. This means that no matter how large your hammock is, it will always retain a very low level of complexity in regards to the process required to set it up. While the base hammock will always be quite simple to hang, there are many other accessories such as underquilts, overquilts, mosquito nets, and tarps that may or may not add to the overall complexity of the hammock set up. However, these accessories are not necessary to the hammock itself, and are comparable to accessories that would be put within a tent. Overall, hammock accessories will often be easier to set up than their traditional counterparts. This is exemplified in their overall lack of effort required to employ.

Hammock (Left) vs. Backpacking Tent (Right)

When backpacking or camping, one of the biggest factors to consider when choosing what equipment should be brought, is the weight of said equipment. It is no secret that tents are extremely bulky, and are often abandoned in favor of simple tarps for that reason. Having to carry an extremely heavy tent on your pack is not a very viable option, depending on how far you have to lug your pack. However, there is another option that can be taken into consideration at this point. Hammocks are strictly lighter, smaller, and easier to pack than tents. In a tent, the bulky element would most certainly be the poles, which can be swapped out for lighter alternatives. However, even lightweight poles would seem extremely bulky in comparison to the hammock with it’s carabiners. What will most often be packed for hammock camping will be two carabiners, that are used to fasten the hammock to the suspension system. This being said, depending on whether or not a custom suspension system is employed, up to four extra carabiners may be required. This may be a necessity if a bug net is required as an additional element to the hammock. Most of the time, these extra carabiners will not be required, however. Factoring in the weight of six carabiners, on top of the hammock itself, this setup will often weigh significantly less than a traditional tent. Factoring in the overall size of each setup, we can see that the hammock is extremely small in comparison to the tent, and holds more value in regards to it’s size than the bulky tent.

Hammock camping setup in a rainstorm

Depending on who you are, and whether or not you are on a budget, hammock camping may or may not be the most economic budget for you. Camping hammocks are seemingly quite rare in comparison to every other method of camping that is available on the market. This means that tents can be found at excruciatingly low prices, depending on where you look. However, this is not likely to get you a very high quality tent. If you seek to purchase a very high quality tent that will last for a very long time, your options are very scarce. This is the part of camping that scares many people. The prices on name brand tents are ridiculously high, and will often cost you hundreds, if not thousands of your hard-earned dollars. Hammocks, on the other hand are scarcely found, but are very economically viable to anybody who is on a budget. High quality hammocks can often be found for under 50 dollars from most online camping retailers. This means that almost anybody can pick up a hammock online, and within a few weeks be hanging their brand new hammock. However, one downside to this relatively cheap hammock can be the accessories required to camp in a hammock, depending on the season. The most expensive factor to hammock camping would have to be the underquilt, considering that they can cost you anywhere from 100 to 600 dollars. Additionally, hammocks with mosquito nets built in are usually significantly more expensive than hammocks without them. This means that one may pay upwards of 75 dollars for a hammock with this feature. On top of this, tarps are one of the key components to a hammock camping pack. These pieces are very necessary is one is to keep dry in the event of a storm. These can be found at almost any camping store or online retailer for no more than 75 dollars, depending on the weight of the tarp, as well as the quality. However, these three additions to the hammock are generally seen as elements that are dependent on weather or the time of year.

Perhaps the most important factor of whether or not a form of shelter is worthwhile is the comfort of said shelter. It has been widely observed that sleeping on the ground, with only a few pieces of fabric between your body and the cold, wet dirt is not very comfortable. However, this is often circumvented by adamant ground-dwelling campers through the use of a foam mattress, or a lightweight comforter that can be placed between your body and the ground. However, it would make sense that one should seek to maximize their comfort by distancing themselves from the ground. This can easily be done through the use of a hammock, which keeps the camper suspended two to three feet from the ground in their own pod. This usage of the hammock is ultimately far more comfortable than any ground-dweller can attest to. The curved shape employed by the hammock allows one to have a natural lay, which ends up being far more pleasant than laying on a flat ground.

One interesting feature that hammocks have that can not be replicated by tents, is the sheer lack of skill required to create your own. It is amazing how one could create their own hammock with simple stitching, as well as a minimal knowledge of knots. This simplicity allows one to have their own creation to use on camping and backpacking trips, instead of a generic name brand tent or hammock. This ease of production is something that can not be produced by any tent. Tents will never be as easy to manufacture as hammocks currently are. This connection that one develops with their hammock is something that can be exemplified when one creates their own from hand.

The final reason as to why hammocks are vastly superior to their ground-based counterparts is simply because of the culture and the people which make this hobby so compelling. Hammock camping has developed its own culture within the camping community, and this culture has only grown stronger with the advent of the internet. This tightly knit community allows hammock campers to connect with one another over a common ground. This common ground is always the shared love for camping and backpacking in suspended shelters known as hammocks. This is a subculture that is simply non-existent within the tent-based spectrum of camping. Tenting is far too common of a practice for its campers to form a community over it. The Hammock community, on the other hand brings people together over the lack of commonality that hammock camping has. If every camper were to begin camping this way, this community would quickly fall apart, due to it becoming far too common. It is the mild obscurity that hammock camping exemplifies that allows campers to form a niche community over this activity.

To conclude, we can see that in every way traditional camping succeeds, hammock camping does just that, except in a more spectacular fashion. This does not mean that traditional forms of camping are not good, however. This simply means that hammocks camping is superior. Where tents fail, hammocks succeed. This has lead me to the conclusion that one should always consider hammocks as an alternative to tents whenever one is confronted with this choice. If one considers all that I have presented here, I believe that one will always choose the option of hammock camping before choosing traditional tent camping.