If you have slept in a decent hammock you know it is more comfortable then a tent. I asked myself this question myself when I started to use my hammock for camping trips: Which one is lighter a hammock or a tent?
If we want to make a decision, we need to compare both setups to each other. This is the gear I would bring but you may choose more comfortable or cheaper gear which may affect the weight and bulk of both setups.
I’m going to make these setups for 32 degrees (0°C) because for me, this is the most common setup (3-season).
The tent setup
Tent: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 (2 lb. 1 oz. or 936 grams)
Sleeping pad: Thermarest neo air Xlite regular (12 oz. or 340 grams)
Sleeping bag: Marmot hydrogen down (1 lb. 11 oz. or 760 grams)
You can use a quilt instead of a sleeping bag but I find it more comfortable to use a sleeping bag than a quilt so I will go with a sleeping bag.
Total of 3 lb. 8 oz. or 1587 grams
Total cost for this setup is $330+ $120 + $261 = $711
The hammock setup
Hammock: Dream hammock Darien (9.5 oz. or 260 grams)
Straps: Dutchwaregear spider web 1.5 12’ (3 oz. 86 grams)
Whoopie slings: DD whoopee slings (1.5 oz. or 40 grams)
Underquilt: Jacks R Better Greylock 3 (17 oz. or 480 grams)
Overquilt: Jacks R Better Sierra Sniveller (28 oz. or 680 grams)
Tarp: DD superlight tarp (16 oz. 450 grams)
Stakes: 4x DD superlight pegs (1.1 oz. or 32 grams)
Total of 4lb 12 oz. or 2154 grams
Total cost for this setup is $110 + $40 + $17 + $200 + $280 + $97 + $11 = $755
Pro’s and cons of hammock camping
- Versatility: You can use the tarp of a hammock in different ways, which you cannot do with a tent. For example; you can use the tarp to sit under if it rains.
- Nature: One big pro of using a hammock is that you wake up and can look directly at the sunrise or another breathtaking view from your cozy warm hammock.
- Flexibility: When there is no flat surface it’s easy to setup your hammock.
- Speed: I have found that hanging a hammock can be done much quicker than setting up a tent.
- Condensation: Having condensation in a tent is no fun. There is enough airflow around the hammock to keep the condensation away. Having a pod system with your head inside might be a bad decision.
- No trees: When there are no trees you might have a problem. A solution might be ‘going to ground’ but do you have the right equipment to do that? It’s better to bring a spare sleeping mat if you are not sure of the terrain.
- Other terrain: When going to the highlands in England, you don’t have trees. So you will need to get a tent in order for you to have a good sleep setup.
- Privacy: I have found that you don’t have much privacy when using a hammock. Changing underwear next to your hammock might be suitable if there are not many people around.
- Complexity: setting up a hammock the right way can be challenging at first. Setting up a tent is much easier.
- Windy conditions: I have found that in windy conditions it’s not very pleasant to sleep in a hammock because the tarp will press against your hammock. While this is my opinion, you can have a different view about this.
As you can see the weight difference isn’t that much at all. Either is the price. This is when you go for the best materials. When you don’t want to spend around $500 for an over and underquilt you can make one yourself. I would be happy to give up 500 grams for a better night’s sleep. What do you think about both setups? Let’s get a discussion going and let me know in the comments.