Have you heard of hammock camping? Yes. Hammocks and camping together in one word.
Switching tents to hammocks? Is that even possible?
The first time I read about hammock camping, I was like “Hmmm. Interesting.” The only hammocks I know were the ones used for siestas. Apparently, I was wrong.
There are a lot of different types of hammocks used for camping. There are those with mosquito nets, while others look like hanging sleeping bags with their zippers and all.
So I turned to Google and read more about it. It turns out hammock camping is popular outside the Philippines, whereas only a few use it here in the Philippines.
After a few pieces of research and readings, I outlined the pros and cons of hammocks and compared them to tents.
So Hammock Camping is a Thing?
Many have converted from using the traditional ground tent to hammock camping around the world. For most, it has evolved into a life-changing way of camping.
A lot of campers switched from tents to hammocks, especially for solo traveling.
Hammock camping is slowly gaining popularity in the Philippines. In Siargao, they offer great spots to hang hammocks.
You can grab your very own hammock from The Hammock Republic, Tingguian Tribe Hangers, and Decathlon.
You can camp anywhere
The primary advantage for hammock camping is that you can virtually camp anywhere between two trees. There’s no need to look for flat ground.
You can camp on snow, mud, rocks, or roots. The ground doesn’t matter. You can just fix your hammock, and off you go sleeping on your little-personalized space high in the air.
Most campsites nowadays are quickly filled up especially during holidays and peak seasons. It’s a hard to find a space to set a tent in.
But with hammocks, space doesn’t matter. As long as there are two trees which are adequately spaced together, you have space to sleep in.
Sleeping is more comfortable
You won’t have to wake up with a stiff body. David from the Almost Bohemian blog has recently written about the Seven Benefits of Sleeping in a Hammock. In here, he discussed the zero-pressure points, deeper sleep and the health benefits of hammocks just to name a few.
Seth Haber, the Founder, and CEO of Trek Light Gear even admitted to wishing he was back in his hammock instead of his bed.
You experience the “outside”
Compared to a tent, a hammock lets you look at the stars all night long until you finally fall asleep. It even enables you to breathe fresh air. The moment you wake up, the clouds and trees will serve as your ceiling.
Easy to Set-up
A hammock is easy to set-up. Just tie the opposite ends to a sturdy tree, and you’re done.
You can opt to level up your camping experience by installing some tarps and mosquito nets. These only take a small amount of time.
There’s no need to look for a suitable area and to clear the area from rocks and rubbles.
With the hammock floating above the ground, pests, bugs, and rodents won’t be able to access it.
Plus, hammocks have available mosquito nets as accessories which you can use to keep those blood suckers away when you sleep.
No trees means you’re doomed
Hammocks may be great for camping in some places, but in most cases, you will find that the campsite you booked or got assigned to does not have trees that are suitable for hammock camping.
No place for your pet to sleep in
If you’re among the campers who bring their pets with them, hammock camping may not be your ideal choice. Your pet will be left sleeping in the cold.
Although your hammock can withstand the weight of you and your dog, your fur baby may not be comfortable in sleeping on top of you. Plus, the constant moving of the hammock can get your pet dizzy.
For one person only
Unlike camping tents, most hammocks can only accommodate one person. While there are available hammocks made for two persons, it can be a little bit uncomfortable if there are two people in it.
While some people find sleeping in a hammock to be comfortable, others find it to be the opposite.
Sleeping in a hammock needs getting used to. If you’re among those who like to shift and turn from one position to the next, then you may have a hard time sleeping in a hammock.
When there is wind, you’ll feel it inside the hammock. The cold penetrates it more compared to the traditional camping tent.
A tarp and some under-quilts are needed to keep warm in a hammock.
What About Tents?
Being the most popular way of camping, using a tent is more familiar to most outdoor enthusiasts and campers. Before hammock camping, tent camping has been the traditional way to camp outdoors.
Great against extreme weathers
Camping tents are great for outdoor use especially when the weather is at its worst. A stable rain fly and a quality camping tent can provide you the protection and shelter that you need when there is an intense rain, wind or snow.
When it’s raining or freezing outside, you’ll be grateful for the added protection.
Inside a tent, you can easily roll and shift from one side to the other. You get to enjoy the flat space provided by a tent just like how you do in your bed at home. A simple cushion and proper equipment can increase your camping experience.
Sized to fit your needs
When it comes to accommodation, a tent can comfortably accommodate some people. This is one of the reasons why a tent is more suitable for a family.
If there are 6 of you in the group, you don’t have to go find 12 trees to set up hammocks; you can merely fit all in one tent.
Plus, your pet can sleep with you inside the tent. You even have enough space to place most of your equipment and baggage inside the tent compared to hammocks that have limited space.
Comes in different shapes, sizes, and designs
If you want a tent that can house ten people, there are available products on the market. For whatever size and shape that you want, you can find it.
There are dome tents, wedge tents, tunnel tents, geodesic tents, bell tents and many more. Each is crafted to cater to different camping needs.
Offers more privacy
When you’re out in the woods with no bathroom to change into, you can use your tent. Compared to hammocks, tents provide more privacy when it comes to camping since it provides more space. The four walls surrounding you when you’re inside the tent is enough to cover you when changing.
Has a lot of parts
Tents have a lot of accessories that go along with it such as the tent poles, stakes and zippers just to name a few. These pieces can cause problems if one gets lost or damaged.
Your whole camping trip may just get canceled or push through if a part can’t do its job correctly.
Hard to find the right spot
Setting up a tent requires a flat terrain. More often than not, it is hard to find a right place to camp in. Compared to flat ground, more grounds are rocky, muddy and sloping can be located on campsites.
If you’re lucky enough to find a sweet spot, you’ll still have to clear it from rocks and other debris.
A camping tent is more massive than hammocks because of its size and added accessories.
It can take up most space in your backpack and worse, you might have to hand-carry it when you’re out hiking.
Pitching takes time
Pitching a tent takes more time and effort. You have to deal with the stakes and tent poles.
You may even need someone’s help to set up a tent. When it’s dark, it’s harder to fix a tent than a hammock.
Sharing your tent can have its ups and downs. For one, you’ll have to deal with the constant snores around the tent.
When it’s summer, the inside of the tent can get hot and stuffy if there are multiple people inside.
Most campers wake up to stiff shoulders and cramped legs. Sleeping on the hard ground can be hard on your back even with some cushions to minimize its effect.
What I hate most when I go camping is when a rock is under the tent. Small as it may be, you can still feel it on your skin when you sleep.
Camping is fun and enjoyable. Depending on the situation and location, you can either choose the hammock or the traditional tent for camping.
When you know that it’s summer, you can just bring your hammock.
READ: Manuel Uy: Beach Camping
In using a hammock, make sure that the place you booked or the campsite where you’re headed to have trees to support your camping hammock.
On the other hand, camping tents are great for multiple people. During the colder months, it’s better to bring a tent to keep you warm and protected from severe weather conditions.
What do you think? Will you be switching from tents to hammocks anytime soon?
Johanes is a digital nomad and a web content writer who loves to go on spontaneous travels. She also likes to go camp under the stars and play with her dog and cats.