Tent vs Hammock: Which Is A Better Option For Beginners

Tent vs Hammock: which is a better option for beginners

Tents and hammock help you create a private comfortable resting place while camping or trekking in the wild forest. 

Both hammocks and tents are a world apart in terms of setup, weight and price. For beginners choosing one of them requires careful comparison.

Here you can find out how hammock and a tent differ from each other and which one is better suited for your kind of outdoor adventure activity.

Tent Vs Hammock

The Main Difference Between Tent Vs Hammock 

Tent is the most traditional way of going on camping. You would typically need to find a flat piece of ground that doesn’t have any risk of flooding to set up a tent. 

A little bit of damp ground surface or presence of rocks (on which you can tie ropes) would help you pitch your tent easily. 

Tent set in rocky area

On the other hand, to set up a hammock all you would need to find is a couple of trees. The ground condition hardly matters to set up a hammock. 

You will need to look around the campground and find some trees that are far enough for you to comfortably set up your hammock. You would only need to set up tarp if there is some possibility of rain.

Let’s compare both tent and hammock to find out its suitability for a beginner camper. 

#1. Usability 

Tents are better in terms of usability as the smallest of the tent will give you enough space to spread your gear and things around. The tent will give you much-needed privacy if you are traveling in a group. Tents are like a little home that you would need at the end of a hard day.

Unlike tents, a hammock doesn’t provide you with enough space to spread your things around and you would need to put everything in your backpack. You also don’t get any privacy while using a hammock even for basic things.

So, it’s clear here that in usability tents are better.

#2. Comfort

When it comes to comfort tents are uncomfortable compared to hammocks because you are laying down on the ground with minimum cushioning effect. In case of hard or rough surfaces there are chances that your sleep won’t be that comfortable.

Hammocks, on the other hand, are more comfortable to sleep as they are suspended between the trees. You are free to elevate your feet which is very comforting after your long day of hiking. 

Hammock suspended in hilly area

#3. Setting up

Tents are easier to set up compared to the hammock. For setting up the tent all you would need is to find flat ground to pitch in your tent and it’s ready to be used.

Setting up the tent can be challenging if the conditions are muddy but overall tents are better with ease of setting up.

The tent set up is highly simplistic and efficient which you can learn quickly even if you are a beginner.

While with hammocks you would need to spend a lot of time experimenting. This requires understanding how to pitch taut and estimate distances between the trees to adjust the straps accordingly. 

You would also need to master hang angles and keep your things dry during stay out there. You would also need to set up a separate tarp if there is a chance of rain or snow.

Learning to use a tent is quite easy and can be mastered easily while understanding how to use a hammock is a steep learning curve that would need patience and lots of time.

#4. Protection 

Hammock fails miserably as there is a lot of heat loss due to winds under the sleeper and you would need to carry another quilt to insulate yourself. 

In the rain, your hammock is going to drench unless you are using a waterproof tarp to protect yourself.  Also, you may need a separate net to protect yourself from bugs.

In the case of tents, you can simply get in the tent and you are protected from heat loss and bugs at the same time.  

Hammocks can protect you from small wild animals like fox but otherwise, tents provide you with better overall protection.

Butt cold syndrome in hammock

#5. Price

Price of a top quality tent made of lightest material using cutting edge technology would be approximately $1000 +. 

Whereas, you can easily get a hammock of good quality at about $300 +. But there are many other add on costs associated with a hammock, like a separate waterproof tarp, bug net, two quilts for better protection, and straps.

This all extra things will add to cost that will be more than a high-quality tent. 

So, Even though the cost of the hammock is less, the cost of other accessories for setting up a hammock adds up to a lot more.

#6. Weight 

The tent setup weighs much less compared to the hammock setup as you would need to carry accessories like rain tarp or bug protection net that adds lots of weight. 

Even the lightest hammock setup would be heavier than a tent.

Hammock with all the accessories

#7. Limitations

Tents are difficult to set in muddy conditions or if it rains during the night. In such a case your tent would be full of mud which would make it difficult to pack.

Whereas, you would need to carry separate tarps for protection from rain and bug nets to set a hammock. The weight of accessories can make your trek uncomfortable. 

You would also need to find a tree with the correct distance to set up the hammock in a way that it doesn’t damage the tree. Hammocks are also vulnerable to heat loss in cold weather conditions.

Clearly hammocks have more limitations than a tent.

Brief Comparison Between Tent Vs Hammock 

UsabilityBetter usability with space.Limited usability.
ComfortUncomfortable to sleep in because of limited cushioning from the ground.Comfortable and relaxing sleep.
Setting upEasy to set up as all you need is flat ground to pitch in your tent
A beginner can learn it quickly.
Rather complicated process to set that requires understanding of multiple things to be able to set up hammock perfectly.
You would need to do a lot of tinkering to get the perfect setup for comfort.
ProtectionBetter protection from rain, heat loss and bugs.Some protection from wild animals but you would need separate accessories for protection from heat loss, rain and bugs.
PriceOverall costs less than a hammockHammock may cost less but accessories can increase the cost drastically.
WeightTent weight is less than the overall weight of hammock.The overall weight of the hammock with accessories comes out to be more than the smallest of the tent.
LimitationsCan be difficult to set up in a muddy situation. Weights more than any tent.

Who is the Winner

Tents are better when it comes to carrying weight, ease of use, setup and protection. The smallest of the tent provides you with enough space to spread around your gear or to cook in the tent. But hammock is better when it comes to getting a comfortable sleep during your break.

The tent is a clear winner here after going through above-mentioned details.

Final Words 

If you are looking for a comfortable sleep during the trek and do not mind carrying a little extra weight then you must go with a hammock.

But, if you are looking for privacy, protection from rain and bugs among others you should go for a lightweight tent.

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