When we think of camping, the first image to pop into our mind is usually a tent. Set out in the woods or along a pretty beach, or with a campfire just after sunset, everything set up just right for enjoyment in nature.
The image isn’t a surprise, as It’s no surprise as tents have been around since at least the early iron age. But today, the tent faces a competent competitor in the hammock. It is a more affordable, lighter, and easier-to-use sleeping option for campers on a quest to find an isolated corner in the dwindling nature.
The hammocks are being used, the more people have the same question – Why are hammocks lopsided?
If you’re new to hammock camping, you’ve probably found yourself staring at your hammock helplessly. True, the curve doesn’t make sense. However, there’s a logic behind its shape – it’s more comfortable and guarantees better sleep.
If you follow recommendations from experienced hikers, you’ll see that you can sleep comfortably in a hammock. Even on your side.
Table of Contents
- 1 A Hammock May Be Better Than a Tent
- 2 Pros and Cons of Hammock Tent Camping
- 3 Different Hammock Designs
- 4 Hammocks Are Light and User-Friendly
- 5 Because Hammocks Are Lopsided, Good Sleep Is Guaranteed
A Hammock May Be Better Than a Tent
In modern camping, the hammock is a strong alternative to the tent. Camping is a widespread, widely enjoyed pastime of explorers and outdoors enthusiasts. It has been for decades, since before mass-tourism. And it isn’t anything less today.
A hammock is lighter and smaller than a tent when packed. It takes far less time and effort to set a hammock up and take it down than a tent. Modern hammocks are versatile and with an abundance of accessories to make them incredibly comfortable and safe.
Today you can use pre-fabricated, snap-on tarps under and above to keep you warm and dry, nets that you pull out of a hammock pocket and attach at the other end to shield you from insects, and much more. There are even hammocks for two.
There are, of course, some drawbacks: hammocking is more isolated than tenting, you can’t let your dog into the shelter, you can’t use it in a desert without carrying a hammock rack. And it won’t do on Everest.
Despite all the paraphernalia improving them, you are still more exposed to rough weather than in a tent, and so on. But if you love camping, it’s definitely worth a try.
Pros and Cons of Hammock Tent Camping
A tent is probably the first thing that comes to mind when speaking about camping. However, several campers are increasingly using hammocks instead of tents. Hammock camping has become popular in the recent couple of years. Especially among lightweight hikers and outdoor aficionados.
When you come to think of it, you would like to doze off under the stars, right? We prepared a list of benefits of hammock camping to help you understand its growing popularity.
- Easy to set up. Hammocks can be set up quite quickly – in a matter of minutes. You just need a good spot, free from messing around with tent poles and stakes.
- Lightweight. Hammocks are way lighter than tents. Forget about heavy stakes and tent poles. All you need is the hammock and suspension straps. If you look for light travel, hammocks are just the right option for you. You can even toss it in your bag.
- Versatility. You can use hammocks in any terrain – you just need trees. Contrary to a tent, you don’t need a level spot on the ground. Stones, twigs, and other debris are not an issue. You can hang a hammock above uneven ground and still enjoy a good night’s sleep.
- Comfort. If sleeping in a hammock the right way, you’re laying perfectly level with your body. And the hammock supports the position. This is partly the reason behind their increasing popularity with backpackers. You just need to hang it straight. You can even lie on your back or your side comfortably.
- Keeps you dry. And cool. Soaking wet ground doesn’t have to bother you. You can sleep in your hammock, protected by your rainfly, without getting wet. Moreover, sleeping in a breathable hammock will help you stay cooler through the night. Especially on clear nights and even without any covering.
- Less privacy. Unlike sleeping in a tent, hammocks offer less privacy. There’s no space where you can change your clothes or have some time for yourself.
- Sleep issues. If you’re new to hammock camping, you may find it a bit challenging to sleep while suspended in the air. Especially if you’re a restless sleeper. Hammock camping may be too restrictive for you.
- You need the right spot. Regardless of their versatility, hammocks are limited to areas with trees, rocks/boulders, or other solid structures.
- Limited capacity. Being available in single or double sizes, hammocks are suitable for one or two people. Besides, double hammocks may be less comfortable for two people. Also, if there are not a lot of trees in the area, it can be difficult to find a suitable spot to pitch the hammock.
- You can’t have pets with you. If you have a habit of taking your dog with you, a hammock may not be too accommodating. You can share a double hammock with your four-legged friend, but that arrangement may not be quite comfortable.
Different Hammock Designs
Hammocks come in a few main designs. So, you will need to find the one that suits you perfectly.
Gathered-End Asymmetric Hammock
It is the most common hammock design. Its ends converge into a single bunch that extends to the straps. The hammock shape is asymmetrical, so its occupant can lay diagonally to the longitudinal center-line. Despite it appearing lopsided, the sleeping person in it lies straight.
These hammocks are lighter and more spacious than the other designs.
Spreader Bar Hammock
This type of hammock has non-gathered flat ends supported by a spreader bar. This gives the hammock a rectangular form, providing a flatter sleeping position than the asymmetric counterpart.
Bridge hammock is effectively a suspended cot. Bars at both ends hold it in shape and they often come with integrated accessories, such as a bug net. These hammocks are comfortable and work in cold weather. The price is added volume and weight. Some people also said that they feel constrained laying in them.
Hammocks Are Light and User-Friendly
Most of all, hammocks are packed easily and far lighter to carry. The lightest of tents still weighs multiple times more than any hammock. It’s also easier to set up and take down a hammock than a tent. It matters particularly for people reaching their camping location on foot, far from their car.
Then, you can camp anywhere. Maybe the most disheartening sight for a camper to see at the end of a trek is the chosen site crowded by tents and people. It may be difficult or dangerous to continue looking for a different location.
With a hammock, all you need is to move a bit further, find a couple of suitable trees and break out your stuff there, in peace and the noise of the camp dampened by the distance and trees. It takes minutes – no pegs, footprints, inner and outer tents. Just strapping the hammock to two trees and it’s mostly set up.
Because Hammocks Are Lopsided, Good Sleep Is Guaranteed
Sleeping on the cold, hard ground is not particularly pleasant. Regardless of the tarp under the tent, the tent floor, mat, and the sleeping bag, you’re bound to feel every little bump of the terrain through the night and remember it for hours after you get up.
The issue of sleep gains importance on multi-day treks. For a tent-camper, every night means adapting to a different place and, essentially, different bumps poking through. And if a camper doesn’t recuperate through a good night’s sleep, fatigue will settle in.
On the other hand, sleeping in a hammock is consistent, regardless of where it’s set up. A good night’s sleep, night after night, shouldn’t be an issue. Of course, it isn’t just the hammock, as when we swing lazily in our backyard on a summer afternoon.
But, Can You Hammock Camp In Any Weather?
You can hammock camp almost anywhere, but does that mean that you can also hammock camp in any weather?
When you sleep in nature, you will want to spread an ultra-light mosquito net over the hammock to keep the insects at bay. Many hammocks have them built-in. In poor weather, you’ll add insulation. The hammock truly is a viable all-season sleep option for campers.
Sleeping above ground allows the air to circulate all around you and carry away your body heat. It means it will be a cooler sleep than in a tent on a hot night.
Of course, the same rules work in the cold, so you’ll need to carry specialized gear to remain warm in rough weather. A double-layer hammock insulates better and allows you to insert a pad between the layers of fabric for strong insulation against the chill.
Adding an adequate under-quilt and a top quilt, both light and designed for easy use, allows you to sleep in a hammock in subfreezing temperatures. Yes, it all adds weight and bulk to your camping gear, but the same works if you’re winter camping in a tent.