Backpacking tent vs hammock? Whether you’re spending one night on the trail or you’re hitting the wilderness for days on end, you may be pondering the tent vs hammock debate.
Keep reading to see our thoughts on tents or hammocks.
The Challenge: Backpacking Tent vs Hammock
Rocks and sticks aren’t exactly the most comfortable place to catch your Z’s, so you’ll need to pack a comfortable sleeping setup – one that is compact, lightweight, and suitable to your budget.
Carrying your shelter on your back might not be so difficult if that was all you had to bring – but you’re also carrying food, water, cooking supplies, clothing, and more! You’ll have to fit all that into your backpack, and it can be complicated to fit everything you need without making your pack too heavy.
That being said, there are a lot of backpackers who are happy with their tents and there are others who are happy with their hammocks! We’ve included a brief overview of each.
Ultralight Backpacking Tents
Planning an extended adventure where comfort is key? With a tent in tow, you can sleep safe from the elements. If you’re envisioning a camping tent, think again—we’re talking about high-tech, lightweight tents that will fit in your backpack with room to spare. A backpacking tent is far lighter than a regular tent, typically weighing as little as one to three pounds.
The tent you choose will likely depend on your budget, your priorities, your weight requirement, and the type of trip you’re taking. It also depends on whether you need a solo tent or a tent that fits two. You’ll also want to consider the length of your trip—are you thru-hiking or just spending one night in the woods? If you plan to take longer trips, you’ll want to invest in quality.
A lightweight backpacking tent will generally cost you upwards of $200. If you’re on a budget, you’ll likely have to sacrifice some level of durability, weatherproofing, space, and weight. But if you’re willing to spend closer to $500, you can get an amazingly lightweight and durable tent that will protect you from all kinds of weather.
Are you backpacking in an area where there are plenty of trees? Do you want to keep your backpack as light as possible? A hammock may be the ideal solution! As long as you can find sturdy trees to hang your hammock from, you’ll be able to sleep in comfort. If conditions allow, you can even stare up at the stars as you fall asleep among the trees!
Hammocks have some advantages over tents as long as you’re able to find a good place to set them up. Most hammocks are very lightweight. You won’t have to sleep on sloped or rocky ground. Plus, most hammocks can be equipped with a rain tarp and/or bug net, so you can stay away from the elements much like you would in a tent.
Depending on the weather, you may need different accessories. You will definitely need tree-friendly straps. If it gets chilly, you’ll need an underquilt for warmth. This adds to the total cost.
Even so, a hammock can still be a very affordable way to camp out on the trail. A very basic camping hammock can cost as little as $30! When you start to add accessories, it will likely cost between $100-300 – still more affordable than many backpacking tents.
Backpacking Tent vs Hammock: How to Decide
The bottom line is, it depends on several factors:
- Individual preference
- How much you can comfortably carry
Ultimately, the decision is up to you! We hope we’ve helped you figure out whether to invest in a tent or a hammock for your backpacking outings. Have fun on your next backpacking adventure!