Hammock vs. Tent: Which One Should You Choose?

Rilor Staff
Update: June 15, 2022
Table of Contents

You have decided to go on a backpacking or camping trip. The weather feels right, and you want to enjoy your weekend with some fresh breeze and good ol' Mother Nature. 

Now, these things are nice. But first, you have to decide first whether you want to snuggle inside a tent or lie bare with a hammock. Your answer would actually impact your overall experience in the outdoors. 

Here, we will help you decide which of these shelters will suit your next adventure. We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of these options, so we are hoping that you can get the right option for you. 

The Importance Of Tents And Hammocks

Regardless of your preferences and needs, tents and hammock are both important outdoor amenities. Shelter, after all, provides comfort and protection to people while they are camping or backpacking. 

It is essential that you don't miss bringing out either of these two in your adventure. They should be a part of your checklist. If you go without them, there's a good chance that your trip will end up disastrous. 

Even if the skies are clear, you would still need a form of shelter. After all, it is not just the rain or heat of the sun that you have to deal with. You will also have to worry about insects and critters that can cause bites and irritations. 

As long as you are outdoors, you would need to bring any form of shelter. The only exception here is if you are not staying overnight. But hey! Even a day trip will be nicer if you have a tent or hammock, right?

Tents vs. Hammocks: Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between these two is a lot more difficult than it appears to be. On the surface, many will think that tents should be put into priority. After all, tents are almost synonymous with camping. They are almost ubiquitous in every campground and backcountry destination. 

On the other hand, others are already switching to hammocks. They are a popular choice for backpackers or individuals who want to streamline the weight of their luggage. Compared to tents, these hammocks are not that bulky. They are easy to pack and pitch, especially if you have a lot of trees and boulders to work on. In some cases, people pick hammocks because they look appealing. 

Always remember that what you should look for here is functionality. The shelter that you choose must fit the requirements of the trip. Factors like weight, size, and reliability are among the things that you need to consider whenever deciding between a tent or hammock. 

You can explore these matters in the following sections.

Tents: Pros And Cons

These are the things that you need to know about tents. Essentially, knowing its advantages and disadvantages will help you know if it is the right shelter for your camping or backpacking trip. 

Advantages Of Tents

Tents Keep Your Items Safe

A tent is a portable shelter that ensures that you can keep all your belongings safe from the elements. They can also provide decent protection against theft. Most tents, even a 1-person tent provide ample space for a backpack. For bigger tents, the presence of vestibules provides more storage for items that you want inside, such as wet, muddy hiking boots. 

Tents Enable You To Pitch On Various Areas

With a tent, you will be able to pitch in almost any setting. After all, tents don't require trees or poles for them to stand. There are even freestanding options that remove the need for stakes. This level of versatility is needed, especially if you are looking to explore different terrains and environments. 

Tents Provide Extra Warmth

Not all tents are warm inside. But it is undeniable that they can offer their users a certain degree of insulation. If you fully close the tent, the heat won't be able to escape. Furthermore, tents can protect you from being chilly because of the cold breeze outside. If you add the insulation of the tent into account, this may allow you to bring lighter and fewer sleeping bags and jackets. 

Tents Protect You From The Wildlife

Another thing that you need to consider is the level of protection that tents provide. Specifically, tents are enclosed spaces that keep the bugs and critters away. They can even shield you from cunning snake bites while you are sleeping or doing something else. In some cases, tents may be able to confuse bears, especially if they are big.

Tent Shields You From The Elements

Of course, the very essence is to protect you from the elements. When it starts to rain or snow, you would want yourself and your belongings to remain dry. If it is too hot, you want to get shielded from the harmful UV rays. Honestly, no hammock can provide this level of protection against the elements. Furthermore, not all campsites and destinations have natural shields from the elements (i.e., large trees and boulders). So in these cases, tents work best.

Disadvantages Of Tents

Tents Are Susceptible To Condensation 

One way or another, you'll experience condensation inside a tent. You can't avoid it, depending on the humidity, temperature, and terrain. If you are close to a body of water, there's a good chance that condensation will take place inside the tent. Once this happens, your gear and clothes will eventually get wet. Hence, it is essential that you get tents that have built-in mechanisms to prevent condensation. 

It Is Sometimes Uncomfortable To Sleep In Tents

Since you are sleeping on the ground in tents, it is natural that you'll feel discomfort. This is especially true if the ground is hard, cold, and jagged. Therefore, it is recommended that you bring sleeping bags and sleeping pads when you are camping in a tent. But of course, bringing those items would add weight to your entire luggage. 

Tents Are Prone To Getting Hot

If you place your tent somewhere that it is exposed to direct heat, it will feel hot inside eventually. Or, if the environment is naturally hot, the heat would creep inside the tent. It is important that you pitch your tent where there's a shade. At the same time, you might want to consider opening the windows and doors of the tent so that the air would come in.

Hammocks: Pros And Cons

Hammocks were designed to become an alternative to tents. Specifically, these hammocks are the most optimal form of shelter if you decide to go tent-less. Here are some of the things that you need to know about hammocks.

Advantages Of Hammocks

Hammocks Are Comfortable

Sleeping in hammocks is comfortable. In fact, they can be more comfortable than tents on some occasions. After all, you don't sleep on the ground. This means that there are no stones or lumps that will hurt your body. Since they are elevated from the ground, they can provide your body with better support and comfort. 

Hammocks Promote Better Sleep

Since there are minimal discomforts in hammocks, they can promote better sleep. At the same time, the rocking motion that these hammocks can create can help people sleep deeply. The said motion is similar to the motion in baby cradles, so it is not surprising that these hammocks are beneficial for people who have trouble sleeping outdoors. 

Hammocks Provide More Cooling Effect

Hammocks are not just cool-looking sleeping platforms. They also promote coolness to sleepers. After all, they provide more ventilation because of their open design. If you want to experience the evening breeze, these hammocks are the perfect choice for you. Because of the availability of airflow, hammocks aren't susceptible to condensation, as well. 

It's Legal To Pitch Hammocks

Some places prohibit the pitching of tents. Such a rule is to prevent people from creating illegal tent cities. Hammocks, on the other hand, are not under the same restriction. Hence, you can always install your hammock on beaches and campsites without being scolded. 

Hammocks Prevent Encounter With Crawlers

Since you are up above the ground with a hammock, you would no longer have to worry about bugs, insects, and snakes that could crawl to you. That's a relief because their bites can be disastrous! For flying insects, you can just install a bug net in your area. In this way, you'll be protected from them. If not, you can also apply insect repellents to your body.

Hammocks Are Easier To Pack And Carry

This one is something that I should highlight. In many cases, backpackers tend to shed the weight of their load. Of course, even a single-person tent would place a significant bulk and weight. Because of this, choosing a hammock becomes reasonable for them. It is light, not difficult to pack, and never bulky. Surely, these are the things that other campers and backpackers are looking for. 

Disadvantages Of Hammocks

Hammocks Aren't Easy To Install

Sure enough, hammocks come with a simple installation procedure. Tie it to opposite platforms, such as poles and trees, and you are good to go. But that's where the difficulty also comes in. You need evenly spaced trees and natural formations so that you can tie a hammock. If you are in a valley without any of these things, it is impossible to tie a hammock. 

Hammocks Only Fit A Single Person

Of course, there are two-person hammocks. But honestly, they aren't that comfortable, especially if you or your companion like to move around. If you want to sleep comfortably, you need to be alone. Tents, on the other hand, provide ample space for their users, allowing them to sleep comfortably. 

Hammocks Expose You To Cold

If the temperature is tolerable, the cold air is fine. But in extremely low temperatures, hammocks aren't exactly the best choice that you have. If you decide to bring one, make sure that you have an insulating layer to keep you warm. Here, you would need a foam sleeping mat, sleeping bag, and underquilt. These things would give warmth to your body.

Hammocks Don't Give Opportunity For You To Do Private Stuff

Even if you are outdoors, there are moments when you don't want yourself to be seen. For instance, you would need privacy when you want to change clothes. Of course, this doesn't matter in an isolated environment because the presence of people is close to none. But at campsites, you would really need tents to keep yourself hidden during private times. 

Hammocks Don't Provide Storage

Another thing that you need to understand is that hammocks don't offer storage space for your belongings. You would end up placing them in a location that may be far from where you have pitched your hammock. Because of this, accessibility and security become a problem. Bringing tarps would help you protect them from the rain. 


Based on the pros and cons of tents and hammocks, you can already decide which one is the ideal outdoor shelter for you. If you want total protection from the elements, then a tent should be the best choice for you. Tents are also great for adding privacy and comfort to your trip. But for those who want to reduce the weight of the trips, hammocks would be beneficial. 

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