Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waning Crescent (25% of Full)


Advanced

Re: Hammock vs Tent?

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 09:03AM
I've been toying with the idea of trying hammock camping instead of sleeping on a pad on the ground. The motivation is back problems (multiple surgeries, etc). I will be out there no matter what - but even with the new inflatable pads (I think mine is about 1-1/2" thick) I'm awake every 15-30 minutes, have to move around. I sleep fine at home on a mattress. I don't own a hammock (even for my yard at home).

From an analytical perspective, it seems they would have many advantages: a tarp/cordage and hammock/strap replace fly, footprint, poles and pad - should be less weight (?); no pressure points; warmer that sleeping on the ground (even on a pad?); very comfortable (?); no need to find level/flat ground.

The disadvantages: need to find two trees at the right distance; no protection from mosquitoes.

Based on this, it would seem that hammocks would then be the preferred and predominant camping gear (unless in a barren landscape without trees) - but it's not. What am I missing?
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 10:21AM
You missed the most significant disadvantage.

The shape of a hammock is like a slice of cantaloupe husk after being eaten. For some heavy sleepers that sleep on their back that may not be an issue. The curved laying on one's back position is the only one easily attained. But many find that rigid position can be uncomfortable if forced to be confined so all night. Personally I want to rotate between left side, back, and right side each time I wake up and sometimes chest down with head turned to the side.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2016 10:24AM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 11:37AM
Quote
DavidSenesac

You missed the most significant disadvantage.

The shape of a hammock is like a slice of cantaloupe husk after being eaten. For some heavy sleepers that sleep on their back that may not be an issue. The curved laying on one's back position is the only one easily attained. But many find that rigid position can be uncomfortable if forced to be confined so all night. Personally I want to rotate between left side, back, and right side each time I wake up and sometimes chest down with head turned to the side.


I have seen people sleep in hammocks balled up in the fetal position on their side, too.

While not truly ultralight, the most comfortable I've slept outdoors is using a Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot with a Therm-a-Rest ProLite sleeping pad and a down quilt. I've thought of getting the new Term-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite SV Sleeping Pad to replace my ProLite, but I don't know if I would be able to put up with the reported "potato chip crackle" noise it generates at night.



Leave No Trace
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 10:57AM
Hammocks are not necessarily warmer than the ground: you may need an "under quilt" to prevent radiating warmth from underneath, a function served by your 1.5" pad when on the ground. I'm also not convinced that you can save much if any weight with a hammock + tarp + under quilt, especially given the number of high quality lightweight tents available nowadays.

The rest is personal--I know of some hikers who insist on using hammocks, and others who prefer the campsite flexibility of using a tent or bivy sack. I'd say go with whatever lets you get out and enjoy the mountains. Perhaps get a hammock setup from some place with a good return policy (REI?) and test at home/in the back yard to see if it is in fact more comfortable...?
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 11:13AM
Yes to trying it out at home first. I've learned not to "first test" new equipment in the field. I was wondering if there was some big gotcha I was missing that would make it unnecessary to even try a hammock.

The back/sleep thing is the only reason I ever want to leave the wilderness. Maybe I just need to suck it up and carry the weight of the new 2-4" pads I'm seeing are now available. I think it's the (lack of) deflection in the pad that does me in, but I'm not sure of that either. (consistent with the first sentence above, I'd try it out at home first). Thanks for the reply.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 11:52AM
ags,

Unless you are a natural back sleeper a hammock is probably not going to work for you. You obviously need trees but can lash up some hammocks like Hennessy on the ground to make a bivy sac. You also need to think if you always want to camp under trees, if it is damp or foggy the moisture can condense on the tree and create you own person rain shower. Also if it is windy you may have to play dodge the pine cone all night.

Regarding Air Pad style sleeping pads, a common mistake is to over inflate them so it is like sleeping on a board. Try lying on it a releasing some air out of you pad so you sink into it a bit. If you are a side sleeper you may benefit from a thinker pad so you can deflate a bit without grounding out.

B
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 12:34PM
Hard to remember "before" - I think I could just sleep in any position and never thought about it. But now I have adapted and when home sleep absolutely flat on my back - pretty much like a corpse laid out in a casket (not intending to be morbid).

On the sleeping pad, each time I wake up I rotate left/flat/right/repeat, but that's just to move the pain to a different place.

I have learned about inflation, and that +/- half a breath can make a difference. I have found that just enough inflation to keep from bottoming out seems about right. Temperature changes (colder) during the night sometimes require topping-off a bit.

I'm open to trying new things to "fix" this. Hard to figure out what direction to go though, since I can't precisely point to what the cause is. I've also considered trying sleeping under a blanket (rather than in a bag) for added freedom of movement. The mummy bag I have seems to make things worse in combination with the thin-ish pad. I can sleep OK on a thick car-camping air mattress under a blanket, legs not together. Is there such a thing as a blanket that would be like a down bag without the zipper/hood - just a rectangle - that is still lightweight (~1 - 1.5 lbs), packs down small and warm down to ~35-40 degrees?
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 01:27PM
Quote
ags
Is there such a thing as a blanket that would be like a down bag without the zipper/hood - just a rectangle - that is still lightweight (~1 - 1.5 lbs), packs down small and warm down to ~35-40 degrees?

Yes--check out the quilts made by Jacks R Better: http://www.jacksrbetter.com/. There are other companies that make ligher and more fitted quilts (e.g. Katabatic, Feathered Friends, ZPacks, etc.), but the Jacks quilts are consistently a good value. They also cater to hammock users (under quilts, attachment tabs, etc.).
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 01:43PM
One last thing: Many hammocks have a simple rope attachment that can damage tree bark. Some places won't let you use them without adding more substantial pads than you might be willing to carry. This would especially apply to thin-barked trees like aspens...
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 10:12PM
Quote
ags
I've also considered trying sleeping under a blanket (rather than in a bag) for added freedom of movement. The mummy bag I have seems to make things worse in combination with the thin-ish pad. I can sleep OK on a thick car-camping air mattress under a blanket, legs not together. Is there such a thing as a blanket that would be like a down bag without the zipper/hood - just a rectangle - that is still lightweight (~1 - 1.5 lbs), packs down small and warm down to ~35-40 degrees?

Am thin wiry person without much fat insulation that easily gets cold. These days I carry a 15F deg Marmot Pinnacle goose down mummy and sleep atop a short Neo-Air Lite. Most nights I don't start out by get ting inside the sleeping bag but rather use it like a blanket atop the Neo-Air. So have lots of freedom. Also have a habit of sticking my feet out in the fresh air. If it gets chilly later in the night I gradually get more inside zipping up the bag more and more. To do that the side opposite the zipper is on top, so the bag is rotated clockwise 90 degrees. If I'm really cold I will zip it up to the max and cinch up the hood. Some down sleeping bags do not have full lengths zippers. What about your bag?



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2016 10:12PM by DavidSenesac.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 14, 2016 10:37AM
Our progression through the night is remarkably similar. I am lean yet also sleep warm. I have Marmot Atom (40 degrees - normal go-to bag for the Sierra in summer) and Helium (15 degrees - for early/late in season) down mummy bags. Both have only half-length zippers and narrow toe boxes. I generally start out in a silk (plenty of room to move) using the bag (unzipped) as a blanket, then stick my feet in, then progressively zip until (if cold enough) inside the hood with cord cinched.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 01:15PM
What kind of pad are you using? The misses and I both have bad backs (8 years in the military Backpacker) and found that the NeoAir Xtherms were a god send to us!
Also sounds like you're asking for a quilt? Enlighten Equipment and katabatic make some nice ones



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2016 01:17PM by KevinD.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 02:30PM
my resume includes a two-level spinal fusion. remember that sleeping bowed forward is not the same as lying flat on your back. I suggest your home test drive involve spending a night in the hammock--what works for 20 minutes might not work for 8 hours. this problem has two parts--your gear and your back. the latter is not upgradeable.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 02:47PM
I was about to end my last reply with "I think this has gotten too focused on my specific challenges and won't be helpful for any other readers of this forum. I should probably just work it out on my own".

I had no idea there would be others with similar (back) issues. Accept my empathy (but not sympathy - who needs that? :-)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2016 08:00PM by ags.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 14, 2016 10:56AM
Unfortunately I'm not able to give a precise answer on the sleeping pad. I think it's a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker (the lettering on the pad itself reads "NEOTRKR" ). But I don't see the exact same thing listed online anymore. It's about 3-5 years old (IIRC it was near top-of-the-line lightweight when purchased) but I see there are now NeoAir XLight, XTherm, Camper, Voyager, etc.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2016 10:58AM by ags.
avatar Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 05:07PM
I have no back problems, (knock on wood) but I am a baby about sleeping comfort, as well as being a stomach and side sleeper. I have both a Big Agnes Q-cor SL 3.5 inch mattress as well as a 4" insulated Qcor for winter. Love em both!
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 13, 2016 05:14PM
Not all the hammocks on the market force a true cantaloupe shaped sleep. I have a Hennessy Hammock that is asymmetrical allowing one to sleep at more of a diagonal and flatter (not completely flat) position. Without a quilt a light breeze will suck the warmth from the areas compressed against the hammock. A sleeping pad helps, but doesn't eliminate. My Hennessy hammock has a built-in no-see-um mesh, so bugs are not a problem. It also comes with a fly. And you can use hiking poles to set it up as a tent/shelter. If you're located in San Diego I'd be happy to let you give it a run. I'm 6'0" 205lbs and its comfortable. The manufacturer claims the hammock comes in at around 1lb 15 oz. But with snake skins and rap rings for easy pack and hanging, respectively, the weight swings into the low 2s.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2016 05:16PM by Torero14.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 14, 2016 03:46PM
If your serious about giving a hammock a try feel free to just dive right in but if you have any questions or problems definitely check out https://hammockforums.net/forum/content.php You can find the answer to pretty much any question you might have there. And if you prefer videos over txt walls take a look at this guy he is hilarious, super entertaining and full of a lot of knowledge on hammock camping and I personally really like the Dutch ware gear hammocks. He has some very nicely made gathered end hammocks for sale for around 40 bucks if your looking for something at a good price to start out with.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2016 09:13PM by randomsteve95370.
avatar Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 16, 2016 06:50AM
If you wanna waste some time... it has been talked more about here too:
(my wifie hammocks... she slept in tent this winter on Pohono to Washburn Pt trip w me...
with two sleep pads... but said no mas... and took the hammock on the Merced Crest
trip in February) ...
in nutshell... need underblankey... need trees...
some say it's better... some won't respond anymore...

One on hammock backpacking
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?17,78597,78597#msg-78597
(still waiting for that pict of why hammock rules)

anuder one:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?17,75273,75273#msg-75273

and some babbling about stuffing
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,17029,17029#msg-17029

Don't do hammock b/c of trying to save weight... or space...
do because you want to hammock b/c you sleep better
finding trees can be a pain... especially if you want to sleep close to
other people who are not hammock sleepas...
(wifie and I search for long time often to find nice place to camp for her)

Have fun and find what gets you good sleep



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 18, 2016 01:44PM
I'm still trying to figure this out. Now even more confused. I'm backing away from the hammock idea but will still consider based on success/failure of other options. I will follow the advice given here and only consider a hammock based on comfort, not saving pack weight.

The discussion of under-quilts has caused me to think though some things I've just not considered. Of course I know that compressed down (or most other insulators) don't work as well as when fully lofted. Down perhaps the most critical. I've known that a sleeping pad is not just for cushion- without it body heat transfers to the (cold) ground. [Aside: I have had my heels/elbows fall off the pad onto the ground. I eventually wake up thinking something like "sweet Jesus that is cold!". How do people sleep on half-length pads?] So why then do mummy bags (what I think most people use?) bother to add the weight (and cost) of down all around? If the underside down provides little insulation, and the real insulation is from the pad, why not skip it? This comes up when considering a hammock, but also now that I'm considering a quilt instead of a mummy bag (even on the ground). Does the quilt go on top (only) and the pad below? If so, back to my question: why don't sleeping bags have insulation on the top only? Seems like a silly question - but the more I think about it the less silly it seems.

Jacks are Better was recommended for quilts, and I've explored their web site. I found this, which opens up more questions: http://www.jacksrbetter.com/shop/high-sierra-sniveller/

If insulation "on the underside" is not much use, then a quilt makes a lot of sense. Just pay (cost and weight) for what you use, which is all on the top - aka a quilt. But the link above is for a quilt that seems to be convertible to a sort of bag. Why? The only thing I can come up with is a bag (a full enclosure, not just a top) helps keep you from having body parts sticking out and getting cold.

Am I missing something? I'm hoping folks that have used a quilt for ground sleeping can offer advise based on experience. Thanks.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 18, 2016 03:03PM
Quote
ags
...snip...

I've known that a sleeping pad is not just for cushion- without it body heat transfers to the (cold) ground. ...snip...

The NeoAir xTherm is what Basilbop, Chick-on and I use as well as others on this forum. Even in depths of our Sierra winter, this plus the Z-rest underneath is comfortable. They have a new "Max" version with what looks to be the old rectangular shape. Supposedly better for larger torsos. If you can find one at a retailer locally to try to see if you fit on it, this may be your ticket. Get some good earplugs if the crinkly noise bothers you. I sleep on my side and my xTherm looked under inflated to Chick-on at first, but it allows my hip and shoulder to sink in, but I'm still warm enough. If you find something better than this for the weight, please let me know! R-value 5.7

Quote
ags
Does the quilt go on top (only) and the pad below?

Quilt goes on top, pad below. Tuck in edges of quilt under you.


Quote
ags
If so, back to my question: why don't sleeping bags have insulation on the top only? Seems like a silly question - but the more I think about it the less silly it seems.

Not silly at all, some manufacturers do put a sleeve for a pad on the bottom and down on top. Bags will full baffles allow you to distribute the down according to your needs so you have more on top (back vs side sleepers, for instance). My problem as a side sleeper with hips is that I found the down in my bag would shift away from my hip at night and I'd have a cold spot on top. Annoying. The quilt floofs (technical term) around me a little more and doesn't have as steep a drop, so I've not had that cold spot problem.

Quote
ags
Jacks are Better was recommended for quilts, and I've explored their web site. I found this, which opens up more questions: http://www.jacksrbetter.com/shop/high-sierra-sniveller/

Chick-on's wife has Jacks' products, but I don't think the High Sierra Sniveller exactly. I have the High Sierra Sniveller and love it! I may look the fool when I open it up at meal times and wear it as a serape, but I'm cozy and happy! One time on Whitney, I was about the only one comfortable and happy because I had all my usual down clothes on, but was also wearing my quilt. Yummy. When it's colder, I make the footbox so it's more of a "bag". Keeps me warmer than when I use it fully as a quilt. I love having the ability to vary the configuration and regulate my temperature, so my "winter" quilt is also my "summer" quilt. And given we often go high, summer doesn't exactly mean warm nights!

Good luck finding a good sleep system that works for you! It took me a long time and technology had to improve before I really had good nights in the backcountry! Oh, I have a disc problem, not the same as having had surgery, but I have to be careful with my back. I haven't been able to figure out how to sleep in a hammock comfortably, and my favorite perches often have no trees nearby... so I'm glad I have a working solution now.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 18, 2016 03:56PM
JKW, thanks for the reply. My Therm-a-Rest Trekker is an older model (not sure what is "New! Improved!" but they say it is so it must be true...). I'll have to inflate and measure it when home. The new model specs list 2.5" thick and it seems to be identical to the XTherm, but apparently there is a reflective layer on the XTherm that makes better use of body warmth (?). My problem is not staying warm it's staying out of pain, so unless the newer model is thicker I think my Trekker may be close to what you have (for cushion & comfort, not warmth).

I'm thinking that the Sierra Sniveler may be better for me than the High Sierra. I don't snow camp (yet) and sleep relatively warm. However, if it can be zipped or unzipped and flat, that temperature control & flexibility may point to the High Sierra Sniveler, in case I do get out and snow camp.

Another noob question: do you sleep with the zipper on top (against your front, if a back sleeper) or below? I presumed the latter (since the pad underneath provides ground insulation/warmth), so it's sort of a bag/quilt hybrid. Use it flat (it does unzip to a totally flat quilt, correct?), create a toe-box (with zipper mostly open so like a quilt otherwise) for warm feet but temperature control on torso, or zip up totally (does it zip all the way up the side?) to make a sleeping bag (without the hood of a mummy bag). Is this correct? BTW, is there something special you use to keep your head/face/neck warm like a mummy bag when using this quilt?

I also like that two of the (High) Sierra Snivelers can be zipped together. That way it is flexible as a single bag/quilt or can become a two-person large quilt, taking advantage of shared body heat. Maybe... Have you used yours in that configuration (zipped together with another)?
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
May 18, 2016 04:20PM
Quote
ags
JKW, thanks for the reply. My Therm-a-Rest Trekker is an older model (not sure what is "New! Improved!" but they say it is so it must be true...). I'll have to inflate and measure it when home. The new model specs list 2.5" thick and it seems to be identical to the XTherm, but apparently there is a reflective layer on the XTherm that makes better use of body warmth (?). My problem is not staying warm it's staying out of pain, so unless the newer model is thicker I think my Trekker may be close to what you have (for cushion & comfort, not warmth).

Trekker SV seems to be the new model, just a faster fill design. thickness (2.5"winking smiley and r-value (3.0) seem identical to Trekker, so probably not much different. I find cold makes my joints hurt more, but YMMV.

Quote
ags
I'm thinking that the Sierra Sniveler may be better for me than the High Sierra. I don't snow camp (yet) and sleep relatively warm. However, if it can be zipped or unzipped and flat, that temperature control & flexibility may point to the High Sierra Sniveler, in case I do get out and snow camp.

Just want everyone to realize that snow camp temps and summer temps may not be all that different at times, depending on your weather conditions and altitude, etc. I know some who have MANY sleepy bags and end up picking a bag for each trip based on expected conditions. I have settled on one quilt that works for almost all conditions I've faced so far. Again, YMMV.

Quote
ags
Another noob question: do you sleep with the zipper on top (against your front, if a back sleeper) or below? I presumed the latter (since the pad underneath provides ground insulation/warmth), so it's sort of a bag/quilt hybrid. Use it flat (it does unzip to a totally flat quilt, correct?), create a toe-box (with zipper mostly open so like a quilt otherwise) for warm feet but temperature control on torso, or zip up totally (does it zip all the way up the side?) to make a sleeping bag (without the hood of a mummy bag). Is this correct? BTW, is there something special you use to keep your head/face/neck warm like a mummy bag when using this quilt?
No zipper. Jacks uses omni-tape to seal the footbox. (think velcro) It can go from a fully rectangular quilt to a quilt with a footbox. Quilt goes on top, the sides of the quilt tuck under you or your pad, depending on your preferences. and have attachment points if you want to put cord through them under your pad. I don't bother tying under my pad, I just tuck under me. Or untuck to vent, if warm.

Depending on conditions, I am bare-headed or use a buff, thin polartec beanie, thick polartec hat with ear flaps, thin balaclava, insulated puffy hood or a special balaclava with a little "filter" to stop condensation in winter/very cold temps. And sometimes I mix and match. Generally, the beanie and the earflap hat are all I need.

Quote
ags
I also like that two of the (High) Sierra Snivelers can be zipped together. That way it is flexible as a single bag/quilt or can become a two-person large quilt, taking advantage of shared body heat. Maybe... Have you used yours in that configuration (zipped together with another)?

No one else I backpack with has the High Sierra Sniveller and we all seem to sleep at different temperatures. Of my usual group, I tend to run coldest and need the most warmth. When we sit for meals, I'm usually the most bundled up.

I have had friends who have shared "couples" quilts and bags and think its great and v warm. Basilbop runs so hot, we never agree on the amount of insulation needed, so that's not an option for me.
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
August 01, 2016 04:04PM
Are you using a quilt for winter? I've only used quilts to around above freezing. Maybe possible to go down to 20 but don't want to experiment at below 0 haha
Re: Hammock vs Tent?
August 02, 2016 11:13PM
I recall using my Jacks R Better High Sierra Sniveler down to below 20 degrees in a bivy sack, I think the thermometer read 16 degrees. Several nights over different trips. I wore my Western Mountaineering Flight jacket to bed too! I think I had my Flash pants then, but may have just had fleece pants then. I have had ice on my bag/bivy sack many many times. Rarely carry a thermometer.

This winter, in the tent, no bivy sack, have gone down to zero. Had both down jacket and pants then for sure. Was cold, but went back to back to share heat and was able to sleep.

My quilt wings tuck in nicely and keep out drafts. A full mummy would be warmer yes. But in a tent with others, I haven't had a problem through winter.

And I can't recommend a warm mat or two, more highly. You need that to stop losing heat to the ground! I use the z-lite SOL and the Xtherm on top of that.
avatar Re: Hammock vs Tent?
July 31, 2016 11:31AM
avatar Re: Hammock vs Tent?
August 03, 2016 03:55PM
People aren't the only ones who prefer hammocks over tents:



Bear Head



Leave No Trace
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login