Are you thinking about using a hammock on your next adventure in the wilderness?
I promise you it's one of the best ideas in the world and you won't regret leaving your tent at home.
Here are some pros and cons to help you come to a final decision before you go camping.
Pros And Cons Of Sleeping In A Hammock
Hammocks are perfect for camping because they're lightweight, easy to set up, and can be used almost anywhere. It's also extremely comfortable sleeping in a hammock. There are some drawbacks if you're camping with a partner or pets.
I've got a big list of hammock pros and cons for you today, so let's start with the benefits first because they're more exciting.
Benefits Of Sleeping In A Hammock
- Lightweight + portable
- Hang almost anywhere
- Easy to set up
- Comfortable sleep
- It's easy to hide
- You won't get wet
- Stay cool in summer
- Animals + insects
- Space to stand up
- Back pain relief
1 Lightweight + portable
If you're venturing into the great outdoors on your own you might walk for days on end. Don't forget you need to carry everything with you.
It's pretty annoying lugging a large backpack around with you even if you're very fit. So trying to keep it as light as possible at all times is a golden rule.
Hammocks are a lot lighter than traditional tents and you don't have to worry about poles. Everything can be rolled into a small ball.
Not only are hammocks extremely portable but they won't take up much space in your backpack.
2 Hang almost anywhere
You can set your hammock up almost anywhere as long as there's a couple of points to hang it from. Here is an example of some places you can hang a hammock:
- Across a small river
- Above wet ground
- Over bushes and plants
In a perfect world, you'll hang your hammock over a flat empty piece of land because it's easier to move around. But you can hang it over annoying obstacles when necessary.
You don't want to pitch a tent in the middle of muddy ground. It will be ripped apart if you try to sit it over bushes and rocks. Hammocks give you more options.
3 Easy to set up
The hardest thing about setting up your hammock is finding the perfect place to camp. Once it's time to hang the hammock it can be set up within a few minutes.
Over time you'll begin to recognize the perfect pair of trees a lot quicker. Trees that are the perfect thickness and distance apart.
And you'll get quicker at throwing your hammock up too. If you have a nice pair of hammock straps it's going to be even easier.
If it's raining outside you'll be able to set your tarp up within minutes. I know it might be intimidating right now if you don't have lots of practice.
4 Comfortable sleep
I love sleeping on my back or side in a hammock because I find it a hundred times more comfortable than lying on the ground.
There are 3 big things, in particular, I like about sleeping in a hammock:
- Falling asleep easily
- Staying asleep all night
- Relaxing in the morning
It sometimes takes me hours to get to sleep. I've looked at my phone only to realize 4 hours have passed and I'm still awake.
When I sleep in a hammock I tend to fall asleep so fast I can't remember going to sleep when I wake up. For some reason, I sleep straight through the night too.
At the University of Geneva, they conducted a hammock sleep study that showed people fell asleep quicker in a hammock than in a normal bed.
No waking up every few hours in the pitch dark. I hate waking up in the middle of the night in a forest.
And in the morning I love chilling in the hammock when I wake up. When I'm in a tent I can't relax in the morning. Maybe it's some kind of claustrophobia.
5 It's easy to hide
Wild camping is my favorite way to camp by far, but I hate knowing people can see where I've pitched my tent.
I prefer hiding away like a ninja inside overgrown bushes and in hard-to-reach places. It's a lot easier to hide in a hammock.
If you get the right tarp nobody is going to see you. Even if you wild camp close to the city it's easy to hide away from gazing eyes, which is perfect if wild camping is illegal.
It's a lot tougher to hide your tent, which is okay when you're in the forest. But when you're camping at beaches and close to roads it's not good.
6 You won't get wet
There is nothing nicer than lying in a hammock while rain crashes down all around you. If your tarp is set up correctly no rain is going to get near you.
You don't have to worry about hanging your hammock in the right place because once it starts raining it's going to head directly for you.
When tent camping a tsunami of water can roll towards your tent if it's sitting in the wrong place. When it's really strong I always find water gets inside my tent.
If you're lucky enough to pitch your tent far away from a slope you still end up stuck in your tent because it's a mudbath outside.
7 Stay cool in summer
Depending on where you're camping in summer you might need a cool breeze to help you get through the day.
Your tarp is going to help you stay out of the sun, but the wind will still be able to reach your hammock. You can even take your tarp down if you want.
It's easy to relax in your hammock reading books or listening to a podcast on your phone.
Staying cool while trapped in a tent in the middle of summer is much more difficult. Your tent is wasted during the day because you don't want to spend time in it at all.
The only real option you have is leaving the door open if you have a bug net. It's just not the same lying down in a tent vs a hammock.
8 Animals + insects
I like to know I'm up high in case any animals decide to visit me in the middle of the night.
In a hammock, the worst thing you have to think about is mosquitos. The best hammock for sleeping every night in the forest is one with a mosquito net.
Not only will they not be able to bite you while you sleep, but they won't be able to annoy you so much you end up falling out of the hammock trying to slap them away.
I've slept on the ground and woken up with bites all over my body. Do you want to sleep on the ground where insects and bigger animals can get you?
You might be completely safe inside a quality tent but it's risky. Insects always tend to find a way inside no matter how hard you try to prevent it.
The same rules apply to hammocks and tents when it comes to dangerous animals like bears. They're only going to bother you when they smell something tasty.
9 Space to stand up
Once you jump out of your hammock you'll have lots of room to change clothes and clean up. It's nice when you can stand up while doing stuff.
If you're in a tent there will be a lot less space available, especially if you're camping with someone else. Unless, of course, you have a giant tent.
It's nice to slip your clothes on without being a master yogi that can touch their face with their feet. It's horrible doing things inside an enclosed space.
10 Back pain relief
Is sleeping in a hammock good for your back? Sleeping in a hammock is one of the best things you can do if you have back pain.
I think it's the most natural sleeping position for the human body. When you sleep in a hammock there is less pressure on your:
I'm not trying to say sleeping on an air mattress in a tent is going to damage your back. It's just going to be a lot better for your back in a hammock.
Some people think it's the opposite and hammock camping isn't great for their back. You have to know how to sleep in a hammock properly to reap the rewards.
Negatives Of Sleeping In A Hammock
- Getting in and out
- Trying to find trees
- Partners + pets
- Less privacy
- Might be colder
- Some sleep issues
1 Getting in and out
A know a lot of people don't know how to get into a hammock without falling out. Getting out is just as hard for some inexperienced campers.
And I'm sure a lot of people worry about falling out of a hammock in the middle of the night even though a camping hammock hugs you inside a cocoon.
You can't deny it's much easier to get in and out of a tent unless you have a back injury that stops you from bending over.
Fortunately, it's easy to learn how to get in and out of a hammock easily. By the end of your first short camping trip, you'll be an expert.
2 Trying to find trees
Although you can camp almost anywhere with a hammock you will need to find trees to hang it.
If you're in the middle of a forest you won't have a problem. It's not always so easy in places like a desert with miles of flat land around you.
You can hang your hammock from a van or large rocks. It's more like anything you can tie it to that's not going to move.
And if you look hard enough you should find somewhere outside small villages and on deserted beaches.
But if you're nowhere near any trees it's easier to find a place to pitch a tent.
3 Partners + pets
If you want to go hammock camping with your partner it's probably better to sleep in separate hammocks.
Even though there is enough room for 2 people in a double hammock you must enjoy snuggling to attempt it.
All the relaxing benefits of a hammock are thrown out the window when you share one with someone else. Sleeping in a tent with more than one person is more enjoyable.
That doesn't mean you can't attempt to sleep in a hammock with your partner. You might enjoy it. Or sleep in the hammock with your dog.
Do you want to let your dog sleep on the ground? They might get really cold and be secretly wishing you brought a tent.
4 Less privacy
Hammocks give you a lot more freedom to move around when you're taking your clothes off, but if there are other people around everything will be on display.
It's a problem you might run into if you decide to hammock camp at a campground. You'll have less privacy in general too. I hope you don't pick your nose.
None of this matters when you're in the great outdoors with the nearest human miles away. If nobody is watching you walls become less attractive.
5 Might be colder
Once you know how to stay warm in a hammock it's pretty easy to feel great at all times, but you will need the right equipment with you.
Tent walls will stop much more wind hitting you than a tarp.
But I think the real problem is the space in between your hammock and the ground. Even on warmer nights, you'll need a hammock underquilt or mattress underneath you.
Although a tent might come out on top when it comes to staying warm it's still possible to hammock camp in really cold conditions during winter.
6 Some sleep issues
There are always going to be some people who prefer sleeping in a tent. Maybe they find lying in a cocoon is too restrictive.
A hammock can swing which some people find annoying. I find it amazing but we're all different.
If you try hammock camping and you really can't sleep in one you should ditch it for a tent. But don't give up until you've had a few days to get used to one.
Before you go hammock camping learn how to position yourself in the hammock otherwise it's going to be uncomfortable.
Can You Sleep In A Hammock Long Term?
You can sleep in a hammock long-term on big camping trips. If I was living in the forest for years I'd choose to sleep on a hammock. Ancient Mayans used to sleep in hammocks thousands of years ago and they're still popular today.
I think we would have stopped using them a long time ago if they weren't great. It's probably better to sleep in one every night versus your bed.
Is It Worth Sleeping In A Hammock Instead Of A Bed?
You should try sleeping in a hammock instead of a bed at night. See how much better you feel in the morning when you get a great night's sleep. Hammocks are not just designed for the forest. If you don't have an expensive mattress it's even more worthwhile.
I move a lot from place to place at the moment so I don't think landlords would appreciate me drilling holes in their walls. But I would sleep in a hammock full time if I could.
Pros And Cons Of Sleeping In A Hammock
The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to sleeping in a hammock. When you go camping you should always take a hammock with you. You'll be able to find a great place to camp easily, plus you'll sleep soundly and wake up naturally refreshed.
If you go wild camping it's even more reason to take a hammock with you. It will open up a lot of new and exciting places you'll be able to lay your head down.