Outside Project

Opinion: Hammocks are WAY cooler than tents


Woman relaxes on a hammock lake Isabelle Colorado

When I was a kid, my best friend’s brother got a hammock and put it up in their yard. Although I knew I wasn’t supposed to, I couldn’t resist swinging in it. And every time, inevitably, I was chastised for swinging in the hammock and damaging the cords. Did it really damage the cords? I don’t know. But I do know that when I finally bought my own hammock, I was just as protective of it. 

At that point, my hammock wasn’t for camping at all; it was for reading, hanging out, sitting with a view, and napping. I brought it with me any time I was hiking, and I set it up near my house when I wasn’t hiking. It was the perfect place to relax. 

When I finally brought my hammock camping, I discovered that I had seriously been missing out for years. For one thing, I was way more comfortable in my hammock than I had even been in a tent. I liked camping and never particularly minded tents, but there were always the unfortunately placed rocks under my back, and I always ended up a little too cold at night and a little too hot in the morning. Little did I know that a hammock would change all of that. 

When I first camped in my hammock, I was amazed that 1) I wasn’t nearly as cold at night because I wasn’t lying on the ground, and 2) I woke up feeling legitimately well-rested. Granted, I decked my hammock out with a sleeping bag, two extra blankets inside the sleeping bag, and a full pillow. But man, I was so cozy. 

The next day I became even more enchanted with hammock camping. At the end of the night, when everybody else had to decide between going to bed and hanging out at the campfire, I snuggled up in my hammock—still a part of the conversation, yet ready to drift off at any minute. 

I did, however, learn that a tarp was an important accessory. It didn’t rain, but the dew left me somewhat damp in the morning. Once I set up a tarp over the top of the hammock, though, I was free from dampness AND free from pine needles. I also discovered that the top-of-the-tent condensation I hated so much was no issue with my set-up; the sides of the tarp were open and let plenty of fresh air through. 

Actually, once I discovered how great sleeping in a hammock was, I even preferred it over my bed. I strung the hammock up in my bedroom and slept in it for nearly two years, and even after that I spent many summer nights sleeping outside close to home. Although I bring the hammock out less frequently now, I’m still a major hammock fan and would take a hammock over a tent any day. And if you’re about to try hammock camping for the first time, I bet you’ll soon agree with me. 

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