Hammock or tent in the rain

jchal3

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Oct 31, 2015
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I'm going on a backpacking trip this weekend...it is supposed to rain 1/2" on Sat. I'm trying to decide if taking a hammock and rain fly is smarter than taking the tent since it is off the ground....thoughts...

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WV Mountaineer

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A hammock with an adequate tarp will keep you bone dry. Just be sure to tie a piece of cordage on your hammock suspension, underneath the tarp, a couple inches from the end of your hammock,to catch the rain that runs down the suspension. Let the cord just dangle on one end and the water will run down the suspension, hit the cord, then run and drip down it instead of run the suspension into your hammock.

It's a huge misconception that hammock camps are cold and wet. If you are outfitted correctly, they are as warm and drier then any ground tent.
 

Jauwater

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I'd bring the tent, and setup in a spot that's shedding water rather then collecting the water. I got caught in a thunderstorm one night with 50+ mph winds, and the rain was coming from every direction. I was using a massive rain fly too that enclosed as doors on the ends. Just not enough tie off spots on that particular model to keep the fly from being completely manipulated by the heavy wind, and the rain would just pour right in. I'll also say that Ive spent some nights camping in a hammock under a fly in light rain, that was super relaxing. The sound of the rain on the tarp, the hammock rocking in the breeze, ahhh man I'm kinda missing the hammock now.

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twall13

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I wouldn't hesitate to use a hammock but I've spent many nights with a hammock setup figuring things out. It would take some serious wind in conjunction with those rains to change my mind. Even then, I've been wet in a tent more often than not in the rain and overall have had much better luck staying dry with a hammock now that I know how to set it up. My hammock tarp has doors and I can pitch it pretty low in nasty conditions.

All that to say it depends on your hammock setup and how much experience you have with it. It could also depend on how stout your tent is...


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GrumpyHiker

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Jul 20, 2019
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A hammock with an adequate tarp will keep you bone dry. Just be sure to tie a piece of cordage on your hammock suspension, underneath the tarp, a couple inches from the end of your hammock,to catch the rain that runs down the suspension. Let the cord just dangle on one end and the water will run down the suspension, hit the cord, then run and drip down it instead of run the suspension into your hammock.

It's a huge misconception that hammock camps are cold and wet. If you are outfitted correctly, they are as warm and drier then any ground tent.
^this. Most of the people that are miserable in hammocks are those that don't know how to set them up properly....or, they are stomach sleepers. Make sure you have bottom-insulation under the hammock, not between the hammock and bag.
 

Bigjay73

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Jan 23, 2019
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A hammock with an adequate tarp will keep you bone dry. Just be sure to tie a piece of cordage on your hammock suspension, underneath the tarp, a couple inches from the end of your hammock,to catch the rain that runs down the suspension. Let the cord just dangle on one end and the water will run down the suspension, hit the cord, then run and drip down it instead of run the suspension into your hammock.

It's a huge misconception that hammock camps are cold and wet. If you are outfitted correctly, they are as warm and drier then any ground tent.
Was going to say something, but WV already did
 

RockChucker30

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I'm going on a backpacking trip this weekend...it is supposed to rain 1/2" on Sat. I'm trying to decide if taking a hammock and rain fly is smarter than taking the tent since it is off the ground....thoughts...
I'd say it depends on your experience level. From the way you wrote that it seems like you may be new to hammock camping? If that's the case then I'd probably say that a 1/2" of rain in January may not be the ideal way to learn.

I'd take a hammock with no worries, but I'm fairly experienced. Hammocks have some great qualities, but you need to know what you're doing to get the most out of them.
 
OP
J

jchal3

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Oct 31, 2015
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I've hung one to hang around in, but never actually camped with one...so maybe you're right. Tent is the way to go

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RazAlGhoul

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Jun 29, 2019
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With adequate tarp space, the hammock is superior in comfort. Sit up, make tea. Use a trash bag as a ground sheet – once the tarp is up, everything under it can be set up dry. Read a book. You can take off rain gear standing up before you touch anything else. Hang damp socks on the ridgeline. Invite friends with leaky tents to come play cards with you. All the things you can't do in a tent and still have headroom. With a tarp that can be staked down to the ground and shut on the ends, even wind is trivial. One trip it was the only way we were able to use stoves – the gusty wind kept blowing out even the stove with a full windscreen. You can add doors to a tarp that doesn't have them.
 

Recurveaholic

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Jan 10, 2020
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^this. Most of the people that are miserable in hammocks are those that don't know how to set them up properly....or, they are stomach sleepers. Make sure you have bottom-insulation under the hammock, not between the hammock and bag.
What do you mean by under the hammock as opposed to in between? This may be a stupid question but under the hammock means on the ground right?
 

twall13

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What do you mean by under the hammock as opposed to in between? This may be a stupid question but under the hammock means on the ground right?
Under the the hammock means snugged up to the bottom of the hammock, not between you and the hammock. Do a google search for photos of hammock underquilts and you'll quickly see what he meant.

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Recurveaholic

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Under the the hammock means snugged up to the bottom of the hammock, not between you and the hammock. Do a google search for photos of hammock underquilts and you'll quickly see what he meant.

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Thanks I figured he didn't mean on the ground but just checking! LOL
 

bwhntMT

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I hammock camp a lot, but when there is going to be rain or snow, I find I prefer a tent. It isn't about sleeping warm or keeping dry, it is about keeping my gear clean and dry and organized and having a little more room to spread stuff out. Keep in mind that this is a three man tent vs my Warbonnet Superfly tarp. But every time I tent camp I wish for the comfort of the hammock. Just trade-offs.
 

normad

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Jan 17, 2020
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I'm new here. This is my first post! I thought this would be a good place to start since I am an avid hammocker. I haven't slept in a tent in about 6 years. Once I experienced the comfort and freedom of a hammock, I was sold. I agree with what others have said: practice makes perfect. I wouldn't 'practice' on a rainy trip, though! It takes some time to really figure things out and dial in all your gear. But, once you get the hang of it (no pun intended!), I think it's far superior to tenting, for several reasons:

  • It's so much cleaner! You can throw up your fly and then have a dry space immediately. If you use snake skins, it's even easier. Packing up is so much easier and drier in the rain. You can do it all under the fly, pack your bag, then take down the fly last. No wet dirty tent.
  • Comfort. If you get your hang just right, you'll sleep like a baby. Others mentioned having an underquilt, which I believe is an absolute necessity in temperatures lower than about 50-60 degrees. I honestly feel like I have way more room under my tarp than I do in a tent. If the rain isn't heavy, you can spread your tarp out a bit more and pitch it wide and you'll have tons more space than in a tent. If it's really blowing and raining hard, you may have to pitch lower and tighter to the ground. I still feel like I have a lot more space than I would in a 1 or 2 man backpacking tent.
  • Weight savings. You can buy hammocks as light as 6 oz. and hardware-free Dyneema suspension systems that weigh less than an ounce. Whoopie slings, soft shackles (carabiner replacements that are virtually weightless and stronger than steel), tarp ridgelines with prusik tensioners, etc. My favorite tarp is a DCF (Dyneema composite fabric, formerly Cuben fiber) tarp with doors. It weighs 8 ounces, is huge, and can be pitched in several configurations including 'porch mode', and is super durable. And, when using an underquilt, you can use a top quilt instead of a sleeping bag. They are generally much lighter since most do not have zippers and aren't relying on insulation on the bottom side that would be compressed anyway. And, you don't have to carry a sleeping pad.
Just a few thoughts. I could talk about hammock set ups for days!
 

PhlyanPan

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Dec 29, 2019
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My very first time camping in a hammock we got a nasty thunderstorm on the third night. I was in a hammock I made myself under a tarp that I sewed and waterproofed myself out of fabric I got in the clearance bin at Walmart. I was as dry as anyone else in the group and dryer than I've ever been camping in the rain. It ain't rocket science.
 

Fatcamp

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What about bugs? If you set a hammock up with enough protection to avoid the bugs isn't it just a suspended tent? 😬 Asking for a friend.

I think those big hammocks that set up from three points look amazing. Probably not backpack friendly, but they sure look fun.
 

twall13

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Jan 21, 2015
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What about bugs? If you set a hammock up with enough protection to avoid the bugs isn't it just a suspended tent? Asking for a friend.

I think those big hammocks that set up from three points look amazing. Probably not backpack friendly, but they sure look fun.
Call it a hanging tent if you want but my homemade, detachable bug net weighs 6 oz. and I only have to take it if I think there will be bugs.

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Fatcamp

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Can you sleep on your side?

What does your whole setup weigh?

Can two people share a hammock? Like, ya know, share it?💞
 

twall13

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I have several different hammock setups and weights vary depending on what I'm going for but I frequently use a 20° setup with a tarp with doors, underquilt, quilt, hammock, suspension/straps, guylines, stakes, etc. that comes in right around 5.75 lbs. I could go lighter but that setup is more comfortable to me so I don't mind packing the weight. And yes, I sleep comfortably on my side or back in a hammock.

You can get two people in the same hammock, but you won't be comfortable enough to get any sleep. There are some systems designed so couples can sleep side by side from the same trees, sharing a tarp and even the same budget in one design but you'll want your own hammock.

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