A hiking hammock is incredibly lightweight, compact, comes with mosquito or rain fly net, and a great alternative to the more traditional tent.
Plus, the possible sites to set-up the versatile hammock are far greater.
Here are eight benefits of using the camping and hiking hammock:
I am sure you have woken up to find your tent is sodden from overnight rain - it is not a pleasant experience!
Because hammocks are above ground, the water falls off them and does not pool under your tent.
Hammocks with a rainfly are great at avoiding pools of water that soon appear after a short spell of torrential rain and you will not generally find a big pool of water right outside the door either!
Getting a great night's sleep while out in the wilderness is certain to mean you are in a better position to continue hiking in the morning.
Hammocks are designed to give the proper sleeping position: laying flat on the back and head slightly elevated.
This has the benefit of providing unobstructed breathing and the most efficient blood circulation to the brain. Plus, the hiking hammock is a practical choice for those with pre-existing joint or back pain.
As well as sleeping, hiking hammock can double up as both a lounge chair and sleeping solution. So, for those stopping on the trails to cook a meal, rest-up, or similar, the hammock is able to provide a perfect place to lounge around.
Plus, hammocks provide a relaxing rhythm to make it more comfortable to rest and sleep.
Loss of heat
You will be surprised how cold it feels in the night, even in jungles, as your body cools when you sleep.
So regardless of whether you sleep in a tent or a hammock, you will find you need some kind of mat to insulate yourself from the ground or the air.
Now theoretically the earth is a better insulator than the air, so a tent should be warmer. However, when you go to sleep on a mat in a tent, I tend to find I roll off it all too easily or it slides out.
This can be a problem with some hammocks, but many are equipped with a second skin that holds the pad in place ensuring it is effective all night.
If you find you are still cold, these second skins allow you to put any spare items of clothing under the pad to further insulate, which you cannot do in a tent.
It is for this reason that if I am going anywhere even close to cold, I make sure I have a double-skinned hammock!
Easy to Pitch/Suspend
A significant benefit of sleeping in a hammock as opposed to a tent is the increased flexibility of where to stop.
Hammocks do not need flat ground or pegs to set them up. As long as you can find somewhere to suspend them, they provide better flexibility in relation to where it can be pitched for the night.
Plus, the hammock is more effective at being low-impact and will not compress the forest floor unlike laying down a tarp or pitching a tent.
No pressure points
Sleeping on the solid floor means the body's weight goes through a relatively small number of contact points which can mean a lot of discomfort. Plus, the quality of sleep is less with constant tossing and turning.
Even though the latest hiking and camping mattresses will alleviate most of the discomfort, the hammock is the only guarantee to provide no pressure points for a great night's sleep.
Weight and volume of hiking gear are a serious issue when it comes to packing the day-pack or backpack.
For those on a multi-day hike, the weight of a hammock is significantly less than a tent with no mattress or poles to be concerned with.
A dedicated hiking hammock can weigh 500-600 grams and collapses to a size similar to a bag of sugar.
Use a hiking hammock to get extra protection from the crawling insects on the ground.
A hammock, mosquito net, and tarp combination give plenty of protection for all sorts of insects and animals common in the wilderness.
Plus, being up off the ground means extra safety from dangerous spiders or snakes. It is worth noting that every state except Alaska has at least one venomous snake!
Modern camping hammocks are lightweight, easy to hang, weatherproof and leave a much smaller footprint than tents. They do take a slight adjustment to if you are used to tents, but I find them much more comfortable and easy to use for hiking.