Tent or Hammock? What’s the Difference?

When you go on a camping trip what is the form of shelter you prefer? I have been a tent man my whole life, and I don’t expect that to change. A buddy of mine swears up and down that a hammock is the way to go. How about we take a good look at the two and see which is better or worse for you!

Tents are far from ideal. There are lots of things to consider with the use of the tent. From finding the perfect campsite to the fear of the unknown, the list is endless. But we have warmed up to it.

Then there’s the hammock. This tent – the alternative is hinged on an arboreal lifestyle. Yes, you read that right. You’d have to take a nap on a synthesized material supported by trees. As crazy as that sounds, many are making the switch without looking back.

What makes these two camping accessories different? Let’s find out.

The Differences in Setup

The most conspicuous difference between the use of the tent and hammock is tied to their setup.

With a tent, it’s all about searching for the right surface – no flooding, possible animal invasion nor awkward terrain. It has to be perfect or at the very least, close enough.

The setup of a hammock couldn’t be any different. This camping approach is heavily dependent on trees.

To camp in a hammock, you’d have to find the right trees. Besides proximity, these woody plants have to be strong enough to support your weight.

No exceptions! This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the hammock material is tied to both trees.

With a hammock, the action on the ground isn’t much of a concern to you – unless of course, it affects the supporting trees.

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The Weight Factor

Tents are usually heavier than hammocks. They are built to withstand the elements while camping. It’s like taking your home along in a backpack. With structural components consisting of cotton, nylon, and polyester, the tent is bound to be heavy especially when it rains.

While this will add to the burden of transportation, it keeps you safe from the weather.

With the hammock, things take a different turn. Weight isn’t much of an issue with this camping accessory.

Most hammocks are made from nylon which improves their tensile strength. The only issue is you’re at the mercy of the weather.

Innovation appears to have taken the outdoor market by storm offering products which can keep the elements at bay and providing the warmth you need.

However, these accessories could add to the weight of your backpack.


One area where the tent seemingly triumphs over the hammock is size. Tents come in varying sizes. Depending on its dimensions, a tent can hold as many as four persons comfortably.

While weight might be an issue, there’s that closeness a tent breeds especially among family members.

Hammock users are not necessarily loners, but this camping accessory is about getting the privacy you need. Hanging out alone on support anchored by trees doesn’t exactly engender togetherness.

Yes, camping hammocks are available in various sizes, but they can support just one person comfortably – lovers might differ in this regard.

Time Constraint

Camping might be that place where time seems to stop. Being surrounded by nature has a way of making time irrelevant.

Even so, there are occasions when you have to set up or dismantle your tent/hammock for different reasons such as personal issues or weather conditions.

This is when you’d observe some small differences. For a tent, you could spend a few hours putting it together or dismantling it.

This will also depend on the size of the tent. Bigger tents will take more time especially if you are handling this alone.

Unlike tents, hammocks are easier to set up and dismantle. All you have to do is tie or untie the straps. This should only take you some minutes to complete.

However, the use of accessories such as the tarps and sleeping pad could add to the time spent.

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The Change factor

The condition of your preferred campsite can change within hours of making that choice. You could sleep under cover of a tent and wake-up in a waterlogged space. Often, there’s the need to change tent positions due to the unforeseen situations. If it’s a rather large tent, then there’s a problem.

With a hammock, there’s a lower chance of surprises springing up. Having the straps of a hammock tied to the stem of trees wouldn’t put you in harm’s way if you did your homework.

No, snakes wouldn’t lunge down on you from above – real life isn’t the same as the movies. In fact, the odds of that happening are higher in a tent since more snakes are adapted to a land-dwelling habitat than an arboreal one.


Who wants more from their tent? Everyone. We can’t just carry around a bulky tent and get only a roof above our head. Sadly, that’s the way it is.

Innovation might be making inroads into the outdoor niche but the flexibility of the tents seems to have been missed.

The modern-day tent isn’t as adaptable as it should be. Aside from providing some sort of protection against the elements, its functions are greatly limited.

The adaptability of the tent fizzles out when compared to the hammock. The latter has a wide range of uses. Besides acting as a resting place, it’s the perfect spot for grooming your reading culture.

Many regard the hammock as an epitome of improvisation, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

The Impact of Water

The undoing of every tent is the presence of water on the surface of a campsite or the closeness of a water source. This reduces the number of potential sites for the location of your tent.

Regardless of how alluring an area might be, water can bring all that to naught. Also, you can’t enjoy the view of water bodies from a resting place.

Water isn’t a problem when resting on the hammock. From such an arboreal position, chances are you’d be unaware of the emergence of water onto the land below.

Also, you can enjoy the beauty of water bodies without fear of the condition on the ground around.


This is one of the strengths of the tent. With its structural build, the tent provides some semblance of warmth.

Spending a cold night in a tent might not be exactly splendid, but it supersedes whatever a hammock has to offer in this regard. The absence of several openings in the tent reduces the impact of the elements on a cold rainy night!

The hammock and warmth are seen as oil and water – they don’t mix. With the level of exposure observed in the hammock, it’s difficult to argue with that.

However, innovative products like the underquilt, and sleeping pad have brought some relief to worthwhile camping gear.

Similarities Shared by Tent and Hammocks

The similarities common to both the tent and hammock could be based on their composition and function.

From a functional perspective, they provide a resting place for you when camping.

As regards the structural constituents, both tents and hammocks share the same base materials. Nylon, polyester, and cotton are some of the materials used.

Another similarity between the tent and the hammock is the level of customization possible with both camping gears.

These accessories can transform your desired camping gear into a warm safe house.

Final Thoughts

Tents and hammocks have all the attributes required to make camping less hazardous. But the hammock has shown signs of offering much more than the tent.

Accessories can erase Even its current flaws. While the tent is the pinnacle of our camping days both present and past, the hammock has the future in its sights.

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