Camping and backpacking are fun, whether you do it alone or with a group. But the journey to your campsite can be exhausting.
That’s why many backpackers and campers have turned to using hammocks, which are generally lighter than tents.
Here’s the question: Is it warmer to sleep in a hammock or a tent?
It’s an important question because even when you backpack or camp during the summer, the nighttime can be chilly.
In this blog, we will discuss which is warmer, a tent or a hammock.
A hammock is generally more comfortable than a tent because the ground is never flat and smooth. However, a hammock is also colder than a tent because it doesn’t provide you with full coverage. But there are some ways to keep warm in a hammock, such as using bottom insulation and wearing warmer clothes.
Is a Hammock Warmer Than a Tent?
The direct answer is no, a hammock is not warmer than a tent.
Check out the following reasons why a hammock runs cold:
Hammocks Are Out in the Open
Hammocks are hung on trees and open to the elements.
Obviously, it’s much colder than a tent where a camper is usually ensconced in a sleeping bag as well as sheltered in a tent.
A tent provides a lot of coverage, so cold air won’t be much of a bother.
Hammocks Are Prone to Convection
Convection is heat loss through moving air, which means it will cause your back and butt to be exposed to cold air while in a hammock.
A sleeping bag in a tent would trap moving air, thereby stopping convection. But it doesn’t work the same way in a hammock since air movement continues under it.
Is This Why a Tent Is Better Than a Hammock?
That’s not necessarily true.
Only the camper or backpacker can decide which is better for them.
What is clear is that a tent is warmer than a hammock. But there are other ways where a hammock is better than a tent.
But on the issue of temperature, the good news is that you can do something to keep yourself warm in a hammock.
Simple Tips to Keep Warm in a Hammock
So, we’ve already answered the question: is sleeping in a hammock colder than a tent?
Here are some things to do to keep yourself warm and comfortable while hammocking (and the video above also gives some handy tips):
1. Layer Up!
Whether you are sleeping in a tent or a hammock, Camping 101 tells you to layer up!
How do you layer? There are three basic principles:
It is also referred to as the underwear layer as it is the clothing that is next to your skin. It is an important layer for both warm and cold weather. It wicks away sweat and moisture. The base layer also regulates core temperature.
It is also known as the insulating layer or clothing meant to retain body heat and protect you from the cold. The middle layer is usually a fleece or insulated jacket.
It is also called a shell layer, it protects you from the wind, rain, and even snow. An outer layer is usually a heavy-duty jacket.
You need to counter convection by having under-insulation.
Since your back and butt are the most vulnerable to convection, you can protect them using layering as well.
What can you use for hammock layering and insulation?
It is a quilt you put under the hammock to add insulation. It envelopes your body, thereby providing warmth and comfort.
Under quilts are the best option for insulation especially since they come in varying temperature ratings.
They are also easy to pack and won’t take up much space because they compress.
The only downside to an under quilt is the price. It doesn’t come cheap.
Under insulation must be complemented to give you complete warmth. A top quilt is a hoodless cover you can use to cover the hammock with you inside it.
When you have an under and top quilt, you don’t need to use a sleeping bag for slumber since both already provide the same coverage and warmth but without all the weight of the bag.
As with under quilts, the top insulation also comes in different temperature ratings.
It is a pad you put in the hammock as an extra layer for sleeping. Buy one specially made for a hammock so the mold is perfect.
There are two types of sleeping pads:
- Foam Sleeping Pads – they are more affordable but they also take up space in your backpack.
- Inflatable Sleeping Pads – provide more warmth and don’t take up much space in the pack when deflated. However, you need to inflate it, which could be a daunting task.
One disadvantage of the sleeping pad is that it moves when you move in your sleep. You could put the pad inside your sleeping bag as a solution.
3. Wind Protection Tarp
The wind protection tarp is another layer of protection from the cold. It can also slightly protect you from the rain.
Keep the tarp lower to the ground and your hammock for better protection from the cold.
4. Reflective Blanket
Another option for warmth is the reflective blanket, which got its name because it is meant to reflect body heat to you.
It retains around 90% of your body heat.
The blanket can be wrapped around you or your sleeping bag.
Is Hammock Camping Practical?
Technically, hammock camping is practical in at least a couple of aspects: physically and financially.
Hammocks are generally cheaper than tents.
They are also lighter, which is better for your back when you trek to your campsite.
Hammocks are easier to put up too. You basically need two trees that are appropriately spaced to hang your hammock. Although it’s only easy when you are camping in areas where there are lots of trees.
Setting up tents can be a pain, although it gets better once you get used to it.
Plus, hammocks are better for your back.
With tents, you need to find flat ground without rocks and twigs to be comfortable during slumber.
Is a Hammock Safer Than a Tent?
Safety in camping is quite complex to entertain.
A hammock is definitely safer than a tent when it comes to crawling animals, such as snakes, spiders, and other lurking insects.
But it’s not safer when it comes to rain. Even with a tarp, the hammock doesn’t provide full coverage and protection against rain.
However, tent users are more vulnerable when there is a flood.
It’s on a case-by-case basis.
Can You Use a Hammock Instead of a Tent?
Hammocking is a thing, which means you can use a hammock instead of a tent.
In fact, many campers and backpackers have been converted from tent users to hammock users.
Hammocks are more affordable, lighter, and more convenient.
So you might be wondering, can a hammock replace a tent?
A hammock is an excellent replacement for a tent because of its many advantages, such as the weight and the price. It is also generally better for your back.
But while hammocking is more convenient and fun, sometimes the cold weather sucks the fun out of it.
It’s a good thing there are plenty of accessories that can provide you with better warmth and insulation while sleeping in a hammock.