What Are the Cons of Hammock Camping? (And Is It Worth the Hype?)

Cartoon of Steve in white shirt with arms crossed

Many backpackers and campers are shifting to hammocks instead of tents. 


Because hammocks are lighter and much easier to put up. 

Actually, there are many advantages to hammock camping. Aside from the weight, you’ll find that you can easily find a place to set up camp since you don’t need to look for even ground. 

But just like everything else, it’s not perfect. So, what are the disadvantages of hammock camping?

Let’s find out. 

Hammock camping is convenient because the hammock is lighter than a tent. It is easier to get comfortable in and much simpler to set up. However, it also has some drawbacks. Hammocks are colder and won’t provide privacy and security for your things. Plus, you need to find an area where there are large and sturdy trees that can accommodate your hammock.

What Is Hammock Camping?

feet in hammock

Hammock camping is a type of camping where campers sleep in hammocks rather than the usual tents on the ground. 

History would say that hammocks were developed during the pre-Columbian era or before Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. 

Around that time, hammock camping also came to life, although not in the relaxing context that we enjoy now. 

Columbus famously wrote of this first voyage: “A great many Indians in canoes came to the ship to-day for the purpose of bartering their cotton, and hamacas, or nets, in which they sleep.”

Apparently, natives slept on hammocks to avoid snakes, ants, and other harmful insects. These are also advantages to present-day hammock camping. 

What are the downsides of hammock camping? We’re getting there.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Hammock?

You can’t just put up hammocks anywhere, and that is part of the limitations of hammock camping. Check out the cons of using a hammock in camping:

1. You Need Trees To Hang the Hammock

Hammocks have two edges that you need to hang on sturdy stands. They don’t necessarily have to be trees but camping areas, like parks and the wilderness, usually have an abundance of trees. 

However, it may take some time before you can find two perfectly spaced trees in the desert or alpine area. In some cases, some forest areas have more wild plants than trees. 

2. Hammocks Are Colder Than Tents

If you have to camp somewhere that grows cold, you will need some type of under-insulation to keep you warm. That means adding some weight to your gear. 

The tent provides stagnant air that keeps you warm, which is not the same as in a hammock. 

3. There Is No Privacy in Hammocks

While a complete hammock gear has a rainfly, it doesn’t offer complete coverage.

 It would be hard to change in your hammock in privacy for example! 

4. It’s Not Ideal for Group Camping

Two people in hammock

Solitary camping can be peaceful but group camping is just a riot!

The problem with a hammock is that it can usually accommodate one person. Don’t get me wrong, two-person hammocks exist, but it’s pretty snug. 

Are double hammocks worth it?

If you want to keep your partner–a significant other or child–close, then it’s definitely a good buy. But it’s not built for comfort. 

Back to the issue of group camping, there are appropriate trees for hammocks. This means that not all members of the group can stay within proximity for a bonfire and story-telling because there is no guarantee that these trees are nearby. 

But that’s a pretty minor inconvenience.

5. It’s Not Ideal for All Sleeping Positions

Stomach sleeping is not possible in a hammock. Doing so may take some gymnastic skills. So, people who sleep on their stomachs may be more comfortable in sleeping bags inside a tent. 

Side sleeping is possible in a hammock, but you need to learn the right way to do it. 

Still, there may be some people who will be bothered by the rocking of the hammock. It’s not for all campers. 

6. You Can’t Keep Your Gear in the Hammock

With tents, you can keep your backpack and other things inside. But hammocks are really just for sleeping. 

Some hammocks have small pockets so you can keep your wallet and other valuables. 

7. Some Areas Don’t Allow Hammock Camping

Not all camping sites allow hammock camping for fear it will damage the trees

But there is a proper way to hang hammocks that won’t damage them. You just need to take the time to learn. 

What Are the Advantages of Hammock Camping?

Many people prefer hammock camping because of the following benefits:

1. Lightweight

Hammocks for camping comprise the hammock, a mosquito net, and a rain fly. All of these usually weigh less than two pounds. The whole pack is less bulky too. 

One-person tents weigh around three pounds. 

It may seem like the weight difference isn’t much but when you walk around for miles, your shoulders and back will feel the difference. 

2. Convenience

With a regular camping tent, you have to look for an area that can accommodate the size of your tent and flat ground to give you an even sleeping surface. 

Not that it’s always that easy to find a place for your hammock since you need two sturdy trees to hang them. 

However, as long as you have the trees, you don’t need to make the ground even or remove any rocks, sticks, twigs, or foliage that could hurt your back when sleeping. 

3. More Comfortable

Sleeping in a hammock is generally more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. 

Sleeping in a tent sometimes means sleeping on sloping ground, tree roots, rocks, and even mud. Bugs have easy access too. 

4. Easy To Set Up

Generally, hammocks are easier to set up than a tent. The basic principle of a hammock is that you hang them on two poles. 

Pitching a tent is more complex and would take more time to finish.

5. Useful Even When Not Camping

Your hammock doesn’t have to gather dust at home. You can continue using it, unlike the tent. 

6. More Affordable

Hammocks are generally more affordable than tents, which adds to their appeal. 

Are Hammocks Worth It?

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of hammock camping, are they worth it?

It all boils down to preference. Some camping enthusiasts find comfort in the hammocks while others find contentment on the ground. 

While hammock camping is more convenient, the tent provides more security and privacy. 

When you are camping in the desert, then a hammock is far from ideal. And if you are in an area populated by trees, then hammocking is going to be wonderful. You will get unimpeded views of the stars too. 

But if you have motion sickness, then a tent is preferable. 

Hammocks vs tents–it’s one of the most divisive camping debates among enthusiasts. But why argue when you can enjoy both?

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC Answering the Question What Are the Cons of Hammock Camping
Click infographic to enlarge.

Over the years, more people are trying out hammock camping. Hammocks are more convenient than tents, not to mention, they are lighter and more affordable.

However, hammocks have disadvantages too. They are colder, and finding appropriate trees to hang them may not be as easy. 

But as they say, if there’s a will there’s a way. 

Hammocks are comfortable to sleep in and give you an unobstructed view of the stars. So, if you enjoy hammocks in general, then you will certainly find comfort in them while camping. 

Spread the love

Leave a Comment