We are new from the Pee Dee region of SC. We are newbies to the idea of hammock camping. We have been camping in our 1975 Apache hardside pop-up camper for a while but want to expand our adventures to backpacking. It will be my husband and I and our 12 year old son and 3 dogs camping together. I am trying to put together the gear we need. Wanting to keep the weight down of our packs has led to thinking about hammocks.
We love hammocks and have 3 packed inside our camper. They certainly seem way more fun than a tent, so that is where our hearts are leaning. We were considering the Hogback Tarptent as well.
Putting together lightweight gear for the 3 of us has been a challenge in finances. Because of that we are thinking of getting the Skeeter Beeter Hammock Pro. I was looking at the Byer one but the Skeeter Beeter looks like it could hold more weight when we need to bring the dogs into the hammock.
I have a few questions:
I was wondering if anyone knew of a better hammock priced inexpensively?

That leaves the problem of tarps. I really need to find a compromise between cost and weight. Light tarps are expensive. Size is another issue. How big does it need to be to not get wet in wind and rain?

If I want to hang side by side with my son under the same tarp, how big does the tarp need to be?

One thing that led us away from the tent was the cost of a insulated pad. We plan on hiking upstate SC in spring and fall and would need protection if the temps dropped. The expensive light high r value inflatable pads might be popped from our rowdy dogs, and foam would be uncomfortable. I was hoping the hammock would make inexpensive foam insulation more comfortable. The cost of a down outer quilt would probably be too expensive for us right now.
We are planning on getting the Kelty cosmic down 20 sleeping bag for around $ 110. It is fairly light. The backpack we are looking at is the Golite Jam 70 L. If I can find lightweight tarps at a good price our big 3 should not be very heavy.