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  1. #1
    dejoha's Avatar
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    Are hammocks lighter than tents?

    I'm working on a series of posts on hammock camping playing devil's advocate. First in the series, are hammocks lighter than tents?

    > http://bit.ly/JLNgb3

    What do you think? What are your solutions to keeping a light kit, or do you even care?

    Props to Sgt. Rock, who's 13 oz kit was helpful in framing this post.

  2. #2
    Senior Member icedfire477's Avatar
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    Much respect to the Sgt's >1lb set-up....but if you're a tarp camper you could ditch everything else and just use the Cuben at a mere 4.45 oz. (You wouldn't be nearly as comfortable though, eh?)


    That's a tarp though, not a tent.

  3. #3
    gunner76's Avatar
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    Hard to say as you are not comparing apples to apples. Just like there are many different size and weights for tents, there are many different sizes and weights for hammocks.

    Tarp = tent rainfly

    Hammock = tent

    Top Quilt = sleeping bag

    Under Quilt = pad

    My wife being a foot shorter than me could fit in a Lightheart Solo Tent that weighs 1 pound while I would have to go with a Lightheart Duo tent at 2 pounds. As my Black Bird hammock weighs in at about 2.5 lbs plus another 15oz for my tarp, a tent could would weight less. However, I find that when I sleep in tent that I do not get a good nights sleep and I am hurting the AM, a problem I do not have sleeping in my hammock.

    Lets face it though, most people who tent are probably packing tents weighing closer to the 4 pound range, why...cost. To get a super light weight tent you have to shell out some $$$ and most folks comprise, save some $$ and carry a bit more weight.

    Me I would rather carry a bit more weight with my hammock, get a better nights sleep and have a wide range of spots to camp from that I could not do in a tent.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member mangus7175's Avatar
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    I think the post is insightful and personally, it was the main reason why I looked into hammock camping...it felt like the route to go if I wanted to lighten my backpack load.

    Raul had some write-ups on his blog regarding this subject as well - http://watermonkey.net/2011/08/27/te...e-weight-saga/
    -and-
    http://watermonkey.net/2011/09/08/th...ammock-set-up/

  5. #5
    MAD777's Avatar
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    When I came to hammocks from tents, it was close to a wash in weight with a slight increase in bulk.

    Now to better describe my situation. On the ground, I was in a real tent but an ultralight solo tent from Henry Shires (I'd love to see what that man could do with a hammock). I used top of the line Western Mountaineering sleeping bags - tons of warmth for ounces of weight. In my quest for comfort, I used a heavy torso-length P.O.E. insulated air mattress with a CCF pad below it.

    My first hammock setup was a Warbonnet Blackbird and Spinn tarp from OES. I made my own down top & bottom quilts.

    What changed was my comfort level. Instead of tossing & turning all night and spending the last couple of hours before dawn, wishing for first light, I now wake up and ask, "What's for lunch?".

    In the general case, if a ground dweller comes from sleeping on a Tyvek sheet laid directly on the ground with nothing but a minimal tarp above, then there's going to be significant weight & volume gain going to a hammock. But I would argue, an even more significant gain in comfort.

    However a ground dweller coming from a commercial tent company's tent and budget sleeping bags with sleeping pads will save weight and bulk going to a hammock system. And still gain a whooping chunk of comfort.

    Notice the common denominator here is a one way trip to comfort
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  6. #6
    obxh2o's Avatar
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    When I switched to hammocks, I found a slight 5 to 6 oz. weight savings ... probably because my old hiking tent was fairly heavy.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAD777 View Post
    What changed was my comfort level.
    This nails it for me. I'm really at a point where I couldn't care less about the weight differences between a tent or hammock. I've hiked with a guy whose tent setup was considerably less than my hammock setup. However, I didn't see a lick of comfort. I don't go in the woods to be miserable. For me the extreme comfort advantages outweigh the weight advantages of a UL tent.

    The other aspect is flexibility. Whether it's stopping at a moment's notice because I just feel like it or staying dry under my tarp while I setup my hammock in the rain these (and others) are things you can't really do with a tent.

    I might suggest the OP read a book about hammocks.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member ShadowAlpha's Avatar
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    Are hammocks lighter than tents? sometimes yes & sometimes no.
    Watermonkey's article that Magnus pointed out has some great examples.

    Weight does matter for me.

    all comes down to choice. For me I have a choice of ground vs comfort.

    @Mad - whats for lunch?

  9. #9
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icedfire477 View Post
    Much respect to the Sgt's >1lb set-up....but if you're a tarp camper you could ditch everything else and just use the Cuben at a mere 4.45 oz. (You wouldn't be nearly as comfortable though, eh?)


    That's a tarp though, not a tent.
    Yep, there is no doubt, if you are are a ground/tarp camper ( but maybe not tent), it has got to get heavier when you add that comfortable hammock. plus maybe you will need to add a bigger tarp to adequately cover a long hammock. So it depends on how much hammock you add.

    But, one thing people usually leave out: except for the toughest people, most people are going to need a pad on the ground. And to be able to actually be a happy camper, most of us are going to need a thick heavy pad.

    If it is warm enough, we don't need any pad in a hammock. So right there is a huge wt saving for the hammock. Quite likely more wt saved ditching the heavy pad than is gained by the 7 oz- 32 oz hammock. Next is if it is only sort of cool. No matter the temp, I still need a thick heavy pad on the ground for both cushioning AND insulation( I realize some folks, especially young ones, won't). But if it is not to cold, all I need is a very thin pad in the hammock. Or maybe 10 oz of CS torso UQ down to mid 40s.

    Once you get to winter, the bottom insulation needed in the hammock- even with 900 fp UQs - starts getting heavy enough to compete with the pad that is needed on the ground. At least for full length UQs. Of course, the new NeoAir winter is only about a lb. Still, a lb is a lb.

    If looking at tents rather than tarps- and trying to keep apples to apples with only one person in the tent- then in warm weather I think the hammock can actually be lighter than the pad plus tent.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  10. #10

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    I was first attracted to hammocks because of the versatility of where you can sleep (slopes etc) and I also thought the set up would be lighter until I realized you needed insulation underneath. Since then I have mostly shifted from backpacking to kayak camping as my interest in kayaking has increased.

    Another point is that if you are a tent camper and don't have ultra light stuff (say you have a 3 or 4 lb tent and equivalent bag etc) and you want to make a change you could lighten up by switching to a hammock setup. It wouldn't be lighter than the lightest tent set up but would be lighter than what you were moving from and you would get the other benefits too.

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