Hammock vs Tent Camping: What’s the Difference?


If you’re torn between hammock vs tent camping, you might be wondering what the difference is. What is it like to go hammock camping as opposed to traditional camping? And which offers the better experience?

Hammock camping offers some great benefits – it’s a lightweight, space-saving way to travel. However, tent camping may be more attractive if you want a bit more room, as well as more privacy.

We’ll take a look at each one in more detail, with their pros and cons, so you can figure out which one is the better choice for you. Let’s start with hammock camping!

What is Hammock Camping?

Hammock camping is what the name suggests – camping in a hammock, as opposed to a tent. It provides you with a safe, enclosed space to sleep in, but doesn’t give you any extra indoor space. It’s ideal for solo backpackers. Alternatively, you can go for a 2 person hammock if you want a bit more space or you’re camping as a couple.

The Pros of Hammock Camping

There are a few pros to hammock camping:

  • Comfort – some people find hammock camping more comfortable than sleeping on an airbed or sleeping pad
  • Portability – hammock tents are super-portable, usually folding into a very small bag, making them an ideal choice for backpackers
  • Ease of use – it typically takes just moments to set up a hammock tent, whereas traditional tents can take a bit longer to put together
  • Reliable in all weathers – a good hammock tent will keep you dry in the rain, but will also be breathable, allowing you to feel comfortable on warmer nights

Cons of Hammock Camping

As interesting as hammock camping sounds, there are some downsides too:

  • Space – there will only be enough space to sleep in a hammock tent, with no ‘living room’ style area to hang out in
  • Requires a suitable spot – you’ll need to find a clearing with strong trees, and it can take a bit of practice to learn how to hang a hammock safely
  • Less privacy – a traditional tent will give you a private space to get changed in, whereas a hammock tent doesn’t provide that
  • Not comfortable for everyone – some people find that sleeping in a hammock causes some aches and pains, which is why it’s a good idea to test it out beforehand

What is Tent Camping?

Tent camping is great because it gives you more space – you can camp with large groups if you want to, and tents are ideal for families with young children. You can also have a bit more room to lounge around in, and you won’t have to worry about being near trees to set it up.

Traditional tents tend to be a lot larger and heavier to carry, depending on the size that you go for, and they may take some time to set up if you go for a larger tent.

Pros of Tent Camping

There are some great benefits to tent camping:

  • Comfortable – larger tents can fit a lot more in them, meaning you can create a much more comfortable, ‘luxurious’ camping experience
  • Larger capacity – you can camp with more people in a traditional tent
  • Privacy – a camping tent will provide you with an area to get changed in
  • Reliable in all weathers – a good tent will provide robust protection against rain, while also having enough ventilation to keep you cool on warmer days

Cons of Tent Camping

There are some downsides to tent camping, too:

  • Larger size – although you can get some smaller tents, tents with a bigger capacity can be heavy to carry and take up more space when packed down
  • Longer setup time – it may take longer to set up a traditional tent as opposed to a hammock tent
  • More expensive – hammock tents have the advantage here of being pretty cheap, whereas traditional tents (especially with larger capacities) tend to be more expensive

Hammock vs Tent Camping – Which is Better?

So which is better? It’s kind of subjective, depending on what you want from your camping experience.

Hammock camping is a great choice if you’re camping alone or in a couple and you want to keep your gear as light as possible. As long as you choose to camp somewhere with trees, you can just sling your hammock tent in your bag and head off, without worrying about carrying around a heavy, bulky tent. It’s definitely worth a try if you want a new camping experience – but maybe try to catch a nap in a hammock first to see how you feel afterward!

Tent camping remains popular for so many reasons. Offering more space and privacy, you can create a ‘home-away-from-home’ vibe in a tent, with all the little luxuries you can carry. Plus, there are so many portable options out there, you can keep things light if you need to. If you would like a little more space, it’s worth looking into buying a regular tent instead.