A couple of summers ago I had the opportunity to be a camp leader at a week long girl’s camp that our church holds every summer. It was my oldest daughters 4th year going to camp, so I was excited to go along and share the camp experience with her. But I was not looking forward to sharing a tent with other leaders whom I did not know very well. But luckily we owned a couple of camping hammocks, so I took one of those along to use instead. I had never actually slept in one before, so it was a totally new experience for me. Here are some pros and cons that I discovered while using camping hammocks that summer.

Pros:

  1. Easy to set up, you just need a couple of trees, though I have heard of innovative people using other natural items when trees are scarce. But we live in the wooded Northwest, so we have plenty of trees. Almost all brands of camping hammocks come with special straps that make setting up easy, with very little knowledge needed of special knots.
  2. Comfortable. No sloping ground, or rocks or sticks in the back. Especially nice for staying off the ground in wet weather!
  3. Lightweight. All camping hammocks I have seen are small and compact, great for hiking where weight is an issue.
  4. Leave No Trace shelter. Unlike a regular tent where you may have to level the ground, use stakes or establish trenches in rainy weather, none of this is needed with camping hammocks. And the one I used came with wide webbing straps that protects the bark of trees, so no impact is there either. When using one of these hammocks instead of a tent, very little work is needed to insure a LNT campsite.
  5. Perfect for hunting, fishing, biking, hiking, camping, and kayaking for recreational users. Also used a lot by forest fire fighters, emergency field hospitals, international disaster relief workers and as survival equipment for military and Search and Rescue personnel.
  6. Come with mosquito netting and rain fly. On a clear night, you can leave the rain fly off, be protected by bugs while laying there enjoying the night sky. Creating total harmony with nature and the universe.
  7. Can be used as a chair. You don’t have to use camping hammocks just as a bed, but can sit on top of them as a regular camp seat.
  8. Most camping hammocks have one or two small pockets, just like a regular tent, for holding small items. And one thing I really appreciated about the camping hammock I used, is that there was a rope or strap that extended from tree to tree from which the hammock hung that was on the inside of the hammock with me. From this I could hang my watch, or better yet, a glow stick. Lets face it, it is dark! And waking up disoriented in a small space can be a little nerve wracking.
  9. As I discovered, very unique. I was the envy of all the girl’s that year. Everybody wanted to try my camping hammock!

Cons:

  1. If you are claustrophobic, these would not be a good idea. Though there is room between you and the top of the hammock, it is definitely a closed in space.
  2. They are only designed for one person. This is often fine, but sometimes you want to cozy up in a tent with a loved one.
  3. Having used one of these while at camp with a bunch of teenage girls, you do feel more vulnerable to practical jokes. I was lucky, and was spared any pranks, but I still felt at risk all during camp.

As you can tell, in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons considerably. If you just need a tent for one person, camping hammocks is the way to go!

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