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Hammock vs. Tarp/ Bivy vs. Tarptent
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Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Hammock vs. Tarp/ Bivy vs. Tarptent on 03/24/2010 08:22:24 MDT Print View

Starting another thread to allow folks to talk me into the advantages of sleeping in a hammock or bivy vs. my nice, spacious, rain-resistant Moment (or Contrail or Sublite Sil or Linar Solo or any of the other blessed tarptents I have purchased over the yearsand can't bear to part with).


Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Hammock vs. Tarp/ Bivy vs. Tarptent on 03/24/2010 08:56:51 MDT Print View

Comfort is the #1 reason for anyone to use a hammock. They can also be flexible in that if you are out alpine or desert and lack a hanging spot, some types of hammock with full bugnet make a good bug bivy, if necessary, and most tarps can be ground pitched very effectively. Once in, I find that I am more comfortable in wind and rain - I was the only one of five not drying a sleeping bag in the sun after a night of rain.

But you should find out if you are comfortable in a camping hammock before committing to the process of sorting out the rest of it - there are so many ways to stay warm in a hammock and so many kinds of hammock it can take a little time to get your personal prefs locked in.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Hammock vs. Tarp/ Bivy vs. Tarptent on 03/24/2010 09:04:46 MDT Print View

really that's up to you and your preferences. i really like tarps for the airy-ness. i don't like bivys though, so that really only works out certain times of the year. i recently purchased a squall classic that i think i will like even though there is a significant weight penalty. as far as hammocks go, i've never used one. a freind of mine has and he has since gone back to the ground, i think he didn't really like the more complex nature of hammock, tarp, suspension, etc. but i do know there are alot of people who really like hammocks.
i guess my post here is of no real value, but i would suggest trying other things, maybe you will wind up liking something.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Preferences vs. prejudices on 03/24/2010 09:18:09 MDT Print View

>that's up to you and your preferences

>there are so many ways to stay warm in a hammock and so many kinds of hammock it can take a little time to get your personal prefs locked in

"Exactly," on both points. I encourage the discussion because my (and others') preferences might really be prejudices.

For example, I have shied away from tarps because the gnats buzzing in my ear keep me awake. However, I discovered that (counter intuitively) my Gatewood Cape was a great winter shelter precisely because there are no bugs around here in winter.

I have shied away from hammocks because the whole system seems heavy and hard to put up. There's nothing like setting up my Moment in the rain -- two minutes max. However, there appear to be a plethora of configurations and set-up options that I'd be glad to hear about from the hammock heads.


Edited by nerdboy52 on 03/24/2010 09:18:51 MDT.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
hammock misconceptions on 03/24/2010 09:27:21 MDT Print View

I just modified my hammock and haven't even weighed it yet (will be doing so tonight or tomorrow) - I'll let you know how much it is.

But I can say they are NOT difficult to set up. In fact, I prefer setting up the hammock over setting up my contrail! And the contrail is about as easy as it gets! I'm not a fast learner but I had the hammock properly set up my first try. I use two really easy knots to secure it, and to take it down I literally just tug a rope to unsecure the knot.

In terms of comfort, different models have different pros and cons. I am using the bear mountain bridge by jacks r better. It is an extraordinarily flat lay, but if you are a bigger person it does tend to "squeeze" you in a bit - especially around the shoulders. And I don't see how sleeping face down would be comfy in it - though some claim to! You also can't do a fetal position - you can side sleep, just not with your knees to your chest.

So as you can see, pros & cons. But the appeal of avoiding wet, bumpy, hard ground is fantastic. I love it!

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: Hammock vs. Tarp/ Bivy vs. Tarptent on 03/24/2010 09:32:10 MDT Print View

I have 2 hammocks and 4 tents right now. I am leaning towards trying out a tarp and bug net tent/shelter.

To me there is no difference in sleeping in a tent vs a hammock.

Weight wise winter camping in a hammock is heavier than my tent setup. In the summer in might equal out but if I go to the tarp/bug net tent at 14 ounces combined it will be hard to beat

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Tarp/bug net tent at 14 ounces on 03/24/2010 09:36:05 MDT Print View

>tarp/bug net tent at 14 ounces

Yow! That's as light as it gets. Does that weight include the stakes? What system will you be using?


Edited by nerdboy52 on 03/24/2010 09:36:39 MDT.

C g
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
Tarp/Bivy on 03/24/2010 09:37:25 MDT Print View

I prefer a Tarp/Bivy combination for the following reasons:

1. Versatility - during clear summer nights with no chance of rain I often do not set up the tarp....just through a bivy (with full head net) on the ground (on top of a cut piece of polycryo) and cowboy camp. Utilizing a season appropriate bivy under a tarp and/or solo-mid you can use it in all but the most inclement/severe weather.
Additionally, there are numerous pitch options.
2. Views..they're unobstructed.
3. Many times they're lighter and pack smaller
4. No extra poles...utilizes trekking poles.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Hammock vs. Tarp/ Bivy vs. Tarptent on 03/24/2010 09:55:28 MDT Print View

I have a MYOG hammock. I constantly debate with myself about hammock vs. ground camping.

It's nice to be able to camp anywhere there are two 4"+ diameter, adequately spaced trees. Some "stunt-hammockers" have even camped on the edges of cliffs, over swamps and streams, and high up in the trees. I wouldn't do that, but it is nice to be able to camp on a steep hill or mountainside. This could be a big advantage when stealth camping, such as trying to avoid those crowded state park campsites. ;) Ground drainage isn't an issue either.

Even the slight bit of upward curvature of my legs while laying diagonally bothered my knees. This probably wouldn't be an issue in a bridge hammock, or the Warbonnet Blackbird due to it's footbox. I found that my hammock is more comfortable when I sleep on a down air mattress inside it. I'd probably be comfortable with a Blackbird, but just got tired of trying hammocks and fiddling with try to be comfortable in them.

If I were diving back into hammocking, I'd start with a double-layer Warbonnet Blackbird used with a CCF pad. The double layer helps hold the pad in place to prevent shifting, but may not be needed if you end up going to an underquilt, as most seem to do.

You could also make a quick test hammock from cheap material, but it won't be as comfortable as a Blackbird.

Edited by AndyF on 03/24/2010 09:56:30 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Hammock vs. Tarp/ Bivy vs. Tarptent on 03/24/2010 09:56:14 MDT Print View

Glad you started this one.

I bought a hammock and will begin trying it out soon (other than my backyard). Mine is very easy to set up and break down (snakeskins).

I love my Contrail tarpent. PRO - bug net and floor integrated with shelter for quick setup. Good rain protection. With slight misting in heavy downpours but no problem really. Quite flexible.

I also love my Poncho tarp (MLD) and bivy (Vapr). PRO - more flexible configurations than tarpent. Bivy can be used without tarp when conditions allow. Bivy protects from bugs and wind and keeps quilt in place.

My expectations from hammock... PRO - don't need to find a good spot of ground for camp. Very comfortable. Will report back on results.

All three approaches are light and provide safe and comfortable protection. I think the conditions of the terrain and weather and season will determine best choice.

I'll give all of them more thought and keep some details. Will post on this thread.

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: Tarp/bug net tent at 14 ounces on 03/24/2010 09:58:42 MDT Print View

it is the MLD Serenity Shelter

when combined with their Solo Plus size Spinntex Grace tarp for a full protection shelter at only 14oz.

pretty sure this is the tarp mentioned above

Edited by Ewker on 03/24/2010 09:59:41 MDT.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Tarp/bug net tent at 14 ounces on 03/24/2010 10:00:09 MDT Print View


tarp/bug net tent at 14 ounces

Yow! That's as light as it gets. Does that weight include the stakes? What system will you be using?


You probably have multiple options now in a tarp/tivy system that will get you below 16 ounces.

Here is my current system at 13.4 ounces total:

* Z packs cuben fiber tarp in stuff sack, 3.3oz
* Kelty triptease guylines (41 ft) with (8) micro Line-Locs, 1.3oz
* Titanium stakes (8) in stuff sack, 2.4oz
* MLD Bug Bivy with new heavy duty silnylon 2.0 floor, 6.35oz

Ron says the silnylon 2.0 is about 3 times the hydrostatic head of regular silnylon, so I shouldn't need a groundcloth in most conditions, but for super boggy New Hampshire hikes I might add a 1.5oz polycryo groundsheet just for peace of mind.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Re: Tarp/bug net tent at 14 ounces on 03/24/2010 10:03:40 MDT Print View

How about complexity of set-up? Is there some way of attaching the bugnet to the tarp or must they be set up separately?


Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Test hammock on 03/24/2010 10:05:39 MDT Print View

>You could also make a quick test hammock from cheap material, but it won't be as comfortable as a Blackbird.

Very nice, Andy! If nothing else, it's cheap and I can set it up in my backyard if I find the sleeping uncomfortable.


(OBOZ) - F

tried it all on 03/24/2010 10:09:20 MDT Print View

Bivy/tarp: moisure was an issue in my bivy. Under tarp I woke up from a deep sleep from unknowing at the time it was a SKUNK! So no more tarps and bivys.

Hammock/tarp: the absolute best for someone who has back issues. Problem is a hammock weight adds up. I have a modifie hennessey which is 1lb 10oz. Then add in tarp another 17oz, then down quilt interior 1lb 9oz, and then u have outside hammock quilt to stop wind and for more warmth for another 1lb 8oz. So its all about weight.
Here's a pic from 3 weeks ago. I was hanging definitely where no tent could be placed. I was snug as a bug in a rug too.

Tarptent: just received my moment about 2 weeks ago. The ease of set up, lightweight and have a 9oz neoair with a WM Megalite long 1lb 9oz. You can not beat how light the setup is and how fast you can set up camp. Which is a plus also when you are tired at the end of the day, 2 maybe 4 stakes, blow up mat and your finished.

So my fave is tarptent and that's with a bad back

Edited by OBOZ on 03/24/2010 12:03:16 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
hammocks can be just as light on 03/24/2010 10:22:47 MDT Print View

Hammocks are not heavy, and can be just as light as most ul setups if you do it right:

use 2/3 or 3/4 uqs instead of fulls
Use lightweight tq's
Use whoppie slings instead of straps
Use trail sticks as toggles for your tarp and hammock connections
Get/Make a cuben tarp(price but insanely light)
make hammock out of cuben(pricey but insanely light)

advantages of hammocks:
sleep anywhere there are trees (can also be done with hiking poles)
ease of setup
Way cooler than a tent anyday =P
stealthing is easier

pastes from other HF members on the topic:

"Last year when I was redoing my ground set up and was then tuned into the idea of hammocks as an option I made different choices for some items than what I had been planning for my ground changes. Now I had been looking at light weight things for the changes on my ground set up, a lither sleeping bag, a lighter this and that. But changing to hammocks brought top quilts into mind when they had not been being considered before that. Along with a variety of other things that got tweaked, adjusted or dropped from use at all. All in all, my hanging is lighter than my ground set up by a couple pounds. Hammock, tarp, and quilts just flat out are better for me than the tent, sleeping bag, and Thermarest. And I am more comfotable. Like others have said, the bigest down side is that the hammock is so comfortable, I want to sleep in it all the time. Wife has gotten to like it also but not enough to let me sleep out in mine all the time. Got to go inside and sleep in the BED. But I am looking for a BIG hammock for the 2 of us. "

"That said, there are several combos of hammocks, straps, large tarp, lines, state of the art, full length three season UQ, and two season TQ that will come in at 6 pounds or less...example JRB gear right of the shelf, BMBH, 11x10 Cat tarp, STLs, MW3 and Stealth quilts...there are many other combo's in this range easy...4 pounds is achievable if you use cuban and minimize each element.... Point is this is easily at or below the average ground tent, pad and bag or quilt combo and at comparable costs....Think about it... six pound for the entire camp easily puts one in reach of the 12 pound base UL standard...This means 5 day treks with a qt of water at sub 20 is easily doable...

Personally the only negative is not having enough trips to enjoy hammocking more."

and it goes on and on

my summer sleep system weight is about 3lbs, including tarp, hammock, insulation, suspension systems, guylines, etc.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 03/24/2010 10:37:37 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
hammocks can be just as light on 03/24/2010 10:25:56 MDT Print View


the bugnet is attached to the hammock itself if you desire a bugnet. The current cottage model everyone is googling over is the Warbonnet blackbird:

the best piece of gear i own by far. has a double layer for pads(optional) as well, and a gear shelf(omg so handy). No i do not benefit from selling them, just in awe of them.

you can go ul with a nano hammock at 7oz, camp nano i believe.

check for an amazing community of cottage gear makers and enthusiasts who can answer everything you need.

goto the video section of the site, see shugs videos, learn about whoppie slings, continuous prussic ridgelines for tarps, knots, etc. EVerything you need is there, just look.

I'll warn you though, its addicting and rewarding. The first time i left the ground to sleep in the air, i realized nothing would make me go back to the ground. waking up well rested is just as important as proper nutrition or in my book. After sleeping on the ground i never felt rested, as many nights as i did, i rarely got good sleep. Now i wakeup ready to go.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 03/24/2010 10:35:54 MDT.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
Re: hammocks can be just as light on 03/24/2010 10:36:04 MDT Print View

Views are only obstructed when the weather turns. I've slept without a tarp many nights.

Hammock geeks are innovating like crazy - a whoopie sling/tree strap setup is the lightest and has the added advantage of being no-knot and easy to adjust on the fly, no need to undo your ropes to adjust the height/angle of the hammock.

Partial underquilt with a torso pad will give you a very flexible setup indeed - put the pad under the feet in the hammock, put it under your body with your feet on the pack if you're forced to ground. The 3/4 underquilt can be part of the top insulation in an unexpected cold snap.

To go really really really light - two big trash bags, two mylar blankets and a poncho. Google Garlington taco for details.

And, just to be thorough... yes, you can sleep on your side in a hammock, no you aren't a banana, no you don't get motion sickness - myself and a number of others I know prone to motion sickness don't anyway, we love the comfort of being suspended off the ground and none of us has had the same iffy stomach we get in the car or bus or plane.

Treat the tree straps/rope with permethrin and the ants/ticks won't come down looking for grub. Treat the underside of the hammock and the mosquitos won't bite when you lay about without a pad/quilt. You can go with a fully enclosed type like the Blackbird (very easy and comfy hammock, excellent design) or get a regular gathered end hammock and use a bugnet only when you need it. Roughly half the year I throw the bugnet open on the Blackbird.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: hammocks can be just as light on 03/24/2010 10:40:20 MDT Print View

How light, Lori? Brand, model, weight -- please?

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: hammocks can be just as light on 03/24/2010 10:43:24 MDT Print View


Edited by annapurna on 05/01/2010 22:15:12 MDT.