Hammock vs. tent.

11:12 p.m. on July 3, 2019 (EDT)
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I got my hammock order today.  So I now have a super light hammock, two sets of straps, one adjustable and one not, a bug net and a rain tarp/fly, all by Eno. Everything together probably weights no more than my solo tent and packs about as small.  I've never tried sleeping in a hammock, so I don't know if I'd like it or hate it, and I'd always need two large trees, but I could see definite advantages.  A tent is only useful for one thing, sleeping.  You want to spend as little time in it as possible.  A hammock is good for lounging, and the tarp/fly is good for cooking under and hanging out when it's raining, or as a sunshade when it's not.  If I could leave the tent home and take all the stuff for the tarp, that might be fantastic.  Or it could be awful.  There is only one way to find out.

If I really wanted a hammock to sleep in, I'd probably want to invest in one of these:

 https://www.rei.com/product/149654/eno-skyloft-hammock

The Eno skyloft hammock allows you to lie flat instead of bent like a banana.

11:35 p.m. on July 3, 2019 (EDT)
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Actually there is nothing structural about the skyloft that precludes it sagging under weight, and the occupant assuming the "banana" position. 

Ed

6:30 a.m. on July 4, 2019 (EDT)
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A tent is only useful for one thing, sleeping.  You want to spend as little time in it as possible.

My opinion on this is radically different from yours...I cook, eat, and lounge around in my tent on a regular basis. It's my second home and a peaceful place to contemplate life or just the clouds passing by. Now I don't close myself off from the world unless weather is absolutely crazy, so have great views from a comfy sleeping pad chair, so others may see it like you but I certainly don't mind tent time. 

6:48 a.m. on July 4, 2019 (EDT)
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FlipNC said:

A tent is only useful for one thing, sleeping.  You want to spend as little time in it as possible.

My opinion on this is radically different from yours...I cook, eat, and lounge around in my tent on a regular basis. It's my second home and a peaceful place to contemplate life or just the clouds passing by. Now I don't close myself off from the world unless weather is absolutely crazy, so have great views from a comfy sleeping pad chair, so others may see it like you but I certainly don't mind tent time. 

 +1

9:24 a.m. on July 4, 2019 (EDT)
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A hammock requires two trees - hard to find above timberline and in many other situations.  A tent provides superior shelter during storms and extreme weather events.  

Actually, a very light tarp provides perfectly adequate shelter during a surprisingly wide range of conditions if it is well pitched and secured.

"The Eno skyloft hammock allows you to lie flat instead of bent like a banana." and you also say you have never slept in a hammock.  What is your basis for this statement?

2:05 p.m. on July 4, 2019 (EDT)
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Tent vs Hammock is like Hammer vs Screwdriver. Using the right tool for the right job is easier, but if pressed you can get by with just one.

Before heading to the back country with just your new hammock I'd suggest back yard camping or car camping with the tent in the trunk as back up. Hammocks take time to get figured out both in terms of how to set up and how to use once set up. Practice safely before heading out on a serious trip where failure could be painful or worse.

6:51 a.m. on July 5, 2019 (EDT)
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One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in the discussions we have had on this topic is lightning ! 

I use both hammock and tent. And love both equally but if there is a potential for lightning and thunderstorms, give me a tent everytime. Nothing is safe, if it strikes close enough but having seen lightning strike and what it does when it hits a pole or tree is terrifying. My observations have been that it strikes the tree and goes all the way to ground and obliterates the lowest limbs , not always but the majority that I’ve seen then explodes into a huge ball of energy. Beautiful to watch yet earth shatteringly terrifing if you are the lowest limb hanging in a hammock. 

Its not something I go around worrying about but , I definitely take the weather into consideration when choosing which one to use on solo trips. Rain and wind ( hammock makes for a better hang out area in MHOP)  I’m ok with my hammocks but lightning potential I’m gonna take the tent.

10:37 a.m. on July 5, 2019 (EDT)
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John, I'd say tent or hammock, site selection is what will make a difference. If you are near a tree that gets hit and explodes or topples over on you it is probably gonna lead to some booboos.

Get lower in elevation and look for a site in a grove of smaller trees without lone, larger trees to act as a target works for any type of shelter. If expecting bad weather I hang the hammock much higher than my usual low-rider approach. That lets me get tucked up under more vertical tarp walls to protect me from sideways rain, but also gets my butt higher off the ground. If a charge comes from one tree I want it to go to the other, hopefully most of it following the hammock and the wet tarp. If it exits my butt I'm pretty sure its going to definitely lead to a booboo :)

Personally, I love riding out storms in my hammock. The swaying trees make it feel like I'm at sea and the rain on the tarp reminds me how warm and dry I am. A bit of thunder a few miles off adds something to the experience. Any closer and it gets exciting, but that is true in any shelter, including LT or cabin.

1:38 p.m. on July 5, 2019 (EDT)
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LoneStranger said:

John, I'd say tent or hammock, site selection is what will make a difference. If you are near a tree that gets hit and explodes or topples over on you it is probably gonna lead to some booboos.

Personally, I love riding out storms in my hammock. The swaying trees make it feel like I'm at sea and the rain on the tarp reminds me how warm and dry I am. A bit of thunder a few miles off adds something to the experience. Any closer and it gets exciting, but that is true in any shelter, including LT or cabin.

 It is pretty cool riding out the storm in a swaylong hammock just ain’t interested in having to clean out my drawers afterward.

Heck working out in these storms in a bucket truck in the middle of the night will make a believer out of anyone. We get some increadibly bad ones almost every day here in Augusta Ga. during summer. I got zapped one time years ago with lightning strikes all around but not right on top of me just down the road both ways about a mile or more . Partner it was like get hit in the chest as hard as you can imagine. Rocked my world for sure. Still don’t know if that was lightning or a bad neutral just know , man that hurt like hell!

6:13 p.m. on July 6, 2019 (EDT)
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Mitigating lighting risk is not a simple as many assume.  Lonestranger describes one way to lower risk, camping among the shorter trees within a stand, away from the taller trees which stand a statistically higher potential to get struck.  Tree shape is another consideration.  Objects that are relatively pointy are more prone to lighting strikes.  How the wind passes over ground features is another consideration.  Don't camp along ridgelines, at the mouth of canyons, near the top of passes, or even small draws, where the venturi effect accelerates wind, generating more static charge in the process, increasing the voltage differential and the likelyhood of generating a bolt.  The observant eye can pick out which areas may be more prone to lightning, just by inspecting the surrounding trees for damage.  Sometimes the risk areas are surprisingly confined to a few hundred square yards; moving camp a hundred paces may significantly lower lightning risk.  

Ed

November 11, 2019
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