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      Tent vs Hammock when rain and storms are in the forecast     

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tcoeguy
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
06/03/2020 11:22AM
Tent vs Hammock when rain and storms are in the forecast -

Leaving from Clearwater Outfitters on Sunday with a group of three. I have been looking at the forecast and it has consistently called for rain and thunderstorms all four days and nights we are up there. I have always tented it and this year I had planned on switching to hammocks. This forecast is making me nervous about that.

Should I be worried about not having a tent if it is predicted to storm? I plan on renting rain covers for our hammocks, but I don't have experience in using them. Are there extra precautions I should take given the forecast? Bring more tarps and rope that I have done before? Should I rent a tent as well, just in case?

Thanks for your feedback.
 
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Stimpy
distinguished member (114)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2020 11:58AM
If it were me, I would go with the tent this time, not because of the rain, but because it sounds like you don’t have a high level of comfort with your hammock system. When I switched to a hammock, I spent many nights in it close to my vehicle before I felt comfortable enough with it to trust it in the bdub.

In early June, you will freeze if your under quilt isn’t sufficient and you will probably get wet if your tarp isn’t set correctly. Take some time to practice and get comfortable with your system and you’ll be much happier with it next year.
 
06/03/2020 01:28PM

Yeah what Stimpy said. Should have your answer before the trip. No hammock in my gear pile, but I have weathered storms under a tarp and that can be adjusted to counter.

I am looking hard at hammocks, but will have that figured out prior to and trip.

butthead
 
blackdawg9
distinguished member (130)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2020 02:59PM
i have a hammock and i have a tent. i had a hennessee hex fly over mine, yesterday. we had just a nice breeze and the tarp shredded. i have no idea what happened. deep in the woods a hammock may make sense, but near a shore line catching gust? swinging in a hammock napping is fine. but i wouldn't press my luck.

i would go with a square tarp over a hex also. but why not take both?
 
joeandali
senior member (58)senior membersenior member
 
06/03/2020 03:03PM
I camp in a hammock rain or shine. I have never had a problem getting wet. My son had an issue on our last BW trip when we had high winds with rain. He put his hammock in an exposed area and the wind pushed his tarp against him in the hammock. If possible find a wind break or set up back in the trees if you think wind will be an issue.

Take a trash bag to put anything you don't want to get wet in and lay it on the ground under the hammock. It will stay dry.

You will not have to worry about water coming into the tent through the floor.
 
TipsyPaddler
distinguished member (200)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2020 04:28PM
I have weathered several cold, wet, windy nights in a tarp and hammock set up in the BWCA. I slept warm, dry and cozy despite some howling wind and driving rain at times. A well made camping hammock and tarp, smartly pitched, will handle a lot of bad weather.

The hammock learning curve is higher than a tent. But it is also not an arcane art. Lots of good resources like “The Ultimate Hang” book and the Shug YouTube video collection.

Before hammock camping in the BWCA I had three test hang nights in different weather conditions, including a nasty thunderstorm with a several hour downpour and high winds, in my backyard. If you don’t have time to do some “test hang” nights before your trip I would stick with a tent. A couple hours in an ENO on a sunny afternoon, although darn enjoyable, is not an adequate hammock camping test.

And not everyone likes sleeping in a hammock. I would hate to discover that on the first night of a long BWCA trip.
 
unshavenman
distinguished member(1234)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2020 05:11PM
Definitely DO NOT plan on only hammock camping in the BWCAW if you are going in on Sunday and you aren't intimately familiar with it's nuances and all of your hammock gear in particular (hammock/fly/underquilt/top quilt). After using a tent for years I only hang now and I have never gotten wet, even in the worst storms, but I did a number of overnight practice hangs and dialed in my gear before I first took it into the wilderness for a week. As others have said, there is a steeper learning curve with hammock camping that shouldn't be figured out on the (forgive the pun) fly. If you want to try it on this trip, by all means bring your gear and experiment, but be sure to have that tent set up and ready.
 
BWPaddler
distinguished member(9220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/03/2020 06:03PM
Personally, I would like to have the tent as an option if you decide to have a layover day and just want to hang out in the tent and read a good book or something with a little more Elbow Room than a hammock. If you're not that kind of camper then make sure and bring a nice size tarp so you can hang out outside and be dry.
 
06/03/2020 07:11PM
My first experience with hammocks was 5 years ago on Knife. My cousin and I decided to dabble with them, and last minute we left the tent behind and went all in. We shared a Kelty tarp. It was a miracle that we didn’t have bad weather...we had so much to learn! The only issue I’ve seen was a couple years ago my son didn’t put his gear back in dry bags, we got a bunch of rain, and he was pitched in a low spot. Lots of his gear got wet.
 
OCDave
distinguished member(515)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2020 10:12PM
tcoeguy: "Tent vs Hammock when rain and storms are in the forecast -

... I have always tented it and this year I had planned on switching to hammocks. ... "


Setting up and taking down a hammock sleeping system under a properly deployed tarp is a far more pleasant experience than pitiching a tent or taking a tent down in the rain. Watching an all day rain storm from beneath a tarp reclined in a hammock can be profoundly satisfying. Tripping is an adventure. Go all in!

Before you go: Hammock camping has a steep learning curve. Get out and practice:
Practice pitching your tarp and feel confident that it can stay secured in gusty conditions. Try different trees with too short or too long spacing. Try pitching over uneven terrain. Pitch from BIG trees and smaller trees.
Practice setting up your hammock under the deployed tarp.
Practice taking down your hammock from beneath your tarp.
Repeat this enough time you feel proficient prior to leaving for your trip.

Finally, commit to using the hammock but, carry the extra weight of the tent. Hammock camping has the potential to transform your camping experience but, a safe bail-out plan is prudent for your first time.

Good Luck. Happy hangin'
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2574)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2020 05:45AM
The first trip I dedicated to sleeping in a hammock I packed a lightweight solo tent--just in case. I ended up sleeping in the tent one night out of the four. The weight and space the solo tent added were negligible.
Far fewer body aches & issues with the hammock compared to crawling out of a tent. That is what I recall the most.
Tarps and tarps for rainy days. Cooke Custom Sewing tarps are the ones I use. The ease of setting up is most appreciated. Especially when dark clouds are fast approaching.
 
Mad_Angler
distinguished member(1659)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2020 06:52AM
Sounds like a nearly universal reply...

A hammock can certainly handle rain at least as well as a tent. But hammock camping does have a fairly steep learning curve.

How comfortable are you with your tarp and tarp skills? I love hanging tarps and feel that I am pretty good at it. If you feel comfortable with a tarp, that is a big step in the right direction.

Insulation in a hammock is also a pretty big topic. You need something to keep your back warm under you in a hammock. There are lots of options. make sure that you feel comfortable with that aspect too.
 
BearBurrito
distinguished member(787)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2020 08:03AM
I'm going to be the odd man out it seems.
My first trip into the boundary waters was solo, in the fall, and was also my first experience with hammocks. I did three nights, two of them had rain, one night was bad thunderstorms. I had never set my hammock system up before but had read the ultimate hang and watched you tube videos. I had no issues.
I'm not saying this approach is for everybody, but if you are confident in your camping abilities, go for the hammock. I think I learned more in my first night in a hammock out in the woods than I would have in many nights practicing somewhere more safe. I had tent camped my whole life up until this experience, and I will never sleep on the ground again if I have my choice. YMMV.
 
trailchief
distinguished member (209)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2020 05:19PM
I agree with most of the advice above! But I'm just going to assume you have done a fair amount of camping and are decent at rigging up tarps. If you are renting a hammock specific tarp I would make sure it has doors ( the ability to close the ends up), or if it doesn't then bring an extra tarp to pitch over an end if the weather is blowing in from an exposed end. It's hard to always find a spot to hang where the broad sides of the tarp are facing the wind. Plus the whole wind shifting and swirling thing. But I say go for it! I hate my tent now! It's a cruel torture dome! You'll know for sure if your into hammock camping after your trip.
 
MichiganMan
member (45)member
 
06/04/2020 06:05PM
Tent guy here. I bring a hammock but it is for chilling out and napping. It usually gets hung in a scenic location where I can look out over the lake when relaxing. At night though, I'll take the tent.
 
AmarilloJim
distinguished member(2087)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2020 10:03AM
 
nulstatement
member (15)member
 
06/05/2020 11:24AM
When in a hammock in a rain storm, I watch the streams of water run underneath while I'm high and dry. Make sure you've got your gear dialed in since the learning curve is high, but I'll never go back to a tent unless I'm camping somewhere with no trees.
 
06/06/2020 06:24AM
OCDave: "
Setting up and taking down a hammock sleeping system under a properly deployed tarp is a far more pleasant experience than pitiching a tent or taking a tent down in the rain. Watching an all day rain storm from beneath a tarp reclined in a hammock can be profoundly satisfying. Tripping is an adventure. Go all in!
"


A Superfly tarp from Warbonnet will pretty much guarantee you will be dry no matter the weather. I would never hammock camp without "doors" on my tarp. So, even if you are a newbie, if you have a quality tarp I would jump all in.

Tenting in the rain can be miserable. If it pours when I'm in my hammock it's actually wonderful. And taking down under the tarp is pleasant as well. Then just a few good shakes of the tarp and stick in it's own bag and you're out of there. Taking down a tent with everything wet around you, crawling on the ground..... Uh, yeah no. :)
 
jillpine
distinguished member (437)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/06/2020 09:04PM
My hammock: I like that mice don't run across me when I'm sleeping. I really like not being sore and cold in the morning. But I especially like waking up in the rain. Completely agree - the harder it rains, the happier I am. I was camping in a deluge last year, and watched from above as a river formed by the tent pad.
My only problem with my current set-up is that I really have a hard time getting out of the cocoon for an early start. That, and that I'm still figuring out a "quick hang". I can pitch my tent in about 2 minutes. The tarp and hammock definitely take longer.

 
06/07/2020 08:26AM
jillpine: " ...I'm still figuring out a "quick hang". I can pitch my tent in about 2 minutes. The tarp and hammock definitely take longer.
"


I like that it takes some creativity to find the right spacing of trees with a suitable ground below. And also figuring the different ways I can tie off the tarp. Then there's adjusting the hammock straps to get the right lay where my foot end is slightly above my head. And let's not forget that perfect height off the ground where, when I swing my legs out they just touch the ground. It's so much easier slipping on my shoes like this when answering the call during the night.

Hammocking is nuanced but like learning anything new all it takes is repetition. One of my favorite all time quotes and one I read in a Tony Robbins book about 20 years ago is "Repetition is the mother of skill".

 
pastorjsackett
distinguished member(962)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/09/2020 06:05AM
I just did this. I spent four days with my first hammock and I went "all in." Left the tent at home.

It may not be for you, since you are dealing with a specific weather issue (lots of rain) but I do agree that if you are confident in your camping skills, you could probably figure this out.

Each day of my trip, my partner woke up sore with back spasms and leg pain from sleeping in his tent. Each night, I hopped in my hammock with my headlamp and book thinking that I had made the best choice ever. I rained one night and I stayed dry. I'll never go back. Oh, and I never did have time to do a practice hang in the yard--I kept talking about it, but never got around to it. I did watch lots of Shug (my wife got tired of overhearing it) and Muddyfeet gave me a tutorial.

I hope your trip went well. Here's to more learning "on the job" with our hammocks!
 
ParkerMag
distinguished member(1180)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/09/2020 08:23AM
If rain's a meaningful concern, I'm definitely hanging!
 
MossBack
member (38)member
 
06/12/2020 12:20PM
So how about old Geezers with bad knees? I can only imagine legs bowed the wrong direction in an even slightly curved hammock??
 
ParkerMag
distinguished member(1180)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/12/2020 12:33PM
If my set is less than perfect, and a diagonal lie doesn't put me totally flat, I'll end up alternating a "figure 4" sort of arrangement through the night. Right ankle under left knee, and vice versa. Salvages the night easily, restfully, and comfortably.
 
unshavenman
distinguished member(1234)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/12/2020 05:24PM
MossBack: " So how about old Geezers with bad knees? I can only imagine legs bowed the wrong direction in an even slightly curved hammock??"
Nobody wants a hyper-extended knee, that's for sure! A dedicated camping hammock is asymmetrically cut so that you lay flat, at a diagonal, not like a banana. It's pretty darn comfortable.
 
06/13/2020 06:35AM
MossBack: " So how about old Geezers with bad knees? I can only imagine legs bowed the wrong direction in an even slightly curved hammock??"

Hello Mossback :)

Like unshavenman says, it's a fairly flat lay on a diagonal. I really like what Warbonnet does as they sew in a "footbox". There's extra fabric on one side of one end for your legs to stretch out in. The only issue or comfort I add is putting a piece of clothing under my knees if I'm on my back. I also use a fleece empty pillow case with a folded shirt inside for a pillow.

It's almost too comfortable and I really like to hang out in the morning just listening to the sounds. A good choice of tarp color makes a difference. I absolutely love my blue tarp. It's cheery and simulates the sky.
 
tcoeguy
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
06/19/2020 11:18AM
I want to follow up with this in case it helps someone in the future. After reading advise on here concerning my original post, my group of 3 decided to go all hammocks and no tents. Before leaving, I watched youtube videos on how to properly set up a rain fly.

We went out of EP 62 on 6/7 and came back 6/10. The last night we were there, June 9, at about 11pm it started raining. A heavy, soaking, non-stop rain that lasted throughout the entire night and next morning. Our outfitter told me their rain gauge showed over 1.5" of rain.

We were bone dry in our hammocks. We all agreed after our trip that we will never go back to tents again. The hammock is so much easier on your back, shoulders, hips. Every night I slept just as good as I do at home and I always have a hard time sleeping in a tent.

This is all to say thank you for everyone's advise and if you are trying to decide between hammock and tent, go with hammock!!
 
anthonylane
distinguished member (132)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2020 03:39PM
tcoeguy: "I want to follow up with this in case it helps someone in the future. After reading advise on here concerning my original post, my group of 3 decided to go all hammocks and no tents. Before leaving, I watched youtube videos on how to properly set up a rain fly.


We went out of EP 62 on 6/7 and came back 6/10. The last night we were there, June 9, at about 11pm it started raining. A heavy, soaking, non-stop rain that lasted throughout the entire night and next morning. Our outfitter told me their rain gauge showed over 1.5" of rain.


We were bone dry in our hammocks. We all agreed after our trip that we will never go back to tents again. The hammock is so much easier on your back, shoulders, hips. Every night I slept just as good as I do at home and I always have a hard time sleeping in a tent.


This is all to say thank you for everyone's advise and if you are trying to decide between hammock and tent, go with hammock!!"



So happy to hear you had a great experience. I just bit the bullet on a Hennessey. I've been considering a hammock for about 5 years now and never wanted to pony up the money, but their 25% sale made it impossible not to.

I've rigged mine in my backyard and am testing things out. As primarily a side sleeper, I do have a slight "worry" about whether or not I'll sleep well in a hammock. Side laying doesn't seem to be as easy as it is on flat ground, but does seem doable.

However, I don't think trying to back sleeping will be as challenging as trying to find a comfortable pad in a tent, along with staying on a pad, and not being disturbed by my tent partner. I'm hopeful that I can learn to sleep on my back. So far the hammock is WAY more comfortable than sleeping on the ground.

Has anyone run into an issue of not being able to find adequate spaced trees?
 
jwmiller39
member (41)member
 
06/22/2020 06:32PM
anthonylane:I've rigged mine in my backyard and am testing things out. As primarily a side sleeper, I do have a slight "worry" about whether or not I'll sleep well in a hammock. Side laying doesn't seem to be as easy as it is on flat ground, but does seem doable. I will note it is easier when using a pad instead of an under quilt.

However, I don't think trying to back sleeping will be as challenging as trying to find a comfortable pad in a tent, along with staying on a pad, and not being disturbed by my tent partner. I'm hopeful that I can learn to sleep on my back. So far the hammock is WAY more comfortable than sleeping on the ground.
?"


I sleep on my side in my Hennessy all the time and it’s great! I think you will be pleasantly surprised. However, I've found side sleeping is much better when using a pad underneath rather than an underquilt.

As far as adequately spaced trees, yes it can be tricky sometimes. Did you go with the extra long tree straps with your Hennessy? Those are a must in my opinion because you can really stretch it out longer if needed. You can always make them shorter by wrapping around the tree another couple times, but you can never make them longer.
 
MN_Lindsey
distinguished member(2110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2020 08:00PM
Rained last Friday and we were completely dry in our hammock set up. So long as you pitch your tarp right, you're good to go. I've been in a few rainstorms in my hammock and never have gotten wet.
 
DuluthPak
distinguished member(767)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2020 08:00PM
I have weathered some nasty thunderstorms with 70+ mph winds while hammock camping in the BWCAW. If the rain fly over the hammock is set properly then you would hardly notice a drop of water even with a sideways wind. A torrential rain could cause a tent to flood but a hammock is well above flood stage. A heavy wind could flatten a tent but a well hung rain fly will handle most anything. With all of this said, you would be wise to study Shug's videos on YouTube and do some practice hangs before venturing into the wilderness. The hammock and rain fly require a bit more fiddling to get set up properly. Personally, I'll never sleep in a tent again.
 
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