Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Gear Forum :: Tent vs Hammock when rain and storms are in the forecast
tcoeguy: "Tent vs Hammock when rain and storms are in the forecast -
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'
+1, I stopped bringing tents since almost all of my trips are outside of the buggy season.
Bought a CCS tarp and never looked back.
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. :)
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!!
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.
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.
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?
With a tent you will want a low profile model or 4-season to handle stress of wind or it will collapse under pressure. Cheap tents usually dont fair well when in rough weather I have found...and a testament from friends camping with us on beaches during thunderstorms or tropical storm depressions with heavy wind, heavy rain and sandy soil. A solid tent structure with exceptional rain fly that provides coverage and protection....and a properly fitting footprint tarp under your tent to keep off wet ground but not one that catches rain and puddles it either.
With my hammock I have weathered a few good storms...but as stated takes good hang options with strong trees....a good rainfly that covers you sufficiently from blowing rain...drip lines to keep water from running down lines into your hammock and sleeping area....and an underblanket or good closed cell pad that you can lay on to keep thermal insulation under you...you will not sleep well if positioned incorrectly in your hammock or without some type of under-insulation even in spring and early summer especially if breezy at night.
In thick vegetation, low lying areas that may hold water or rocky soil...I prefer the hammock as it keeps me off ground away from bugs, standing water, and rocks/sticks/thorns/etc. On well draining high ground with little to no vegetation or trees...I prefer a tent properly staked out even if sky looks clear as a quick storm in middle of night is not the time to break out additional stakes and try to keep it from collapsing or blowing away in torrential downpour. LOL
I have Mountain Hardware tents...3 person and 5 person...both are bone dry, have exceptional rain flies with big enough vestubile for muddy boots...and with rain fly staked down taught and low to ground...footprint under tent...and all zipped up...no water, rain or bugs have ever been an issue. I treat seams once a year and keep it dry and clean and has served me well.
My hammock is a Kammok brand....Kammok Roo for my hang....the Kammok Dragonfly bug netting as it surrounds hammock, is adjustable and is easy to get into. I have a Hennessy Hex Fly as it is large and very well made and gives great coverage...and for underblanket use a Snugpak underblanket...not made for my setup but works well enough...but may experiement with closed cell sleeping bad under me instead next time or atleast under my torso and hips... Then my sleeping bag goes on top...and I carry a poncho liner from time in military if warmer so I sleep on top of bag and use poncho liner to regulate coverage...sleeping asymetrical in the hammock flattens it out and prevents sleeping in banana position and lets me sleep on side if wanted without sore back...much more comfortable.
If not experienced with hammock would stick to a good quality tent setup...but if have time, I would borrow a hammock to try before you spend the money or get just the hammock to hang and sleep in backyard a few nights to experiment with height, line tightness, angle of hang, body position...and then learn under controlled situation about body warmth, tarps, rain fly, underblankets, etc. You might end up preferring a hammock as I do but the time to find out it sucks is not on your maiden voyage with no backups. LOL
Good luck.....a guy name Shug has some great videos for beginner hammock hangers on YouTube.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
i would go with a square tarp over a hex also. but why not take both?
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.