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  #1  
Old 31 Mar 2013
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Hammock + Tarp vs Tent?

I am preparing for my South American trip later this summer and I have been wondering over the camping setup that I would bring.
I have been camping for quiet a few years, but pretty much only in eastern European temperate climate. We can get up to 42+C/107F in the summer (in contrast to -25C/-13F in the winter ) and the tents tend to get unbearably hot just in 9AM. There is also the problem of finding level ground, removing branches, rocks, etc. and tents are bulky.
Last summer I went camping in Portugal and friend of mine had a very simple setup of hammock and a tarp, which seemed to work pretty amazing. Way more comfortable than tent on the ground, smaller when packed, lighter, simple setup, there is a slight breeze going under the tarp. Amazing!
So I got a tent and a tarp from DD and went on a hitchhiking trip along the east coast of Australia (hitchhiking is neither dead, nor illegal in Australia, regardles of what you hear, it's amazing and Ivan millat has been in prison for over 15 years), where I used it for about 10 days. It worked out wonderful:



The hammock is pretty big, it has a mosquitto net, it's dual layer breathing poliester, not waterproof (dual, so that you can put thermal mat inside to keep your back warm) and worked very well for the conditions I faced there - calm and very hot weather. It keeps you above ground, so it's excellent for te biggest Australian concern - killer fauna (There was a picture floating around of completely white background and the text "This is a picture of all the animal life in Australia, that won't kill you". I know now that this is not true, but it's still funny as hell).
Choosing comfortable ground is no longer a problem, which is especially nice for festival campings, as you often may think you have chosen the best spot, but soon you find there are gazillion new tents all over the place squashing your tidy camp... No longer an issue, hang the thing over the ugliest rocks (and don't fall over them!) and there you have your privacy
Also sleeping in it is millions times better than anything you may sleep on in a tent!

Now I am considering taking it for my trip, where I intend to camp as much as possible, but I am concerned about how it works in the longer term and with variable weather conditions, like tropical storms?
Water soaking it through the lines is not a concern, as I have a webbing that I put around the three and connect it to the hammock lines with carabiners.
Wind may be a problem, for which i consider just putting the hammock and tarp as close to the grounds as possible.

The only downside I can imagine is not having a completely dry and sealed place to put your stuff.

Has anyone tried travelling for longer with tarp & hammock setup? Opinions?
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  #2  
Old 1 Apr 2013
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I love hammock camping, and whenever the situation permits I will choose a hammock for my trip every time.

But it just doesn't have the flexibility of a tent. I considered taking it for South America but thankfully did not. In the lowland regions it could be done very easily most places. Once you're in the Andes and you've been above the tree-line for two weeks, or you're in the Atacama desert and there hasn't been any vegetation for 500 miles, you'll be glad you went with the tent. In my experience, the places where you will have the ability to camp the most (desolate regions in South America) are also the places where tree growth is most sparse.
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Old 1 Apr 2013
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There is nothing I like more than hammock camping and I've spent many nights in one. But for RTW travel it just isn't practical. There are too many places where there is nowhere to hang a hammock. I used a Hennesy hammock for years in the Colorado mountains and it can be setup on the ground with the bike on one side and a pole or luggage or something on the other side but it really isn't comfortable and is horrible in the rain or wind. A tent is heavier and bulkier and less comfortable but so much more flexible I wouldn't consider using anything else.
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Old 2 Apr 2013
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Hi, my experience with both is pretty comprehensive. The answer to your question, really both. The actual hammock does not take much space or weight. The tarp will come in very handy as an extension of your tent – for lounging, cooking, bike maintainance or whatever in it's shade (sun) or shelter (rain or wind).

I dropped the tent in '08 for an overland trip to India, and took my ENO hammock. I only used it once, camping ground in Islamabad, and I would have had more use for a tent. Something about you and all your bits being gawped at for hours, fidlers paradise, and seeing as we are so alien to the local population anywhere I don't think South America can be very different.
I had romantic notions of wild camping, unless you are very well hidden the locals will find you, and pester you something terrible. You are today's freak show. I never found a safe and comfortable camping spot. Even in deserts herders and kids came running. Cheap hotels or rom everywhere, and more secure, just don't dangle temptation in front of people.


Deserts, and higher mountain areas, are usually not hammock friendly.Wind can be a problem with hammocks even if you find a place to hang.Tip - take two good size threaded hooks, then you can maybe hang in abandoned farm buildings type of place.



I walk in the Norwegian forests with a tarp/hammock sommer and winter.
High mountain plateau sommer and winter I take a tent.
The last few years I have used a tarp/hammock for the Primus Rally, with the option of digging into the snow if the wind became too strong.



I would prefer the tarp/hammock in general, but I think you are taking a tent for it's more practical aspect, now you just have to find a place to pitch it.


Good luck on your trip


Peter, in Oslo
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Old 2 Apr 2013
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Hennessy Hammock

There have been a few discussions about the options you have in mind - you can find the earlier discussions via the search box at the top of the page; just put in "hammock" for instance.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/search

Anyway, these are quite an interesting type of hammock (which have also been discussed in the HUBB, apart from this thread of nearly 10 years ago):-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-hammock-10683
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Old 2 Apr 2013
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Cool

I agree with the above comments. Hammocks are great but have their limits. You're exposed to all kinds of threats, environmental and cultural. I say take both tent and hammock setups and use each one when appropriate and safe. If you can't take both for space/weight limits, take the one which gives the most flexibility in its use....the tent. Leave the hammock for picnics and benign conditions. Just my humble opinion.
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Old 11 Apr 2013
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tent or hammock

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan325ic View Post
I love hammock camping, and whenever the situation permits I will choose a hammock for my trip every time.

But it just doesn't have the flexibility of a tent. I considered taking it for South America but thankfully did not. In the lowland regions it could be done very easily most places. Once you're in the Andes and you've been above the tree-line for two weeks, or you're in the Atacama desert and there hasn't been any vegetation for 500 miles, you'll be glad you went with the tent. In my experience, the places where you will have the ability to camp the most (desolate regions in South America) are also the places where tree growth is most sparse.
Second that. Having travelled extensively in SA, the best places are mostly void of trees, and don't forget that much of best of SA is Alti Plano (3500m+) Scorching hot during the day and freezing cold in the night. You need protection against the cold winds! Take both if you can but if you have to choose, i'd go for a tent.

Good luck,
Noel
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