A hammock tent is a type of camping canopy that uses parachute material in its construction. These tents are typically lightweight and can be easily folded into small carrying cases to easily fit within your backpack on overnight trips. The best hammock tents are made from strong, durable materials such as nylon or polyester fabric with a sturdy frame and large enough openings for you to see out and breathe fresh air.
The best hammocks are those which are versatile and suitable for all seasons. They should be waterproof, easy to assemble and pack away, and they should also look attractive enough to carry in the field. The list goes on and on, but these are the key considerations when shopping for a hammock tent. There are many styles and sizes of hammocks available, so it’s important to do some research before deciding on the one that will best meet your needs. This guide explores several factors to keep in mind when selecting the right kind of shelter, including weather conditions, size requirements, and personal preferences.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Hammock Tents
Hammocks come in a variety of materials, sizes, and styles. Before deciding on which is best for your needs, consider how you intend to use it and what features are most important to you.
When selecting a hammock tent, there are several factors that can affect its usability, including weight, comfort level, sleeping space, and style.
- Weight – Weight should be one of the first concerns when shopping for a hammock tent because if it’s too heavy, then it could cause discomfort or even lead to injury. The heaviest hammock tents tend to be larger but also more durable than lighter models.
- Comfort Level – Comfort levels vary among individuals, so finding the right fit is essential. If the hammock fits too tight, then it places additional stress on the shoulders and spine; however, if it isn’t snug enough, then it leaves room for movement and causes extra air circulation between the skin and fabric. Also, look for a hammock with padding at key pressure points like the top of the head and heels.
- Sleeping Space – Sleeping space refers to the area inside the hammock where the user lies down. This includes the length and width of the hammock itself as well as the distance from the ends to each other. For example, two people may want to share a hammock, but if they’re not close together, then they’ll have less space to lie down comfortably.
- Style – Finally, decide whether you prefer a traditional hammock or something more modern. Traditional hammocks tend to be made out of cotton canvas, whereas some high-tech versions incorporate nylon mesh.
The size of the hammock will determine how much space it takes up while stored away and how easy it is to pack. Larger hammocks tend to be heavier but also wider, taking up more storage space. They also take up more space when packed. However, they do provide more room for swinging. Smaller hammocks tend to be lightweight yet narrower, making them easier to swing in and out of but requiring more effort to move around.
There are three basic types of material used in hammock tents: natural fibers, synthetic fibers, and blended fabrics.
- Natural fiber hammocks typically consist of cotton or bamboo woven into cloth form. These hammocks tend to be softest and lightest, though they may absorb moisture and smell bad after being washed.
- Synthetic fiber hammocks often feature nylon or polyester thread woven into cloth form. Though these hammocks aren’t as plush as natural fibers, they’re usually lighter and dry faster. Plus, they don’t smell bad after washing.
- Blended fabric hammocks combine both natural and synthetic fibers. Usually designed to mimic the feel of natural fibers, they still contain a decent amount of synthetics and thus, weigh less. However, they may not feel as luxurious as pure natural or pure synthetic fibers.
Wool vs. Synthetic Materials
While wool and nylon make great fabrics for hammocks, they’re not ideal for everyone. Wool tends to pill easily and attract bugs, causing users to wash it frequently. Nylon doesn’t repel water, so it gets wet fairly quickly. Both materials are breathable, but wool is slightly better at regulating body temperature.
Synthetic fibers such as spandex offer a middle ground between wool and plastic. Flexible and waterproof, they won’t pill or get caught in knots. And unlike wool, they don’t trap body heat, keeping users cooler as they sleep.
Some hammocks include special features beyond just the design. One common feature is an adjustable waist strap, which allows users to fine-tune the fit of the hammock by pulling on the end of the rope attached to the harness. Another useful addition might be a rain fly, which is a protective cover built into the roof of the tent. This prevents water from running into the tent during heavy storms.
Length and Width
A hammock tent’s length determines how easy it is to move in and out of the hammock. Longer tents require more work to climb in and out of, but they allow for lots of swinging. On average, women tend to have longer torsos and legs, so they enjoy this type of swinging more than men.
Tent width affects how cozy the hammock feels. Wider tents give the feeling of being enveloped in a cocoon, but they place more strain on the shoulders and back. Slimmer tents reduce the amount of contact between the body and the fabric, but they sacrifice warmth and coziness.
Manufacturers test the durability and safety of their products extensively before putting them on the market. In doing so, they calculate the maximum load capacity based on size and shape. It’s entirely possible to exceed this limit, but it puts undue stress on the muscles, ligaments, joints, and internal organs. So never try to prove anything by swinging harder than the manufacturer says you can.
In terms of pounds, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recommends that adults only carry 10 percent of their total weight in their hands, feet, and face. That means a 150-pound man shouldn’t wear a backpack higher than 17.5 inches above his hips or lift any weights greater than 13.8 inches above his shoulders. Likewise, a 160-pound woman should avoid lifting weights higher than 14.4 inches above her collarbone.
Types Of Hammocks
There are two main types of hammocks. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know which you need before making a purchase.
The parachute hammock is the most common hammock on today’s market. This style features long suspension lines that dangle from either end. The lines usually have some sort of pulley system at one or both ends for easier set up.
This makes parachute hammocks very stable and easy to use. They also tend to be fairly inexpensive. However, they can sometimes be bulky and difficult to pack away. If you’re looking for something simple and portable, this could be your best bet.
A lounging hammock is similar to a regular hammock in terms of size and shape; however, these hammocks often feature additional features designed for relaxing and sleeping in them. These hammocks are generally larger than standard ones and offer more comfortable sitting positions. Some even include mosquito netting and rain tarps as options.
These hammocks are great for camping trips where setting up a tent isn’t practical. You can just throw your bag into the back seat and head out on the open road. Plus, there’s no need to pitch a tent when you might not sleep through the night due to weather conditions. Just grab a sleeping bag and go to bed!
How We Chose Our Top Picks
Hammocks are a niche product that serves as an intermediary between camping and home. They allow you to sleep in the great outdoors without having to rough it alone, but they’re not quite ready for prime time. We scoured the market for the best hammocks. We looked at price point, weight, comfort level, materials, and special features included by top brands.
To ensure we didn’t miss out on current trends, we also read publications for best reviews and had experts on the field give their opinion. In the end, we came up with our top picks of the best hammocks after narrowing down the list to the best overall and the best value.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hammock Tents
How do I set up a tent?
Follow the instructions. Most tents are very similar in setup and consist of poles (usually four) interwoven with ropes to create a frame that creates an opening for the top rope to pass through.
What is the best material for a tent?
Tent materials vary dramatically depending on what you intend to use them for. While some prefer lighter-duty fabrics like polyester or nylon, many camping enthusiasts prefer something with more weight and durability built into its fabric.
Are there any disadvantages to using a hammock tent?
One disadvantage is that they’re not easy to put up quickly. That said, most require only a few minutes of active time when it’s convenient for you to get out there and pitch it instead of waiting until it’s dark outside.