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Daily Smackdown: Hammock vs. Bivy?

Ultralighters, do you prefer hammocks or bivy sacks? Vote now!

The backcountry is full of difficult decisions: amenities vs. weight, solitude vs. companionship, forging ahead vs. turning back. But those choices are downright easy compared to these match-ups. Each day, we’ll pit two backcountry stalwarts against one another and you get to decide which one comes out on top. Choose wisely, and defend your selection by sharing your pick on Facebook or tweeting it to @backpackermag using hashtag #BPsmackdown.


  1. bigcheesestick

    It’s nearly impossible to believe anybody that says hammock has ever spent a night in the woods in one. Ever. BUGS, Rain, wrestling to get in and out of it in the dark. Can’t sleep immediately and bored? Tuff! All your gear is someplace you can’t reach it. Gets a little windy or cold part way through the night? Suck it up, nothing you can do but lay there in misery with 0 insulation or protection from wind. Uncomfortable and want to reposition? HA. Expect to wake up every half hour to hour with one or more of your limbs prickly because it’s asleep from no circulation to. Hammocks were created as an ancient Chinese torture device and work well!

    All problems answered by a bivy or small tent.

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  2. steveflinn

    hammock. because…duh.

    comfort. sleep better, travel better, maybe survive better
    slightly elevated feet & head
    setup/teardown speed & weight are about the same or better than with my bivy setups
    no crawling, no crawlies
    ventilation and openness – i get silently mobile in a fraction of the time
    gear is all up off the ground
    don’t need a flat spot. don’t make one. so, no competition for sites and far more LNT-ier
    always up off the wet ground. and that means nearly always out of flash flood danger.
    better views, less visible
    sofa mode

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  3. abnscout

    One thing I have learned serving as a light airborne infantryman for 18 years and having spent numerous tours in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan is this: I’ll take my old school, not fancy woodland camouflage bivy cover over a hammock any day. It’s waterproof and traps body heat. Used with a light weight sweeping pad and life is great even in the death pass…

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  4. canon40dman

    Bring a hammock, then you have to bring a tarp, and then you have to have the right trees to support them. Then in cold weather you need A LOT OF INSULATION underneath you or you lose all your heat through the hammock. They are good in HOT weather or the tropics, however.

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