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Ask Kristin

Ultralight Hammocks

They look nice, but do hammocks really work?

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Question:

Dear Kristin, I want to start going ultralight. I’ve looked at tarps and bivy sacks but what do you think about hammocks? They look nice, but do they really work?

Answer:

The thing about hammocks is that you have to find trees that will cooperate. In other words they have to be the correct distance apart (approximately 10-25 feet depending on the model) and strong enough to support you. In reality, I find this a bit tough. Tougher, that is, than finding a relatively flat piece of ground to pitch a tent on. But if you typically hike in forests that offer plenty of hammock-friendly trees, hammocks can be wicked comfortable. And they eliminate the need to carry a sleeping pad.