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?
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.