View Full Version : Newbie considering Hammock Camping on AT

07-24-2015, 15:40
I am looking to do a 2 week hike on AT, undecided about Hammock or Tent hike. Has anyone done both to give pro's and con's and advice. I am large 6'4" 250. Looking a the Blackbird XLC, tarp, bug net

07-24-2015, 16:02
Hammock! Camp almost...anywhere. If you do camp in a heavily used area...the ground is usually hard and plain ol' dirt. It's nice to be above that- especially if it rains.

07-24-2015, 16:11
If you have not already, check out https://hammockforums.net/forum/content.php

For myself, I switched over to a hammocks because I find it to be more comfortable and I get a better night's sleep. I love the comfort and the ability to hang just about anywhere. Plus I have weathered a few storms quite nicely. But hammock set ups will have a little more fiddle factor and will tend to be a few more ounces than a tent. Otherwise it's six of one, half dozen of the other.

07-24-2015, 16:21
Tried a hammock. Got a Blackbird a few years ago and used it for a few months. Sold it. If you are an active sleeper like me who thrashes around in you sleep, you may have problems. Could never get comfortable in one plus they tended to be very fussy to set up correctly. These were my experiences. I really really wanted to make it work, but not for me. :)

07-24-2015, 19:28
Hammocks work great on the AT. I sleep deeply in mine, wake up rested and refreshed in the am. Doesn't work that way for me sleeping on the ground.

07-24-2015, 20:15
Once concern to be cognoscente of is being 6'4" and still being able to lay flat and comfortable in your hammock. I'm 6'4", and most hammocks don't work for me. The ENO hammocks are 9' long and I still can't get a good flat lay, without too much constant fiddling, in their single nest version, although, I lay well and quite enjoy the comfort of their double-nest version. Make sure you try out your hammock before you commit your money, and try it out for a few nights in a row before you commit to it for a thru-hike.

07-24-2015, 22:04
I tented up until about a year ago. I still tent if my wife is with me. Only hammock when I am alone. As noted, both have advantages and disadvantages. I would think your first hurdle is finding one that you are comfortable in. I have an HH and a BB XLC. I am only 5' 11" so for me these were easy fits. I don't seem to have any trouble with a comfortable hang. I keep my feet a little above my head end or even and I sleep great. Some quick points I have found: Hammock: comfortable but hard to stay warm in the winter (a plus in the summer); Many more options of where to camp; good when it's a little crowded and you have to set up a bit off the trail; you can hang on a steep hill and sleep in the same comfort; easy to stop and just hang anywhere (no need to clear a spot for a tent); easy to LNT; nice to set up and raise one end of the tarp, sit in the hammock and cook (great option in the rain); pack-up may be wet but rarely muddy despite any weather conditions; can go to ground if no trees but not a great option in my view; regular sleeping bags present challenges in hammocks. Tent: don't need trees; easier to keep your gear dry as you can bring it into the tent; fits more than one person; easier to sit up and spread your junk around if necessary; easier to use a piss bucket/bottle if you do late at night; easier to stay warm (in the summer this can work against you a bit).

There are more on both sides both on the positive and negative. I think it is a very personal choice. I am concerned that people hanging without tree straps reflects bad on all of us and may affect future hanging. I have used a hammock on my last few times on the AT, will be using it again in a month or so when I hike all of Georgia. I am still working out some minor kinks. There are times where I look around and think it would be nice to have a tent but for me, there are more times when I'm glad I have my hammock. In the XLC I can sleep on my back and sides comfortably, not on my stomach so that may also be an issue for you. I recently switched to a tarp with doors on it which helps with wind, bad weather, and adds a bit of privacy which obviously is inherent in a tent. Oh, if you want to be a bit frisky out there, its not happening in a hammock, at least not at my age. I don't know if any of this junk helps but ask away if you have any questions. Bottom line, both great but different, have to see what you like. Oh, there is a learning curve. When you first got a tent you had to learn a few tricks to put it up efficiently. Same thing with a hammock.

07-25-2015, 11:09
I have a WB Blackbird 1.1 DL and love it. Never have slept better camping or backpacking. Buuuut, downfalls for me are it takes longer for me to put up (I’m a big tarp kinda gal) and I feel like my stuff is all over the place. Maybe it’s a chic thing, I dunno. I have a new 2-person cuben tent that I absolutely love that goes up in less than 3 minutes. Don’t sleep as well in it, but I’ll probably alternate between the two depending on where I’m going, for how long, the season (hammock is warmer if you have the right stuff), and with whom. Odds are, you will sleep well! Enjoy if you go ahead with it!

Old Hiker
07-25-2015, 11:44
I love my Clark North American - several years old - , BUT I found it hard to get up in the mornings and stay dry/warm in March while getting ready for the Trail. Had to go back to the ground. Used a hammock (mostly) for ALL the Scout week long section hikes during the summer times. It was very restful.

It's also neat to be in a hard thunderstorm, look down and see a couple of inches of water going under you.

It's also neat to be able to set up on a hillside where the uphill side is at your knees and the downhill side is about hour waist or lower.

6'2" side sleeper - I used a foam pad to kinda keep the hammock more open while sleeping. I was NEVER cold with just my sleeping bag, either a 0* or 30 Trestle. My knees occasionally got chilly when pressing up against the side, but not to any great extent.

Still: I'm happy with my LightHeart Gear SoLong 6.

07-29-2015, 15:19
Hammocks are a great option for the AT! they do come with a little bit of a learning curve, best to practice beforehand. the two biggest 'hang-ups' for newbie hammockers is staying warm (yes, even in summer) and pitching the tarp well. Sheltowee has solved the bottom insulation thing with an integrated underquilt, but it just takes practice to become efficient at tarp pitching.

08-02-2015, 14:15
I used to be a ground tarp person. Bought a hammock 3 or 4 years ago just to say I tried it, and never looked back. Best nights sleep I ever got. if I could I'd talk my wife into hammocks in the bedroom I would hammock full time. I have a Warbonnet Traveler; great hammock. I mostly sleep in my own DIY hammocks. Do your homework because there are a few companies that will do custom work for you to maybe help you get a better fit. Papa Smurf over there at Dream Hammock has been crankin' out quite a few custom hammocks, and has a great reputation.