View Full Version : Tent or Hammock?

Chaco Taco
12-14-2009, 19:21
When doing the PCT what is the best way to go? Tent or Hammock. Issues with either?

12-14-2009, 20:22
I think a hammock would need trees.

Chaco Taco
12-14-2009, 20:52
Alot of the times, you can use a hammock as a tarp right???

12-14-2009, 20:58
chaco, you use the tarp that covers the hammock as a regular tarp! you use the hammock as a sort of a bevy.but make sure you carry a pad!!

Chaco Taco
12-14-2009, 21:00
So now that I know that, would it be more feasable to use the hammock or a tent on the PCT

12-14-2009, 21:04
the first part of the pct is desert, so no real hanging options there. as long as there are trees you can hang. so its up to you. if you are a tentter (sp) go that route it makes sense.!

12-14-2009, 21:05
So now that I know that, would it be more feasable to use the hammock or a tent on the PCTAs much as I hate to admit it, you'd probably be better off using a tent or tarp.

12-14-2009, 21:05
I saw someone start with a hammock in 2008 --- one person. Indeed in SoCal at least, you need to be able to use it as a sort of awkward bivy. I live in WA state and apart from sometimes finding the trees are bigger around than your straps, an issue isn't just having trees, but having the right trees. I've walked through replanted forest where the trees are too close together and all understory branches, no place to hang. In WA state in particular there's a lot of underbrush so you might find lots of otherwise-good places to hang that have too much brush between to allow you to hang there. A lot of central & northern CA and Oregon should be good, I would guess.

Consider a hybrid approach: bring your hammock from the start but plan to just cowboy camp (sleep on the ground under the stars) a lot for the first 700 miles. In the Sierras there are definitely trees, but you'll want some good bottom insulation to stay warm enough there --- generally speaking you will want to do what everyone tries to do in the sierras, "Walk high and sleep low".

I don't mean to say you can't hammock camp in WA state either, just the from, about Timberline or so in northern Oregon onward you'll run into places where it's as hard to find a hang spot as a conventional camping spot. You might overall still be better off, as tenting sites can be harder in WA too.

Caveat: my hammock experience is pretty low, hopefully someone with hammock experience along a lot of the PCT will give you a more confident reply.

12-14-2009, 21:45
If I have two trekking poles or two branches,,,,,,, I can set my Clark's up anywhere.On the ground.:cool:
If there are a few boulders ? All the better.Off the ground.;)

In deep snow > How the hell would I know !:rolleyes:
I escaped that thirty years ago !:cool:

12-16-2009, 19:34
Hammocks are not the best idea on the PCT. I know people who've used them, but half the time they just sleep on the ground with the rest of us. Makes it not really worth the weight. Often it's just as hard to find the "right" trees as it is to find any trees.

I would just go with a tent. Sometimes it's hard enough to find campsites with that, without complicating it with issues of trees.

12-16-2009, 20:50
A lot of the time in Washington the trees were these skinny little Christmas trees with thick foliage all the way to the ground.

I think I only saw one hammock over the course of two summers hiking the PCT. Doesn't mean it can't be done.

12-17-2009, 14:35
I've read trail journals of some that have managed to hike the PCT using their hammocks. Roni (From Israel) is the name that I can remember off the top of my head. His journals are on trailjournals.com. He has a very unique hiking style though, that's unlikely to fit well with most people.

I've been a pretty dedicated hammock user for a couple of years. I've come to conclusion that the weight penalty of bringing the hammock, while also bringing the stuff to sleep on the ground comfortably isn't worth it to me.

If it was just going to be a night on the ground here and there, it would be a different story. It seems like sleeping on the ground is more the rule than the exception for the PCT, so I'd rather just be equipped for that then try to make a hammock do something that it's not really meant for.

12-17-2009, 16:17
I used my hammock this past hike....the fly works great for cover if you need it to...down south you can cowboy all the way ...up north many trees...work on your ground set up now....you will see it works just as well as a tent.....what works for me my not work for you.......you might want to have a tent lined up for the end.......

12-17-2009, 20:43
Breezeway used a hammock on the PCT in 2008. There were only a handful of times he wasn't able to find a place to hang his hammock. Not that I want to encourage that kind of behavior.

He did choose to occasionally cowboy, but seemed to do so far less often than those of us with tents.

12-18-2009, 01:46
When trees are sparse, it seems like you would end up having to stop early because the next set of suitable trees my be a long ways off. Or you might have to go later then you really want to because there aren't any good spots.

It just doesn't make sense to me to let camping arrangements dictate how to hike, or how far, or when to stop for the day.

12-18-2009, 04:00
When doing the PCT what is the best way to go? Tent or Hammock. Issues with either?

No experience of hammocks, but considering the varied PCT terrain, I'd say you could use a tent just about anywhere while that won't be the case with a hammock. So if hauling one or the other I'd go with the tent.

12-18-2009, 16:02
People have used a hammock for the entire PCT (including SoCAL)so it can be done; though what you'll be hanging off may be far from ideal such as burned trees (which are very dirty) and finding large Chaparral bushes which means you need a large amount flexibility in your daily mileage to find something that will work.

However, personaly if I were to hike the trail again, I would stay with my tarp and just cowboy camp most of the trail.