When it comes to the best hammock tent, you can probably thank the British for the concept. Many of their early colonies were in jungles across primitive territories and they quickly figured out that sleeping on the ground amidst a sea of insects, reptiles, and rats was not a good idea.
They were particularly impartial to insects like mosquitoes. Mosquito netting found its way into their primitive hammock tents while snakes and vermin wandered below.
Advantages of a hammock tent
Many backpackers also discovered the unique advantages of a hammock tent. If you were below the tree-line and found yourself a on rocky or uneven ground, a hammock tent allowed you to literally rise above the challenges of sleeping on a rock or feeling the uneven pitch of what appeared to be the perfect campsite.
Other benefits of a hammock tent include:
- Easy setup and breakdown
- Easily adjustable ventilation for cool nights and hot, sunny mornings
- Draining of blood pooled in the legs while sleeping
- Cost compared to most comparable tents
- Smaller size relative to tents, poles and stakes
- Lighter weight compared to tents, poles and stakes
- Increased camping options relative to terrain
- Lack of ground contact with snow, pools of water, rocks, roots and other discomforts common to a tent
Disadvantages of a hammock tent
The simple fact is that sleeping in a hammock tent takes some getting used to. Many people say it takes them a night or two to get accustomed to sleeping in a hammock tent. However, there are some considerations you should think about before going the hammock tent route.
- If you like sleeping on your side, you may find a hammock tent to be a bit of a challenge. Some hammock tents give you this capability, but most assume you’ll be sleeping on your back.
- A hammock tent can be a bit claustrophobic. If you’re uncomfortable sleeping in a confined space, you may want to go with the traditional tent alternative.
- Due to the fact that a hammock is suspended in mid-air, cold weather and wind can make a hammock tent frigid. There are pads and insulation to offset this chilling effect, but without them, you may be colder than you want to be.
- Getting into and out of a hammock tent can be a bit of a challenge for some people. Some tents have easy access panels on the bottom, side of the hammock that are sealed with Velcro, but if you have any physical limitations due to your health or age a hammock tent may not be right for you.
- You’re sleeping alone. Some people like this. Others like the company of others in a tent. This is up to you and your preferences on any camping or hiking excursion. A parent with a child could share a hammock tent, but if you have six kids this may not be the best option. It can also be a bit distressing to hear your family or friends laughing it up in the tent while you sleep alone. That’s up to you.
- Finding ways to suspend the hammock can be a challenge and may leave you sleeping far from earshot of your hiking or camping group. There are kits offering lengths of rope, carabiners, and pitons that let you use a cliff face as a support in addition to a tree but it’s always a bit of a gamble. You may find yourself far from the main group. Some people like that. Others don’t.
Types and styles of hammock tents
A basic hammock tent setup includes the hammock, mosquito netting, a rainfly attached to the hammock, and an optional rainfly that is simply supported over the hammock. Some hammock tents also have internal supports or struts to increase the roominess and headspace.
This optional rainfly will help you to stay warm and dry even in the most torrential downfall. Without the optional rainfly, you may find yourself sleeping in a puddle regardless of any adjustments you might make.
4 Basic hammock tent adjustments
The first basic adjustment for any hammock tent is the ability to adjust the overhead rainfly. This can be horizontal across the top of the hammock or tilted to one side to resist rain driven by the wind. It can also be twisted at an 180-degree angle to allow for a cross-breeze to be captured and circulated through the hammock.
The optional rainfly is essentially a tent roof over the hammock. It’s a great addition in case of snow and especially rain. Some hammock tents include the rainfly option as part of the gear. Other hammock tents require you to purchase the rainfly separately.
The pitch of the tent
You want your head and your feet elevated, but you typically want your head higher than your feet. Elevated legs have benefits to lessen the chance of blood pooling, but if your head is too low it will quickly become uncomfortable.
Entry and exit
Some hammock tents require you to climb into the hammock in a traditional way. You squarely sit in the center of the hammock and swing your legs up and center yourself as well as you can.
Other hammocks have entry systems built into the bottom and sides of the hammock. There is a slit on one side of the hammock that allows you to stand up and gain entry.
Once you’ve centered yourself you close this side-entry with Velcro. To exit you pull the Velcro open and simply step down.
The need to suspend a hammock is critical to its setup. This is typically accomplished with two trees at the right distance. In the event that two trees are at some distance, there are optional attachments to increase the length of the rope or straps and ways to tighten them to keep you off the ground.
Beware, however, some tents require three trees or three points of support. It can be hard to find three perfectly spaced trees even in a dense, deciduous forest. This may also cause you to setup your hammock tent some distance from the main group if you’re traveling with others.
One of the things that will become apparent as you read these reviews is the wide price range. Prices for the hammock tents we’re reviewing range from $20 to $650.
As you would suspect, the higher priced hammock tents are better quality in terms of materials, construction, option and features. However, some lower priced tents performed will with good reviews. A lot of it has to do with the level of hiking or camping you’re going to pursue, the weather and the frequency of use.
If you hike and camp on a regular basis, you’ll want the durability that a higher priced tent will afford you. If you are camping casually once or twice a year you may want to consider a lower cost option. The lower cost tents also give you the opportunity to try it out if it’s your first time sleeping in a hammock tent.
It’s a rather polarizing experience. Some people love it and some people hate it. If you find that hammock tents are not for you it’s easier to discover this for less money than more.
Hammock tents in review
Rusee Camping Hammock Tent
Type: Hammock Travel Bed
Weight: 1.3 pounds
Capacity: 1 person up to 275 pounds
Dimensions: 94 inches x 47 inches
Design features: The Rusee hammock tent is made of parachute nylon. This makes it ultra-lightweight for backpacking. The manufacturer states that it’s as large as a queen-size bed but the dimensions they list seem to contradict that claim. It has a mosquito mesh suspended above the hammock, but there are no braces to elevate the netting above the top of the hammock.
As a result, you may find the mosquito netting to be very close to your face. It also has an attached stuff sack that hangs from the side of the hammock. That’s handy if you have trouble finding the stuff-sack in the morning. It is a very compact tent and has received an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars by almost 500 customer reviews which is notable.
Best Use: Given its relatively low price, this could be a good choice for first-time hammock tent sleepers. You might want to try it out in the backyard before heading for the hills, but the number of positive reviews from 500 customers is statistically significant.
Related: You should also get the rainfly, sold separately.
Topist Hammock Tent Pop Up
Weight: 28 ounces/1.76 pounds
Capacity: 1 person weighing up to 441 pounds.
Dimensions: Approx. L114″ x W57″ (290cmx145cm)
Design Features: Topist Hammock Tent Pop Up is made from parachute nylon. It is light and compact and features fiberglass bows to keep the mosquito netting raised above your head.
The manufacturer touts tripling-stitching which is important for long-term durability. Its customer reviews were relatively low at 3.7 out of 5 stars. Most complaints were related to product quality and the plastic zippers breaking or failing.
Best Use: For the money, this could be a good first-use experiment. It’s probably best as a casual or short-term use hammock tent.
Related: A rainfly is also an addition to this tent. It is not included in the original price. It also lists for about $30 so add that to your cost for this tent.
Clark NX-270 Four-Season Hammock
Type: Camping Hammock
Weight: Hammock tent weighs 2 pounds 15 ounces.
Capacity: 1 person weighing up to 300 pounds.
Rainfly: The rainfly weighs 14 ounces and the internal support poles weigh 3 ounces for a total kit weight of 4 pounds.
Dimensions: The bed length is 108.5 inches or 2.75 meters, and the width is 50.25 inches or 1.27 meters.
Design Features: The Clark NX-270 is an expedition model hammock tent. It is a four-season tent with design features to accommodate rain, snow, heat and cold. It also has a fine mesh “no-see-um” mosquito netting and the pockets both inside and outside the hammock can be stuffed with insulating pads in extremely cold weather.
The two pockets inside the tent can hold gear like a flashlight, water bottle, and other items. The six pockets on the underside of the tent can also be used to hold any gear if the insulation is not needed. It was very highly rated with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Best Use: This is an excellent tent for the serious backpacker or expedition camper. It is designed to create a comfortable sleeping environment in extreme weather.
Related: Given that this tent includes all features in the kit the only related item may be extra insulation pads or hanger strap extensions.
OUTAD Nylon Hammock
Weight: 29 ounces or 810 grams
Capacity: 1 person up to 400 pounds.
Dimensions: Bed Size: 4.6 x 8.9ft/1.4 x 2.7m
Design Features: The Outad hammock tent is made from nylon and is supported from ropes by carabiners. It compacts to a very small size which helps with packing.
The mosquito net suspends over the top of the hammock and some owners felt this was a bit close to their face while sleeping. Regardless, it was highly rated earning 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Best Use: This is a good hammock tent for backpacking given its small size when packed. It’s also a good first-use given its price if you’re not sure about hammock tent camping.
Related: There is an optional rainfly that is strongly recommended. You can buy any brand of optional hammock tent rainfly if you want to shop for the best price.
Tentsile Stingray Tree Tent
Weight: 19 pounds including aluminum poles and rainfly.
Capacity: 3 persons
Design Features: This is an interesting concept in the world of hammock tents. In fact, it’s more a tent It’s also the heaviest at 19 pounds. While it sounds intriguing to share a tent in the trees with three friends, there were some unique challenges and concerns raised by many owners:
- It is reportedly difficult to setup. One owner stated that he and his wife spent more than an hour suspending the tent in the trees.
- It requires three trees for setup. The manufacturer makes no mention of this in their listing. Finding two trees perfectly spaced for a hammock tent can sometimes be a challenge. Finding three trees complicates the process even more.
- There were complaints about the rainfly being too small resulting in water puddling in the tent.
- There were various complaints about product quality related to the seams and zippers.
- One owner noted that it was difficult for two people to sleep in the tent let alone three. Of course, the size of some individuals varies but if they were average sized adults and the two of them felt confined in a tent identified as “3 person” -that’s an issue.
On the other hand, some people seemed very satisfied with the tent. It’s possible the product quality issue varies and that some people have better skill with hammock tent setup. Regardless, the Tentsile tree tent may be a roll of the dice. $650 is a lot to pay for a product that may dissatisfy you. You would probably want to do fairly good research before making this purchase. Customers rating were 3.7 out of 5 stars with 18% one-star ratings.
Best Use: The Tentsile Tree Tent is best used for trips by car, boat of a canoe. This is due to the 19-pound weight of the tree tent, although in another area on the listing the manufacturer describes it as weighing one pound. That’s highly unlikely.
It could be backpacked at 19-pounds but practice setting it up first and assess whether it will hold the three of you comfortably. You don’t want to find out on the trail that the three of you don’t fit.
Related: There is an optional tarp that is strongly recommended given some of the comments about water pooling in the tree tent. There is also an optional rope ladder made of fabric to help people climb into the tent.
Clark Vertex Double Hammock
Weight: 5.1 pounds
Capacity: 700 pounds
Design Features: This is an exceptional 2-person hammock tent for a variety of reasons:
- It allows either camper to enter and exit the tent from either side. You don’t have to wake up or bother your partner when nature calls in the middle of the night, or if you’re the early riser.
- It has reinforcements and a patented independent suspension that allows each person to sleep comfortably in their space. You won’t feel like you’re rolling into the person sleeping next to you… unless you want to.
- Flexible poles raise the netting and built-in rainfly well above your face to provide added headroom.
- It has a high-quality, fine-mesh “no-see-um” mosquito netting that is suspended high above your face allowing for headroom in the hammock.
The Clark Vertex Double Hammock tent also has exceptional customer reviews. It received a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars and all of the ratings were in the top-two boxes of 5 or 4 stars.
Best Use: Ideal for backpacking in areas where trees abound. A great low-weight, low-space alternative to a two-person tent in rough or wet terrain.
Related: There is an optional rainfly that is recommended for windy or torrential rains.
Crazy Crib Lex With Tarp
Weight: 70 oz. / 1985 gr.
Capacity: 300 pounds recommended
Dimensions: 44″ x 98″ / 110 x 245 cm / Tarp: 77″ x 104″ / 193 x 260 cm /
Design Features: This appears to be a very good hammock tent for one person. The rainfly is probably too high for protection from a windy, torrential rain. It has an internal sleeve to accept a pad for added insulation in winter and for comfort.
The mosquito netting is “no-see-um” mesh and the Crazy Crib Lex tent is made of rip-stop nylon. It has two inside gear pockets and was rated at 5 out of 5 stars but only two reviews were given.
Best Use: A great backing tent for the solo hiker or someone who wants to sleep above it all. Reliable in all weather conditions across all four seasons.
Related: The tent fly is included and the only add-on might be a Thermarest pad for winter nights.
Lawson Blue Ridge Hammock
Weight: 4.25 pounds
Capacity: 275 pounds
Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 90 inches
Design Features: The Lawson Blue Ridge Hammock is a double-purpose hammock tent that can also be setup on the ground as a traditional tent. It has won numerous design awards. It also features a spreader bar and arch pole system to keep the hammock flatter and more taut, unlike some hammock tents which tend to sag around your body.
This is sometimes referred to as “cocooning” or a “banana” effect. It has mosquito netting and a rainfly and there were no complaints about the rainfly failing to keep a camper dry. The interior is described as “roomy” by the manufacturer.
Best Use: This hammock tent is ideal for someone hiking or camping on mixed terrain where trees may not be available to suspend the hammock.
Related: Although the tent got high marks for being waterproof, an external rainfly might not be a bad idea if you encounter rain and high winds. Optional extension straps may also be a good idea.
What else you should buy together with a tent
The optional rainfly
This rainfly is often featured with a variety of hammock tents as an option and is the best, all-purpose rainfly for hammock tent camping. It lists for $59.99 and is 10 x 10 foot and has been rated 4.3 stars out of 5 by more than 100 owners. It is sometimes promoted at a lower price down to $30.
Optional tree hanger extensions
The Pawleys Island Hanging tree straps are also highly recommended and will work with most hammock tents to either increase the length needed to suspend the hammock or to ensure a tight attachment to the tree. The list for $19.95 and are 2 x 120 inches with “s” hooks for easy hookup. There are 2 straps per package.
To sum up
There are 4 critical considerations you should ponder before buying a hammock tent:
- Is a hammock tent right for you?
If you’re a first-timer, buy the cheapest tent and test it in your backyard or a day-trip. Don’t spend a lot of money on something that may not be right for you.
- Consider your use
Are you a casual hiker or camper, or are you a serious traveler? Even if you like sleeping in a hammock tent extreme weather can change your mind.
- Buy an optional rainfly
All hammock tents promise to vary degrees that they have a rainfly to keep out the rain. It all depends on the force of the storm. Even the best hammock tents are challenged by heavy rains and winds. Don’t leave home without this option.
- Buy extensions for setup
Hammocks in the wild are typically attached to trees. Extensions will help you take two trees that aren’t ideally spaced and make them work.
The idea of suspending a hammock tent above rough, wet, uneven or rodent and reptile infested ground is a great idea. You just have to manage your options and your mindset.
Don’t overspend without knowing how well you can sleep in a hammock tent. If you decide it’s right for you, consider investing more for future trips. A hammock tent can be an outstanding alternative if you do your homework.