Hammocks, tarps and tents

What are the thoughts from the crowd about hammocks, vs sleeping on upturned raft under tarp, vs tents.

I’ve previously been a tenter, but had a fantastically comfortable night on an upturned raft under a tarp last year, leading to think more about it. Would need to design some serious bug protection for NZ if sleeping on raft over there, which lead me to think about hammocks, which are reputed to be comfortable, with bug protection built in (at the least the Hennessy ones).

Andrew A


Although hammocks are quite comfortable they necessitate more weight than you first proposal. Invert you raft and sleep on it with you PFD and a small piece of foam for insulation. Protect yourself against wind and rain by rigging a tarp between you 4-piece paddle segments. Clip a mosquito net under the tarp for the bugs. You can use DIY components or purchase suitable elements to create a packraft centric shelter system as I have done.

Richard, this concept of rigging a tarp between the “4 piece paddle segments…packraft centric system” - do you mean that are you using the paddle in 2 sections as a ridgeline for a tarp, or are you using a central guy rope on the tarp pulled vertically, and the 4 separate sections of paddle on the corners to hold the tarp corners higher off the ground, centred on the packraft. With any of the setups, we normally carry a 9’ x 11’ tarp anyway, as it often enough pisses with rain for 24hrs in NZ, and having some cover to stand under/store stuff under is pure luxury, and I wouldn’t be without it.

How much does a mozzie net weigh - I thought that they were about 500g, and my rationalisation for thinking about hammocks was that sleeping on a packraft required a normal sleeping bag (mine is 950g), and a mozzie net (500g), and then fitting 2 of us under the tarp, whereas a Hennessy ultralight hammock was 850g, with own tarp, and, as the hammock tends to hug you, I reckon I’d get away with a 300-400g home made quilt, rather than a sleeping bag, plus you wouldn’t then need to be under the main tarp when sleeping, so would have plenty of covered area when it rained.

We’re summer camping, so the underground insulation is not so important, and we do use the wine bladder from my home made PFD (300g) for pillows. Maybe the hammock/smaller quilt vs raft/mozzie net/sleeping bag setup turns out a similar weight…in which case I suppose it comes down to the terrain you’re sleeping in. It would seem that both are lighter than a tent.

At my age (48), I’m not into having a miserable uncomfortable time, but also wish to limit what I carry, so I’m after the best compromise.

Andrew A


I mucked about with tarps and mozzie domes for ages but was never too happy with the results, I now have a Tarptent Moment (790g) and it is one of the best pieces of gear I have ever owned, intergrated floor, fully insect proof, goes up in under 2 minutes AND… apparently you can get a raft into one (depending on which Alpacka you have… my Explorer is a tad large). It was discussed a while back here;

A few of my rafting mates have the Hennesy Hammocks and there seems to be a few issues with them, they seem to take a bloody long time to put up, they are cold without a mat (which is a little self defeating) and they are not so rain proof. I have just got an Exped hammock to try, will report back when I have tried it.


Wow, never heard of the Moment - cute little tent.

Im going to try a Hennesy Ultralight - the rivers I fish in NZ have very few suitable areas for pitching a tent, but lots of trees, and lots of rocky ground, and having the facility to sleep above ground, irrespective of what the ground is like (plus not having to worry about water pooling where you’ve set things up), would open up lots of other possibilities. The Moment looks perfect for other situations.

I note that there is a whole band of brave people who rig their hammocks with underquilts etc for sleeping out in winter !!

Andrew A

I’ve been using a hammock exclusively for camping during the past 2 years and have been out from 15 deg. F to 85. There have been a few chilly nights as I was dialing in my system but all in all the comfort cannot be compared to sleeping on the ground.

After just ordering my first packraft, (should arrive next week!) I’m excited to combine hammocking with rafting. I typically don’t carry a pad so it will be nice to have the raft as a emergency groundcover/pad option if there are no suitable sites for a hammock.

Ammo farmer. I hope your raft gives you as much joy as I’ve had with mine, and I hope my hammock works as well for me as yours has!
Andrew A

I have a Terra nova competition tent and multimat that together weigh around 1050g or so and pack up small. There are some really light tents around that mean they can still be an option for all but the most pared down trips. Let us know how the hammock goes!

As an update, I tried my Exped hammock and it is good for hanging aroung camp but not the best for sleeping in at night on the south coast in Autumn, too cold on the underside (even in my Western Mountaining Summer light bag) . Would be good for hot summer nights though.


While I would agree that Andrew is correct, there is not a significant enough difference to offset the increase comfort that can be achieved in a Hammock.
Under quilts, while the preferred option, are not the only option. I started off using my thermal rest inside my hammock. That got me down to 0 deg C with little problems.

There is a wealth of information at http://www.hammockforums.net.

Hennesey ultralight hands down. Under 2 lbs. and you can rig it on any slope/ terrain. I am still in the testing phase of incorporating packrafting into my backpacking regimine but am sure that you can’t go wrong with a hennesey. I will post pics as soon as I am able to incorporate the hammock with a benefit from the raft.

I just about jumped through the wall with excitement when I saw this the other day


It’s pretty much what I think of as ideal for sleeping on a raft, though its also something that I should be able to make myself (perhaps with longer netting?)

Anyway, there are so many nice lightweight bits getting around at the moment.

I’m new here, but I have to say, I prefer flipping my raft upside-down, putting my gear in the raft under me, and a $12.00 tarp over top! Works great, and I can see out! If it is snowing I use my old $25.00 yardsale tent + $45.00 zippers I had sewn in? I go cheap and I go alone… I have a few hundred miles on my raft, not to mutch white water yet?? I prefer the water now days, I wear a brace on my right foot n ancle so the major 20 mile treks per day are behind me! That said, I like using my packraft in combo with my Aire canoue. I like to hunt while floating the rivers. I use the packraft to make short treks to lakes and smaller slews. So far this has worked well. Every once in a while I’ll drag out my 18’ Aire cat! If I have friends??? I love to float!! Can’t wait to take this lil packraft to Utah/Wyoming and drop down through the Gaits of Ladore!! First I gotta get my fix on an early Kenai river run, just becouse I love that river! Especially with snow n ice, the fishing should be good? Sorry for the novel, but cabin fever in Alaska ya’ know?? Lol Thanks guys? But I’ll stay with my tried n true!

Using the raft as a sleeping pad was found to cause premature deterioration of the hull fabric.

AeroNautiCal, I’m just curious, who found “using the raft as a sleeping pad… to cause premature deterioration of the hull fabric.” If you could provide more details that would be great.

Right now I’m looking at a lightweight shelter/sleep-system solution that involves using the raft as a sleeping platform. If I’m doing damage to the boat though (even when picking sites without sharp rocks) I’d certainly explore other options.

I’ve posted a video of what I’m using:

Any feedback from anyone would actually be greatly appreciated. I won’t really be able to field test this until it warms up a little bit more and starts raining at night.

Thats a great looking setup. Right now im just carrying a black diamond bivy that has poles and weighs about 1.5 pounds.

The hammock tents are a very good thing for anyone that likes to go camping and they are also a choice for backpackers. When these hammocks tents are folded up they really take about the same amount of space as a small sized softball and it will less weight so is therefore not that heavy to carry. When these style tarps are unfolded and hung up properly they will provide you with the same amount of sleeping space as a single bed. The hammock tents made is from nylon material.
Thanks& regards,
John Pitter
Refugee Tents | Military Tents

Hello friends!
I use a 2-person tent standing on paddles. For two with my wife is very useful! Weight 1.2 kg (600 grams per person).
Version “4-season” is suitable for packrafting in cold regions.
I made a review of this tent, you can read it here:
Light tent standing on paddles or track-stiks

Good luck!

Camping tents are moveable small enough to be folded and carried by one person. Tents consist of a piece of cloth of similar material draped over or friendly to a frame of poles. Camping tents differ in size. There are the large enough to sleep one person. Others are pretty large and can sleep a whole family. Modern camping tents can be inclined in five to ten minutes. Although camping tents are designed to be sturdy, rugged, and durable to stand against nature’s elements, they are not maintenance-free. Camping tents will last as long as their owners to take care of them. Maintaining the quality of camping tents is necessary; a tent is usually the only thing that stands between a camper and survival.

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