In the Hiking community, everybody has their likes and dislikes. Ultralight hiking vs traditional hiking and hammock camping vs tent camping are some of them. As for myself, I really perfer sleeping in a hammock. Although, there is a little bit of a learning curve at first. Once you get your system down, hammock camping can be quite enjoyable. But here is my question, is a hammock really the way to go for an ultralight hiker? I, personally, would answer; it’s all opinion and maybe some facts. HYOH is all that matters right? But for the Ultralight hiker, it’s usually about the numbers. You have to make wise choices to get to a lighter base weight in my opinion.
I’ve been on a quest to lighten up my pack, I took a deep look into my gear and researched other products. I’ve come to a really interesting discover; I may have to become a ground dweller again. First off I’ve been a hammock camper for years and I love it and won’t ever give it up. But, does hammock camping fit into my Ultralight hiking goal anymore? If I want to get to that goal I might have to.
So, let me explain why I have come to this possible conclusion. I recently weighted my warm weather hammocking gear and the weights suprised me. My total weight was 63.8 oz/ 3.9 LBS. This included; a 40 degree top quilt, 40 degree under quilt, DIY hammock, tarp and attaching hardware. With the combined weight of my other gear I’m sitting at 13 pounds for a base weight. That’s a pretty respectable number for a lightweight hiker. I’m happy with that number and with a Zpacks hammock tarp comming soon the weight savings will get even better. However my quest to get even lighter must continue.
Next, I looked at various manufactures and crunched the numbers. For example, if my sleep system consisted of a Zpacks Hexamid, neoair xlite pad and my 40 degree top quilt. My total weight would be 44.5oz/ 2.71 LBS. That’s a 19.3 oz/ 1.2 LBS difference. I could drop even more by switching to a lighter pack and just use a tarp. This is something I need to play around with.
Hiking is an evolution for me as probably for most of you. So, if I want to get to 10 pounds and under on my base weight, I may have to drop the hammock. I still plan on hanging my hammock on shorter hikes or maybe go to the lightweight side on longer hikes. My train of thougt at this time is I may need to go back to the ground to achieve my Ultralight goal. I have some other options on the table that I’m looking into and I plan on sharing my conclusions in the future.
Thanks for Reading