Hammock vs Bivy: Which One Is Best For You?

The first question you may be asking yourself when it comes to outdoor lounging is “which one is going to benefit me more?”. When it comes time to sit outside and enjoy a drink under a tree or look up at the starry sky, you want to be comfortable, right? Or do you want to be warm while out on a camping trip?

Your first pick is going to want to be that of a versatile item. Something that is going to fit all of your needs at once. You surely aren’t going to want one item for each activity you do, especially if there’s limited room.


The hammock, as you probably already know, is a large piece of cloth that you can lay in. Some can be tied to a tree while others are simply strung upon a frame. They are generally lightweight and portable, making it the ideal resting spot for campers and those who just want to lay under the sun or stars.


  • Off the ground and away from bugs
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Can be hung almost anywhere


  • Doesn’t always keep you warm
  • May not be easy to hang on your own

Types of Hammocks

There are four main types of hammocks on the market right now.

Rope Hammock

This is designed mostly for warm or hot climates. It is generally made from cotton or polyester and features a weave of ropes. These are usually found on a stand and aren’t very portable.

Parachute Hammock

These are ideal for camping. They can be hung just about anywhere and can be found in a single or double person size. These keep campers and general relaxers off of the ground and away from bugs. You can also get nets to keep flying critters out of your space.

Hammock Chairs & Swings

These are super fun! They give you the ability to swing while you’re reading a book or enjoying the warm summer breeze on your face.

Fabric Hammocks

These are durable and ideal for those cooler climates. They usually feature bright and bold striped fabrics that allow you to relax comfortably without the air coming up through the bottom.


Hammocks are very practical when it comes to camping or relaxing in the backyard. Since you have so many options, you can choose the one that is right for the activity that you want to do. However, unlike the bivy, you can’t comfortably sleep throughout the night in these while remaining out of the elements. They aren’t going to protect you from moisture or rain unless you hang a tarp over it-this is something I have done and it didn’t work well.

Ease Of Use

Depending on the type of hammock you get, they can either be easy or rather difficult to set up. The ones that attach to the stands are the easiest to use. These require no use of trees and can be placed on any even surface. The types that hang in the trees, however, sometimes require special knots and ropes that may not be best for beginners. The bivy is simply a sack that you encase yourself in with a few zippers.

The Bivy

It’s a silly name, but it’s a product that is meant for those who frequently travel by themselves with little ability to carry a lot of items. With the bivy, you can stay warm in cold climates, camp wherever you want and stay warm and dry. It’s nothing like a hammock, but it may be the right option for you.


  • Increases warming capacity
  • Waterproof
  • Can be used with or without a tent
  • Lightweight


  • Not for those who don’t like tight spaces
  • Not ideal for warm weather

Types of Bivy’s

There really aren’t any specific types of bivy except for the sack and the shelter. They are two completely different items, but I will still go over them.


The sack is like a giant cocoon. It is meant to keep a camper’s sleeping bag dry and it has the ability to increase your warming capacity by 10 degrees. It has an opening at the top of it for your head, but it may allow moisture in unless you pull the head holes drawstring snugly. Unfortunately, those who are claustrophobic may not like this idea


The shelter is basically a low-rise tent that a backpacker or cyclist can easily carry on their backs. It allows you to remain out of the elements while being easily transportable. These aren’t best for use in rainstorms because there’s minimal room to sit up while waiting it out.


The bivy does seem like a nice place to sleep or stay warm, but what about the summer months when you just want to lay out in the sun? You certainly can’t do this inside one of these. They are mostly meant to keep you out of the elements while keeping you warm enough to survive the night. They may also be too tight for those who don’t like enclosed spaces. However, if you want to sleep out under the stars without getting eaten alive or having to string a rope through the trees, this is a great option.

Ease Of Use

Unlike the hammock, these require little to no setup, unless you’re using the shelter. The bivy sack, however, is extremely easy to use. You can literally do anything inside of it. You can cook or sort gear while remaining dry and warm thanks to the zippered sliders for armholes. You can choose between little to a lot of ventilation with the multiple ventilation options, and there are straps that allow you to secure your sack in place.

Hammock vs Bivy Comparison

Hammock Bivy
Affordable Great for keeping warm
Best for relaxation Keeps you out of the elements
Multiple sizes and options available Doubles as a sleeping bag and shelter
Not ideal for cold weather Only one option available for sacks
Some not recommended for beginners Only has single user options
Not good for warm climates


In my honest opinion, if you are looking for general relaxation, I would have to say that the hammock is your best option. They may not be ideal for sleeping overnight in, but they’re great for laying out in the sun in your backyard or giving company space to just relax. They are generally affordable and come in multiple sizes and weight limits. The bivy is better for those who are looking for a sleeping bag-type product. They aren’t great for just relaxing but also in keeping warm and staying out of the elements while backpacking. These are both great options based on what particular activity you are going to use it for.