To swag or not to swag

Submitted: Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:18
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I'm having my annual nervous breakdown about buying a swag and would appreciate some help.

On the one hand I have visions of arriving somewhere and having my bedding and swag set up and ready to jump into in about 60 seconds and a similar time to pack it away - much shorter than the tent etc.

On the other hand I can see water dripping through the canvas (or being absorbed from the ground?) when it decides to thunderstorm at 3am or the swag being soaked with dew and having to pack it away damp so that the mattress and sleeping bag get damp during the day. And where do I keep my clothes and get dressed in the morning.

Most replies gratefully received :)

Mike Harding
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Reply By: Member - toohey - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:22

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:22
gid'ay mike
r.m williams mate their aint' no better.
regards toohey.
AnswerID: 119828

Follow Up By: Brew69(SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:59

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:59
What RM's swag are you recomending?
FollowupID: 374906

Reply By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:27

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:27
Hi Mike :)

Have you actually ever slept in a swag?

We thought that a swag would be the answer to our troubles and so bought a double. We "slept" in it for one night and put it on eBay.

Turned out that we were just too damn claustrophobic to sleep in a bag with the netting resting on our faces. Weird, considering that niether of us ever felt this condition ever before. Just couldn't do it. Nowhere to get changed, etc, etc as well.

Ended up going to ...and staying... with the rooftop tent brigade.
AnswerID: 119830

Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:45

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:45
Hi Chrispy,

I thought for ages about this issue and felt that it would be a claustrophobic hell sleeping in a canvas coffin. But having tried it in a good quality swag I am very happy. Mine has some small poles at the head and over the knees to keep the canvas off me. This adds two minutes to the setup time. But once in it is amazingly warm and completely dark.

I recently slept in it at my 4WD Club's clubrooms outside on the verandah and there was a 240 volt light that could not be switched off. Once the swag was zipped up i was unaware of the light being on. Several times i have slept late in the mornings (and been kicked awke by travelling companions!) as even sunlight only just gets in. I woke up one morning in a sweat only because of hot direct sun on the swag trying to cook me in the wrapper.

Compared to setting up tent it is much better and i rain I just set up a quick tarp overhead (see reply below). On cold nights it is better than a tent as there is less cold air circulating around you to steal away body heat.

Everyones experience is different. Some like them and some loath them. I happen to be a fan.

FollowupID: 374898

Follow Up By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:33

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:33
I had hoped to have the same opinion as you Muddy... I really did. We bought a hooped (top & bottom) unit that kept the canvas off us - just. It was the netting that got us. The other problem was that we were camping at Stockton Beach (NSW) in summer, so sand flies and mozzies just sat on the netting and punctured us through the netting all night long. It was just a really bad experience..... :(
FollowupID: 374915

Reply By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:36

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:36
If there is a chance of rain or heavy dew I go with a tarp on the ground and a tarp off the side 4by on two poles. Does not take long to set up. Good idea to put a tarp down anyway as it keeps swag much cleaner. You don't track dirt in as you get into swag and dont get dirt stuck to bottom as you roll it up. A 6x4 or 8x4 foot poly tarp folds up to near nothing and is $10. Takes no time at all to lay out tarp and peg corners and saves a lot of hassle.

Can even do tarp without poles overhead. Tie to roof rack on side of car and then peg direct to ground at 45 degree angle. Sleep under that alongside car in swag. Many also do this with tarp tied out from Bullbar at front of car.

Lots of ways to do it with a couple of tarps. Even a simple rope between two trees and a tarp pegged over it. Easy. Just don't ringbark the tree!

As for getting dressed or changing - depends on the people around the place. Park the vehicle to shield you or use an amenities block if in a park (I use a tent when in a park). My swag is big enough that I can put on at least a t-shirt and shorts while in the swag if there are people around. But usually people will make allowances for the fact you are in a swag and may emerge half-naked. If you are by yourself in the middle of nowhere - WHO CARES!!!!

Sweet dreams!!!
AnswerID: 119831

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:45

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:45
Tarp on the ground is fine, as you say, just a few seconds to do.

But a tarp from the vehicle? Now we're halfway to a tent and it blocks out the stars. Can a swag not stand a decent rain shower?

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 374897

Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:53

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:53
Well that depends on the quality of your swag (canvas weight, proofing) and how heavy and prolonged the rain is. I have been in mine in rain and it is OK. Light showers or a bit of drizzle, no prob.

It is just the getting in and out when it isbleepdown where you get wet. This is where a tarp over the top helps out.

If you get elaborate with a tarp then yes, you may as well whack up a tent. But if it looks like rain then just a simple rope off the bull bar to a tree or a peg and a tarp put over it and pegged out will take just a minute or two to set up.

As for seeing the stars - if you can see the stars it is probably unlikely to rain! If it is cloudy - whack up a tarp as rain may be likely!

FollowupID: 374902

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:57

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:57
>As for seeing the stars - if you can see the stars it is probably
>unlikely to rain! If it is cloudy - whack up a tarp as rain may
>be likely!

Very good answer :)

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 374905

Follow Up By: Outnabout David (SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:50

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:50
Muddy, Just make sure you are by yourself when you come out half naked. That is one thing I don't want to
FollowupID: 374920

Reply By: BenSpoon - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:47

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:47
Mike- I had a tent until going camping maybe twice with mates that owned swags. As you mention, 60 seconds to set up, and the same to pack away sold me. With my tent it takes me 60 seconds just to assemble one of the poles and find the peg bag.
Dew in the mornings can be brushed off like sand if you dont get a dome-type swag. If you get a dome one, you generally have nothing to worry about, as there is nowhere for the water to pool or collect. The thunderstorms at 3am bother me less in the swag than in a tent that flaps in the wind- they are afterall waterproof if you treat them right, and at worst you'd have to hang your tent from a local tree anyway to avoid packing it away damp- no difference with a swag.

The only probs I've come across in the swag is when you sleep in a hollow and wake up in a pool of water, or when its 40 odd degrees at night and too hot to be in anything.
Getting dresed in the morning: when out bush, what do you do for a dunny?
AnswerID: 119834

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:55

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:55
You're convincing me :)

In regard to the getting dressed thing (I'm far too old to worry about modesty and I always camp deep bush :) I suppose I meant about keeping clothes and shoes dry overnight and getting dressed in rain - or something like that anyway - never having used a swag it's hard to know.

In regard to the claustrophobia mentioned above: I can see where you are coming from but I think I'd be OK with it - good point to raise though.

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 374903

Reply By: Exploder - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:55

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 19:55
Obversely swag has its place.

The canvases is waterproof to a point, I.E don’t expect to go to sleep in a thunderstorm and wake up dry, If it look’s like raining I put up a tarp from the bulbar or tree’s and sleep under that, if you get a bit of rain during the night it will handle it alright

Due is not a problem it will form on the outside and you will be dry as a bone on the inside, I have woken up in the morning with the whole top of the swag iced over in northern WA and the inside was nice and warm.

To stop the bottom getting wet you just put down a ground sheet same as a tent.

I find them nice to sleep in; IMO it beat’s spending 20min’s setting up a tent every second or 3rd night.

Who is going to see you getting changed you are in the bush, the only people around are you mates and I am sure they are not going to be looking. If the swag is big enough ya just put the clothes next to you and leave the boots outside above your head.

The only time I use a tent is if we happen to stay In one spot 3+ day’s or in a camping ground, mainly because it is a huge Cabin tent and takes up valuable realestate.

Oh yeah even in the tent I still sleep in my swag.

Or thou if i set up a tent with the crowd I mostly go away with i would never hear the end of it.

AnswerID: 119838

Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:04

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:04
Jeez Mike you dissapoint me when you come up with this sissy stuff. You're a true bushman, what the hell do you want a swag for and you don't really get undressed do you! I think you must be bored tonight.
AnswerID: 119840

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:13

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:13
I'll have you know, young Raymond, I _always_ sleep naked - I made a concession to your (and the 200 other people) sensibilities at Firth Dam by keeping my underpants on.

Now! We'll say no more about it or I'll insist upon knowing what frequency iMusty was using.... :)

Mike Harding

PS. We should do a trip into the HC sometime Ray. And I still have that idea for a 1 or 2 day Ex Ox forum people meet – I’ll e-mail you as soon as I (finally!) check out a couple of points – but I think it’s one people would like.

PPS. I look very fetching naked :)
FollowupID: 374910

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:05

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:05
>young Raymond

You're sounding like my dad Mike, God bless his soul but that doesn't change the fact that you're no swagman. If it looks like rain just throw a tarp up. Can't your seats fold down to make a bed

I told you the freq, ch18 UHF cb....I tell no lie....think outside the square.

Yes high country sounds appealing but not too sure about prancing around in the snow and then retreating to a flippin hotel room as John suggests below. I'm not really a snow person, more of a desert nomad. How about a low high country trip out of the snow :) Anway looking forward to seting up a rombic in the bush sometime :)
FollowupID: 374939

Follow Up By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:50

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:50
What did I do?
FollowupID: 374948

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:39

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:39
Nothing old son, will explain after I've had some shut eye.
FollowupID: 374953

Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:08

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:08
Swags....what can i say?????? A lot of my mispent youth was spent putting notches on my ceduna upholsetry swag lol. I have been carried 100m whilst asleep in mine......whilst its not my regular bed camping it still gets a run and i am happy it is still with me. (Memories :))
AnswerID: 119842

Reply By: Member - Luxoluk - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:24

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:24
Hi Mike. Often having a choice is a problem in itself...which one to choose. The time to set up swags x2 compared with SC centre pole tent is almost a dead heat. Nothing like looking out at the stars at 4 in the morning from a swag and then again nothing like being in a tent when it's pouring down!! The only thing I dislike about the swags is the condensation that builds up on the inside making s/bag wet etc. Takes time to dry this out otherwise the next night is not as comfortable. Cure this and no problem with the swag at all. Cheers
AnswerID: 119849

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:51

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:51
... The only thing I dislike about the swags is the condensation that builds up on the inside making s/bag wet etc. Takes time to dry this out otherwise the next night is not as comfortable...

Bang on correct!!

I use a Sar Major King size Discovery, and I always sleep with the top flap closed, and the end one open... unless it's summer.

The longest unbroken stretch of sleeping in it was for 3 weeks, and when I got home, into my own bed, I felt quite..... shall we say... naked. The swag, along with all of my clothes, ugg boots, battery, CPAP, camera bag & water bottle, is very, very cosy.

The condensation on the inside is also my problem. This is because I perspire quite easily, due to being overweight, and also having a fairly low metabolic rate. When I drive my vehicles around in the city in the winter, I generally have to use the air conditioning to keep the inside cabin air dry, because of my perspiration.

Now, I've digressed. I am considering buying a small computer fan, and a small length of flexible 4 inch tubing, say at about one metre in length. I am proposing to have the fan mounted into a small box, and simply resting on top of my sleeping bag, and drawing the moist air out of the swag.

Now, some of you may be thinking that I will be letting too much cold air inside. Correct, but I sleep very warm anyway, I just need to draw out the moist air before it condenses on the inner top of the swag, which then wets the sleeping bag. Sort of like the extractor fan in your bathroom.

Now, something else to ponder....

When I was a lad, living up north of Woomera, we used to grow a lot of our own vegetables, but in the middle of winter, they used to get frost burnt. An old chap living with us at the time, by the name of Michael Mudie ( of Len Beadell fame ) suggested that I drape chicken wire over the plants. I did, and it stopped the problem. The wire absorbs all of the heat, and ends up getting very cold, so as the moist air passes down through it, the moisture is instantly frozen onto the wire.

This very same system is also used in some desert areas of South America to harvest water for human consumption.

I am not suggesting that we carry a roll of chicken wire with us to put over our swags, but I am sure there is a solution somewhere to stop the moisture condensing onto canvas and tarps. Maybe a rolled up fine aluminium mesh or something?

Anyway Mike, if you are moving every single day, run a swag. If you are staying for a couple of days.... tent.

I also sleep in my swag in my tent, 'cause it's my bed.


FollowupID: 374921

Follow Up By: muzzgit (WA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:49

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:49
Several years ago I bought a king single Ausie Outback Swag (AOS) (WA Made) which came with two small tent poles and mesh netting in the head end, and I love it. There's a pocket sewn in for keys, phone etc, and water and a torch are all I need for a very good nights sleep. AOS swags are available in 7 or 8 colours of canvas,not just green, and they will make special features on request.

On the model I have here is a flap at the head end, where the pole goes, that protects your boots from the rain (like a little veranda), the two poles keep the canvas up off me and the mesh keeps the bities out and lets the fresh air in.

I was very surprised at how comfortable it is. My stongest recommendation however, is don't use a sleeping bag.

I have a double bed doonah in mine. I doubled it over and sleep inbetween. If I get a bit warm it's no biggie to just slip a leg out, or more if its really warm. It doesn't get a run these days, as I'm no longer single, and we have a Jayco camper.


FollowupID: 374929

Reply By: garthyguts - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:26

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:26
get a king single they are long and extra wide ,if rain just
get under car to stop rain on your head
AnswerID: 119850

Reply By: 120scruiser - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:26

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:26
I have one of these SWAGS Alternate wet weather entry. I have never used a ground sheet as the floor is the same as my centre pole tent. The only problem is I get hot inside and have to have the front flap open to let in some air.
AnswerID: 119851

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:34

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:34
I love my swag. Its the best night's sleep I ever get. It's comfortable, warm and versatile. If its cold I zip it right up. If its hot I sleep on top of it. If there are mozzies I zip up the fly mesh. If it rains (I can only remember this happening twice in the last ten years) I throw up a tarp.

I wouldn't dream of a double swag. If horizontal folk dancing is your bent then do it before you retire to your own swag.

For years I've watched mates struggle with fancy tents. It takes me ten seconds to roll out the swag, and in the morning about two minutes to flick off the burrs (a stiff nylon brush is good for this) and reroll it with the pillow and sleeping bag still inside it. I often place an old bit of carpet beside the swag for an area free of sand and burrs, and a folding chair to sit on while taking off my shoes and for hanging the clothes on so they don't look too crushed the next day. A torch, a shovel, a roll of Cottonelle, a bottle of water and your set for the night.

I should add that when the ground is really bad a folding stretcher under the swag can transform the most inhospitable camp site into camping heaven.
AnswerID: 119854

Follow Up By: George_ - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:58

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:58
If in dingo country eg The Simpson Desert don't forget the matches to burn the toilet paper, never seen so much dug up paper blowing in the wind: not a pretty sight.

I own a swag and swear by it, but, will not hesitate to pitch the Southern Cross tent: these old bones appreciate that extra bit of comfort!
FollowupID: 374923

Reply By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:39

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:39
Fine looking 1975 Toyota Coaster love bus at your service.

You're welcome Mike.

Bring a bottle of Red sweetheart.

AnswerID: 119856

Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:40

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 20:40
Last long weekend few weeks ago I was at Rainbow near Wyperfeld NP.
The girl Friend and I use my Southern Cross Double Enclosed Swag.
It was forecast to rain so I stuck the tarp up off the roof rack and pegged it down at 45 deg over the swag. The storm hit, the tarp was whipped away and we received 42mm of rain that night on the swag.
The inside of the swag was damp from the condensation from the two of us as I had to zip up the rear window (which I usually leave open to a degree to allow a bit of ventilation) to stop the rain being blown in on us but we remained warm as, in fact I have a -6 Roman bag and had to unzip it to cool off.

In the morning we just left the swag open to air until it was reasonably dry and removed the sleeping bags and chucked them on the top of the gear inside the truck to air, that night we set the swag up and let it air some, more no problems.
This was a pretty unusual day with this much rain.

I personally love my swag and it saves a huge amount of time, I have now bought a second single one for my son when we go away together he loves it also.
Its also a Southern Cross Single Enclosed bag.

Season them properly like any tent and they will give you good service.

As for the dressing business just duck behind the car in your jocks if its a real issue, But most people don't seem to worry about it.

I still use my Southern Cross Tent when my daughter is with us but she is now asking for her own swag as well.

Also Mike you would find it rather intimate if you have a lady Friend along, mine enjoys it. ;)
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AnswerID: 119860

Reply By: Outnabout David (SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:10

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:10

Tents have there place and so does the swag. If it is just me I will take the swag. If two or more ie wife and kids I take the tent.

I looked around a lot for a swag and suggest you be very carefull in your selection 'cos you may not live with the wrong decision and no two swags are the same.
When I looked I wanted

1. Large king single
2. Hooped both ends to keep canvas off
3. Side entry to keep bedding dry getting in and out
4. Plenty of ventilation for when it is wet but still warm
5. Plenty of air space when it is really hot
6. Plenty of mesh.

I found one in that category made in SA. Can't rememvber the name but if interested mm me and I will look in the shed at the name.

Basically if hot there is mesh all the way to ground level so you get whatever breeze there is and the head has a floor to sceiling mesh with a rain cover/verandah hood if it is raining.

If it is cold you get warm quickly in a swag 'cos there is not much air space for the body toi heat.

As others said, tarp on ground to keep clean which you fold back to put shoes under to keep dry and if you get a king size you have room to put your clothes.
AnswerID: 119867

Reply By: Casnat - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:13

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:13
IMHO you can't beat a swag. So much warmer and quieter.

I recently bought my 12 year old son his 1st swag and had "seasoned" it ( soak it then dry it out then soak it etc etc). You may recall the Friday when the drought broke in Adelaide about 6 weeks ago (and the storm hit). Well the lad and I decided to try the swags on the back lawn that night because we thought it would be a good test. Both of us woke the next morning after a great nights sleep. Seems the wife had been up all night shouting at the dog to stop barking because of the storm but we were both a few feet away from the mut and slept right through!

In my opinion once you try you won't go back. The only trouble is the space they take up.

AnswerID: 119869

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:18

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:18
After spending over 70 nights in my swag in the last 15 months I feel qualified to address some of your concerns.
-Get the type with hoops either end, The one I have allows enough room to prop yourself up and read in bed
- rain usually isnt a problem but to make sure (and this stops ground moisture also) have a piece of tarp that is big enough to go underneath and flick over the top of the swag in heavy weather. (In fine weather can be folded or provide space next to the swag out of the dirt)
- Moisture seeping into bedding, Never seen it happen
- packing it away moist, Not A problem but make sure you dont stow it till the next trip like that (canvas over top also keeps swag dry)
- Cloustraphobia, Well this is a personall issue and cant answer it\
- Condensation on inside, These swags have a mesh widow by your head which can be zipped up if you like put leaving it open solves damp on the inside
- Somwhere to change, yep definitly a disadvantage
I spent most of last winter in a swag s/e of Norseman (cold and damp) and couldnt recomend it more. After selling my campervan went to a swag and really feel it has "enhanced" my camping experience. Any other questions dont hesitate to ask
AnswerID: 119870

Reply By: D-Jack - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:19

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:19

You've had a lot of reponses validating the swag, so here's some balance.

I own a swag. I use(d) it on my boys only fishing trips, sleeping around the camp fire, even in a tent. But as I got older I discovered that swags are a part of Australian history and people fall in love with the idea - that is they want to be seen as or identify with the true blue Aussie bushmen of the past. They used to carry swags for a reason - they were the most practical methods of sleeping and keeping reasonably dry. Used to be. They were a canvas folded over with a mattress in the middle. If you want to identify with the old Aussie bushmen, get a swag. But there are better things. I have tried both. I found myself taking my swag along to trips with the boys, because I didn't want to be seen as the 'nancy girlie blouse' with the tent. Like most people with swags I would say.

I have a camper trailer now, so sleep in that most of the time. I'm not trying to sell you on a camper. But for trips when we don't take it, we have a couple of 3 man poly bendy pole tents. They set up in 5 minutes or less. They weigh a couple of kilos. They take up the size of a couple of 2L bottles. They have completely waterproof shells. They shells can be removed or not put on in warm, dry weather to enable you to see the stars and allow complete breeze flow. They dry quickly. You can get changed in them. You can have whatever mattress you like in them. You can even pee into a bottle in them if you desire.

Disadvantages - they can get condensation under them during the cold (so do swags). They take a few minutes more than a swag to set up. You can't completely see the stars because of the mesh when the shell is off, but last I checked to go to your swag to sleep, and most sleep with their eyes closed.

Advantages of swags - they set up quickly, they allow you to see the stars properly (without the mesh), they set up quickly, they allow you to see the stars, they set up quickly and they allow you to see the stars. Oh, and by the way, especially if you're inclined to sleep starkers, you can undo the zip and pee out the side without having to get up!

Disadvantages - they are not completely waterproof. Mine was to quality heavy guage canvas, constant rain will eventually leak through, especially when it is lying on you and something is touching it from the inside. Nowwhere to change. Gets wet trying to get into it when it is already raining, or getting out. Sure you can rig up a tarp, but that's basically a tent then. If it's cold, you will get condentation on the inside, sometimes copious amounts when you have to zip it all up because of the rain. By the way, no zipper is completely waterproof, and heavy side-winds will push rain through zippers, even one's with flaps that blow up in the wind. Swags take up a heap of space. Need to get 3 or 4 in a fourby, with all the other camping gear, and your stuffed. Use them on the beach and its really easy to get sand in your sleeping bag. You are also easy prey for mates who think it is funny lifting you up in the swag during the night and leaving you somewhere you don't want to be, like in the women's toilet. Even worse if you're a good sleeper and you don't realise til morning when the hair dryers start.

Each to their own I guess. I have to say that the majority of swags I see these days are actually tents, with poles and pegs required to suspend the top above you. Is that really a swag? Do swags have mesh?

Strong words I know, and I am expecting to get some unfavourable replies in the not so distant future, but it is unbiassed as I used to swag till I saw the light, and still own one but choose not to use it if I can help it. Hope this helps.

AnswerID: 119871

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:33

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:33
Sleeping arrangements are of couse one of the most personall things there are but I will say I have a good quality tent and a good quality swag, One of the above is used constsantly and the other 2wice and sits in the corner gathering dust
FollowupID: 374925

Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 06:25

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 06:25
you're a nancy girlie blouse
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Reply By: Andy C - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:19

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 21:19
Go the swag all the way! We all go out to the great unknown generally when we think that it "probably" wont rain to ruin our time!

If you go 4wding to get wet then perhaps you should go ocean racing! I used to and much prefer the planned 4wding in "predictable" (almost) weather conditions.

If the heavens DO open up, then the quick tarp from the 4by will already be set up to sit under as you curse hughey while trying to stir your meal in the camp oven with one hand on umbrella, one on the spoon, one lifting the lid and your fourth holding the torch!

The great advantage swags have (if you get a good one) is the variety of ways you can use them. Yes - in the wet put up your poles and hoops - but when it's 35C at night you can open it right up and if needed use the mesh. I've only in the last 3 years had to keep the wet weather out twice, used the mesh twice because of buzzies and the rest of the time have a glorious "head out" experience with all the stars (+/- the banket to keep the temp right).

When in doubt - try "hire before you buy" for a trip away but make sure the hire jobby is the type of swag you'd buy with plenty of options of mesh/open/ventilation etc.

Good luck

AnswerID: 119872

Reply By: chump_boy - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 22:15

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 22:15
A whole heap of girls blouses, the lot of you!

I found an old West German Army Sleeping bag in the back of a disposal store years ago, and only ever use that. It is like a big coat, with a water-proof hood, and a bottom like a sleeping bag. The bottom rolls up at the waist to walk around, there is a flap accross the chest to roll back if it is warm, leaving a flannellette material.

It is great, in that you can pop it on, and sit round the campfire, then just pop your feet in the base and zip it up to go to sleep. In the morning, you just stick your legs out, and wander round until after the morning coffee.

It is designed for sleeping in the German snow, so is lovely and warm. I think that was $25 well spent, some 18 years ago!
AnswerID: 119881

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 22:36

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 22:36
I saw one once years ago and I thought WOW you could wear it to the pub and when you passed out 1/2 way home it wouldnt matter - you were already in bed
FollowupID: 374935

Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:02

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:02
Mate of mine (Welshman) has one - certainly good stuff when night fishing in the Central Highlands !
FollowupID: 374938

Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 06:28

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 06:28
Great swag - if someone doesn't shoot you.
FollowupID: 374961

Follow Up By: Exploder - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 18:25

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 18:25
I have a mate in the army who has been trying to get one of those for years.

This bloke last time we went away made us all look like Nancy girls, First night we all role out the swag’s and he pull’s out one of those army one man shelter’s (Basically a tarp). Set’s it up roles out the sleeping bag AIF issue no pillow uses a jumper gets in and he’s out like a light, Say’s he gets a excellent night’s sleep!
FollowupID: 375057

Reply By: Pterosaur - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 22:28

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 22:28
G'day Mike,

something no one seems to have mentioned is a "bivvy bag" - these are much lighter, and pack down (much, much) smaller than any swag I have seen (about the size of a loaf of bread) - made for bushwalking/mountaineering, so are very light, and strong. Available in various styles (hoops, poles, none), according to taste - all the good ones are made of Gore-Tex which is waterproof, but allows condensation to escape.

I have one I use occasionally, but am generally more comfortable in a small "2 man"
mountain tent - put the fly on if its wet, no fly if its dry - mesh small enough to prevent bush flies, mozzies, and views of the stars are little affected.

My tent can be pitched almost as quickly in fair weather as unrolling a swag - fly and inner are attached, poles are shock corded, so just grab one end, chuck the other away and bingo! - assembled pole - 2 of these - insert into sleeves and there it is! In bad weather can be set up more quickly than any of the "foul weather" swag setups I have seen - you have to peg the tent and a couple of guys down as well.

That being said, I have graduated to a Troopy camper, which I reckon is less hassle when travelling constantly.

2003 HZJ78 Camper
AnswerID: 119885

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:13

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:13
We take both.

Double swag gets used most of the time. Tent goes up if we're near civilisation, which is fortunately not often.

My wife is a convert having now swagged it for the last two desert trips. Its pretty much a tent anyway, with 3 simple hoops, but the secret for her is the fat 4wd mattress we put inside it - very comfortable. Its very bulky, but we have heaps of room in the canopy. We don't think about getting it out until bedtime - got better things to do at beer o'clock.

AnswerID: 119891

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:48

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:48
my only concern with double swags is wouldnt it make one heck of a dutch oven? oh that and i have no one to fill the other side!!
FollowupID: 374954

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 10:36

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 10:36
Yeah, 2 people in a double is warmer than one person in a single swag. I think thats a plus out in the desert in winter. We still use single sleeping bags because they are warmer than a double bag and one person can roll over without disturbing the other. We keep the front flap open fully so we don't "cook".

Can't help you out with an extra person to keep you warm. Can still buy hot water bottles.

FollowupID: 374985

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:28

Monday, Jul 11, 2005 at 23:28
Borrow one... Swags arent for everyone.

First time I used mine up Eildon way, I went to sleep with the top open to look around, and get used to it... then it started raining not stormy, but wet... closed it up, and had the side vent things open a little....

I woke up dry, went wheeling all day, but put a blue tarp over it for the day (in a van park on a club trip), slept that night wet outside again, and woke up DRY and happy. Use the blue tarp to stand on while gettin dressed. Then again, if its only an overnighter just change ya crustys in the morning...

Im usin an airmatteress inside it too... real comfort. bollox to 1mm foam
AnswerID: 119893

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:50

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:50
Air mattress is like a tyre, pump em up too high and prone to punctures when the going gets rough but yeah damn good with something underneath or on top to insulate from the cold.
FollowupID: 374955

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:50

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:50
??? last I remember you were a tent man
FollowupID: 374956

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:57

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 00:57
He's got the lot, had to buy a flippin trailer for all the gear.
FollowupID: 374957

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 09:58

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 09:58
yea got a swag at the right price, so grabbed it. I also take the 1 man tent since its smaller than a sleeping bag to pack.

Yea Ray, its gettin like that :-s or a Ute.
FollowupID: 374980

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 10:01

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 10:01
You are also right on the air matteress.. I grabbed a few travel blankets from work, and use them, but I used to use them under the airbed in the big tent too...

Gotta get some shadecloth for under the tent, swag and more. :(
FollowupID: 374981

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 03:21

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 03:21

In short, the best bit of camping gear I own.

Although we now have a camper trailer, there are times that the swag will be all that we need. Before the Camper, we used a tent if staying in the one place for more than a single night. The tent in fact was merely insurance for adverse weather. It has an awning out front big enough to cook and sit under. That was the reason I bought it. But, inside the tent, the bride and I still used our swags as bedding. The high density foam type mattress provides the best form of comfortable support I have ever slept on.

Swags claustrophobic ? Not for us.
I personally don't like an enclosed sleeping bag. That is claustrophobic. But used simply as a doona, inside a swag, or over the top of one used as a mattress only, we have no problems whatsoever.

Probably the hardest decision you need to make is what style. Some like a side entry so they can slide in and out. (But so can other things if you don't zip up properly). Some (like ours) are entered from the top when erected and you have the option of fully open, mesh only, canvas top only, or both.

The only other piece of advice I can think of is to get the style that keeps the canvas off your feet. This style doesn't have to be of the double hoop variety. Some (like ours) have a simple straight short pole that keeps the base extended and a flexible fibreglass hoop for the top.

One final thing. They are also beaut for those unexpected occasions when guests "sleep over". Just throw the swag on the floor and you have an "instant bed" that will give the user, a comfortable night's sleep.


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 119902

Reply By: Member - ROTORD - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 03:22

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 03:22
Hello Mike .

New [ I think ] in my favourite camping store ; the combined tent/swag . The perfect rig for those who can't make up their mind . It is a low fold out stretcher that has a standing swag , or mini tent , on top . All one piece , self erecting . It would seem to combine the advantages of both a tent and a swag and avoids some of the disadvantages . A major advantage is that it packs flat , much less drag in the roof rack .
AnswerID: 119903

Reply By: tildo - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 18:20

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 18:20
just found this site.......its not bad.......but have you ever seen so many people who just think that what THEY have is the only way to go.......and the name calling when people differ in their opinions, come on
AnswerID: 120002

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 18:27

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005 at 18:27
Welcome to the internet. And the rest of the world really.

This site is not bad - you should check out the Newsgroups!

I reckon there is a Doctorate in psychology (probably a few of them) waiting for the person who does a decent paper on internet behaviour.

We bicker and we bitch but we're not too bad really - just people :)

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 375058

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 02:04

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 02:04
you gotta relize the tent vs swag thing is very emotional same as Toyota vs Nissan Its like cat is to dog, Stick around and you will get genuine outdoors info from this site You dont seem to get on the others
FollowupID: 375118

Reply By: tildo - Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 10:03

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 at 10:03
yes it does have some good info....and i will stick for the topic....we have , tents , swags and a caravan, and are all good and..bad in different circumstances........we live in nth qld...wet and dry....and are a family of 5, so having all options works well for us, but it all comes at a travel a lot, and would love to hear from others.....cheers
AnswerID: 120116

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 01:05

Thursday, Jul 14, 2005 at 01:05
I have had two. I bought a Mad Dog and used that for a while. Before doing the Canning in May I bought a Darche. i had wanted one earlier but the Mad Dog seemed okay for the price. I learnt later where it was deficient and now have two swags as a result.

The Darche is fantastic. Spent four and a bit weeks in it (replace mattress with Thermarest - it's more comfortable, and rolls smaller) and loved every night.

I have a tent for family trips but I love the wife not coming because I don't have to set it up!

Now I have two swags daughter number 1 is happy because Dad won't leave her behind as she adopted the Mad Dog.

Go the swag. They are brilliant in the right situations.


PS If I can't see the clouds I usually have the awning off the side of the ute (2 mins setup.) anyway in case it rains and I need to sit, stand or drink under it. Swag gets rolled out at 30 seconds to bed time and in 3 minutes I'm snoring off the Bundy's and the clothes are dry on the drivers seat.
AnswerID: 120283

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