Burke and Wills swag vs Jolly swag?

Submitted: Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 15:10
ThreadID: 54598 Views:25062 Replies:11 FollowUps:11
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I need to buy a swag for work. I will be doing some work on the Oodnadatta Track in SA from the end of March for about 6 months, I want one which has mesh all the way and can be sealed to keep the biteys out.

I think I have narrowed it down to two, the Lasster by True Blue Swags (same company as Jolly Swags) or the
Burke and Wills Redgum

I am expecting it to get really cold out there and I have myself a Roman "The Beast" sleeping bag which is a -10 rated, and is very snug (maybe a bit too snug for general use :lol: )

What are peoples thoughts on these, which do you think is the better? any thoughts would be great.

Is one brand known to be better than the other?
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Reply By: MintabiePete (NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:19

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:19
How things have changed :) I have always used a 12foot x12foot birkmire tarp , and when I was real flash , a piece of foam rubber to take the dints out of the ground when I lay down in the blankets :)
AnswerID: 287650

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:39

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:39
Both those swags look pretty good.
It looks as though you have done your homework too.

An important consideration is getting the XL or XXL size, which gives you more space.

I think you would be happy with either of those swags.

Use a sleeping bag that can be opened out flat and use this as a "doona" for the cooler nights.
You can leave it in the swag and just roll the whole lot up together.


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AnswerID: 287656

Follow Up By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:07

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:07
I also leave my pillow in mine...... But I am still a little dissapointed it takes 3 minutes to set up camp. 20 mins to have dinner ready consisting of steak, mashed potatos and peas/carrot. 2 mins to wash up. 5mins to pack the ute and next morn 4 minutes to be on the road again........
Still trying to beat my personal best for the on the road thing. LOL
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Reply By: balko - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:42

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 18:42
After living out of a swag i would buy a small oztent and a fold up bed so when you have down time you can sit in there or when it rains put all your stuff in there. it might not suit you but me im never going back in that dim sim again Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 287659

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:38

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:38

I have an Oztent, but the swag is still used inside it. (as a mattress)

I have not found anything as comfortable while still being portable, than the swag.

Buy a good one and it will be your friend for life.


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Follow Up By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:12

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:12
I always carry a 2 man tent for if it is going to rain. It is a four season tunnel with 3 poles and 3 pegs to set up. It takes about 6 minutes to put up and about 10 mins to pull down.
If I was to stay in one place for a while I would put up a tarp and sleep under that in my swag..........
Then again it all depends where I am going........ for drives accross OZ I take a swag, tarp and 2 person tent.
For somewhere I will be staying for a week I will take a tarp and 6 person tent.
if I need to go ultra light weight I would take a 1 person tent........
FollowupID: 552978

Reply By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 19:42

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 19:42
Dont think I can say which one is better than the other, but we have a burke and wills dbl swag and its brilliant..!! So very warm but like most swags the matress needs changing...got one of those orr-road self inflating ones......but whether ours is a red gum i dont know...its just a sbl burke and wills swag!

Good luck

AnswerID: 287674

Reply By: warfer69 - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 23:55

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 23:55
I have a double redgum from burke and wills,the canvas is made (baked) by the company in Dandenong,Victoria..

Initially i had leaking issues and they did well beyond what i'd expect a company to do to rectify the problem...(aussie made aussie owned)

As far as i'm aware the Jolly canvas comes from India etc etc

AnswerID: 287709

Reply By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:25

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:25
I personally have a Down Under........ I love it......... It is comfortable and very water proof. Slept in it for 3 months whilst on the road recently.

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I would feel a little clostofobic in a swag when it rains during the day. Hence I carry a tarp just in case. Also a tarp is a good idea in the desert in case of a breakdown then there is shade.
AnswerID: 287721

Reply By: Outnabout David (SA) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:01

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:01
I have a little used Jolly Swag XL Bogong which is almost the same as the lasseter or Jolly swag Shiralee which I may get rid of. The advantage of this one is that the mesh goes all the way to the floor on the sides and full length. Plus if it is raining you can just lift the side up a bit and slide in from the side so none of the bedding gets wet.
Used it usually for the overnighters but getting a bit old for swagging so opted for a tent. If interested let me know. I assume you are in SA also.
AnswerID: 287726

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:35

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:35

I am interested in looking at your swag to buy.

maybe you could email me at r i c k m o o re @ p a c i f i c dot net au

FollowupID: 553031

Reply By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:33

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:33
We have two Burke and Wills Coolabah swags and can't be happier.

One of the reasons we did not get the Redgum was there is a hoop at the top and one at the bottom whereby the Coolabah has one at the top and one in the middle, it stops the swag falling in in the middle.

Australian made, good quality except get rid of the 4mm cheap pegs and get 8mm ones for a tent, if you try using the 4mm ones and hit something hard (rock, tree root) they bend and can't use them again even if you straighten them.

Spend the money and buy a Thermarest self inflating mattress (about $300.00) and you will have a fantastic sleep.

Also you might want to look at their swag bags that act as a ground sheet.

I would strongly advise NOT to get a low temp rated sleeping bag, the lower the temp rating the tighter it is and the more narrower at the bottom, they are very uncomfortable plus on warmer nights they become to hot.

We chose the Coleman Pilbra that is a 3 Deg rated bag made out of a cotton material...not the slippery stuff most are made from and it is not tapered at the bottom, they are alot wider then you average bag.....it's like sleeping with a quilt on.

You can also get a lower temp rated Coleman one that has a removable liner.

We were prepaired to spend upto $500.00 each on new sleeping bags and the sales guy at Anaconda new his stuff and talked out of it....he surgested the Coleman Pilbra for $99.00 for waht we wanted and I was abit sceptical at first but they are very good.

A -10 is getting into snow ratings.

All we use are the old army style thin wool blankets if we need extra warmth.

Regards Richard
AnswerID: 287743

Follow Up By: nats - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 10:51

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 10:51
Low - temp bags are fine in warmer climes if they are able to be unzipped and turned into a 'quilt' thus overcoming the problem of narrow tapering at the feet. A good down bag is an excellent investment - quality really matters if you like to camp in the inland in winter and down bags are light and can be squeezed into a stuff sack to minimize space. I agree the Thermarest self- inflating mattresses are well worth the money also.
FollowupID: 553021

Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 13:33

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 13:33
When refering to low temp I was refering to his original post wanting a -10 rated bag.

The true -10 bags are very tight and have a zip only on on side if at all.

Have a look at this site:

I get a better sleep on our Thermarest then on our $1500 mattress.....surprising how something 2 inches thick can work so well.

Regards Richard

FollowupID: 553053

Follow Up By: nats - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 14:51

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 14:51
The zip on the side is really all you need to make a quilt like effect and there are rated sleeping bags that have the side zip. Try this site for an example :

Of course, a zip does involve some loss of heat but the compromise is worth it - no second bag or extender required. A cotton liner is also a good idea as it keeps the bag clean, gives some warmth on a night when the bag is not needed, in quilt form, until the early morning and one can ignore the feel of the material of the sleeping bag inner as a factor in choosing a bag.

Best wishes,
FollowupID: 553063

Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 20:40

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 20:40
Are you a sleeping bag salesman?

Im not disputing your claim of knowing alot about sleeping bags and the differant types.....

There are heaps of differant bags avaliable some good some bad.

FollowupID: 553113

Follow Up By: nats - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 22:33

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 22:33

"Are you a sleeping bag salesman?"

What an odd question. I wanted to make the point that sleeping bags for very cold nights can be compatible with using them as a quilt for warmer nights. I included a link for an Australian brand for illustration purposes. - 10 bags are able to be used this way. Seems clear enough to me. Sorry it confused you. Information is one of the good things about this forum?

FollowupID: 553134

Reply By: butterflygirl - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:33

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:33
Thanks guys for your opinions, I will not so much be living in the swag we will have a Highways Patrol van on site and we will probably only be out for a week or two at a time, before heading home again, but having a swag is more for emergencies, like if we get stuck away from camp for any reason, and also to use as an extra mattress
AnswerID: 287744

Reply By: Member - BUNDY BOY (WA) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 23:16

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 23:16
hay there Butterflygirl... ive got a Burke n wills..Coolabah....double swag.......and its great.......went for it instead of the red gum ...only for the reason it has higher sides before the zips..and ive woken up in 4 inches of water .....with not a drop inside.....................so u know were my ..vote goes ............
cheers Bundy
AnswerID: 287855

Reply By: Member - John H (WA) - Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 10:40

Monday, Feb 18, 2008 at 10:40
I have spent many weeks living out of a Burke and Wills Redgum swag, with a self inflating matress, and Roman 'beast' sleeping bag.

Never had a problem with leaks at all (I did make sure the swag was submerged in the bath at home, and fully dried out a couple of times to prep the canvas, swell the stitching, etc before being used). The full length screen netting means on those really warm nights, you can just open the canvas right off, and still keep the insects away.

I like to sleep warm, and the 'beast' sleeping bag works well for that. I'm fairly tall I guess (6'3"), and it's plenty big enough. It doesn't taper at the feet end either, leaving lots of 'wriggle' room. I've woken up a few times in desert areas and heard the ice from frozen dew on the outside of the swag crack as you open up in the morning. If it ever is warm, I just open it up and use it like a doona as others have mentioned. Slept warm and cosy.

Hope the info helps.

AnswerID: 288121

Follow Up By: butterflygirl - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2008 at 10:17

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2008 at 10:17
John H,

What size is your Redgum?

I think that is what I have decided on but now they come in single (860mm wide) XL (1100mm wide) and double (1450mm). I'm not considering the double but now have the decision between the two smaller ones.

The single will stay warmer, although with "The Beast" that is not really an issue, and will take up less room, but the XL would be a lot more roomier and comfortable to stretch out in. Hmm... decisions decisions. I'm sort of leaning towards the single due to the fact that it would be easier to pack, and use for normal camping weekends, and I guess it might be easier to just take a 3 man tent and if I end up needing to "live" in it that would give me a bit extra room?

I liked that "the beast" has a zip out inner liner that can be washed, and it has 'lots' of room.
FollowupID: 553563

Follow Up By: Member - John H (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008 at 10:36

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2008 at 10:36
I use the single.

One of the reasons I chose the Redgum, is that it is quite long. I'm about 6'3", but not very wide . The single suits me just right, and the self inflating mat fits in perfectly too.

As others have mentioned, I do carry a cheap dome tent for times where I'm camping for quite a while in one spot, or if staying in a caravan park overnight. In those cases, I just roll the swag out inside the tent.

Hope the info helps ..........

FollowupID: 553743

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