Kids under five in swags

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 15:52
ThreadID: 92390 Views:11553 Replies:12 FollowUps:11
This Thread has been Archived
Driving from Northern Vic to Darwin for a wedding, via Oodnadatta track on way up and McDonald Ranges on the way back. Trip time approx 3 weeks.
Two littlies, at that time Little Mr will be just turned 2 and Little Miss will be almost 4.
Husband, BJ, hates taking "too much stuff", which inevitably, I pack. We travel in a GQ Patrol, small roofrack.
In the past we've tried:
Family tent - Tent is classified as "too much stuff" and too much effort to put up and take down every day/night. Plus, we don't all fit in it anymore.
Kids in tent, Us in swag - Portacot is also classified as 'too much stuff' and there is no way Little Mr would stay in his own bed. He'd likely sleep in the corner of the tent on the floor. That is if he actually went to sleep while sharing a tent with his sister.
We've also tried many other combinations, none of which are acceptable for this trip, due to 'too much stuff' factor and increasing age of the kids.

So this time, to please my man, we are planning on 3 swags, under a roofrack side awning. Our usual double, a new small one for Little Miss, just a folded over piece of canvas and a string to hold it up off her face, and a KinderCot for Little Mr. It's like a popup shower tent style thing, an instant tent, that zips up and can be pegged down.

Has anyone else tried this? How do your littlies go, sleeping in swags?
Little Miss has slept in a swag with hoops at the top before, but that swag is 'too much stuff'.

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Litlbalt - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:42

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 17:42
I think your husband needs to realise that he has children and that comes with extra items that are NEEDED.

We have just bought swags for our girls and they are 5 and 3 but they will be sleeping in them in our tent I wouldn't be putting our girls just in swags and thats it especially that little.
AnswerID: 479904

Reply By: Member - David Will (VIC) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 19:06

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 19:06

We recently travelled for a month (mostly indoors) with our 18 month old in a popup tent kindakot thingy. She loved it - it was her own personal little space.
We did have her in it for a week or so at home before we left so she could get used to it. We often go camping and she is fine in it, albeit, she is in the tent with us and then in the kindacot.
The kids do stay very warm in these as the tent traps their heat but I probably wouldn't trust them by themselves out in the open due to condensation etc. I would suggest maybe trying it in your backyard before you go to check if blankets get wet etc. I also found that my daughter curled up in the corner of the cot and ended up with the side pushed onto the ground so you may want to place a groundsheet and/or blanket to accomodate this.

One of the other good things is that our daughter has not learnt how to undo zips yet so we throw a toy in with her and she plays with it for a little while when she wakes up giving us a little more time to sleep in.

Good luck with your trip.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 479910

Follow Up By: Pegily - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:40

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:40
Thanks! Great to hear from someone who has used the same thing.
Little Mr has discovered that he can push the whole thing over, so I'm letting him have some time in it while he's awake, so I can teach him that pushing it is NOT ON. We'll also peg it down.
I get the point about condensation. We'll be having our first test run at Easter, but taking a back up tent. As for camping outside, I doubt the kindercots are waterproof, the flaps on the end just flap down. Do you think so?
FollowupID: 755409

Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 19:40

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 19:40
I found the best option for touring with 3 kids was to use a large minute tent (4 pegs/1 pole), self inflating mats & the portacot. Full camp setup took 10 minutes tops & 20 minutes packup. The portacot was very handy as ours was a folding model that was up in 30 seconds & with a fly screen over the top was an instant playpen out of the dirt plus a bed at night (use in motels), then packed neatly accross the back floor.
Tent was on the roof & the bedding dry inside. Advantage over swags is you have a mozzie free tent, a dry area the kids can play, cooking out of the elements if required & somewhere to get dressed in private particually important in caravan parks.
I think Hubby needs to stop packing for a boys trip & understand you & the kids have needs too.
Cheers Craig.................
AnswerID: 479914

Follow Up By: Pegily - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:47

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:47
Wow, great to hear that comment from a bloke! I was starting to worry that I was getting soft. I've always slept in a swag, in the back of my ute before I was married, now in our double.
I have trouble convincing BJ to take stuff for kids. When we did the High Country at Easter 2011, Little Mr was 5 months old, so rather than take the portacot, we took a big cardboard box that we could fold down to pack flat. We did take the tent then, but with all that gear, food, water, etc, we were right on GVM!
It's a difficult line, isn't it?
We've looked at the minute tents, and were pretty keen on them, but then were given a 3 person dome tent. Now it's hard to justify spending money on a new tent, when we already have one.
FollowupID: 755410

Follow Up By: Crackles - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:39

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:39
There's no rule that says you must rough it to go camping & with careful selection of gear it doesn't have to overload the car either. A few years back I started downsizing alot of my equipment replacing sleeping bags with lighter & more compact versions, telescopic alloy poles instead of steel etc etc. The best space saving idea I came up with was to give everyone a waterproof sailors bag. They could take any personal items they wanted as long as it fitted in the bag.
While your dome tent may be very light I can appreciate why you're looking at swags because they are quite time consuming to errect every day when touring. Packing your 5 month old child up each night in a carboard box though is an unusual way to save weight. Possibly you could substitute plasma rope on the winch & carry the porta cot instead ;-)
Cheers Craig................
FollowupID: 755432

Follow Up By: Pegily - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:04

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:04
Winch? What winch? Lol.

When I was a kid, my family of 4 travelled in a 83 F100 ute with canopy. It was converted to have 2 rows of seats, to get to the back you had to hurdle the front bench seat. Sis and I were allowed to take whatever we wanted as long as it fitted in our 'grey box'. I didn't appreciate at the time how much SPPPAACCCEE there was in the F100. Now trying to fit everything in the Patrol, I wish we had an Effy. And a Patrol is a big 4x4, compared to others.

I know what you mean about not having to rough it. Since Sis and I have our own 4x4's, Mum and Dad now have a shower tent, hot water converter, 2 engles, the list goes on. I try to invite them whenever we go camping. They're pretty sympathetic to the Grandie's needs too.
FollowupID: 755502

Reply By: Member - Carlin - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:00

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:00
You will be fine with swags. We camp often with friends who have kids who have been sleeping in swags since they were 3. As long as they are close to you they will feel safe.
AnswerID: 479916

Reply By: ExplorOz - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:21

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:21
Oh yes, after the porta cot, our kids immediatley upgraded to their own swag - about 2 years old. My girls are now (nearly) 8 and 11 and love the whole swag thing.

Take a look in our personal blogs for pics and stories. Here - Our Blog Index

And here's a few more recent pics I've selected. Note - two single swags side by side on a ground sheet, and our double swag set a little away - my exit closest to kids. We only setup under the tarp (attached to side of vehicle) if rain is likely. Otherwise, its just out in the open under the stars.

I'll see if I can dig up some pics of them kids in them when they were your kids age - so cute.

Regards Michelle


Business Member
My Profile  My Blog

AnswerID: 479917

Follow Up By: Pegily - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:52

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:52
Little Miss has slept in the hoop style swag before, and did a great job. Kept the sand out, and the bedtime toys and Little Miss in. I'm really happy with this style swag for her, it's so cosy and safe (and mozzie proof). But the new swag is just a basic, folded piece of canvas with a string. I'm negotiated a mozzie net for over the whole thing.
We'll be testing it out at Easter, so fingers crossed all goes well.
FollowupID: 755413

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:25

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012 at 20:25
Swags are great for kids, but I'd have the 2 kids in swags inside one of those instant spring up tents that weighs next to nothing and springs into shape without playing with poles or pegs.

Also Kids that age only need some high density foam (insulates great), not a bulky 2" swag mattress.
AnswerID: 479918

Follow Up By: Pegily - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:57

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 08:57
Little Miss' new swag is custom made (read; home made) with 400mm wide 1700mm long piece of foam left over from some other job. Guess who gets to sleep in it if she won't?
I'd love a Lightening Tent, and bet that BJ would be happy to take something so small, but the cost is a major factor.
FollowupID: 755416

Reply By: Pegily - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 09:00

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 09:00
Thanks everyone, for your suggestions and advice. Keep them coming!
We'll be testing our new camping setup at Easter, so fingers crossed that all goes well. I have convinced BJ to take backup options to Easter trip, so we'll be packing our small dome tent.

My other suggestion was Little Mr and I share our swag and Little Miss sleeps in hoop swag, and BJ sleeps in his own "bit of canvas folded in half'. We'll see how Easter goes, and this might just eventuate. Who knows, it might mean that I get to go to bed when kids do, and BJ can pack up camp before bed. ;)
AnswerID: 479942

Follow Up By: ExplorOz - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:54

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:54
That sounds perfect - BJ in the "bit of canvas" - kids and mum safe and comfortable.

Business Member
My Profile  My Blog

FollowupID: 755434

Reply By: ExplorOz - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:53

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 11:53
Forgive me for asking, but does BJ take cases of beer or soft drink or other bulky non-necessities that you can negotiate instead??


Business Member
My Profile  My Blog

AnswerID: 479956

Follow Up By: Pegily - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:55

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 23:55
The 60L engle takes up the same amount of space whether it's full or not. There is not precious cargo space devoted to grog, just a bottle of rum in the door pocket and how ever many cans of coke fit around the food in the Engle.

I've started an Excel spreadsheet of all our camping stuff, so hoping to be able to get some stuff worked out on paper.

Do your swags always travel on the roofrack? Do the insides get wet in the rain or do you tarp them in the wet?
FollowupID: 755500

Reply By: ExplorOz - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 12:53

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 12:53
My opinion is get the second swag now as they'll have them for their whole lifetime - and you'll find it heaps more practical.

We also use an OzTent RV 5 as our backup. It suits us as it packs on the side of the roof rack and is not used all the time, but is always there. The ideal thing is it doesn't require anything additional and gives us respite and comfort when needed - and we can configure it a number of ways:

1. Quick setup: 2 kids swags inside, us in double-swag outside under awning.
2. Longer setup: use zip on side panels and front panel to extend into two-room tent. All inside in swags.
3. Home base setup for extended stays: when we go to Ningaloo, we put the kids in their own tent and we setup the OzTent with the side+front panels and sleep on an airmattress with a doona, the front room of the Oztent then becomes the cooking/food storage area.

Whatever you choose, best of luck.


Business Member
My Profile  My Blog

AnswerID: 479960

Follow Up By: Pegily - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:14

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:14
How does the ExplorOz-mobile go for GVM? Do you find that you're pushing it when you take 4 family members? I notice that alot of families have a camper, just so they can beat their GVM.
FollowupID: 755505

Reply By: River Swaggie - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 18:41

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 18:41
Most hooped swags come with micromesh which if you dont let them in they stay out....Ive been kept awake in the past with the bloody mozzies trying to get in....

AnswerID: 479988

Reply By: Pebble - Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 22:53

Friday, Mar 09, 2012 at 22:53
Check out some of the touring tents before you commit to swags (we have a pyramid style Outdoor Connection Cooper model, fits 2 kids on one side of the pole and us two on the other).
The kids are 9 & 7 now and we have only just brought swags because it's going to be easier to put them on the roof rack and not worry about matresses / bedding etc getting wet (troopy).
We'll still be keeping the tent and possibly taking it on the longer trips (in addition to the swags).

You could always buy swags of a style that can be folded out and used in a tent too (to keep your options more versatile).
AnswerID: 480015

Follow Up By: Pegily - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:11

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 00:11
Thanks. I'm not a fan of sleeping in the swag in the rain, so I think I'll push for tent as backup anyway.

I jokingly suggested the stretcher style swag with full on canvas frame mini tent thing for each kid, as Little Mr sleeps in a meatsafe style cot at home, so it's just the same. You should have seen the look on BJ's face. He was horrified. Luckily, I wasn't serious.
But you're right about picking versatile styles, I'll keep that in mind.
FollowupID: 755503

Reply By: Member - Brian R (WA) - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 01:06

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 01:06
Come on>>>>
2 and 4 years old ????

They are under your wing and both must come first forget your needs !!!
Get the whole lot together, in a tent or in swags.....but togehter....what more can I say. Kids need our support 24/7 that is 24/7. When we are out doing the things we want to do.....WE ARE A TEAM....everyone should enjoy
Brian R
AnswerID: 480021

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 18:02

Saturday, Mar 10, 2012 at 18:02
easy mate! I dont think they were requesting a parenting lecture, just info on how others go about it.
most kids are pretty adaptable, all 5 of mine swag on the beach and the youngest 2 boys (now 5&7) have been swagging on the boat when on fishing trips for a couple of years now.
They LOVE it, sometimes they share sometimes not but I just bought the $99 ones from Getaway for them.

The boys call them "swaggins"!
FollowupID: 755557

Sponsored Links