Whether you’re an outdoorsy single in search of solitude in the Australian outback or a couple looking to spend a romantic night out underneath the stars, swag camping is an option you should definitely consider.
What is a swag?
A swag is a bedroll made from either canvas or PVC and usually contains a foam mattress for sleeping. Swags are made for single occupants and couples and will protect those it shelters from the elements, bugs, dirt, and any other slithering, slimy, scurrying, or flying critter. The newer models are shaped like domes and allow for more height than a traditional swag, which is typically two canvas layers with a mattress in between them.
Advantages of a swag
Swags present their users with many benefits, including:
- Low maintenance: Swags generally do not have to be “set up” like regular tents. All one does to use them is to unroll them—you can even store all of your sleeping things inside of it while it is in transit.
- Comfortable mattress: A mattress comes with most swags and it is usually extremely comfortable. That means you won’t need to buy an air or foam mattress, just use your sleeping back and your swag mat.
- Well-insulated: You will stay warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot, and you will be protected from the things outside that want to bite, claw, or eat you. (Okay, so any animal that sees a human as a meal would probably have no trouble getting through a swag or tent, so don’t camp in areas teeming with killer wildlife, just to be safe.)
- Good ventilation: By opening up the flaps of the swag, one can enjoy a refreshing amount of air flow to keep the environment nice and comfortable.
- Wintertime camping: Swags are ideal for camping in colder and dryer weather.
Disadvantages of a swag
However, swags also come with their own drawbacks and before you make a decision on what to buy, you should be aware of them.
- Heavy rain: Swags by themselves do not function well in rainy weather, however, if you camp close to your car and run a tarp from the vehicle over the swag, this will solve your water problem quite well.
- Weather issues: Using a swag during warm and humid weather can spell a night of poor sleep for the occupants. When the swag is completely covered, it can get quite hot and sticky inside the tent.
- Be wary of summertime: Summer time campers may want to really give serious thought as to whether or not a swag is the correct choice for them. Because of Australia’s unpredictable weather and high rate of summer thunderstorms, you should either consider switching to another method entirely or be sure to use your swag with other pieces of equipment, like tarps and poles to protect it from getting wet.
Avid campers would do well to purchase both a regular tent and a swag just to have the option to pick the best choice for a particular camping occasion. For those who only camp periodically, sit down and take a look at the times of year you usually do a lot of camping (summer, winter, spring, or fall?) and decide on which model is best suited to your usual camping environment. Visit our shop for a variety of swags to choose from.
Leslie, David (2012) Fantastic Sleep Options for the Restless Camper. Available from: http://blog.snowys.com.au/fantastic-sleep-options-explained-for-the-restless-camper/ (Accessed 26 September 2014).
Outbacktravelaustralia.com.au, Swag, Tent, or Camper Trailer. Available from: http://www.outbacktravelaustralia.com.au/camping-camper-trailers/caping-choices. (Accessed 26 September 2014).
Wescombe, Richard (2011) A Handy Guide to Choosing a Swag. Available from: http://blog.snowys.com.au/a-handy-guide-to-choosing-a-swag/. (Accessed 26 September 2014).