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swags for camping and sleeping


  • for those driving to a camp site, swags are extremely popular, especially for solo campers
  • you can get double swags but these are even more bulky and heavy
  • most common are the dome or tunnel types which provide more head room , less claustrophobia and better insect protection than traditional swags but they are more bulky and heavy
  • canvas should generally be at least 320gsm with ripstop nylon fabric
  • the base should generally be PVC base and not canvas to provide better waterproofing, but if you choose canvas base you can use a tarp groundsheet
  • the foam mattress should be 5-7cm thick as a minimum, or add a self-inflating mat
  • zippers should be YKK zippers
  • poles should be metal and not fibreglass
  • usual sizes are:
    • Single: 60-90cm wide x 180-230cm long
    • King Single: 90-115cm wide x 190-230cm long
    • Double: 110-130cm wide x 190-230cm long for comparison, a 2P dome hiking tent is usually 130cm wide x 230cm long and much lighter at around 2kg
  • styles:
    • traditional swag
      • no pole support framework and hence mesh/canvas can fall on your face
    • dome swag
      • these use two or three hoop “dome” poles to create a supporting framework
      • those with a ridge pole to connect these are generally freestanding
      • they usually have a mesh/canvas ventilation windows at each end - some have the head end window large enough to be used as a door or as a “hunter's window”
      • some have the mesh doors only on the sides
      • some have mesh on top to allow better sky visibility
      • some have a separate fly which makes them more like a tent and with better weatherproofing and sun blockout eg. Oztent DS-1 and DS-2
    • air swag
      • these are like the dome swags but use air poles instead and require these to be pumped up


  • swags have the advantage over most other tents in that they are warmer in winter or alpine areas as your body has less volume of air to heat up, yet the canvas with mesh windows can still be cool on warmer nights
  • tend to be very sturdy and long lasting
  • relatively fast set up as most come with a foam mattress in place
  • generally great in strong winds given their low profile but can be very dusty


  • bulky and heavy - they will take up a LOT of room on your vehicle and are way too heavy to hike with
    • they start at 5kg for “expedition” models, but the usual swags are 12-19kg - similar to a 4P touring tent which has far more amenity for the packed size and weight!
  • need extra gear to make them comfortable in the rain:
    • a stretcher bed to get them off the ground is preferred by many, whilst others will just use a ground sheet
    • a tarp or vehicle awning to protect from rain or sun
  • there is very limited headroom so you will need to get changed horizontally as you may not be able to sit up
  • can take a long time to dry out once wet
  • can be a major risk of being run over by a vehicle at night hence choice of camp site is important
  • ground water flooding can enter swag more easily than most tents as their bucket wall of the floor is not as high
    • this can be addressed by placing them on an appropriate stretcher bed to raise them off the ground which also keeps them cleaner
  • some may find them claustrophobic, especially the traditional swag designs
  • many are not freestanding and must be pegged out via guy ropes at each end
  • generally need to be seasoned to make them more waterproof
  • many are not as waterproof as you may need them to be even with seasoning
  • they can get very muddy on wet ground - some use a ground sheet to protect them.
  • if you want to replace the mattress with a better thicker one, it may need to be rolled up separately
  • most are too hot to be in during the day unless they are under the shade of an awning or tarp


  • Darche Dusk to Dawn
  • Darche Ridgedome Dome Swag
  • Darche MegaDome
  • Darche Superdome Swag
  • Darche Kozi Outback
    • much shorter, lighter and less expensive than the Dusk to Dawn but not freestanding and doesn't come with a bag
    • 320gsm canvas with an 800mm water rating and 550gsm heavy duty PVC floor; 5cm mattress; no hub space; 2.15m long; 12.3 kgs to 14.5 kgs;
  • Darche Dirty Dee 900/1100 Dome Swag
  • BCF Wanderer Contour swag
    • good budget swag; 7cm mattress; 450gsm ripstop polycotton canvas; 500gsm PVC floor; large mesh screens at both ends and either side; 2.1m x 85cm x 68cm
  • 23Zero Bandit range
    • 450gsm canvas 3 hoop design; each side has two doors; mesh is NOT midgie proof but is strong; roll up gussetted awning on each end; 7cm thick foam mattress; 90, 110, 140cm wide models;
  • Sahara Explorer
  • Oztrail Mitchell Expedition
    • 230gsm SatProof ripstop canvas 3 hoop design (centre removes easily from inside) but No-See-Um mesh is at top and the top canvas can be guyed out at head end to create an awning above the swag; 5cm thick foam mattress; 90cm wide; 8.7kg; packs to 90L x 28W x 28H cm ; also a double swag version 145cm wide and 13.7kg;
  • Oztrail Lawson Discovery
    • 3 hoop freestanding; 420gsm 2000mm waterhead ripstop canvas; 7cm mat; 2.1×0.9×0.7m; 12kg; $AU299 on special;
  • Oztent DS-1 / DS-2 Pitch Black tent/swag
    • 2 hoop design with long 65gsm No-See-Um removable and replaceable mesh upper but no canvas cover to this; 5cm mat; large head end mesh door to access head vestibule;
    • single side door, single head door, peggable skirted blockout fly cover weatherproof shelter with vents at each end and an externally accessible 50cm foot vestibule;
    • single DS-1: 210L x 90W x 80H cm packs to 91L x 34W x 32H cm; 9.75kg; $AU329
    • double DS-2: 210L x 140W x 120H cm packs to 122L x 38W x 37H cm 11.5kg $AU349
australia/swags.txt · Last modified: 2023/03/15 23:44 by gary1

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