If you’re looking for a true blue camping experience, there’s nothing quite like setting up a swag under the stars. Here’s everything you need to know about how to choose a swag that’s right for you.


Some Aussie outdoor enthusiasts would argue that the swag is superior to the tent with its simple, comfortable set-up that has you sleep-ready in seconds. While we can’t settle that debate, there’s definitely a time and a place for swag camping and the experience is quite different to camping in a tent.

We’ve ‘rolled out’ exactly when you might need a swag and how to choose the right one for you.


OZtrail, swags, aussie gear

One of the best swag setups we’ve seen…

When should you choose a swag?

It’s important to note that the simple set-up and comfort offered by a swag comes at the cost of some extra kilos.

It’s a hell of a lot heavier and bulkier than your average lightweight hiking tent, so if you’re planning on carrying your swag a long distance to the campsite, it’s not going to be easy and you’ll be better off with a hiking tent.

Read: Roof Top Tent vs Swag – What’s the Best Car Camping Set Up?

The swag is best used for car camping or motorbike camping where you can park up, roll it out, and voila, you’re good to go…to sleep.

However, if you’re committed to the traditional hike-in swag — it is possible. Check out Scotty who went hiking with a swag.


Hiking With A Swag? Scotty's Gone Walkabouts and Given It A Crack, scotty williams, scotty's gone walkabouts, swag, camping, hiking, blue mountains, nsw, traditional, bushcraft,

@scottysgonewalkabout with his DIY swag. Scotty used a Wynchester Adventurer canvas bedroll, replaced the foam with a Sea to Summit inflatable mat and threw in some lightweight cooking gear


elderly swagman, photo origin unknown

Not sure how jolly he looks, but he sure has a lot of swag

What size swag should I get?

Generally, swag tents come in Single, King Single, and Double sizes. A single swag is a good size for the average person and a small amount of gear.

A king single is a perfect choice for someone who needs the extra space or has more gear they need to store, and a double swag is big enough for two people plus your essential gear.


What style swag should I get?

There are two main swag designs — the traditional swag design and the dome design.

A traditional swag design is more lightweight and has the quickest setup. It’s basically a foam mattress inserted into a canvas pocket (there are no bells and whistles here).

The dome design has a bit more of a step up and features tent poles to create space for more headroom, this allows for mesh panels and other more technical design features.

If comfort is high on your priority then you’ll want to check the density of the built-in foam mattress. They range from around 50mm up to 80mm and a thicker mattress will make for a comfier night’s sleep.

Where are you camping?

Other things to keep in mind, are the temperature and landscape in which you’ll be setting up camp. A swag can handle a variety of weather conditions and terrains but the traditional-style performs best in dry conditions.

If you’re planning on camping somewhere with lots of rain, ensure you select a dome-style swag and spend time seasoning it correctly at home before you take it out on an adventure (more on that below).


How to Season a Swag Correctly For Wet Weather

If you want to stay dry and avoid a mouldy swag, seasoning your swag tent (AKA waterproofing your swag) is an essential step before heading out on an adventure.

It’s simple, wait for a sunny day and take your swag outside. 

  • Step 1: Set up your swag and ensure all zips are closed and mesh vents covered
  • Step 2: Grab the hose and cover the swag with a heavy stream of water, focus on the seams and make sure all the material is soaked
  • Step 3: Leave the swag in the sun to dry completely
  • Step 5: Repeat the above for a second and third time

To ensure your swag stays in top condition, make sure you let it dry completely before storing away (note: always ensure your swag is completely dry after camping before storing away).


5 Best Swag Tents For Camping

1. Sahara Traveller Deluxe King Single Traditional Swag & Bag


How To Choose A Swag


The Sahara Traveller Deluxe King Single Traditional Swag & Bag is the best value and quality swag in its class.

With a traditional-style box wall design featuring tear-resistant ripstop cotton canvas, bug-proof mosquito netting, a comfy 55mm high-density foam mattress and a raised tube floor to protect from rain to name a few.


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2. Darche AD Swag 1400 Double Air-Volution Dome Canvas Swag


How To Choose A Swag

With a 20-second set-up, camping doesn’t get any easier than this.

The Darche AD Swag features a no-pole set-up and only one inflation point, allowing the Air-Volution™ hand pump to inflate the entire swag with minimal effort.

This double swag is roomy enough for two people with a two-way entry with storm covers and awnings.


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3. Dometic Pico FTC 2X2 TC Inflatable Swag

How To Choose A Swag

The Dometic Pico FTC 2X2 inflatable swag is a breeze to set up!

With its integrated inflatable mattress and sturdy frame, this all-in-one swag gives you everything you need to level up your camping game.

It comes with a handy carry bag complete with backpack straps for comfy carry. Made with Dometic’s advanced polycotton material, you’re sure to stay cozy and dry no matter what weather mother nature throws at you!


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4. Oztent Bunker Pro Stretcher Swag


The Oztent Bunker Pro is the ultimate all-in-one stretcher swag.

Made from premium waterproof Ripstop canvas, the Bunker Pro offers unmatched protection from the elements.

You’ll be sleeping like a baby on its padded built-in bed while the No-See-Um mesh keeps mozzies outside where they belong.


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5. Sahara Wanderer Deluxe Double Dome Canvas Swag & Bag


How To Choose A Swag

Sahara make some of the best value swags in the market with their Premium Range taking the top spot.

The Sahara Wanderer Deluxe Double Dome Canvas Swag & Bag features heavy-duty polycotton waterproof canvas, tough and superfine sandfly and midge proof mesh, 70mm super comfy foam mattress and cotton cover, 50mm Nylon strapping and buckles for easy carry, tough zippers, waterproof PVC sewn in shoe bag and PVC floor mats at both ends.


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Cover image courtesy of @scottysgonewalkabout