Buying a Swag
When buying a swag I guess we start with, ‘how much do you want to spend?’ A basic swag can be purchased for a little over a hundred dollars, and ones with all the bells and whistles will sell for several hundred dollars.
To help work out how much you might spend when buying a swag, I have provided a few tips and some questions you might like to ask yourself:
• How often will you use it? Not much point buying a swag for $800, and only using it for two nights a year!
• How long will you be using it, a couple of nights here and there, or for weeks on end? If you are using it every day, then heavy duty canvas, robust zips and highest quality manufacturing is recommended.
• What areas are you camping in? In other words does it need to work across alpine regions, the monsoons of the North, insect invested coastal mangroves and the heat of inland Australia.
• What size? Single or double swag? If you have a partner you might consider buying a double swag, and if you are big-framed make sure you get a swag with room to turn over and not be cramped. Big swags take up room and are bulky, if you are on two wheeled transport make sure you can carry it!
• HD foam Mattress or inflatable? Personally I think inflatables are too much trouble, high density foams provide good insulation from ground temperature, and are both comfortable and durable.
• Waterproofing? Most commercial swags are reasonably waterproof. However, If you want total water proofing ensure that any flaps have adequate overlap, that the base of swag is heavy PVC, there is a hood over the entry point, and that the top is minimum 14-17oz canvas.
• Sleep Cool. If you are camping in the interior or north coast of Australia it is worth considering zip-off tops with sand fly netting (sandflies are a lot smaller than mosquitoes and will crawl through mosquito netting). There is nothing worse than sweltering in canvas on a 40 degree C night, and not being able open it up due to a million stinging sandflies or mosquitoes.
• Hoops. Many of the larger swags have ‘hoops’ to create space above the swag, providing room to sit up inside, and even get dressed. These swags are really a tent, but roll up in the traditional style of a swag.
• Accessories. If you are an ‘accessory’ person, you might want to consider buying a swag with inside pockets for keys, phone or torch, and bags for guy ropes or pegs.