First Swag Purchase - what should I get


New Member
Hey guys, I'm new here and would love to get some feedback on what the pros and cons of the different types of swags are. I'm looking for a single person swag, but wouldn't mind something that does have a bit more room. Does not need to be "luxury", but if that is the most suitable then I'm not afraid to go down that track.

I'm really just getting into camping and don't see the need for a full on tent. Everyone that I have been camping with have swags that are over 10 years old, and they all seem to think that they own the bees knees of swags, so would like some general constructive criticism/reviews of whats available on the market. Haven't found a lot of recent online review sites, but the Darche Dusk till Dawn seems pretty popular.

I would be after something that is obviously very compact, quick-to-very-quick to put up (however I am handy so if it takes a little longer to put up but is still compact that's perfectly fine), and also relatively light. I did see a few that have a tent-like entrance/extension/covered area - obviously these would be slightly heavier but again just open to opinions.

Australian as well, so if anyone can advise of any good camping stores or places to purchase in Sydney that would be grand.

Thanks in advance.


Well-Known Member
Might be an idea to check out the Camping Equipment Section - not just the first page - grab a cuppa , put aside a few hours and go for it. More knowledge and info than you could imagine, including the info you asked about.

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
I grabbed one of these, oh, about 5 years ago !!
Still going strong.

Have used it as made for sleeping on the ground (I made up some special pegs for the foot to keep it nice and vertical), and also mostly in past few years on the stretcher as a flat swag.
Season it and it's totally waterproof etc.
Best value out there, when on special they can be $89 - $99.


Well-Known Member
Brand aside which you will get various recommendations
Consider the climate you will be camping in, I personally look for maximum ventilation options as I camp in hot climates as well and the traditional style ones offer little ventilation. If you are using it in colder climates that is not such an issue. Also look at how well they go in wet weather, they all will be watertight when done up but some styles you will get your bedding wet getting in or out in rain or you can’t have ventilation flaps open In wet weather
I also find that using a self inflating mattress a better option than the foam mattresses supplied with the swags

Ben Sanderson

New Member
I love my swags but I can't say I love one the most as I have different ones for different occasions. Traditional jolly swagman king size for sleeping the back of the ute Ute or under the stars in nice weather, however it's terrible in the rain.
A spacious fancy swag for when I need to get changed out of the weather and want to store stuff next to where I sleep.
A motorbike swag that packs up small and light and is big enough for a helmet, boots and me if it rains.
Self inflating mattress is a must too.
Once you work out your needs you will know what to get. All mine are aussie made and have lasted years.


Well-Known Member
Kulkyne....Great quality and reasonably priced...
A mate has one, very nice indeed. Threading it into the stretcher base is a PITA though. That can be overcome with an aftermarket stretcher bed. What you need to understand is kulkine went tits up, so you may struggle getting one now.

To the OP:

you want room, so you will require a dome swag. Anything else will be a canvas cocoon.

The things to look for:
You want aluminium dome poles. Fiberglass is great, till your out bush and splinter one. I've heard the Kings variants break their fibreglass poles occasionally and spares are next to non existent.

Then there is the PVC or cavnas floor debate. For me personally, I wont own a PVC base one. I have one here and the pools of sweat I find in the bottom of a morning has put me off them for life. It's difficult finding a good swag with a canvas base.

The next scenario is floor or stretcher mounted. Go the stretcher bed IMO. Off the ground, easier entry/exit, and so much more comfortable.

5 minutes tops for me to set up my dome and a stretcher bed. I usually only put it up as I'm about to go to bed. It's not worth ginning around before that.


Well-Known Member
The newer type of dome swag with the full length pole on top offer much more room than the old style.

My 1st swag was a wild country 3 hoop which I had for about 7 years & it was good but still very cramped due to the slanting to the feet style, then I went to a Kings deluxe 'big daddy' double with the 70mm mattress.
Its a big swag really made for 2 people but I love it just on my own as I love to be able to stretch out & sleep like I am in my own bed.

I have also just recently bought a Wanderer Territory single for shorter trips where I don't have as much room to carry stuff with a few people gear in the car & its also very good quality & the same design as the Kings.

Both are very quick to set up & pull down.

If you have the coin to throw around then sure buy a Darche but these others are great value & the product still a very good quality.

If I am going to an area where it is going to be very cold & subject to extreme weather them I also pack a tent to put the swag in or my awning tent as in my avatar picture.
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Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
I've seen most swags, and as far as I'm concerned, unless it is genuinely out and usable in about 20 seconds, it is becoming more of a tent.
With the dome style, you might as well put up a compact tent, and packing it up ?
I've been part of a 4 man rugby pack trying to scrum roll one of those Kings swags, to fit back into its bag !! Lol.

Some people can't handle a flat swag, and that's ok.
It's also ok to get a huge dome style swag, that can weight 15kg or more, or a tent that is considerably less weight, easier to store in a vehicle, and as quick (or faster) to set up as your typical poled hoop style cabin swag.


Active Member
Ive had a few now single old style swag, kings double deluxe (i've used maybe 10 times), I also used my single swag on a oztent stretcher. I've now ditched all them and gone with a oztrail stretcher tent with a self inflating mattress. What i like is its quick to setup (compared to my old 2) and the fact i'm off the ground no worrying about water or uneven ground so much anymore.

If i had the money at the time i'd buy the oztent jentbunker instead


Well-Known Member
Not a lover of swags (then again, not a lover of canvas tents either... must be my outdoor ed background and memories of canvas a-frames from the 60's!) however, when I have used them I haven't seen the advantage of anything which you can't throw on the ground and just crawl into. I like the style I used on a desert trip once- flat style with one end which tied up to a tree (or something else) to give headroom and a mesh side for mossie protection.

If you are going for the "tent" type I'm buggered if I can see the advantage over a 30 second pop-up (or easy to erect ultra-light tent) and a self-inflator . Is 2 minutes really too much to wait? I'm usually having a glass of wine or scotch once I've stopped anyway. Still, if we all had the same opinions, what's the point of social media, eh?



Well-Known Member
Hi mate
No stretcher base required.....

Kulkyne have come back from the dead and have plenty of stock available....

Ahh that's good to hear about Kulkyne. My mate has the homestead swag. It comes with its own stretcher bed and is a bit of a PITA to set up, particularly one night stays. So much so, my mate now uses a standard stretcher bed for it and it sits on top. That works well. Maybe I might have to grab one now they have resurfaced??

I don't get the tent comments.....My swag is far easier than any quick pitch tent....(add a minute or two more for the stretcher). Roll her out, insert the ally hoops each end and connect the center pole. Bed done.

No rooting around with getting mattresses inflated, bedding out the car etc, deflating that mattress in the morning, putting the bedding back into the car and so forth. Best of all, the swag all rolls up into one neat package. The disadvantage over a tent is that its a 450 dia roll x 900 long. So you are limited storage wise compared to single items as such when you use a tent.

3 quick erect poles, easy as. I find it a hard call to call it a tent.

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Well-Known Member
See your point, Shark C., but not sure I'd agree that's much quicker than a tent. Throwing up my Quechua 3 person tent, meanwhile the self-inflator is half up in the bonnet of the car (a couple of quick breaths and its at the - adjustable - level I like) and chuck in my sleeping bag. Maybe 1-2 minutes more than your set up at most, twice the room, a vestibule to put gear in and half the packed-storage-space. Not knocking your set-up, just that I think we all tend to justify what we like. I've been campers who explain why their camper trailer is so convenient and fast to set up, then watched while they still faffed around after we were ready to go.

I can't talk, I've used every set-up I can think of and still find issues and advantages with most (I still have three tents, a bivvy and ultralight tarp, a hammock, a roof-top tent and when travelling with the boat we sleep in that when in transit!). If I were to buy a swag it would be because I could, on those very rare occasions where two minutes extra set-up was an issue, go for the simplest, usable option I could find. I did use one similar to this on one trip. Thought it was pretty good. Though even this was a pain to roll up when soaked by rain. If used with an awning they are a great (but bulky) set-up (love my Darche 180 awning).



Well-Known Member
Bought a swag thinking I could set it up on the floor of my boat. Didn't even last the first night with it being too claustrophobic for me. I think it was the thick canvass because I can sleep in a 2 man hike tent OK. Also the size to me is a big issue. My RTT takes up less room.

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
There is no best answer, everything has a trade off in one form or another.

Why I have a 10' x 10' garden shed full of tents, swags, sleeping mats, backpacks, maps, stoves, etc.
No single items are perfect for every trip, sometimes it's solo, sometimes with the wife, sometimes base camp a few days, but more often touring onwards daily . . . long trips, weekenders, possible weather, logistics of supplies, so many variables.

But in general, when solo the flat swag on stretcher suits me perfectly, no SIM, the regular 70mm covered foam, a 25mm egg shell foam topper, light canvas 'swag bag' sleeping bag, and pillow all inside ready to go.
Awning out, stretcher up, roll out swag on top, table up, chair out, beer o'clock, all of 15 minutes tops not hurrying.

Have used this setup in all sorts of weather, all be it in high wind and lashing rain have used ratchet straps to hold the highly angled awning down !!
Always been warm and dry.


Well-Known Member
Same. Flat swag on a stretcher under a tarp or awning. That way you can leave it open most of the time. I’ve done many nights like that, but it needs the awning to make it work.
For the OP - canvas doesn’t breathe well. Humans create lots of condensation. The smaller swags are woeful for this especially if you are in inclement weather with no tarp overhead. It isn’t until you wet out your sleeping gear on a mid winter hunting trip at Glenn Innes that you start to grasp the weight of that statement. Sleeping standing up leaning on a fence post with hypothermia isn’t fun.
Tent swags try to create an air gap or circulation through the mesh. Again, in inclement weather it all goes to crap because you have to close them and they can’t breathe enough - generally speaking. There are models with pitchable flys etc which take up the whole back of a Ute and work somewhat ok. Technical equipment, like a climbing tent (or even a $60 Kmart special) has a fly which breathes in any weather and doesn’t touch the ground, has a separate air gap so any condensation won’t wet out your sleeping bag, and folds up to fit in a glovebox. Expedition hammocks take this to the next level. I have lived in mine in extremely tropical conditions and have been very comfortable. Swags are just OK in good weather, they are much better under an awning, and are terrible in a full night of rain in a paddock on their own. You wanted lightweight and compact as well - that isn’t a swag. They are like taking a horse and cart to a drag race in terms of technical camping equipment.