When it comes to camping, it’s different strokes for different folks. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking a day to pack the car chock-a-block with gear before you head off to a holiday park – it’s not everyone’s idea of a good time. We reckon there’s a lot to be said for going bare bones. Throwing a rod and a few beers in the back of the car or ute and just heading bush – seeing where you end up.
For this kind of camping, you really can’t go past a swag. For one, a swag will take the punishment you dish out on the way to your camping spot – if you chuck a tent in the tray with a heap of fishing gear and whatever else is banging about you’re likely to find yourself staring up at the stars through a gaping hole come bedtime.
Swag camping is also pretty much as straight-up Aussie as you can get. Anyone who’s ever listened to ‘Waltzing Matilda’ will know: ‘swagging’ goes back a fair way in this country. The word originated about 150 years ago when blokes would carry their bedrolls from job to job – doesn’t sound quite as much fun as what we use them for nowadays but there you go.
Swag can be set up in about 2 minutes too, so there’s not the same need to find an oh-so-lovely camp spot before you work out what you’re doing for the day. Instead, you can spend your time doing what you came for – be that fishing, 4x4ing or whatever – then when it’s time for some shut-eye, roll out your swag on the nearest patch of flat-ish ground and bingo! It’s nighty night!
You know the feeling. You had a few too many the night before and you wake up to the full sun in a tent that now feels more like an oven. Well, swag isn’t going to cure a hangover but they are far better insulated than tents. That’s just down to the fact they’re made from the thick canvas as opposed to thin, synthetic material – so you’ll be cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Weathering your swag
One thing to make sure of is that your swag is properly weathered before you head out into the great unknown. Because swags are made of canvas, they need to be wet and dried a few times to make sure the stitching seals properly.
This is as simple a laying your new swag out in the yard and hosing it down. Let it dry (properly) and repeat. Pay particular attention to the seams, making sure you get them good and wet – they need to swell before shrinking with the rest of the fabric to eliminate pinholes around the stitching.