These products are ideal for shooters and bush enthusiasts who require comfortable bedding and shelter without the fuss of pitching a tent.
Before we had Gore-tex dome tents and hi-tech bivi bags, bushmen survived with their wits, a little Aussie ingenuity and, of course, the ever reliable swag.
Today, just as oilskin coats have stood the test of time, so has the swag. Over the past 12 months or so, we’ve received a number of different offerings from several manufacturers, and although it would be unfair to say we’ve saved the best for last, the Saul Swag manufactured in north-east Victoria, certainly comes close.
For the uninitiated, swags are fast becoming an essential piece of equipment for the bush and are basically a self-contained domicile. You simply unroll the bundle, lay your sleeping bag inside and crawl in safe from the elements.
Saul’s product is very versatile and can be set up to suit the requirements of each new camp site. The sleeping compartment is a generous 2.1 metres in length and 1 metre wide and provides plenty of leg room.
The floor of the swag extends another 1.5 metres to provide a handy head cover which can be strung from a sapling to provide shade from the morning sun or a wind break.
A further two-metre length of canvas is attached to the side and doubles over the sleeping compartment for added protection. This flap can also be suspended with a rope depending on what is required. Illustrations showing several useful alternatives for setting up the swag are included with the instructions.
The canvas used is manufactured from 52% cotton and 48% polyester and is rot proof and mildew resistant, while still remaining breathable. It is ultra rain proofed and a true 13 ounce, 2-ply yarn warp and weft canvas featuring a two-way tear stop design – a vast improvement over single weft canvas used by some other swag manufacturers.
The simple, yet effective design also eliminates the need for laces, press studs, zippers or velcro, which all suffer from their inherent problems. There are also no plastic components either, which minimises breakages and maximises durability.
The test swag provided was of standard size (a king size is also available) and included an optional soft cotton foam mattress. In this configuration, the overall weight of the swag is 7kg (5kg without the mattress).
For transporting, the swag rolls up into a neat package a metre in length with a diameter of just over 20cm. Durable straps with large brass buckles hold the package together and an additional strap connects the two to form a handy carry handle.
– Joseph Allbeury