Upgrade your swag

Give your old swag a new life by making these upgrades before your next camping trip.

During the great depression and post-war years, a swag was often the only home for many working men. As many could not afford a horse they would scour the land by day on foot looking for work, while carrying their swag on their back along with any of their possessions. By night they would roll this simple square canvas out to protect them from the cold, wind, and rain.

Swags have come a long way since the 1800’s. If you own one and are looking to upgrade it, you don’t need to fork out cash to buy a new model. Apply these upgrades to your old swag.


Typically when you buy a swag from the shop they are not waterproofed. It is an expectation that the user will soak and dry out the swag a few times to seal the seams after buying. However, if you have used the swag multiple times (especially during the rain) it’s likely to already be waterproof at this point.

If you are still waking up damp from morning dew you can buy waterproofing sprays. There are three different types of waterproofing products; wash in, aerosol, and brush on. When waterproofing your swag use an aerosol or brush product. If you are using an aerosol version be sure to use the whole can and make sure the canvas is soaking to ensure full effect.

Upgrade your mattress

It’s likely your mattress may be getting lumpy, flat and smelling like a campfire after using it for a few years. There are a number of different options for reviving your mattress. A company like Clark Rubber can pair you up with eggshell foam, in high density and available in a variety of thicknesses to help you roll up and transport your swag.

If you are happy to spend the cash purchasing a quality self-inflating mattress, you will revolutionise your sleep. These mattresses can be as comfortable or even more comfy than your mattress at home. Additionally, your swag will be much easier to roll up as it is more compact than a foam mattress.

Up off the ground

Mount your swag on top of a camp stretcher to avoid those flooded camping trips. While stretchers will take up extra room when packing the car, the comfort is definitely worth the struggle.

You’ll find when beach camping there is less sand creeping its way into your swag. You will also no longer find yourself getting comfortable before realising there is a rock under your back. Additionally, by elevating your swag you no longer have to worry about finding a snake in your sleeping bag.

If your swag is a lost cause it may be time to purchase a new model. Here are a few tips for finding the perfect swag. Having a great swag will only be comfortable if you have a great sleeping bag to snuggle into.

Image credit: Doug Beckers.