These have been a recent purchase and something we’ve been wanting to try for a while. We’ve been camping with us in the camper trailer and the boys in the Oztent for a while and to be honest pack up times are not quite as quick as they could be. Yes, its a 30 second tent, but then there’s the boys camping mats, the sleeping bags, the pillows, the cuddly toys they insist on bringing… All to be unpacked and re-packed.
As much as the kids will say they help, its usually left to me to pack it all up again and it gets a bit much and all the de-stressing of the trips tend to re-stress me as I deflate and roll up sleeping mats, stuff sleeping bags back in the sack and tread on toy cars. Then wrangle the Oztent back in the bag and onto the roof.
We thought we’d try swags for the boys, but as we didn’t know how they were going to go with them we thought we’d look for something not too expensive. The kids weren’t too keen on the traditional swag as the canvas tends to sit on your face. So after a bit of a search we came across these at Snowys: http://www.snowys.com.au/Sleeping-Gear/Swags/Mitchell-Expedition-Swag.aspx?c=3&sc=23&id=7178&utm_source=search&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=search
Credit card details were handed over, and confirmation email was received. And a few days later they turned up. Snowy’s is fast becoming my go to online camping store for their cheap prices and fast and free delivery.
What you get
For being a cheap swag I was surprised, they appear to be reasonably good quality, based on my limited knowledge (though I’ve read reviews of snapped poles so purchased a second pole kit). The 50cm mattress is reasonably comfortable and the PVC floor should keep moisture out.
They’re more like mini-tents, which some Swag purists will complain about. They come with 3 poles (Each end and a middle pole) and some pegs. The poles are different lengths but I’ve added some coloured tape to help identify which goes where. Saves you having to work it out.
The swags aren’t free standing meaning you have to have at least one peg at each end to pull the swag out, but I’ve heard of people fashioning a central pole that runs the length of the swag to make them free standing. Or just tie them to the car or a tree. Just remember to untie them before you drive off.
The swags are top entry but have flaps at both ends to let air flow through and hopefully keep condensation to a minimum.There is a fine insect mesh top with a flap. We usually put the flap over for the boys at night so not sure how easy it is to do yourself. The main end has an internal flap with zip so it can be closed off.
We set them up in the living room, and then again outside to ‘season’ the canvas. Basically this means wetting it and letting it dry a few times. This lets the stitching on the seam swell and supposedly seal the holes. The needle is bigger than the thread see. I am sure the neighbours think I am mad as every new canvas product gets the same treatment. “Oh look Doreen, there’s the crazy neighbour watering his tents again… ”
We first used them over Easter long weekend. Setting up is a breeze. Throw them on the ground, undo a strap, unroll, connect three sets of poles, clip on the ends and away you go. The beauty of them is that the boys can do most of it. I throw the swags out, and the kids get the poles out, connect them, and I help them get the final clip onto the poles as its a bit tight for the young kids. It really does take 2 -3 minutes.
Pack up is the reverse – the boys pull the poles out, and I roll up the swags. The beauty is that you leave all the bedding in the swag and roll it up and chuck it in the camper or on the roof of the car (they’re water proof remember?) It really is a much quicker pack up and with less effort on my part. Believe me deflating and rolling up 2 4WD mats is more effort as you have to squeeze the air out, get the straps on and get into a bag.
We had some really heavy rain over easter and both swags let in a little bit of water by their feet. But then so did our camper trailer. And it really was probably less than a thimble full. A slight damp patch down by the feet. It might have been not seasoning them properly only time will tell. But overall the quality looks ok, they probably won’t last as long as the more expensive brands, but they were 1/3 to 1/4 of the price.
Since then we’ve had a few outings and the boys have loved sleeping in them, they have even complained of it being too hot in there. We’ve almost stopped taking the Oztent these days. Though the swags could be used inside the oztent if required.
The kids love sleeping in them and they can help more with set up and pack down so it reduces the stress on me. I think it gives the boys some personal space and they feel secure, even though they are separated from us.
The set up time is reduced over a tent and bedding. As it literally is unroll, 3 poles and peg
They can live on the roof so free up space in the camper and car unlike the bigger 4WD mats.
So all in all very happy with the purchase.