November 01, 2015

Buying a swag can be a complicated process, let's face it there are a lot to choose from.  Everyone has different needs and wants in a swag. To help you we have put together this eleven point checklist on what the team at Crashpad think are the minimum core requirements of a functional swag. It will also give you some insight into how we go about designing our swags.

The Checklist:

  1. Canvas - Needs to be good quality waterproofed canvas. This will breath better and aid in controlling condensation on cold nights. Examine the canvas closely, there is usually a reason a cheap swag is a cheap swag.
  2. PVC Base - If the swag has a PVC base, the PVC should be 550gsm minimum. Check this as it should be thick enough to be repeatedly used on the ground. Rocks, sticks and rough ground surface can be brutal on the bottom of swags. Will the swag you are looking at stand up to the test of repeated use over time.
  3. Zips - Should be heavy duty. Check these, do they glide easily.
  4. Centre Pole - If the swag is a dome swag and has a centre pole. Is the centre pole a foldable fixed length type? Adjustable centre poles can be difficult to negotiate, essentially needing two hands to hold the pole to length and then a third hand to tighten the latch or tightening mechanism.
  5. Mattress - Minimum mattress thickness of 70mm, anything less and there is a likely chance that you will forking out extra cash for a foam overlay or new mattress. This can be expensive. Please note that this doesn't hold true for biker swags as the mattresses in these are often much thinner simply to keep the size of the swag smaller so that it can be strapped onto a motor-cycle.
  6. Roll Straps - Check how long the roll straps are on the swag. Are they long enough to roll your swag with your bedding inside and still secure the rolled swag?
  7. Windows - Does the swag have a window so that you can see out of it? Does the swag design allow you to open the window in raining weather? This is particularly important in wet humid or tropical conditions. If you can't open your windows while raining in these conditions then you will cook inside your swag.
  8. Midgey Mesh - Many swags on the market are not ideally designed for Australian conditions. The holes on the mesh are often too big allowing midgeys or other flying pests to penetrate the swag. Check the mesh for both the hole size and also the strength of the mesh. Will it stand up to repeated use over time without tearing.
  9. Swag Bag - If the swag you are looking at has a swag bag, is the bag big enough to store the swag with bedding rolled inside the swag? No? - move on. 
  10. Swag Bag Zips - Are they protected. Let's face it, most swags get exposed to the elements as they get strapped to the roof of a 4wd or thrown in the back of a ute. If you have a long drive along dusty, muddy roads and the zips aren't protected then you might be in for a challenge getting that zip open when you arrive at camp. 
  11. The Set Up - Finally, the set up. Consider how easy it is to set up the swag you are looking at. Does it have awkward sleeves you need to feed poles through? Are there poles that need to be setup internally within the swag? How many poles does it have? Any more than 3 is just plain annoying. With a well designed and thought out swag you should be able to set it up in the dark. 

    So before you fork out your hard earned cash, do your research and consider the points in this checklist. Is that cheap swag, really that cheap when you factor in having to buy another mattress or mattress overlay to make the swag comfortable enough to get a good nights sleep. Will you get frustrated over time with the complicated and awkward setup. Is the swag bag too small to leave your bedding rolled up inside the swag. Food for thought.

    Seek adventure.



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