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Outdoor Gear Reviews, Tips & Adventure Stories to Inspire an Outdoor Life
April 11, 2023

Why Swag Tents Are the Coolest Camping Gear You Haven’t Heard Of

Written by Zack Newsome
Updated on April 14, 2023
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swag tent
The swag tent was born in the Australian Outback, but their popularity is growing across the globe

Camping is one of the best ways to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy nature. However, choosing the right camping gear can make or break your experience. When it comes to camping gear, most people think of traditional tents, sleeping bags, and campfires. But have you heard of a swag tent? Swag tents are an innovative and convenient way to camp, providing a comfortable and protective sleeping space that’s easy to set up and take down.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to swag tents and explain why all the cool kids are getting them. We’ll dive into the history and evolution of swag tents, explore their advantages over traditional tents, and discuss the different types of swag tents available. We’ll also offer tips for choosing the right swag tent for you and your camping needs. Whether you’re an experienced camper or just starting out, this guide will show you why swag tents are a game-changer for your next outdoor adventure.

History of Swag Tents

swag tent in the Australian Outback
Swag Tents are portable shelters originally used by drovers in Australia.

Swag tents have a rich history that dates back to the early days of Australian colonization. Originally used by drovers (people who drive cattle or sheep to market), swag tents were portable shelters that could be easily transported on horseback or by foot as they moved livestock across the vast Australian outback. These early swag tents were typically made of canvas or other heavy-duty materials and provided a comfortable and protective sleeping space for drovers during their long journeys.

Over time, swag tents became a staple of Australian camping culture. They evolved to include more lightweight and portable materials, as well as additional features like built-in mattresses, storage pockets, and insect screens. Today, swag tents are used not only in Australia but also in other parts of the world as a convenient and comfortable alternative to traditional camping tents.

In the northern hemisphere, swag tents are sometimes known as bivy sacks, but there are differences between the two.  Bivy sacks are typically made of lighter-weight materials and designed for backpackers and mountaineers who prioritize lightweight gear. While both bivy sacks and swag tents are tubular in shape, swag tents include a sleeping pad while bivy sacks do not.

Despite their long history, many campers in other parts of the world have yet to discover the benefits of swag tents. But with their ease of use, comfortable sleeping space, and versatility, it’s no wonder that swag tents are gaining popularity among outdoor enthusiasts around the globe.

Advantages of Swag Tents

Swag tents offer a number of advantages over traditional camping tents. Here are some of the top benefits of using a swag tent on your next camping trip:

Kodiak Canvas Swag Tent
Swag Tents typically include a sleeping pad as a part of the tent.
Convenience and ease of use

Swag tents are designed to be easy to set up and take down, making them ideal for campers who want a quick and hassle-free camping experience. Most swag tents come with built-in poles and can be set up in minutes, without the need for any additional tools or equipment. Swag tents are perfect for solo campers who don’t need the large size, weight, and hassle of a typically sized tent that sleeps multiple campers.

Comfort and protection from the elements

Swag tents are typically made of durable and waterproof materials that provide excellent protection from the elements. They also often come with built-in mattresses and other features that make for a comfortable sleeping space, even in rugged outdoor environments. Swag tents are more comfortable than bivy sacks due to their heavier-weight materials and included sleeping pad.

Versatility and adaptability

Swag tents come in various shapes and sizes, and can be used in a wide range of camping situations. Whether you’re camping in a tent, on the ground, or in the back of your car, there’s a swag tent that’s right for you. Small in size, swag tents can be easily thrown in the back of a vehicle when you’re looking to get outdoors in a hurry.

Comparison to traditional camping tents

Compared to traditional camping tents, swag tents are often more portable, easier to set up and take down, and offer greater protection from the elements. They also provide a unique and comfortable camping experience that can’t be replicated with a traditional tent. Sleeping in a swag tent allows you to experience the outdoors just like the Australian drovers did back in the day – a unique experience that can’t be replicated by a traditional tent.

Swag tents offer a convenient, comfortable, and adaptable camping solution that’s perfect for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting out, a swag tent might be just what you need to take your camping experience to the next level.

How to Choose the Right Swag Tent for You

Choosing the right swag tent is an important decision that can have a big impact on your camping experience. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a swag tent:


Swag tents come in a range of sizes, from single-person tents to larger models that can accommodate two or more people. Consider how many people you’ll be camping with and how much space you’ll need to feel comfortable.


Swag tents are typically made from materials like canvas, nylon, or polyester. Consider the durability, water resistance, and breathability of each material when making your choice. Canvas swag tents are the most durable and have excellent water-resistant qualities, but are heavier than nylon swags.

swag tent
Swag tents offer a unique camping experience – especially for solo campers.

Swag tents come with various features, including built-in mattresses, storage pockets, insect screens, and more. Think about which features are important to you and your camping needs. A swag tent that is easy to deploy is a feature to look for. Be sure to consider how quickly your swag can be set up when choosing the right swag tent for you.


Swag tents can vary in weight, with some models weighing as little as a few pounds and others weighing more than 50 pounds. Consider how much you’ll need to carry your tent and whether weight is a significant factor for you. If a lightweight tent is a priority, make sure to also consider lighter and more portable bivy sacks that are very similar to swag tents.


Swag tents can range in price from under $100 to several hundred dollars. Consider your budget and look for a tent that offers the features and quality you need at a price you can afford. If you’re looking to spend the money on a more expensive swag tent, expect that it will be more robustly built from durable materials.  A more expensive swag tent should last longer, making it an investment to seriously consider.

Overall, the right swag tent for you will depend on your specific camping needs and preferences. Take the time to research different models and consider your priorities before making your purchase. With the right swag tent, you’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable and convenient camping experience that you won’t soon forget.

The Bottom Line

Swag tents may not be as well-known as traditional camping gear like tents and sleeping bags, but they offer a unique and convenient option for campers looking for a comfortable and easy-to-use shelter. With their built-in mattresses, durable materials, and a range of sizes and features, swag tents are a great choice for solo campers and couples looking for a unique camping experience.

When selecting a swag tent, it’s important to consider factors like size, material, features, weight, and price to find the right model for your camping needs. With a little research and careful consideration, you can find a swag tent that provides the comfort and convenience you need for your next camping adventure.

Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner looking to try something new, a swag tent is a cool and unique option that’s definitely worth considering. So why not give it a try and see for yourself why swag tents are quickly becoming one of the coolest camping gear options out there?

Our Favorite Swag Tent Available in North America

We love Kodiak Canvas tents and we’ve featured their Flex-Bow Tent here at Outward Spaces previously. Kodiak Canvas’ swag tent looks to be just as well built as their larger tents.  We have experienced first hand the durability and weather protection that Kodiak Canvas tents are know for.

About the Author

Zack Newsome

Zack is a lifelong adventurer passionate about sharing the joy of the outdoors with others. He loves camping, fly-fishing, sailing, and exploring wild spaces. He launched Outward in early 2022 to inspire others to spend more time outdoors – improving mental health and more deeply connecting with the environment.

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