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

Tag: tents

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

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.

Review: Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent

The Verdict:

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent is the last tent you will ever buy. It’s solidly built with materials that will last for years (most likely decades). Despite its size and robust materials, it is easy to set up and take down. Various size options will allow you to pick the tent that fits your needs with room to spare. The waterproof canvas breathes well and insulates better than a typical nylon/poly tent. Read on for our full Kodiak Canvas Tent Review.

Build Quality:

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent is a canvas tent.  For those who have never camped in a canvas tent, it’s like camping was supposed to be. This tent reminds you of a ’70s summer camp but with design and engineering that make it amazing.

Kodiak Canvas tents will last a lifetime IF properly cared for and maintained.  Proper care and maintenance should be recommended practice for all tents, but most people who buy a cheap poly tent from a big box store expect the tent to last a few seasons before it will be replaced by another cheap poly tent.  The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Box tent is in another category of tent built for those who want to invest in a quality tent that won’t let them down.

The build quality of this tent is probably best illustrated in its weight.  With heavy-duty materials all around, the 10×14 flex-bow test we tested weighed 80 lbs.  So this is NOT a backpacking tent.  This is a tent you pack in your car and live like a king in the outdoors – possibly for weeks at a time. Having been in some sketchy weather situations while camping in the past, the flex-bow won’t give you anxiety worrying about if the tent will hold up.


Set Up:

Unpacking the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow TentThe setup process for these tents is different than your average tent, but it’s not overly complicated. One of the biggest concerns about Kodiak Canvas Tents is that they take more time and hassle to set up. The truth is that the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent takes about the same time to set up as your average nylon/polyester dome tent. In our experience, the Flex-Bow Tent can be set up by only 1 person in under 10 minutes.

The secret to a smooth setup is to set this tent up in your yard to become familiar with the parts and the process.  Kodiak Canvas suggests doing this before your first trip along with lightly spraying the assembled tent with water and letting it air dry to “season the tent”.  According to Kodiak Canvas, this seasoning process causes the canvas to shrink slightly, closing needle holes where the canvas was stitched.

The flex-bow roof is the most impressive part about this tent.  The flex-bow frame keeps the roof taut to better repel water and to improve sturdiness.

Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent Custom StakesOne important thing to mention about the setup of this tent is that it it not built to stand on its own.  It requires placing stakes around the entire perimeter of the tent before the tent is raised to maintain its proper shape and structure.  This is by far the most time-consuming aspect of the set up process, but properly staking the base of the tent helps to give it durability against any wind and snow you may encounter.


The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent is available in 4 sizes:

  • 8.5′ x 6′ – 2-person capacity
  • 9’x8′ – 4-person capacity
  • 10′ x 10′ – 6-person capacity
  • 10′ x 14′ – 8-person capacity

These tens include a lot of headroom and will allow most people to stand without issue.  The 10×14 and 10×10 sizes has a roof height of 6’6″ while the 9×8 and the 8.5×6 have heights of 6’1″ and 4′ respectively.

This tent is also available in 3 versions: Basic, Deluxe, and VX.  Differences between the version can be seen on this table from Kodiak Canvas. The Deluxe includes 2 large additional windows, a gear loft, a pocket organizer, 2 small roof vents, and an upgraded carrying bag. The VX version includes 2 additional triangular windows on the ends of the tent along with everything else from the deluxe model (except the roof vents).  Not all versions are available in all sizes.

Kodiak Canvas Tent Review
Interior View of the 10’x14′ Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent


In our Kodiak Canvas Tent Review, we tested the 10’x14′ Deluxe model.  Our family of 4 and our two dogs slept comfortably in this tent with room to spare.  With 4 sleeping bags arranged along the tent walls, we still had open space in the middle to allow us to move around in the tent.  The 10’x14′ tent certainly could sleep 8 people as Kodiak Canvas suggests, but like most maximum tent ratings, you would only want to have this many people in this tent if it was necessary.

The canvas breathes well – we had no problems with condensation in this tent – but it also felt warmer than our nylon/poly tents in our 40-degree test conditions.  The 4 large (almost floor-to-ceiling) windows in the deluxe model give you a lot of control by opening and closing the windows to control airflow.

The no-see-um mesh window screens are well-made and are great at keeping the bugs out.  We had no trouble with bugs in this tent except for the times we left the door open for any length of time.

The white “flex-bow” ceiling allows for a nice diffused light to enter the tent once the sun rises.  This creates a welcome and subtle wakeup for early risers but could be frustrating for those who look forward to sleeping in when camping.

The detachable gear loft and pocket organizers provide some useful space to store items.  The gear loft extends over half the ceiling when deployed.  Multiple attachment rings around the top of the tent give you the ability to customize these items to suit your own needs.


Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent Carrying BagsIt’s hard to know how long the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow tent will last, but it seems sturdy in every way.  The zippers work well and are protected by heavy external canvas flaps with velcro.

The tent includes a carrying bag made of thick, durable canvas.  Our deluxe model included an upgraded “Strap & Cinch” bag that makes packing this tent back in the bag easy as pie.  Properly stored in this bag, the tent is well-protected during storage.

Everything about is heavy-duty – making it a serious consideration for campers looking for a home in the wild.


The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent isn’t cheap. The model we tested currently runs $699 on Amazon. But, the value is there.  This tent is super sturdy, can stand up to strong winds and snow, and is considered a 4-season tent. If you spend a good amount of time in the outdoors, this tent is a must-have.  It will make camping enjoyable and worry-free for the whole family. To top it off, this may just be the tent that you make memories with your kids and pass it down for them to make memories with the kids in.  It’s a tank.  It’s comfy. It’s camping in comfort and style.



Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent Custom Stakes


© 2022- Outward Spaces | Privacy Policy | website by VAUX digital