How to Care For and Repair Your Swag Camping Bedroll


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For those of you who came in late a swag is a traditional Australian bedroll still as useful today as when it was first created.

Basically a foam mattress inside a waterproof canvas cover which encloses both you and your bedding - like a tent and sleeping bag in one, but made from canvas so it breathes and you avoid condensation buildup.

The swag is rolled and strapped when packed, and is larger and bulkier than a sleeping bag alone. Ideally made from durable canvas, a cared for swag will handle harsh conditions and last for years.

Swags are generally used by campers that don't have to hike their equipment to their camp sites.

Now down to care and repair details.

You should not need to wet your canvas before use as most modern swag canvases have already been “pre wet” but if you want to, for extra settling of your swag, then first take out the mattress and then put your swag under a sprinkler for about 20 minutes. Dry your swag in the shade rather than direct sunlight.

Your swag canvas should be treated with anti-fungal when made but it still pays to take care to dry it properly any time it becomes wet so as to avoid mould (mold).

Also when you roll up your swag it is a good idea to brush off any dirt and leaves as you roll it as wet leaf smell is a bit off.

When you return from any trip you should take out your mattress, and air and dry your swag thoroughly before storing it.

You should not need to put on any extra waterproofing on your canvas if it is good quality canvas as this will affect your swag’s ability to breathe and lead to condensation.

Never leave your swag unattended near an open fire.

Never leave your swag unattended in the back of a ute.

We hear many stories of swags lost both these ways, seriously.

If you are using your swag in particularly wet weather, it is a lot more pleasant, if you are going to be camped in one area for a while, to tie a tarp over head. This gives you a bit of breathing space when you get out of your swag and makes for a better camp.

Cleaning your swag should be with water only, DO NOT use soap or chemicals and avoid harsh rubbing as the waterproofing CAN be rubbed off.

Swag Repairs can be made to all parts of your swag in the event that they get torn or damaged.

There is a clear sticky product called “Greenhouse Repair Tape”, costs about $9 for a 25mtr roll (50mm wide or 100 mm wide) which we recommend be set on the inside and outside of the tear.

Major repairs can be fixed at most upholstery workshops.

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