Swags - The Great Australian Bush Bed

What is a Swag?

A swag is the historical Australian name for   what is literally a bedroll. The materials and construction have changed considerably from early times so that the modern canvass version is much more comfortable, water resistant and keeps most bugs at bay. Today they are typically made of canvas or other synthetic materials, forming a cocoon which contains a mattress, sheet and pillow. 

Swags were originally carried by ‘swagmen’, who were itinerant farm workers, usually sheep shearers, that walked from job to job in Australia’s outback during the late 1800's to early 1900’s. Swagmen carried their belongings in a bundle called a swag, which usually consisted of a bluey (a blue bush blanket) rolled up with spare clothing inside a tarpaulin or ground sheet. They also carried a tucker bag containing a frying pan, tucker and a billy or billycan to make tea. This image was immortalised in Australian culture by the song Waltzing Matilda, meaning he was waltzing his swag (his de facto wife) as he walked (see below for the words to Waltzing Matilda and a glossary of terms).

Why Sleep in a Swag?

In keeping with Wayoutback’s philosophy of keeping it real and authentic, sleeping out under the stars in a swag is the only way to go. We want you to experience the outback in a way that you can really feel for and appreciate the unique environment in this part of the world. People travel to the outback from around the world just to view the southern stars with our mostly crystal clear nights. Sleeping in a swag puts you right in the VIP seats. What a way to finish a day in the desert - a hearty dinner with banter around the campfire and then quietly drifting off to sleep looking up in awe at the million of stars and clusters on display.

Please note that for those who suffer a little paranoia over creepy crawlies, we do have tents that you can book. (see Tents below)

Wayoutback Swags

As we want you to be comfortable on your safari, our swags are made from strong, water resistant canvass and fitted with a high density Dunlop foam mattress, pillow and base sheet. They zip up on each side forming a cosy cocoon with your face open to the brilliant night sky above. They also have a flap at the head that you can pull over your face if there is light rain. 
Swags are warmer in winter and cooler in summer than tents. Tents keep the heat in with less airflow in summer and keep the cool air circulating forming condensation in winter. Swags can unzip and open up for lots of airflow in summer and retain the body’s heat in winter with a thicker covering and a smaller area to retain the heat.

You will need to bring your own sleeping bag or, if you don’t have one, you can hire them from us at $20.00 per person. Please let us know when making your booking.

Tents Available on Request

For our clients’ uncomfortable heading into the outback knowing they will be sleeping on the ground in a swag, Wayoutback provides tents* so your safari isn’t spoilt by not be able to get a good night’s sleep. However, we find that over 90% of people that book tents actually end up sleeping in a swag of their own choice. Once they get out there with their fellow campers around the campfire and the guide to help dispel any fears, they usually opt for the swag. So many people end up over the moon they have been able to overcome their fears and get the benefits and the experience of sleeping out under the stars just like the old swagmen and explorers. 

* If you do want a tent, please make sure you let our reservation staff know at the time of your booking. If booking on-line, make your request known under “Special Requests”.