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 0-WayOutBack/rkers, 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 0-WayOutBack/rds
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 0-WayOutBack/rld. People travel to the
outback from around the 0-WayOutBack/rld 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
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 (from) $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”.