When you hear the word ‘swag’ what is the first thing that comes to mind? That might depend where you live. Maybe it’s the proceeds of a bank robbery, or a bag full of goodies collected at a trade show,maybe it’s a ‘scientific wild ass guess’? But for most camping afficionados, a swag is a well known type of camping shelter. A swag is a bedroll, mattress and shelter all in one. Swags have a long history, back in the 1800’s in Australia a Swagman was known as a roaming and mostly seasonal agricultural worker who did odd jobs on farms including labour work, rounding up and shearing sheep. They mostly slept outdoors where they lay on a piece of canvas and threw a blanket over themselves at night, to keep warm. When they moved on, they then rolled up the blanket, their belongings and the canvas together, threw it on their backs, and headed off for the next job, and that’s where the name for modern day ‘swags’ came from.

Putting your swag on a stretcher offers incredible comfort………..

Swags have evolved a lot since those days of course, and it is becoming more and more common to see people camping in swags, and on swags pitched on top of camping stretchers. The convenience and comfort of swags is hard to beat, however swags tend to be pretty bulky and heavy, so you won’t be bringing one on your backcountry backpacking trip. But for 4WD touring and car camping, swags are a great choice. Swag design has continually evolved since the first commercial swags were produced. One notable innovator in the area of swag design is Australian company DARCHE. For over 30 years now, DARCHE has been producing new and innovative swag types all based on the traditional swag concept but bringing modern design and technologies into the mix to produce a wide range of swag types to suit different uses. In the past we haven’t seen too many people using swags in Europe, as Europeans traditionally use small tents for the same purpose, but word is starting to get around.. And if you have the space to carry one, a swag is a very luxurious upgrade from a small one or two person tent.

Generally constructed with Swags are made with heavy canvas and robust poles, and with a built in sleeping pads, swags are a bit bulkier to transport than tents but are worth the extra effort involved. Swags can also be pitched on top of camping stretchers, adding even more luxury and allowing for a wider range of terrain to be camped on. A stretcher will keep you up out of the mud and puddles and also makes it far easier to step into and out of your lodgings. We expect to see more and more people starting to use swags as awareness of this new option begins to spread amongst the European camping and overlanding community.

The Mighty Nebula Swag

The DARCHE Stretcher

The Dirty Dee

The Dusk to Dawn


If you are one of those people who likes plenty of room when camping well, the Nebula has got you covered. Plenty of room for the kids to squeeze in what is the largest of the DARCHE range of swags.This swag is freestanding and has the height and space of a small tent, but with the convenient set up of a swag.

The Nebula like the Dirty Dee and the Dusk to Dawn just sings quality and comfort, the innovative design makes for a functional four season all weather robust shelter. Uniquely constructed as a single skin canvas, you can also attach the included fly sheet.

The Nebula is a four-season hybrid swag that comes complete with a flysheet keeping you nice and dry. From inside your swag, in the summer you will be treated with awesome 360° panoramic views, It also comes with a high quality DARCHE canvas bag, simply through it up on your roof rack and away you go.


One of our favourite DARCHE swags is the Dirty Dee. Its always used by one of the TURAS teams members, and lets just say he has developed a bit of a bond with it, in other words nobody else gets to experience this very comfortable and innovative design.

The Dirty Dee offers a couple of doors and windows which provide plenty of ventilation on those hot summer camping nights.The ridge pole trigger locking system developed by DARCHE makes the Dirty Dee swag the ultimate freestanding tourer. Near vertical walls and all-weather awnings, functionality, durability and comfort have been combined into an all-round outdoor adventure companion. This roomy swag is made from 420gsm proofed poly/cotton 16mm grid ripstop and offers generous headroom within. Other features include a very comfortable mattress,access to the undercover front awning, seam sealed internal seams, 4 internal storage pockets and anodised 7001 alloy 8.5 Dia poles with hard wearing pole sleeves. Like all DARCHE products, the materials are all of a very high quality and are made to last. I think its fair to say that all of the TURAS team members love getting to sleep on their swags.

The Swag Hutch from DARCHE – Swag Storage Extension

The Evolution of the Swag – the History of Swags.

Dirty Dee Swag from Darche

The DARCHE 270 Eclipse Awning – now available in Europe