Swag Care Basics: How To Clean, Repair & Care For Your Canvas Swag

Swag Care Basics: How To Clean, Repair & Care For Your Canvas Swag

The humble swag is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to camp comfortably on any adventure.

Keeping your swag up to scratch is not only important for prolonging the life of your swag, but it's also important to ensure you get the most out of your camping trip. Well-maintained swags will fully protect you from the elements as intended, and prevent small issues from becoming big ones that could potentially end a great camping trip early.

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Most Common Swag FAQs

Are swags an Australian thing?

Known as a portable sleeping unit to the rest of the world, in Australia we Aussies call it a swag. Before we invented giant metal boxes operated by magic to transport us around everywhere (also known as cars), us humans would travel everywhere by foot over long distances, so we would carry our important belongings, like a makeshift tent, in a bundle that we called a swag.

Are swags warmer than tents?

Yep. Swags are warmer than tents because a swag is much smaller than a tent and is made from thicker material, thus being able to effectively keep and retain a larger amount of heat inside than a regular camping tent. Chuck an insulated sleeping mat into your swag as well and you will have the optimum amount of heat when camping during winter!

Do swags go Mouldy?

Unfortunately yes, without proper care and maintenance, your swag can go mouldy. But luckily, there are ways to prevent this from happening. You can make sure you always leave the vents or windows unzipped during the day to prevent the buildup of condensation and spray down your swag with an anti-mould cleaning solution. A little care goes a long way to extending the life of your swag.

Should you put a tarp under your swag?

As a general rule, it is always best to put a tarp underneath your swag or tent - you never know what is lurking underneath the ground. Our range of tarps are perfect for any camping trip, making sure nothing such as dirt, water or creepy crawlies find their way into your swag during your next camping trip.

Do you need a sleeping bag for a swag?

It is recommended that you bring a sleeping bag or a sleeping mat along with you when camping in a swag. Not only will this add more comfort to your sleeping experience, but it will also add a little more warmth when camping in winter.

How to clean, repair and care for your canvas swags

A dry swag is a mould free swag. Always make sure your swag is 100% dry before storing it for long periods.

Before First Using Your Swag

So you have bought your swag, spotted a camping destination and are ready to hit the road - BUT WAIT! The most important swag care tip you can follow is to 'season' or 'weather' your swag (i.e. prepare it) before using it for the first time. Weathering ensures that your swag performs the way the manufacturer designed it to in terms of reliability and durability, as well as making sure your gear is watertight. Seasoning also ensures your equipment's ongoing care and maintenance is so much easier. For more information, check out our helpful guide to Seasoning A Canvas Swag.

Setting Up Your Swag While Camping

When you're out camping, how and where you set up your swag plays a significant role in its long-term care. When setting up, always use established campsites because they will have good grass cover and fewer rocks, stones or twigs on the ground that could possibly damage the floor of your swag. Using a mesh footprint under the base of the swag protects the floor even better and will stop water pooling under your swag. Where you can, try finding a shady spot to set up your swag. Despite the high-quality materials of current swags, prolonged UV exposure, even when using a fly, eventually speeds up the degradation of your swag.

This is why you must always ensure that you have good ventilation running through your swag. Leaving the vents or windows always zipped up, Whether in mild or warm weather, can cause condensation and lead to a build-up of mould (see below for removing mould from canvas swags). Avoid wearing boots and shoes in your swag and never force zippers. Keep some water and purpose-made swag cleaner on hand, so you can spot-clean spills or stains as they happen.

Taking Care Of Your Swag In-between Camping

Maintaining your swag between camping trips means making sure it always stays clean, odour-free and mould-free. The best way to do this involves setting up your swag at home and making sure it's allowed to fully dry before being stored away. It's also a good idea to give it a once-over prior to heading off on your next camping trip. Check the interior and exterior of the shell for dirt, leftover items from your last trip, mould spots or rips and tears. Give it a sweep out with a broom and dustpan and, if there is dried mud or spills in the swag, use a damp cloth to clean it or even a soft mop if your swag base is waterproof.

Next, add the fly to the swag and repeat the procedure. Be sure to check both the inside and the outside of the fly for dirt or mould. Take the time to unroll, check and re-tie all your fly ropes. Likewise, check for bent or damaged poles. Make sure you haven't misplaced any of the swag pegs by placing one on the ground next to each peg point. If they came straight out of the ground and into the bag after your last camping trip, they may have some dirt and dampness on them. Wipe down the pegs with a damp cloth and shake out the peg bag.

How to clean, repair and care for your canvas swags

A good quality canvas swag will last you many years if taken care of properly.

Cleaning Swags

A spot clean is usually enough but, for really tough stains or soiled spots, go to work with your sponge and be sure to take it easy on coated areas of the floor and fly. To wash your swag, grab a sponge and fill a large bucket with water. Do not use any household detergents, soaps or cleaners as the chemicals can cause the swag's canvas to degrade over time. Stick to water and plenty of elbow grease. Set your swag up and give it a good brush and vacuum if required.

Next, get your sponge and wipe down any areas that are dirty or stained. Next, set your swag up or hang it in a cool, shaded area until it is completely dry. It's impossible to understate how vital it is to make sure that everything in your swag is absolutely dry before packing it away. Use a recommended canvas reproofing solution on well-worn areas and seams if required.

Removing Mould From Canvas Swags

If you find mould, it's not the end of the world. Removing mould from canvas is as easy as the following home remedy: Mix vinegar and tea tree oil in a bottle and spray on the affected area. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 30 minutes before you wipe it away with a damp cloth and leave it to fully dry before packing away. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal, and your swag will smell fresh and clean afterwards. If you prefer, you can use a pre-mixed anti-mould cleaning solution but the homemade one is as good as anything you will buy.

Fixing Rips & Tears

Repairing rips or tears to your swag is an essential part of maintaining your swag. Most small rips can be easily repaired at home, or while you're camping, but it's imperative that you attend to them as soon as you notice them. The easiest way to fix any holes or tears is to pick up a swag repair kit and follow the directions, just ensure you allow the patch to fully cure before using your swag again. Long tears or rips in the seams of your swag are best repaired by a professional. And, like smaller rips, the sooner you get them fixed, the better.

Shop The Best Swags At Anaconda

And there you have it, you now know the correct way to not only clean your swag but also keep it in great condition for many more camping adventures ahead. Look after your swag and it will look after you. Always follow the manufacturer's care instructions and your equipment will do the job no matter what the conditions, and last for many, many years to come. But with a massive range of swags, tents and much more, it has never been easier to find all the right camping gear you need at Anaconda.

Also remember to check out our Adventure Centre for more exciting camping tips, exciting hiking destinations and more, such as:

Find your local Anaconda store and check out our great range of swags.




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