Outhaus swags are made from a high quality ripstop proofed polycotton canvas that is proven to be strong, breathable and lightweight. Our canvas gives a very natural, traditional feel and a warmth and security that is just not found in modern tents or bivvys. We use anti-wicking thread for all our seams to keep water ingress to a minimum. However, there are still some things to consider when using this world famous traditional camping icon.

First use – weathering

When your swag arrives it will be rolled up tightly with the foam mattress vacuum packed, compressing it. As you unroll the swag, take notice of how it is packed so that you can repack it in a similar way in order to keep your pack size down.

Remove the plastic cover from the mattress using round ended scissors to prevent accidental cuts. Then shake the mattress out and allow it to regain its shape for an hour or two.

Our swags are sewn with anti-wicking thread but they still need ‘weathering’ or ‘seasoning’ before use. Weathering causes the fibres in the canvas to expand and this action helps to fill the tiny needle holes, hindering water entry. To begin this process you will need to set up your swag and remove the mattress. Then zip up all entry and ventilation points and soak gently with a hose that is not under pressure (ie no spray nozzles), paying particular attention to the seams. It is important not to use a hard, forced spray as this may impair the effectiveness of the durable water repelling treatment applied to the canvas. Some water will very likely leak into the swag which is to be expected. Simply dry the PVC floor with a towel and allow the seams to dry out naturally in the sun. When the seams are completely dry (100% bone dry) repeat the process a further second, third and even fourth time. This process will give the seams every chance to seal as well as possible. In some instances, further treatment with a wax sealing product will be required to localised areas. This can only be done after the weathering process, as to apply beforehand will prevent the canvas fibres expanding.

We do not tape the seams of our swags or make them out of PU backed canvas as we believe this takes away from the natural and traditional feel that they exhibit, as well as causing breathability and condensation issues. We do not pretend that this makes our swags as watertight as a hot and clammy modern polyester bivvy but, with a little effort, you can bring your Outhaus swag up to a level of protection that has the perfect balance. If you are planning a trip where you may encounter the worst of the British weather we recommend pitching your swag under a tarp or one of our vehicle awnings which can be found here.

Setting Up a Rockhampton or Oxley Swag

  1. Choose a piece of ground that is level and firm with no sharp objects that may damage the base of the swag.
  2. Roll out the swag and position it where you would like it to be, taking into account the flow of any water, should it rain.
  3. Assemble the aluminium poles, ensuring that the connecting pieces are pushed all the way into their sockets.
  4. Insert the poles through the sleeves on the top of the swag- longest pole is the head, shortest is the foot.
  5. Put one end of each pole into the pole pin provided and put gentle pressure on the pole to allow it to be put onto the opposite pin.
  6. Clip the plastic hooks over the poles
  7. Attach the guy ropes to the eyelets front and back and peg them down so that the swag is pulled taut.
  8. Jump in your swag and see just how comfy it really is!

Setting up a Hobart Traditional Bedroll Swag

  1. Choose a piece of ground that is level and firm with no sharp objects that may damage the base of the swag.
  2. Roll out the swag and position it where you would like it to be, taking into account the flow of any water, should it rain.
  3. Peg out the four corners, keeping the floor of the swag nice and taut.
  4. If you are using a pole, position it in one of the eyelets at the head end and attach a guy rope either to it or to one or two of the other eyelets. The Hobart is designed to give different set up options so use what is best for your situation.
  5. Jump in your swag and see just how comfy it really is!

A note about canvas. Outhaus swags are constructed from a single skin of strong proofed polycotton canvas. Canvas is not usually graded with a hydrostatic head as it is a completely different kind of material to silicone or PU backed polyester tent material. If it were to have a HH rating our 12oz/400g canvas would score around 600-800. However, the durable water repellency (DWR) that we apply allows for fast water run off and a quick dry rate.

Packing Up Your Outhaus Swag

  1. Before you put your swag away you should make sure that it is dry. The canvas is treated to inhibit mould but this is just an inhibitor, not a 100% surefire prevention. If put away wet and left for more than 24 hours mould and mildew may begin to form.
  2. Fold the swag roughly as it came packaged, folding any overhanging canvas or ropes towards the middle.
  3. Disassemble the poles and put them in the pole pocket (Grand Solo 2) or put the solid pole across the width of the swag (Solo 2)
  4. From the head end, roll the swag as tightly as you can with the aim being to end up with as small and tight a roll as possible.
  5. Wrap the webbing straps around and clip the buckles together. Pull the webbing straps to tighten.
  6. Ensure that the canvas is thoroughly dry before rolling up your swag or stowing it away.

It is worth saying again, DO NOT leave a wet swag rolled up for any length of time. Your beautifully crafted swag WILL be marred by the dreaded black spot (mildew).

Care instructions

  1. Thoroughly wet down a new swag prior to use to aid the sealing up of seams.
  2. Remove any dirt with a soft brush and cold water after use.
  3. Do not clean with soap, detergent, petrol, oil, solvents, hard brushes or water under pressure. This may damage the waterproofing treatment.
  4. Please ensure that your swag is completely dry before storage.
  5. Do not store directly on concrete floors or in direct sunlight as this may cause colour fading or damage to the canvas.
  6. Use a recommended canvas reproofing solution on well worn areas and seams if required.

Please note that an Outhaus canvas swag is a high quality single skin piece of equipment. As with most single skin shelters condensation can occur under certain conditions. Breath and perspiration can emit 2 litres of water moisture in a night and if the outside air is too cold or it is very humid this can be more than the canvas can expel. Our swag designs are well thought out and the situation can be successfully rectified by ensuring that vents are open to allow adequate air flow. Even if you have the shooter’s window of your Rockhampton completely open you will still be cosy and warm within the heavy canvas and comfortable mattress. If you are at all unsure please contact us with any questions you may have.

Once you’ve tried canvas, you’ll never go back!