Sometimes it pays to unfurl the swag and bed down under the stars. But is a night’s rest under Australia’s unbeatable Milky Way more restful than a solid kip-up off the ground on a proper mattress in a camper trailer?
It might seem an obvious solution to pack swags and take a camper trailer, but swags are actually quite large and if there are a few of you going, will take up a fair whack of available storage space; so prompting, eventually, the question: “do we really need to pack the swags?”
The climate and expected weather are your most obvious pointer. If even a night’s moderate rain is expected, this should sway your decision-making.
I say, “Should,” because the most difficult night’s sleep I’ve ever had camping — in fact the most difficult night’s sleep full-stop — was during the middle of an FNQ wet season. It was more than 30 celsius with full bore humidity at midnight, but raining steadily outside. Somehow about a million mosquitoes had decided to seek shelter inside with me. Remarkably, after much toing and froing, the best solution, from a host of terrible options, was to spread a groundsheet outside on a patch of grass in the rain away from the terrible humidity and mosquitoes and simply lay down on top without any covering. I learned there are worse things than rain to disturb a good night’s sleep, not that I ended up having a good night’s sleep, but you know what I mean.
Anyway, I digress…
Of course, when the weather’s peachy a swag is glorious. But it has to be what I like to call ‘Goldilocks weather’. Conditions have to be perfect all through the night. Often times you’ll nod off quite comfortably by a smouldering, still glowing fire, only to awake suddenly two or three hours later to a dead fire with cold feet — or worse, spitting rain.
The best nights for a swag are those when you start off lying on your mattress without being fully inside your sleeping bag and then gradually transitioning as you drift off, exactly like you would if at home in bed under your doona.
For all nights outside the ‘Goldilocks weather’ zone, then to ensure a good night’s kip, you’re better advised to retreat into the unbridled comfort of your camper trailer bed. With the camper trailer option, you can always linger by the campfire until your eyelids are so heavy you can’t hack it and then simply fall into bed, conveniently set up a mere staggering distance from the fire. If the night starts off fine and gets freezing as it progresses, you simply have to begin with the door and window open and then shut everything up as it cools down, as you would at home. In a swag you’re instead destined to be running about without shoes (unless you sleep in shoes) looking for extra clothes, warm socks or long johns to pull on.
Obviously, if storage is no issue: take both.
Otherwise, a swag-orientated trip is best suited to camping occasions when you expect ‘Goldilocks weather’ throughout — or, of course, if you’re simply a hard-core type who loves it outside and who can hack extremes of weather, through thick and thin.
If, on the other hand, you expect a bit of overnight rain and value a good night’s sleep so you can bounce up full of energy for the day’s upcoming plans, bring your camper trailer.
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