The History and Evolution of Swag Camping in Australia

Swag camping, also known as bush camping, is a popular way of exploring the great outdoors in Australia. It involves sleeping in a simple and compact canvas shelter known as a swag. The history of swag camping in Australia dates back to the early 1800s, when explorers and pioneers used swags as their primary means of shelter during expeditions.

Early Years

Swags were originally made from heavy-duty canvas and were designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. They were typically rolled up and carried on the backs of horses or camels during long journeys through the bush. The early swags had a basic design, with a waterproof canvas cover and a simple mattress inside for comfort.

World War I

During World War I, swags were used by Australian soldiers as they fought in the trenches. They provided a simple and portable shelter that could be easily transported from one location to another. After the war, many soldiers continued to use swags for camping and outdoor activities.

1930s and 1940s

In the 1930s and 1940s, swag camping became more popular among Australians who wanted to explore the country’s vast wilderness areas. Swags were used by farmers, miners, and other outdoor enthusiasts who needed a portable shelter that could be easily set up in remote locations.

Modern Times

Today, swag camping has evolved into a popular form of eco-tourism in Australia. Many tour companies offer guided swag camping trips that allow visitors to experience the rugged beauty of the outback while staying in comfortable swags. Swags have also become lighter and more compact, making them easier to transport and set up.


Swag camping has a rich history in Australia and has played an important role in the country’s exploration and development. Today, it continues to be a popular way for people to experience the natural beauty of Australia’s wilderness areas while enjoying the simplicity and freedom of camping with just a swag.

About the Author

Mark Zenith

Meet Mark, one of our talented content writers who has a passion for the great outdoors. Mark is a seasoned camper and hiker who has spent countless hours exploring the wilderness and perfecting his outdoor skills.