To wake up with birds singing, and kangaroos hopping around your campsite.
Then get up, rekindle last night’s fire and brew some coffee for breakfast.
There is another side.
A swag gives you absolutely no privacy.
No place to get changed, to wash, or to do any of those things that you take for granted when you go to bed or get up.
This trip, there was cold weather, so cold that before I went to bed I would be wearing 3-4 layers of clothing, including a heavy outer jacket, beanie, and maybe gloves and a scarf.
Here’s my swag bedtime routine:
- Make sure everything I need overnight or want to keep with me for security reasons is in the swag, or ready to go in – water, book to read, glasses for watching the stars (I’m short sighted and can’t see that far without my glasses), torch, car keys
- Heat up water and prepare hot water bottle
- Unzip the covers and put the prepared hot water bottle into the swag, off to the side where I wouldn’t sit on it getting in and cause it to leak water all through the bedding. Zip the cover back up again – you don’t want anything crawling into the warmth apart from you
- Go to the toilet (believe me, this is essential if you don’t want to get up in the middle of the night) and brush my teeth
- Unzip the cover again and sit in the swag (very elegantly of course), making sure I don’t sit on the hot water bottle (see above)
- Take off right boot (because I get in from the left side – not compulsorily, but I’m just used to getting in that side when Doc and I sleep in the double swag) and put right foot into swag. Take off left boot and put left foot in swag.
- Fold over boots and tuck them under the swag to make sure no little creatures crawl into them in the night
- Take off heavy outer jacket and push it right down to the bottom of the inside of the swag to give my feet some extra warmth
- Lie down and wriggle out of jeans, keeping them right side out (for ease of getting back on in the morning) and put them somewhere to the side of the swag (still inside).
- Wriggle out of any other clothes I don’t want to sleep in, and push them to the side of the swag. Anything extra on the outer edges of the swag will stop cold coming through on cold nights
- Put on warm socks for sleeping (my feet get cold even when I have an electric blanket)
- Pull the insect screen up, but don’t zip
- Pull the outside canvas cover up to where it keeps the warmth in but I can still see the stars, and zip it up
- Zip up the insect cover
- Realise I’ve forgotten something and either decide I can do without it overnight, or put the whole thing into reverse, then go back to step 5
- Lie back and look at a million stars and realise how lucky I am to be there
Of course, of a morning all that is done in reverse before you can get up again.
And every inconvenience, every difficulty, really is worth it to lie in bed and look at the stars. There is no feeling on earth like it.
I’d do it again in an instant.