Often referred to as a ‘small tent,’ the Big Daddy Deluxe Double Swag is a big piece of kit.
The biggest of the Big Daddy swag range, we were keen for something we could pack quickly and get away for a quick trip without having to tow the Jayco, and it has been perfect for that.
Adventure Kings, the manufacturer, claims that they are the most popular swag in Australia, and there are literally thousands upon thousands of reviews and discussions about them, and even Facebook groups dedicated to them, so it is probably true.
Unpacking The Big Daddy
They come in a surprisingly small box for the size of the swag, but we quickly realized that once you open for the first time and the foam mattress is aired, there is no way you will ever again roll it up that size.
Inside the box, you will find the swag, mattress, and its associated poles.
Setting up your Big Daddy Deluxe Double Swag is really simple and does not take much more than five minutes.
- Roll out and peg the four corners.
- Setup the two end loops and clip them on.
- Insert the middle pole to push the ends out and tensiom the canvas
- Peg the two end ropes
There are a variety of different mattress options to choose from. We opted for the 70mm mattress, but they also offer a cheaper 50mm, or you can opt for no mattress (and save money) and buy something else to put in yourself.
In many of the discussion forums, people have used queen size self-inflating mattresses very happily. We haven’t done a lot of nights in our yet, but the 70mm seemed ok, on top of dirt terrain.
Many comments I have read suggest that buying a queen size mattress topper (egg carton style foam) and placing it on top of the default mattress creates a seriously comfy bed that you will never complain about.
These are cheap products, and I bought them with that perspective.
If you read the available reviews and see them discussed in online forums, there are thousands of people that have had a Big Daddy Swag for years, and never had a problem with it.
Likewise, there are many man people posting online that have had poor experiences with these swags. Sometimes these problems occur after use. Sometimes there have been issues straight out of the box.
When you pay circa $250 for a double swag (when many others cost $600+), you have to acknowledge that the saving is likely to come at the cost of some sort.
Yes, there might be some savings for the manufacturer if they are creating thousands at a time, and yes, we may receive a portion of those savings by way of a cheaper price, but in my opinion, it would be prudent to expect that the lower cost will also be reflected in a lower quality of construction/manufacturing.
Thus far, overall, I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Big Daddy Deluxe Double Swag. The quality of canvas and stitching seem to be quite good for the price.
The poles included do feel ‘cheap’, and I expect them to break at some point, but not in a way unreasonable given the price paid.
I had one small issue with a part of mine, and the 4WD Supacentre customer service was super responsive in sending out a replacement part, quickly, at no cost.
The swag is over 1.5 meters wide, 2.1 meters long, and has a height of approximately 1 meter in the middle.
These are big, no question about it, so if you are looking for something slim, the Big Daddy Deluxe Double swag is not for you.
They have big zips on each side, with fly screens, so you can set up to open either way. There are also zip down windows (with fly screen) at the head and foot of the swag for temperature control.
Given the heigh of these swags, they are often compared to small tents, and the comparison is fair. But I personally really appreciate the canvas, and the built-in mattress, and the ease of setup, which still qualifies this as a swag.
The swags are quite long, and that creates a significant expanse that is not supported directly by the swag frame. As such many people talk about the ‘sagging sides’.
Not to the extent that they cave in on you while you are inside, just that they do sag to some extent, and it doesn’t look as good, and can lead to waterproofing issues if it rains.
Many claims that as long as you set them up correctly, this is not an issue, and many others have also come up with inventive solutions to addressing this ‘sag’. My personal experience is that there is some sag, but this can be managed with sufficiently tight ropes and poles.
The canvas used to make the Big Daddy Delux Double Swag is 400 GSM Ripstop Polycotton Canvas, and it seems to be okay.
After proper seasoning it should be largely water-resistant, though I would usually opt to have your swag under some other form of cover (gazebo, car awning) if you are expecting significant rainfall.
In 90% of cases, I would very comfortably set up this swag without an overhead cover, as the is the whole appeal of the design.
However, if I was expecting heavy rainfall, I would still opt for some additional form of cover. Not so much because the quality of the canvas is poor, just that with enough rain on any canvas, it can pool in certain areas and is likely to seep through to some extent.
Adventure Kings make optional carry bags you can purchase for an additional fee. Again there are mixed reviews on the quality of these bags, and many people are very happy with them, many are not.
Given the weatherproof flooring, my personal approach is to roll them up, then the rubber floor is facing upwards (either in your trailer or on top of your car), which should make them largely waterproof when transporting them anyway.
Further, with a sleeping bag inside, rolling them up to fit in these available bags can be a tricky process.
Seasoning Your New Swag
This article covers the process of ‘seasoning’ a new swag in more detail, but in short, it is important to be aware that most new swags, when newly produced, require seasoning for the canvas to improve water-resistant quality.
Ensure you do this for any new swag you get, whether you opt for the Big Daddy, or something else.
In summary, I think you get what you pay for.
For $250, these double swags are a great product and a great way to get started camping and an easy way to go out for a couple of nights, with quick set up and pack up, and pretty good comfort while you are there.