Swags are super convenient and comfy but there is not much protection against the cold if you are camping in winter. In this article we’ll explore the three main ways you can get warm, and stay warm in your swag.
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The Humble Water Bottle
The trusty old water bottle is a great way to get warm in your sleeping bag to start with. Boil some water in your billy over the fire, or over your portable gas stove before bed and fill your water bottle, for something nice and warm to help you get your sleeping bag up to temperature.
You can grab them at your local supermarket or department store.
Chemical Heat Pack
Products such as the Oztent Hot Spot Pouch are triggered by a chemical reaction that heats the gel inside, lasting for 30-60 minutes. The next day you simply boil it in hot water and the chemicals break down again to a soft gel, ready to be triggered again.
The product claims to be usable up to 500 times, but user reviews give varying results in terms of how long the heat lasts.
Sensible Sleep Wear
It goes without saying that nice warm pajamas and socks make a huge difference, and also beanies. Beanies stop the warmth escaping from your head and keep it in your body.
Swag 12V Electric Blanket
Most people are not aware, but you can actually get electric blankets that run on 12V power. They are pretty efficient and keep you super warm throughout the whole night. No matter how cold it gets, you’ll have a nice bed of warmth protecting you from the elements.
This one is designed for 12V power, runs at 50 watts, only costs $20, and is an absolute no brainer! Comes with a carry bag and 12 month warranty.
If you are going to run a 12V electric blanket then you will need a 12V power source you can rely on. It’s not wise to plug straight into your car cigarette lighter port as you could potentially impact your car battery and not be able to start the next day. I would only plug into my car if I had a dual battery system set up, with an isolator to the main crank battery (that starts your engine), so no matter how much power you drew overnight, you can flatten your second battery and still be able to start your car.
Other ways you could power it are with a battery box or portable power station. Both are good ways to power 12V devices when off grid and can easily be charged again the next day either with solar, or potentially from your car while driving (ideally with a DC to DC charger to get full charge).
Do not attempt to use a portable propane heater or other gas power heater inside your swag. Even if you can set it up safely from a ‘flame’ perspective, there is risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and you dont want to risk anything.