tips & hacks

Seasoning your swag

You’ve got to season your swag ( and we don’t mean with chicken salt… ) to make it fully waterproof before first use. 
When you purchase a new swag they do have a factory treated waterproof coating added to the canvas however whilst it does its best to keep you dry, it’s not 100% effective. It’s only really maybe 85% there so you need to spend a little time making it 100% waterproof.

There’s various ways you can season your swag and it doesn’t really matter which way you do it as long as the end result is the same.

Seasoning a swag is a process where you saturate the canvas material and let it dry,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spend a minute checking the ground too before you roll it out because even though the mattresses in swags are quite thick, you don’t want to roll on any hard or sharp objects through the night. Unroll out your swag and then sit back and relax calling it home.

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then re-saturate it again and let it dry repeating this process 3 – 4 times over. What this does is fills all the stitch holes in the canvas with water swelling the material. Then as the canvas drys and shrinks, the stitch holes shrink too making them smaller. By repeating this process several times, the holes eventually become almost non-existent therefore making the material and swag waterproof.

The ways in which you can wet the canvas are often debated around a camp fire and 

whether it’s soaking it gradually with a mist hose thrown over the clothesline, leaving your swag in a good downpour to even fully submersing the entire swag in a bath tub ( not my favourite way to be honest ) , just take your time to do it slowly and methodically. I seasoned mine by simply setting it up loosely in the back yard ( not over tightening all the ropes and spreader pole etc ) and then saturated it with the hose. I then let it dry out in the shade ( not in the direct heat of the sun ) and I repeated this process several times. I think it is now fully waterproof however the next big storm should confirm this. One thing that is handy to leave in the swag, or camp box, is a good wax stick or candle. That way if for some reason you do get a little water through the zipper or it gets a bit tight to close, rub a little candle wax on there and it will stop both the water seep and make the zipper work so much better !

LED strip lighting

This would have have to be one of the single greatest additions you can make to any vehicle for camping and off road use. It has become ridiculously inexpensive in recent years with an explosion of suppliers both online and through traditional bricks and mortar stores all competing and vying for your business. I purchased a roll of 5m long LED strip

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in "3528" spec and used around 2 metres worth up on the underside of my awning and the light this emits is insane !  I originally just had it wired straight to the power source without any reducer or dimmer and whilst it was great when you needed bright bright, it needed to be able to be backed off a bit. 

So to go one better I grabbed a couple of dimmer dials that are also on / off

switches and these work great because you can have them from almost not on at all right up to full power. Even when on full power, the LED strip lights could be left on for around 7 months straight before my twin aux batteries even notice…FANTASTIC little addition these.

These things are bloody brilliant !

Another good tip is red strip lighting as it still allows good night vision but keeps down the bugs and insects !

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Camp Oven cooking

Cast iron camp ovens would have to be truly one of the best, cheapest, most versatile components in your camping kitchen. These bad boys will cook everything from ensuite meals right through to main and desert ! There’s literally nothing you can’t cook in a camp oven, providing you take your time and use them properly.

Here’s a couple of great little tips for when cooking with a cast iron camp oven.

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  • Always make sure you wash them up with clean hot water, as hot as you can muster as using strong detergents can remove the oil skin from inside the pot leaving a soapy taste in there next time. Always if too much oil is removed, it can lead to rust if not re-oiled after.

  • Always make sure you wash them up with clean hot water, as hot as you can muster as using strong detergents can remove the oil skin from inside the pot leaving a soapy taste in there next time. Always if too much oil is removed, it can lead to rust if not re-oiled after.

  • Always make sure once cleaned out, pat dry only with paper towel or a clean rag and ensure you re-oil the inside especially. The easiest way to re-oil the inside, and outside for that matter, is an aerosol can of olive oil. The idea being that with a thin skim coating of oil will prevent condensation forming rust while in storage between camp trips.

  • ​​Place a piece or two of scrunched up paper towel or newspaper even inside the camp oven too as this will absorb any moisture that may gather inside and store it away in a good dry position in the shed. That way next time you hit your favourite camp spot, the oven is ready to go !

  • You should always preheat your camp oven on some coals ( or a gas cooker ) prior to placing in ingredients as you would do with your kitchen oven and use a trivet inside as this gets air circulating better internally for quicker and more even cooking.