Hiking Tent vs. Swag: Head-To-Head Comparison

Hiking tent vs. swag: Which is better for your upcoming journey? If you are wondering between the two, let’s compare them via aspects to find the answer.

Top Rated Best Budget Hiking Tent for the money

Hiking Tent vs. Swag: Comparison Table

Hiking Tent Hiking Swag
  • Lightweight.
  • Weatherproof.
  • Spacious inside.
  • Small and compact.
  • Allow you to store gear inside.
  • All-in-one.
  • Very durable.
  • Super quick setup.
  • Weatherproof canvas.
  • Come in double or single.
  • Dome swag options are insect-proof.
  • Various options at many price points.
  • Not as durable as swag.
  • Longer set-up time.
  • Require additional items.
  • Require regular maintenance.
  • Heavy and bulky.
  • Can be hot in warmer climates.
  • Small inside, with only room for one person.

Hiking Tent vs. Swag: What Are the Main Differences?



Swag is a compact sleeping space that protects you from many elements when sleeping in nature. It comes with a mattress as a feature and is smaller, typically easier to erect, and more affordable than a tent.

The swag’s compact nature means it’s designed for one or two people. Swag isn’t as tall as a tent, so it doesn’t deliver a lot of inside space.


Tents are available in many different types and are designed for various weather conditions and camping environments. Depending on your needs, you can find a one-person model or a model that can hold up to twelve people.


  • Swag

Swags are typically highly durable, making them your reliable shelter against rain and wind. You must deal with dangerous beasts and insects when camping in the forest. So ensure you seal your swag up carefully at night to keep these creepy animals outside.

  • Tent 

Similar to camping with swag, a tent will deliver a safe way to camp, and you must choose an appropriate location.

You will also need to take precautions to prevent insects and snakes from getting into your tent at night. We recommend storing your shoes/boots in your tent to prevent anything from damaging them, such as rain.


  • Tent 

The tent has a comfort aspect you won’t find in a swag or other portable shelters: Space to move around. Tents are available in various sizes, and there are ones that can accommodate an entire family!

Depending on the size of your chosen tent, you can even use cots and air mattresses inside it.

  • Swag

Considering the mattress’s thickness is essential to get the comfort you need.

The sizes of the mattresses typically range from 50mm to 70mm. Anything thicker than 70mm is more comfortable and will be a barrier from the ground.

Many hikers share that they have increased the comfort of their swag by putting it onto a swag stretcher.

You also need to consider the waterproof rating when purchasing a tent. We recommend opting for something 1,000mm or more to get a “truly waterproof” tent.

If you choose canvas swag, you must season it after purchase to improve its waterproofing.

Ease of Setup

  • Tent 

How easy it is to set up a tent depends on the model you choose and your overall experience. Overall, it is more complicated than a swag setup, but practice will make things easier.

Before your hike, we recommend you take your tent out to your yard and practice. After a few days, your skills will increase, and setting up a tent will no longer be daunting to you.

A pop-up tent will be your best bet if you want a tent that’s easy to set up. All you need to do is take it out of your backpack, and it will pop up on its own, just as its name suggests.

  • Swag

If you’re aiming for a beginner-friendly shelter option that’s simple to set up, you can’t go wrong with swag.

The reason for the simplicity of the swag’s setup is that it only uses just one to three poles. So it allows you to get the job done within a minute.


  • Tent 

The price of a tent can be somewhere between $50 and $1,500. Like all camping items, you get what you pay for in quality and size when talking about tents.

The price of a tent can vary considerably, depending on the size and style as well as materials and build quality.

  • Swag

The price of the swag can range from $200 to $600. Price fluctuations are caused by many factors, such as size, material, and features.

The most common material is canvas, but swags can also be made from other materials, such as the polyester-cotton mix of different ratios.

Other differentiators that can affect the price are the quality of the buckles and zippers utilized to secure the swag.

In addition, the size also affects the cost. The larger the swag, the higher the price. The price of swag also depends on additional features that it contains, such as waterproof swag bags,  pockets, and extra poles.

Pros And Cons

Hiking Tent


  • Super cozy.
  • Various affordable options.
  • Don’t take up valuable wine space.
  • Is easy to chuck in the boot and on the roof.
  • Quick setup with your bed already made and ready to go!


  • Not much space.
  • Heavy and bulky.
  • Can be hot in warmer climates.

Hiking Tent


  • Space for belongings.
  • Lightweight.
  • Weatherproof.
  • Spacious inside.


  • Not as durable as swag.
  • Longer set-up time.

Hiking Tent vs. Swag: Final Verdict 

If you camp alone or with another person, meaning you do not need much space, swag will be your best bet. It’s breathable, flexible, and easy to set up, making it perfect for anyone, even the inexperienced.

On the other hand, a tent will be the ideal option for a family or a group. It provides a generous space inside, which the swag does not.

The tent is available in various sizes and is built from lightweight and high-quality materials. You can expect to get excellent protection from any weather condition. But in contrast to swags, tents are challenging to set up and require ongoing maintenance.



Is a Swag Good for Hiking?

Swag is ideal if you camp by yourself, and it is really handy if you hike and carry all your own gear.

The biggest benefit of swag is that it is more lightweight than a tent. It is designed to pack easily into a “swag bag,” no bigger than an average gym bag.

Are Swags Warmer Than Tents?

Swag is guaranteed to be warmer than a tent because of the heavy material and kind of canvas used.

What Are the Cons of a Swag?

  • Some swags, such as double swags, can be bulky and heavy.
  • Swag mattresses can be thin, making you uncomfortable on hard ground.
  • Swags lack the space to hold anything other than a sleeping bag, a mattress, several pieces of clothing, and yourself.
  • Some swags are compact and very small, which will make you feel a bit claustrophobic.
  • Traditional swags are lightweight, but more conventional dome swags can be heavy and bulky.
  • Not much space to comfortably sit and shelter from the elements of the day.

Are Swags Worth It?

Yes, if you are camping alone or with one person. It is an amazing first-time camping experience or a new experience for people who are well-versed in the camping world.

Do Swags Get Cold?

Yes. You can be very cold in a swag, even if the weather outside is relatively mild.

Are Swags Hot in Summer?

Swags are smaller than tents and typically made from thicker material, making them hold in the heat much more effectively.

Do You Need a Sleeping Bag in a Swag?

We still recommend a sleeping bag In winter as the nights might get quite cold.

Can You Put a Swag Inside a Tent?

It is possible to put your swags inside the tent, and they will keep you dry at night time.

Do You Need to Waterproof a Swag?

It is essential to season new canvas swag before leaving it t expose it to weather to ensure it is as waterproof as possible.

What Is the Difference Between a Swag and a Sleeping Bag?

Basically, swag is a large sleeping bag with a built-in mattress.

What is the Difference Between a Backpacking Tent and a Regular Tent?

Camping tents also tend to use heavier, larger tent poles and a wider variety of stakes. Most backpacking tents are smaller and weigh less than four pounds and can even weigh as little as one pound.

Are Tents Necessary for Backpacking?

You don’t need a tent for backpacking. But you will likely need to prepare some other form of kit instead of a tent.

Leave a Comment