$700 Swag vs $99 Swag | AOS vs Adventure Kings

side by side comparison of AOS swag and Adventure Kings Swag

“Never let someone else define your adventure, or tell you how to do it. Not even us.”

This is the message we put at the beginning of each post. 

The Rough As Guts mandate is that we must always tell it like it is, regardless of popular opinion. Sometimes it may seem like we’re trying to gate keep the word “adventure” when we say things like “real four wheel driving” or “real camping”. That’s not our intent, but what we damn-sure are hell-bent on, is to make sure people are never putting their limitations on others, advising against reasonable risk and lowering the bar for people who just might have gone and done something incredible if they hadn’t been talked out of it.

Your life is your adventure. Live it however the hell you want.

Table of Contents

The Difference Between a $700 Swag and a $99 Swag | AOS vs Adventure Kings

 

There are a lot of differences between a $700 swag and a $99 swag, and as to be expected the $700 swag is better. But, when deciding on whether to purchase the more expensive option, the primary question becomes is it worth it? Is the $700 AOS Tracker swag, at least 7 times better than the $99 swag from Adventure Kings?

The answer, is a resounding yes. We’ve gone so far as to say that the Australian made Tracker swag by AOS (Aussie Outback Supplies) is the best swag that can be bought and that its more than 10 times better than anything from Adventure Kings.

It’s the best swag that money can buy. Here’s why:

Canvas

If you look at the product listing for both products on their respective manufacturer’s websites, you’ll see that they both advertise the same density/thickness canvas. But if you’ve ever seen these products side by side in person, you’ll instantly notice that one of them doesn’t seem to be all that honest in their representation. The canvas in the AOS is noticeably thicker, denser and has a much tighter weave.

AOS use 100% Australian made cotton canvas. The 4WD Supacentre who manufacture Adventure Kings, just say canvas. Legally, canvas can be used as a term to describe non-cotton products, although typically it is used to describe a type of cotton fabric. The Supacentre routinely embellishes their product descriptions as much as they can get away with, so I’m quite confident they would describe it as cotton canvas if it wasn’t some sort of a blend. The same way they describe some of their products as “Oxford Fabric”, because it sounds a lot better than nylon. It appears to me, as a layman, that it’s a polyester cotton blend or something similar. It’s less durable and likely less fire resistant.

The tighter weave of the AOS canvas also lends itself to better waterproofing.

Aside from the canvas, there’s a huge difference in the mesh that the flyscreen is made from. AOS use a rugged, thick mesh, but Kings use a thin mesh which feels like it wouldn’t be too hard to rip.

Buckles & Straps

Several of my 6 month old Adventure Kings swags that we bought for our fleet of tour accessories, already have straps that have perished in the sunlight and fallen apart. I have a 23 year old AOS swag that still has perfectly functional straps. That’s why I bought a new Tracker for my wife, as I don’t need one because mine is still going.

Design/Type

The AOS Tracker doesn’t use a centre pole design. The Kings swag does.

The canvas and flyscreen can both be completely removed from the AOS swag so that you can sleep in the open and the lack of centre pole means you can get a clean view of the stars.

Mattress

The mattress is not only a bit thicker on the AOS, but it holds that thickness. There’s far less give in the foam so that even though the thickness difference isn’t huge, the result is. The AOS mattress is much comfier. Particularly on nights 2, 3 and later when your shoulders and hips start to get really sore as they carry most of the weight when sleeping on the side and have less padding than other parts of the body.

I can lay two rolled-up Kings swags across the back seat of my D22 Navara, one on top of the other with only a little bit of squashing. I can’t do the same with two AOS swags, as they don’t squash down enough to let a second one fit. This shows the difference in mattresses.

The experience of using a swag will largely be determined by sleep quality, and the mattress will have the biggest impact on this, unless water is getting into your swag.

Hardware

AOS use large, heavy duty metal buckles with a quick release. Kings use two metal circles that look like they’re off a Vietnamese scooter helmet. Admittedly, this is better than having a cheap plastic buckle as the rings won’t break. Sadly though, the strap they’re connected to will.

Clips & Zips

It’s really easy to see the difference here.

There’s nothing wrong with the system that Adventure Kings use, which is the same as pretty much all models of dome type swag. It’s just that AOS have come up with something a lot better.

Kings use what is essentially a keyring with a pin coming off it in each corner. It’s pretty standard. The poles sit on those pins at each end and then there’s a series of clips that then attach the canvas to the poles. It’s a reasonable system, but the worrying thing is that the ring/pins are held on with the exact same material as the straps which have already failed. I set the swag up to get  photos for this article and the review video we did and my fingers were covered in black powder from where they’re deteriorating in the sun. This 6 month old swag doesn’t seem to have a lot of life left which is very annoying.

I’ve gotten very efficient at setting these up and I can get it down to about a minute per end. The AOS however, take me 10 seconds per end.

The Tracker swag has pockets that each end of the poles slip into and then there’s a zip that goes from end to end of the pole. It takes seconds to do and then holds the pole perfectly in place without the canvas needing to be clipped. It also spreads the tension/load across the stitching of the whole zip and doesn’t concentrate the pressure at a small point of stitching where a clip would be.

I can see why Kings wouldn’t use this type of system though, their zips wouldn’t work around a curve with a load on them. Sometimes I have to spit on the zip of an Adventure Kings swag which seem unnecessarily gross, but the zips on the AOS swag are fantastic. Including the zips for the flyscreen, not just for the poles.

 

Summary

Overall, the AOS tracker is just a better swag. If you’re familiar with marginal gains theory, you’ll see that they haven’t tried to completely revolutionise the swag, but they have made every single component better. The sum affect of these improvements results in a much better swag, that is worth the much higher price.

If you’re new to four wheel driving and camping, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying an Adventure Kings swag to get you started as cheaply as possible. But, once you get serious and start doing it more often, the AOS Tracker swag is worth its weight in gold.

Freedom does not come automatically, it is achieved. And it is not gained in a single bound; it must be achieved each day”

– Rollo May, Man’s Search for Himself

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4WD Tours in Western Australia

Rough As Guts offers guided tag-along tours through WA’s rugged Outback.

two four wheel drives driving on the holland track

The Outback for Beginners

Challenge yourself just enough, as we take you through the Golden Outback and on the Holland Track.

Adventure starts here.

5 DAYS

$1,380

landscape shot of a rust coloured hill with spinifex in the east pilbara

Pilbara outback adventure

Rugged, pre-historic desert landscapes that look like they’re from another world.

8 DAYS

$2,700

Gunbarrel highway during the rain

Three Desert & Canning stock route

Three deserts, Gunbarrel Highway, Great Central Road, Canning Stock Route & more.

12 DAYS

$4,970

4WD Tours in Western Australia

Rough As Guts offers guided tag-along tours through WA’s rugged Outback.

two four wheel drives driving on the holland track

The Outback for Beginners

Challenge yourself just enough, as we take you through the Golden Outback and on the Holland Track.

Adventure starts here.

5 DAYS

$1,380

landscape shot of a rust coloured hill with spinifex in the east pilbara

Pilbara outback adventure

Rugged, pre-historic desert landscapes that look like they’re from another world.

8 DAYS

$2,700

Gunbarrel highway during the rain

Three Desert & Canning stock route

Three deserts, Gunbarrel Highway, Great Central Road, Canning Stock Route & more.

12 DAYS

$4,970