ByTim StannersMay 31, 2016

With a design clearly based on our very own Sydney Opera House and with 360-degree views to match through its unique window design, the Darche Nebula 1550 certainly is a new take on the standard two-person vehicle-based touring swag.

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It takes 90 seconds, they said. Well… we couldn’t quite match that; but once we got it set up, World War 3 nearly erupted amongst the crew as to who was going to be the first to try this brand-new swag: Part of the Steel Swag Series from Darche.

The Nebula 1550 weighs in at a decent 22kg but as a vehicle-based touring swag, it certainly adds some comfort and space over your standard double swag.


This ‘hybrid’ swag stands at 1.0m in height – and at 2.3m long and 1.55m wide, it almost gives you a ‘tent-like’ feel with the rugged comfort and durability of a swag. There’s plenty of room for two people who don’t mind a bit of touchy-feely at night, and the ability to sit fully upright allows for plenty of ‘changing room’.

The Nebula’s floor base is made from 600gsm welded PVC and the near-vertical walls are made from a really decent 420gsm rip-stop canvas. There’s also an extra thick and comfy 50mm high-density mattress to mould into at night. The outer fly provides extra weather protection on three sides, as well as a neat little awning-style roof out the front – which is actually big enough to fit a couple of camp chairs underneath for shade.


Camping in warm weather is where this design really hits the mark. There are four massive zip-style windows which can be rolled up to let the air flow right through, while the zipped fine mesh keeps the mozzies out.

We’ve yet to give this swag a run in the cooler weather, but closing it right up should create a nice warm air pocket to keep you snug during the winter months.


After the crew unpacked the Nebula from its box, I put Darche’s 90-second claim to the test (you can see this in the video). Unfortunately it looks like I may need to go to swag school to come close to the record; but with practice I managed to be much closer. It took me just over four minutes to set the Nebula 1550 up completely, including the fly.

Would I recommend the Nebula 1550? Absolutely… with a couple of minor things to consider. It is large when rolled up, but it comes complete with a properly-fitted canvas carry bag; so it’s probably best carried up on a roof rack. Despite the picture on the front of the box, the awning poles are an optional extra and they do need to be purchased separately. That aside, it is very comfortable and gives you the headroom that a standard swag doesn’t. Having slept in this hybrid over many nights now, I have to say it is fast becoming my favourite swag.


It sure looks the biz and if you’re after something a little roomier than your ordinary swag, with the durability and ease a swag provides, then the Darche Nebula 1550 could be just what the Outback touring swag doctor ordered.


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Words by Tim Stanners, Photography by Scott Mason