Darche vs 23ZERO – Which Swag Should I Buy?


Since introducing the 23ZERO selection of swags to our range earlier in the year, our phones and emails have been blowing up, with campers left right and centre wanting to know – “What’s the difference between the Darche and 23ZERO range?”

With the heavy-hitter Darche in one corner, and the newbie 23ZERO in the other – we’re going to break the products down for you to help you discern which brand of shelter is going to suit your adventures.

A 4wd with Darche awning and swag setup outdoors

Darche are known as making leading high-end outdoor gear. Image: Darche

Introduction to Darche

The Darche name and the Australian Outback go hand-in-hand. Starting out back in 1991 in regional Victoria, the Darche made a name for itself when they introduced the dome swag to the camping world almost three decades ago.

The Darche moniker is a combination of the founder, Darren O’Dwyer’s name, mashed together with his wife, Cheryl – and together those names create DAR-CHE. Darren sought a shelter that was practical, easy to stow and quick to set up, so he created the prototype for his dome swag design. Along his trips, he found that his creation caused quite a stir with other campers, and so he took that idea and ran with it.

Utilising superior quality materials and through continual product development and technologies, Darche continues to be leaders in the camping and 4×4 market.

A 23ZERO swag setup outdoors with beautiful scenery in the background

23ZERO has a quarter of a century of expertise making outdoor gear. Image: 23ZERO

A bit of background on 23ZERO

23ZERO was founded by a band of keen outdoor enthusiasts, with a background of 25 years of experience manufacturing high-quality outdoor gear. The name is based on the coordinates of Alice Springs – which is one of the toughest locations in the world and is also the centre of Australia. 

Designed in Australia, with teams in both the USA and Australia, so that the gear can be tested in the right conditions, the brand strives to make gear that inspires people to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Using the best materials, and tested thoroughly to go the distance, 23ZERO is a brand for outdoor enthusiasts, made by outdoor enthusiasts.

Mesh windows on a Darche swag setup next to a campfire

Darche swags feature superfine mesh. Image: Darche

How does the mesh compare on the Darche and 23ZERO models?

Both 23Zero and Darche use superfine mesh, which is going to provide protection from a range of insects and creepy crawlies while also allowing for ventilation in your shelter to prevent condensation.

This doesn’t however, included protection from midges. For more details on choosing a midge proof shelter, head here.

23ZER0 Swag setup next to sea cliff

The mesh on both brands are very similar. Image: 23ZERO

What’s the difference between the Darche and 23ZERO mats?

All the 23ZERO models come standard with a 70mm high-density thick foam mattress with a protective cover.

Darche models, on the other hand, come standard with a 50mm breathable open-cell foam mattress with a cover that can be removed for cleaning.

However, Darche do have a BYOS range, which provides you with the option to build your own swag. This just means you can choose your desired swag skin, and then select either a 50mm or 70mm thick mattress depending on your preference, so a 70mm mat is an option.

Darche also manufacture an All-Terrain self-inflating mattress, which is 10cm thick and perfectly sized for their range of swags if you want to upgrade to something even more luxurious.

A comparison of a 23ZERO mat in a tent versus a Darche mat in a tent

The standard thickness of mats differ unless you choose the BYOS Darche range. Image: 23ZERO (left) and Darche (right).

Is there a difference in quality between the canvas used?

The main difference between the two brands really comes into play when comparing the canvas used on the Darche and 23ZERO swags. 

23ZERO use a quality 400 gsm Poly/Cotton 65/35 canvas with a PU coating, while Darche use a 420gsm Ripstop Poly/Cotton canvas with a PU coating that provides an 800mm waterproofing rating.

Both of these are very heavy-duty fabrics, and the difference in feel and durability between 400gsm and 420gsm is going to be minimal. 

However, Darche use canvas which has ripstop woven into the canvas, which in the event of a tear or hole, will stop it from spreading before you’re able to get it repaired. 

However, you would have to work pretty hard to put a tear in either brand of canvas, as they’re both very hard-wearing and designed for use in harsh environments. 

The base of a 23ZERO swag on dirt, rocks and grass outdoors

The floor materials are basically the same. Image: 23ZERO

What are the similarities in floor materials?

Darche and 23ZERO manufacture their swags with heavy-duty PVC floors, which provide plenty of protection from any sodden ground that you might be camping on.

Do they both come with bags for storage and transport?

Both brands supply their swags with a carry bag, which is great as you don’t have to purchase one separately. Darche and 23ZERO also manufacture swag bags as separately available items, should you lose or break yours.

A 23ZERO Swag setup outdoors alongside a bag

Both brands supply a canvas carry bag with swags. Image: 23ZERO

Is there a difference in pole strength?

Both Darche and 23ZERO use strong anodised alloy poles that are 9.5mm in diameter, so they’re lightweight, rust-resistant and manufactured to last the distance – so almost identical in quality.

What about the price point?

There’s a slight price difference between the brands, with the 23ZERO range coming in slightly under Darche, but this can fluctuate based on the prices set by the manufacturer.

A 23ZERO swag setup at sunset

Either brand of swag will serve you well on your expeditions. Image: 23ZERO

In summary: which one should you buy?

Even though Darche make fantastic swags and rooftop tents amongst other gear, 23ZERO has impressed us so far with their quality – and they’ve started to gain plenty of positive traction from our customers as well.

Whichever shelter you choose, you’ll be comfortable and protected from the elements for many years to come.

What’s the best swag you’ve ever used? 

About the writer...

Joined back in October, 2015

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