Are you thinking about purchasing a Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow Tent? Do you wonder if they are really worth the price? Read our in-depth review to see if this high-quality tent is worth the investment for your outdoor adventures.
Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow Tent Review: Is The Quality Worth The Investment?
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We originally wanted a canvas tent to be an extension of our living space when we go truck camping for more extended periods. However, when we left our truck camper behind during a travel nursing assignment in North Carolina, we ended up camping several weekends in our Kodiak canvas flex-bow tent and found it extremely comfortable.
But is it for everyone? Read our review to find out.
When I was looking at purchasing a Kodiak tent, I was worried that it would be difficult to set up. While there is a learning curve, it isn’t as difficult as I thought.
It took my daughter and me 30 minutes to set it up in the backyard the first time, but the second time it took 15 minutes, and now it takes roughly 10 minutes. My husband has set it up alone, so it is doable solo. We recommend watching one of the many YouTube videos out there that shows how to set it up before you set it up for the first time, as the instructions that come with it are minimal.
Several steps need to be followed for setup.
- Set down a ground tarp. We didn’t buy the Kodiak brand, but a heavy-duty tarp from Walmart. Some people skip this step, but it is vital for the longevity of the tent’s floor.
- Lay out the tent so that the floor is pulled flat.
- Stake down ALL the tent pegs. We use a rubber mallet for this. Pulling the floor tight as you stake is critical as this is not a free-standing tent. The stakes help keep it stable.
- Put the two roof-end poles in.
- Place the roof ridge pole in the roof end pulls and gently get it into position.
- Raise the two end poles into place.
- Put up the awning if you wish. Sometimes we do and sometimes we leave it rolled. It depends on the weather.
- Take down the awning if you put it up.
- Take down the side poles
- Take apart the roof poles
- Unstake it.
- Fold it up to fit the convenient cinch storage bag.
- Put away poles in their bag, and stakes in their bag.
- If it is even a bit wet, when you arrive home, let it dry. Damp is the enemy of canvas; it will mildew and mold.
What’s Included With The Tent
We have the Model 6010 Kodiak Canvas 10 by 10-foot Flex-Bow Deluxe Canvas Camping Tent. It has two large D-shaped doors, as well as two large windows. The doors have windows in them as well. Two vents are also on either side of the tent to allow for good cross-ventilation. All windows are covered with no-see-um mesh. The doors have strong YKK zippers.
The tent is made with hydra-shield cotton duck canvas, which makes the tent waterproof yet breathable –reducing mugginess and eliminating condensation. The roof is made of 10 oz Hydra shield canvas, and the walls are 8.5 oz. The floor is made of 16 oz vinyl with polyester-reinforced seams.
It comes with a customizable gear loft and pocket organizer, but we have yet to use them.
Also included are stainless steel wire stake loops, 12-inch steel rod stakes, two one-inch galvanized steel tubing poles, and 3/8-inch solid, spring steel roof rods. And, of course, the bags for the poles, tent pegs, and tent.
Here is what it looks like with the awning out. We would strongly recommend getting an outdoor RV mat like this one to place near the entrance of the tent to slow the amount of dirt that gets tracked into the tent. We use the bin you see in the photo to store our shoes so that our tent can be a shoe-free zone; this also reduces the amount of dirt.
Our Kodiak canvas tent has a 6.6-foot ceiling height, which means no hunching over. The 10 feet by 10 feet is supposed to be a six person tent, but that would be a tight squeeze.
I would say three could fit comfortably; for two, it is a palace! As the picture shows, we have plenty of room for us and our two dogs. We also have enough room at our feet for our gear.
If your family is larger, Kodiak does sell an 8-person tent that measures 10 feet by 14 feet. They also sell cabin tents that go as large as 26 feet by 8 feet. And if you camp solo, they sell a very cozy one-person swag tent, or you could go with the 8.5 feet by 6 feet flex bow–you can’t stand up in either one, though.
Pros And Cons
- Durability–This tent will be the last car camping tent you ever need. If you take care of it you might even be able to pass it down to the next generation.
- You feel safe in it during high winds and rain. To me it has a feeling closer to sleeping in a pop-up camper than a tent.
- You can use it year-round. The manufacturer, however, states that it cannot withstand a substantial snow load and that its Hydrashield coating means you cannot use a heat source inside it. So I guess it depends on how cold and snowy it gets on your camping trips.
- The floor material is much thicker than an average tent. However, I plan to purchase a painter’s drop cloth to add a bit of protection and make it easier to clean up.
- The cinch case with its adjustable straps means no more frustrating moments trying to get your tent stuffed back into its tiny case.
- At close to 70 pounds, this tent is HEAVY.
- Need a large space to dry it out after you get home if you need to.
- It costs a lot more than your average nylon tent from Walmart (but then again, it will last a lot longer, too).
- Not for those with a compact vehicle. When it is packed, the tent measures 30 inches by 16 inches (76 cm by 41 cm), and the pole bag measures 48 inches by 5.5 inches (122 cm by 14 cm)
Why Pick Kodiak Over Springbar?
For us, I liked that the Kodiak offered a door on either side of the tent. Depending on how you are setting up the inside of the tent or how the campsite is laid out, the back door can come in handy. I also liked the look of the Kodiak tent more. Plus, I found one on sale for $100 less than the Springbar.
Some people choose Springbar because they are made in the USA, but that isn’t true for all their tents. The Classic Jack 100, a comparable model to the Kodiak Flexbar 10 by 10, is made in China just like the Kodiak. If you truly want one made in the USA, you need to buy a tent from their Springbar USA line, which will cost you double what the Kodiak or Classic Jack costs.
If the strength of the floor matters to you, the Kodiak floor is 16 oz, whereas the Springbar is 12 oz. The poles of the Kodiak are steel, while those of the Springbar are aluminum alloy. Steel is stronger than aluminum alloy.
Review-wise, on Amazon, both tents have very happy customers, but the Kodiak, at the time of the writing of this post, had a rating of 4.6 versus the 4.5 for Springbar. Not that big of a difference.
We are extremely happy with our purchase of the Kodiak Canvas 10 by 10-foot canvas tent.
We like the walk-around comfort inside the tent. I love that I am not woken up by a flapping tent in strong winds. Not only does the screen mesh keep out the smallest bugs, but it is durable enough to withstand our two dogs pawing at it from time to time.
We wish the roof came with a cover to keep it clean and stop the early morning light from waking us up, but recently, Kodiak created a cover top accessory to solve those two problems. You can also purchase a canvas wing vestibule for the front door to give you more privacy, shade, rain protection, and storage space if you wish.
It certainly does get its share of looks at the campsite as most people don’t have canvas tents nowadays. We feel more like glampers than tenters when we use it. Especially since we also pack along a port-a-potty, a portable power station, and a super bright camping lantern. Oh, and did I mention our 4-inch memory foam folding mattresses?
It does have its limitations. This is certainly not a backpacking tent. But it doesn’t pretend to be. This is a classic, car camping, drive straight up to the campsite tent. It isn’t small car-friendly so that is something to consider, but it will be the last tent you ever buy–well, that is unless you are a backpacker.
If you can afford it and go camping more than one weekend a year and have the room in your vehicle to transport it plus the rest of your camping gear, splurge on a Kodiak canvas tent. You will not regret it.
Want to see everything we put in our tent? Check out our list on Amazon.