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A strong long term canvas tent is certainly an investment many families aspire to adding to their camping equipment. When it comes to canvas, there’s usually two brands that get compared a lot. That is Springbar Tents Vs Kodiak Tents.
They look very much alike and both are great tents. So how do you decide which one is right for you?. For most it will come down to how much the tent costs and where they are made.
Considering they are both very similar high quality tents with similar features, the cheaper option is naturally the way to go. Depending on where you shop, I have generally found the Kodiak canvas tent to be best value for your dollar.
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But if price is not a factor for you (seeing as tho there can be a $100 difference at times), what else is there to compare?. Because the Springbar Vs Kodiak war has been raging on for many years now, you have to get into the real gritty details to see some real differences.
Compare The Kodiak & The Springbar Tents History
The Springbar tent was first designed back in the 1960’s. So it has a lot of heritage and experience behind the name. Along with many upgrades and improvements to their tents. Kodiak Canvas tents are a younger name in the industry, being in business for over 10 years now. While being younger, this does not take anything away from the quality of the Kodiak Tents.
So the Springbar tent was invented first. The owners behind Kodiak must have loved the design and quality that much that they wanted to take the same concept but improve on the Springbar tent. In which they have done. Without sacrificing quality and looking like a cheap rip-off brand either.
So it would appear as tho Kodiak has used a similar if not the same design as Springbar, but made it more affordable. Is there anything wrong with this business approach?. I’ll let you decide on that. But I personally feel there is nothing wrong with it as it gives the consumer choices and competition brings prices down.
Where Are Springbar VS Kodiak Tents Made
With so much of our day to day products being made in China, it’s a welcomed relief when you find out something like a tent is made in the USA. But out of these two tents, only one of them is made in America. That is the Springbar Highline.
Springbar have been manufacturing their tents for over 40 years now out of their Kirkham’s Salt Lake City factory. Does this make the Springbar tent automatically the better choice?. For some people the simple answer is yes.
Whereas the Kodiak tents are made in China but use cotton that is grown in the USA. While patriotism will win for some buyers, for the people concerned about lower quality we have come to expect from products made in Chins, you can be rest assured the Kodiak is professionally made overseas to the same high standards the American people expect. So in terms of quality, nothing is lost by making Kodiak tents in China.
The Main Differences Between Kodiak & Springbar
With that little bit of a history lesson out of the way, what you really want to know is what are the differences between the two tents. Here is a quick summary of the major differences on a broader spectrum according to Competitive Edge Products. Below this you can compare two of the most popular canvas tents side by side.
- The Kodiak has 7% Stronger Canvas
- Kodiak tents use stronger galvanized steel poles compared to the aluminum of the Springbar.
- The floor on the Kodiak is thicker (16oz compared to 8oz of the Springbar) and more waterproof due to having the seams welded rather than sewn.
- Longer stronger metal stakes with the Kodiak compared to the 9″ plastic.
- The Kodiak comes with 2 doors (Front and back) compared to one of the Springbar.
Kodiak Canvas Flexbow 8 Person Vs SpringBar Highline Canvas 8 Person Tent
Both of these canvas tents are extraordinary. But there comes a time when you are going to have to choose Kodiak or Springbar. To make the buying decision we have compared both tents to give you a better idea. The bottom line is, you cant go wrong with either tent.
The Springbar uses a Hardyduck canvas where the Kodiak uses the cotton duck canvas. Both are extremely durable and watertight. As mentioned above, the Kodiak is slighter thicker and is a tighter woven canvas which means it could last a little longer in rougher conditions.
But in saying that, there are stories of Springbar tents being passed down to the next generation making the tent 30 plus years. Which is quite good value for money!. If you can get any tent to last longer than 10 years you are on to a winner. Kodiak being still a younger Company, the test of time comparison is not relevant.
Features Of The Kodiak Canvas Flexbow 8 Person Tent
- 4 Large windows for great ventilation and air flow during the hotter months.
- 2 ‘D’ shaped doors, front and back which makes it easier for getting in and out of the tent when sharing with other people.
- 2 Vents to funnel air flow for temperature control.
- 7 Foot long awning for protection against rain.
- 1 inch galvanized steel poles which have a maximum length of 48 inches.
- The more affordable option
- Thicker 16 Oz vinyl flooring
- Welded seams compared to sewn for protection from seaping water
- 6'6" high ceilings
- Tempered steel rods (Flex bow) keep the tent taut
- Slightly lighter weight (79 lbs) compared to 86 lbs of the Springbar
- Innovative carry bag easily straps around tent when folded down
- Takes 10 minutes to set up
- Heavy - Ideal for car/scout camping
- Not very portable
- Can be warm in summer
Features Of The Springbar Highline 8 Person Tent
- 2 Large windows with no-see-um mesh to keep the bugs out.
- Time tested since 1961.
- 100% cotton duck canvas
- Duffel style carry bag
- 6’6″ high ceilings for head clearance
- 10ft x 14ft footprint
- Made in the USA
- No Rainfly is needed due to the tight woven canvas which repels water, wind and snow.
- Made in America since 1961
- Aluminum poles which are lighter
- Enough room to fit a queen air mattress
- A ground tarp can be bought separately for this tent.
- Lifetime warranty on manufacturing defects
- 6.5ft wide awning
- More expensive than the Kodiak
- Thinner bottom which will require a ground tarp.
- Less doors and windows than the Kodiak.
Longevity Of Each Tents?
How long a tent lasts will differ greatly on how well you maintain the tent, how often you use it and any damage that has been caused to it. Sometimes damage and wear and tear is unavoidable while camping.
The good thing about both the Springbar and the Kodiak line of tents are that they have been around for some time. So you can get a good idea on how well the overall product is made and how long you can expect your tent to last.
Below you can find a couple of video update reviews on both tents so you can see first hand how well they compare after some use.
2 Year Update Review For The Kodiak Canvas Flexbow Tent
This is a good update review from Chris who has been using the Kodiak canvas as his go to tent for the last 2-3 years. In this time he estimates he has spend about 40 nights in the tent. Which for most people is about 8-10 years worth of camping.
*Do note: At about the 2 minute mark Chris says that you need to have the awning up while it is raining. This also causes the water to pool on top of the awning. This is actually an error made on Chris’s behalf and Kodiak reps have stated that this is not the case.
In order to stop the water pooling up in the awning, you need to angle the poles so that the awning slants downwards. This way the water runs straight off the awning and away form your tent.
Living In A Springbar Tent For 6 Months
This is a different kind of review for the Springbar Canvas tent. This video shows how a young couple spent 6 months living out of a Springbar tent. This goes to show how tough and durable these tents really are.
Should You Buy The Springbar Or The Kodiak Tent?
After digesting all the information above and watching the reviews, its easy to see that there is not much difference between the two tents. Both tents are ideal for car camping and extended camping expeditions. But not suitable for back packing and may be too heavy for wild camping.
For me personally I think the Kodiak has a little more to offer with the stronger poles and the thicker flooring which has welded seams over the sewn seams. This just adds a little extra strength and waterproofing to the Kodiak which gives it he slightest of edges over the Springbar.
The bottom line for me is that the Springbar will need a tent tarp underneath to give extra protection form twigs and rocks which adds to the price. For the difference of lets says $80-$200, I would be mad not to buy the Kodiak Canvas Flex Box tent.
Take Care Of Your Investment
Because both the Springbar and the Kodiak are canvas tents, you need to ensure you practice good maintenance to ensure you get the longest lifespan out of either tent. Many campers use these tents as full time camping tents because they are so heavy duty and resilient to harsh weather. So it’s important you treat these tents for what they’re worth.
Whichever tent you buy, you will need to ensure you are storing your tent correctly. Especially after camping in humid or wet conditions as this can lead to mold and mildew build up. The waterproofing agents can also deteriorate much quicker when not stored correctly.
Maximizing The Life Of Your Springbar Or Kodiak Tent
In order to prolong the life of a canvas tent you need to be aware of the precautions to take once you are the proud owner of one the finest tents made. Especially if you are camping for extended periods of 21 days or longer. Some of the precautions you can take include the following:
- Extending the life of your canvas by limiting exposure to UV rays. While canvas is far more durable and resistant to UV, it’s not bullet proof so to speak. If you were to leave your tent set up in full sunlight every day the canvas would start breaking down after a full year. So to prolong the life of the canvas you should try to set up camp under the shade of a tree or in an area that is not as exposed to sunlight. This will also help keep the tent cooler in summer.
- Canvas rot is a real possibility when you own either the Springbar or Kodiak tent. Canvas rot usually occurs on the bottom of your tent because it is always exposed to moisture in the earth. Even if it hasn’t rained for weeks, dew can eventually lead to rot. To avoid this you should either invest in a quality ground tarp or try find the driest area possible to set up camp. Again this is only applicable for long term camping.
- Mold and mildew can occur as a result of incorrectly storing your tent after use, or by not allowing sunlight and air inside the tent while in use. When the sun is shining, open up the windows and doors of the canvas tent and allow the light and air to dry out any possible moisture inside the tent.
23 thoughts on “Springbar Tents VS Kodiak Tents – Why I Went With Kodiak”
This is the exact Springbar Tents VS Kodiak Tents review I was looking for. I love hiking but recently we had a child so we are looking to get into some fun car camping as well. So either of these tents will certainly do the job. You have really good points for why Kodiak Tents are better than Springbar and it is hard for me to throw away excess money for not much difference really. I should really thank you for sharing your experience and helping me make an informed decision.
Congrats on the new addition to your family Sujander. Camping as a family is so much fun. The Kodiak tent is a tent that will last you and your new family a long time. So I think you will find it’s worth the initial cost upfront to get something that will last a lot longer.
Thanks for the great review about difference between Springbar Tents and Kodiak Tents. Though Both are high quality product they have some difference and one can choose his tents comparing the information. I found kodiak is best with reasonable price and same feature of Spring bar.
Ok. how long will the Kodiak last? It depends on actually based on storing process. My Wife wanted to know about the best canvas tent with affordable price which is how I found this comparison review. I will definitely let her know about these 2 tents later tonight. She will be so excited.
They sure are great tents and it is hard to tell the difference between the 2. It’s in the minor details and the price is the real factor for many people. I’m sure your Wife will love the Kodiak and if you look after it, I don’t see why you can’t get a good 10 years camping out of it.
We are avid backpackers and kayak campers -and now have a 6mo old coming along! The backpacks will be hung up for a few years while she does some growing and we can put a frame pack on her. Until then, we’re ‘glamping’ – Canoes and the need for a more spacious tent. Thanks for the reasonable comparison, I used 30+ year old canvas tents throughout my childhood and look forward to the dependability and quality of a duck canvas tent. For me, the airflow improvements to the Kodiak design will likely tip the balance for me
That’s awesome Ewing, your Daughter is going to be so spoiled, the good kind where she gets to experience the outdoor life. I was in the same shoes as you not long ago, except we kept having kids and putting off camping until out third child was old enough. But since then, we are camping and embracing the outdoor life as much as possible.
You have published such a nice content about spring bar tents. I found it very helpful to me. Such a nice comparison review about the SpringBar and Kodiak tent.
Thanks Daizy, I hope this comparison review helped you decide which canvas tent is best for your needs. Happy camping.
Do you know if the kodiak tents of today are the same thickness and quality as the original ones from ten years ago? Wondering if the canvas and poles are the same. People talk about” 1″ galvanized poles” my kodiak poles are 3/4″ emt. Just wondering if they started skimping or are they the same. Thanks . I have the 10×14
They are still listed as 1″ steel poles Greg, so if you have bought an item that is not as it has been described, I would contact Kodiak directly and they will be able to help you out.
The Kodiak awning pools water in the middle when raining; water pools in the crease of the roll when it is rolled up. So you must have the awning out during rain?
No. You can leave it rolled up. Just roll it under instead of upwards and exposing the underside of the awning.
Springbar Highline tents are made in China. The cotton is grown in another country and woven in another – neither are the US. The Springbar’s have adjustable poles for when the ground is uneven and when the cotton shrinks.
The Springbar’s have one door but with straight #10 zippers, where as the Kodiak have the D door. Roll the awning under to avoid moisture pooling, and I would have it down during a storm or rain to avoid it being blown or creating a lake in front or beside the tent from run off.
Thanks for sharing your valuable information Jaq, the readers will surely find it beneficial.
Thanks for the reviews..
I recently returned from a two-week camping trip in the Virginia mountains. 2 weeks in a nylon tent in temps between 60 and 20 with several days of rain, snow flurries and wind. I’ve been doing this for 10 years straight. Before the trip, I had emailed Springbar about their made in USA tents. At the time, I was told there were none in stock but would be in a few weeks. I received an email this afternoon that they were now available. I ordered the 10 x 10 Traveler.
I’m already looking forward to my next trip. Maybe I’ll add a Spring fishing trip to the mountains.. No more thin nylon tent for me.
Features/ Specs of the current model:
Simple 1-Person Setup. Watch the Video
10’ x 10’ Footprint, 6 ½ Feet Interior Height, 100 sq. ft. Living Space. Spacious for 2, Comfortable for 4, Maximum of 6 Occupants
Sunforger® marine-finish boat shrunk army duck canvas (8.5oz walls, 10.1oz roof). 100% cotton, double-fill construction. Finished in Georgia, USA—the ‘gold standard’ in cotton tent canvas. Watertight, breathable, and highly durable.
Heavy-Duty Seamless Laminated Vinyl Floor. Durable & Fully Waterproof
Aluminum Alloy Poles with steel reinforcement. Machined in SLC, Utah.
Steel Wire Stake Loops with Perimeter Rope Reinforcement—Incredibly Strong and a Hallmark of Springbar® Tent Design.
3 full-height screen windows with no-see-um mesh, integrated shade awning
Includes 20 forged steel stakes, brass headed stake hammer, and canvas tool roll for storage
Weight: 62 pounds. Packed tent size: 17” x 24”. Packed pole size: 8” x 56”.
Springbar Traveler includes: tent w/storage bag, pole set w/storage bag, stakes & hammer w/tool roll, awning ropes, owner’s field guide
Satisfaction Guarantee. Love your Springbar® product or we’ll make it right. Learn more
Handcrafted in Salt Lake City, USA.
I’m glad that Kodiak has created competition for Springbar causing them to improve their product. I would say that Springbar now has the best tent available with their Classic Jack 140 that also has a hot tent option. Kodiak only has the hot tent option in their large cabin type tent I believe, which is far too big of a tent for the average family. The new Classic Jack 140 by Springbar now has larger windows on the sides and the one window that zips out completely to zip in the stove jack. I have small children as well and the ability to heat my tent in the winter to keep them warm is essential. Having a stove instead of a heater is multi functional as a cooker and better aesthetics in my opinion. Kodiak should take note as my tax return will be going towards a Springbar that my family will camp in for decades to come. You only get one chance to sell a quality canvas tent to an owner as they’ll never need another tent.
Those are some very valid points you make Jason, especially the point on only ever having to buy 1 canvas tent your whole life, provided it’s high quality and suits your needs.
Bought my 1st Springbar in 1979, the Modular Bedroom, then in ’82 the large Modular with an Annex. In 1987 I bought the Leisire Port and had Kirkhams (Springbar) sew in a fiberglass flap for wood stovepipe. Then I purchased doors for the Leisure port and a 2nd annex.
The two large tents will zip together if desired. Forty years later I have repaired zippers, replaced doors, and had Kirkhams do repair work on canvas tears. I have left these tents standing for months at a time at 9000′ buried in snow, and buffeted by gale force winds. Just last year I spent two weeks in December in Utah’s Henry Mountains on my once in a lifetime Utah Bison Hunt.
I have spent over half of life camping in my Springbar tents.
Kodiak tents I hear on various forums are great tents, but unquestionably are a made in China Springbar ripoff.
Only decision to be made is do you need or want to save a few sheckels for a non U.S.A made product?
They may be a ripoff, but there’s little that is truly original these days. We had a Springbar for a couple of weeks back in 2012 and decided to send it back. There were some QC issues but the big thing was the leaks in two corners of the tent after our first night of rain (we had presoaked it as advised before heading out). The welded vs sewn difference plus the heavier material that Kodiak uses is tempting. We’ve gotten by with a synthetic dome in the meantime, but it’s just not the same experience as in a proper canvas tent.
You’re info is a bit off in that the Highline series by springbar is also an import. the only USA made springbar tents are: Family Camper; Traveler, Vagabond, Outfitter, and compact, the others – Highline series, and Classic Jack are imports, made in China with US products. see https://springbar.com/
I don’t understand how the canvas on Kodiak and the floor are of a heavier, more study product and the poles made of steel instead of aluminum, can weigh less? That’s not logical … unless there is a lot more screen than canvas, which doesn’t seem to be the case. For the money Kodiak seems to be the way to go… The US made springbar 10 x 10s start at $999… $400 more than the Kodiak for a very similar, nearly identical tent.
The Springbar is heavier because the aluminum poles are heavier. Aluminum has its strengths, but for structural bracing like this, you can use less steel and get better results. There are some other differences like the door face on the springbar is fairly heavy material wise, while the kodiak is more balanced
Hi. I take issue with your comment at the start of your comparison review. You made the statement “Naturally a person would go with the cheapest option” Well no, not really, not in a long term investment. such as one of these tents. I may keep a canvas tent 30 years so if there is a $200 difference in cost, spread out over a decade or so, it comes down to pennies a month, insignificant really. I’ve owned both Springbars and Kodiak and have camped collectively over 400 nights in my two Springbars. Thats a lot of use! My current Springbar withstood a Derecho level windstorm with winds gusting to 75 mph in southern utah in June 2020. My Springbar was the only tent standing afterwards. The same size Kodiak may have done as good. My biggest complaint about Springbar is that they will not add side windows to a customer’s existing tent if they want it modified. If I were to ever change brands, it would be because of this lack of side to side ventilation. Also, as I’m old school at 75 yr old, I still like to buy Made in America as it creates a job for my neigubors whereas Made in Chinese does not. Its a dealbreaker(chinese made) to many of use, no matter the American made tent may cost up to 20% more. I’m willing to pay that 20% cost difference. My teo cents. Mike in Moab, Utah.
Wish you would’ve also compared the whiteduck version