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Kodiak Canvas 6-Person Flex-Bow Review


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Top Pick Award
  • Currently 4.4/5
Overall avg rating 4.4 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: August 22, 2016
Price:   $570 List
Pros:  Durable, good in wind, easy setup in all weather, easy to take down, easy to roll up, tall, big stakes, bombproof floor.
Cons:  Heavy, no separate rainfly, heavier when wet, hard to get rid of plastic smell from the floor.
Manufacturer:   Kodiak Canvas

Overview

For being the most durable and well-made tent we tested, we chose to give a Top Pick award to the Kodiak Canvas 6p Flex-Bow Canvas Tent. It's also a really comfortable tent and with all that comfort comes the weight. It weighs in at a whopping 68 pounds, which may seem ridiculous, but when you see this tent set up you'll want to live in it. The duck canvas is treated with Hydra-ShieldTM, which is a waterproof coating that's both waterproof and breathable. This is our go-to tent for base camp style camping, where comfort and durability are key.

Basic or Deluxe?


The tent comes in two packages: Basic ($450) or Deluxe ($500). For the extra $50, the deluxe gives you two more mesh windows, better ventilation and higher quality zippers. We tested the Deluxe model.

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Devin Chance

Last Updated:
Tuesday

Comfort


We loved sleeping in this tent. The canvas acts as a noise canceler, which allows you to sleep wonderfully even though your neighbor might be snoring his brains out. The floor of this tent is also pretty thick, which makes it nicer to walk around barefoot in a nice upgrade from a thin nylon tent floor. The downside to the floor being so awesome is that it smells like plastic the first few times you use it, and it's pretty hard to get that smell out.

We took points off of this tent's comfort score because it didn't have a vestibule. Instead of a vestibule it has an awning, which we like for the sunny days but in windy conditions is unstable. When it rains water pools on the awning no matter how hard we tightened. This tent can also get a little hot in the summer since the canvas doesn't breathe as well as the fabric on nylon tents.

Storm Resistance


This and the Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 are the only tents we tested that the manufacturers called "4 season tents." However, the roof does not have much pitch so snow will accumulate. If you are in a severe winter storm, you have to constantly push off the snow. This was one of the few tents that failed the water hose test. When we sprayed water directly at the material, water passed through. However, in all our testing and in reading a huge number of user reviews, we have not found leaking to be an issue. So in real world situations, the tent keeps you dry. This tent is a tank in the wind. We set it up in 40+mph winds and it had a slight bulge in the fabric but the structure was stable and strong.

Workmanship


The quality of this tent in unparalleled among the tents we tested. No other tent is as durable and bombproof as this. The floor was one of the biggest aspects we noticed and loved. It has a super burly vinyl floor that is practically impregnable. Another thing we liked with this tent was the group of huge tent stakes that came with it. They were the biggest stakes we've ever seen and are definitely not going to bend. The zippers were also another huge plus; they run very smoothly and never get stuck.

Everything about this tent screams quality, which is why we gave it a Top Pick award. This tent may last you a lifetime of camping, something we would not expect from the other tents we tested. This tent may be durable enough to not only last your lifetime, but it might be possible to pass it on to future generations.

Ease of Setup


This is one of the easiest tents to set up, and is by far the easiest to manage with one person. It is kind of a pain that its not freestanding, but that is totally understandable based on the type of tent it is. So since it isn't freestanding you have to stake it down, which takes a little bit longer. It also means you need good soil; this tent is not easy to set up in soft soil or sand.

It took us about eight minutes to set up this tent with one person and five minutes to take it down and put it away.

Packing Size


We loved the bag this tent came with. Even though it is the biggest and heaviest packed tent we tested, the bag makes it much easier to deal with. All you have to do is roll it up onto the bag, and the bag clips around the tent. It also has a reinforced handle for carrying.

Other Versions



Click to enlarge
The 4-Person Flex-Bow
  • 4 person version
  • $549 ($20 less)
  • 6'1" Interior Height (5" less)
  • 58 lbs. (10 lbs. less)
  • same construction and durable fabric

Click to enlarge
The Short Truck Bed Tent or Long Truck Bed Tent
  • 5' Interior height from bed to ceiling
  • Allows for tailgate to be down, increasing interior space
  • 5 mesh windows
  • Easy Set up and tear down
  • 30 lbs
  • $349.99
  • Same burly Hydra-Shield Canvas
Devin Chance

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 22, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
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  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 67%  (2)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Aug 22, 2016 - 09:34pm
Paolo B · Hunter · Pebble Beach, CA
I own the DELUXE 8-PERSON Kodiak tent.
This will be the LAST TENT YOU WILL EVER NEED TO BUY!
Had I bought one of these right out of college, I would have saved thousands on lesser quality, cumbersome, nylon shock-corded pole tents that I was forced to throw away over the years.

The issues with it being hot inside are virtually eliminated by the ridge vents (deluxe model). Plus the extra rear door/window provides even more ventilation during summer months. Condensation is easily avoided in the winter by opening the ridge vents as well.

After using a 6 person tent as a base camp tent while hunting a few years ago, my hunting partner suggested that I get the next larger and deluxe size.

It allows us to set up 2 cots, hang gear, and set up a small table inside.

When the mosquitoes are thick or the weather is bad, we can comfortably sit inside playing cards, reading or sleeping. We have endured some major rain and winds and the shell rarely buffets or moves.

There is absolutely no need for a rainfly with this tent. But, wanting to always be prepared, I have fabricated our own canvas rain fly as an extra layer of protection. The awning is not very secure with the single factory ties. Using a welded ring, I am able to use cross ties. The poles are very stable in mild winds. Be sure to roll it up UNDER handed, so that it does not collect water like a rain gutter in really foul weather. I also cut 6" off of the awning poles, so that water would drain off of a positively sloped awning.

I would recommend this tent to anyone who is not bothered by the weight (80 POUNDS). It would be fine for a pack animal or the mother in law to carry!

The only thing that I dislike is how thin the floor material is. I am really careful and always lay out a canvas ground cloth under my tent. My buddy has punctured holes in his floor from rocks and sticks (but he's lazy and does not care for his gear like me).

Because it is canvas, it cannot be stored away wet, or it will mold and mildew. It is a good idea to set it up at home prior to going out into the woods. It sets up and tears down in 5 minutes or less. The longest process is driving in the stakes around the perimeter. Though one person can manage, it goes up a lot easier with two people.

The canvas also needs to be "seasoned" by spraying it with water, before you use it. This causes the cotton fibers to shrink and tighten the weave. It also allows you to identify any areas where the factory waterproofing does not bead up. Doesn't hurt to reapply some to these areas.

Could I sleep 8 people in here? yes, if they did not have any gear. 6 with gear easily… but then we wouldn't be able to use cots or a table.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 21, 2016 - 12:24am
buckcamper · Camper · Boise, Idaho
I have used this tent and have been rained on and have been in some very cool temps (20s at night). I love this tent! It is well made and keeps the wind out. The canvas helps keep me warmer at night. It is much easier to set up than tents with fiberglass poles. The only drawback is that you must make sure tent is completely dry before storing it. I have owned several tents and this one is the best by far. I may buy another one for when I take a large group camping.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Apr 21, 2014 - 12:11am
 
superdave · Camper · shawneetown
i own a kodiak canvas tent. when you get your new tent you are supposed to set it up and spray it with water in a wide spray not a direct stream the first time and then after that your good. when i am out camping and it starts to rain very hard very quick you can feel a light mist for a few seconds and then nothing no matter what. i couldnt imagine a better tent for monsoon rain or high wind. at night we could hear the wind howling outside but the tent would just shutter lightly. one time we went camping and the weather got very bad. the next morning we found out there was 50+ mile an hour winds and the tent was amazing. it feels like a portable apartment. i never worry if my dogs nails are going to hurt the vinyl floor. simply the best tent for the money. If you never want to buy another tent again in your lifetime then buy this tent. we have owned ours for four years and we sold our popup camper because this tent offers so much flexibility that we didnt feel the need to pull a pop up. now we can bring this great tent and pull a trailer to put our motorcycle on. not to mention our campsite pictures at sequoia national park looked great. very easy to set up compared to strait sided canvas tents. dont think twice, get one even if you only camp a few times a year. it will be ready waiting for your next camping adventure. get the largest one you can. i have never went camping and wished my tent was smaller.
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just set up at sequoia nat. park
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