Hands-on Gear Review
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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.
Best Uses: Camping, car camping, family camping, base camp, hunting.
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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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 4-Person Flex-Bow, $549, is the four person version of this tent.
The Short Truck Bed Tent or Long Truck Bed Tent, $369, is designed to clamp on to your truck rails with an integrated 3/4-inch steel tube frame.
— Devin Chance
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 21, 2014
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