Setup time for Springbar-style tents vs. Nylon

MarcusBrody

Member
I'm looking to buy a family tent for car camping. I have multiple backpacking tents, but now I have a four year old, so I want a larger space than those tents or our van platform provides. We're moving from the Northeast to Las Vegas, so uses will mostly be in the mountain southwest.

I'm intrigued by canvas tents (Springbar/Kodiak Canvas, OZtent is probably just outside the budget). The durability and breathability would seem nice for camping in the desert with a little kid and dog. My main worry is set up time. The alternative would be a good quality nylon 6 person tent (the North Face Wawona probably leads at the moment for it's low price and big vestibule), which would also likely be better for river canoe trips.

During the move, we'll be doing a 10+ day road trip where we will be setting up/breaking down camp every day. I'm worried whether that will get annoying with a tent like the Springbar. A number of reviews mention that people love to sleep in it, but wouldn't want to move it every day. If that's the case, the nylon tents might be a better choice here.

What does everyone think? How long do people with springbar style tents need to set them up? Can you do it alone? I'd have my wife and son along with me, but I'd prefer a second person be a luxury rather than a necessity as one of us is often entertaining our son.

Thanks a lot!
 
IMO daily set-up and tear down of any tent is pain n the ass. I'm on the East Coast so we base camp for weekend or week.

Family of four and we have the Kodiak Canvas 10×14vx since 2015 - set-up is about 20 minutes taking your time. Tear down is 5 to 10min. (I usually set it up by myself)

The pounding of all the stakes is what consumes the most setup time. You can speed and ease that up by using a cordelss driver and long lag bolts in lieu of the metal stakes if you desire.

Over the years I have used various nylon tents in all seasons and all weather and have never been as dry, protected and comfortable in I have been in the Kodiak.

Pros:

Durability
Weather Resistance (including high wind)
Breathability
Roominess (7ft in center area)
Repairability in the event of damage
Kodiak Canvas customer service
American company
Cost - Cheaper than Springbar


Cons:

Weight
Packed size
Length of separate pole bag
Cost - more expensive than many nylon tents
Susceptible to mildew & mold if stored wet
Made in China; but so are some Springbars

Perfectly OK to pack-up wet but you must dry it out to prevent mold (longest I left it packed wet before drying it out was 5 days - had no issues)




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towee

Member
I only have the little 2 person kodiak set up time is similar to my marmot 3 person that I use as my gravel bar/canoe tent but it is slightly more cumbersome. they are great tents but if I was setting up and breaking down daily and had the roof space I would get the oztent. free standing(this is a big deal to me maybe not for others), less bits and pieces to keep track of or have break and from the looks of it easier to set up solo if you can handle the weight and get it back in the bag without wanting to harm someone. Either tent would be fantastic to camp out of once set up. You didn't mention the gazelle so you may have already eliminated it but I'm a fan boy and think it's a third option to achieve what you are looking for. Really it all comes down to weight, pack size, ease of set up and pack up, weather protection and cost on any of the options you are considering. If you get a good tent and use it often you really can't go wrong.
 

MarcusBrody

Member
I only have the little 2 person kodiak set up time is similar to my marmot 3 person that I use as my gravel bar/canoe tent but it is slightly more cumbersome. they are great tents but if I was setting up and breaking down daily and had the roof space I would get the oztent. free standing(this is a big deal to me maybe not for others), less bits and pieces to keep track of or have break and from the looks of it easier to set up solo if you can handle the weight and get it back in the bag without wanting to harm someone. Either tent would be fantastic to camp out of once set up. You didn't mention the gazelle so you may have already eliminated it but I'm a fan boy and think it's a third option to achieve what you are looking for. Really it all comes down to weight, pack size, ease of set up and pack up, weather protection and cost on any of the options you are considering. If you get a good tent and use it often you really can't go wrong.
Thanks for the great reply. I would consider the Gazelle, but it seems to be sold out everywhere so I ruled it out.
 

MarcusBrody

Member
IMO daily set-up and tear down of any tent is pain n the ass. I'm on the East Coast so we base camp for weekend or week.

Family of four and we have the Kodiak Canvas 10×14vx since 2015 - set-up is about 20 minutes taking your time. Tear down is 5 to 10min. (I usually set it up by myself)

The pounding of all the stakes is what consumes the most setup time. You can speed and ease that up by using a cordelss driver and long lag bolts in lieu of the metal stakes if you desire.

Over the years I have used various nylon tents in all seasons and all weather and have never been as dry, protected and comfortable in I have been in the Kodiak.

Pros:

Durability
Weather Resistance (including high wind)
Breathability
Roominess (7ft in center area)
Repairability in the event of damage
Kodiak Canvas customer service
American company
Cost - Cheaper than Springbar


Cons:

Weight
Packed size
Length of separate pole bag
Cost - more expensive than many nylon tents
Susceptible to mildew & mold if stored wet
Made in China; but so are some Springbars

Perfectly OK to pack-up wet but you must dry it out to prevent mold (longest I left it packed wet before drying it out was 5 days - had no issues)




Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
Thank you, that's really helpful!
 

ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
I ordered a Kodiak 10X10 VX last night. It was a good sale price. I have some friends who use these and love them.
 

Robert Bills

Explorer
I think I have used every type of tent imaginable over 60+ years of camping and now use these three:

Kodiak Canvas 6x8.5 Flexbow VX
Kodiak Canvas "Swag" tent
ALPS Mountaineering 2-person Lynx tent (nylon)

There is nothing like a canvas tent, but it does take longer to set up than the typical nylon backpacking tent. However, since you will have help you should be able to develop a routine that makes the process more efficient. The comment about the pegs taking the bulk of the time was apropos. Nylon backpacking tents really only need pegs to keep them from blowing away; canvas Flexbow and Springbar tents need them as part of the support mechanism, including the pegs in the middle of the sides and not just the pegs in the corners.

I typically use my "swag" tent when moving every day and my larger canvas tent when staying two or more nights. The nylon tent isn't used much these days, but there are occasions when I need to save both weight and bulk which makes a nylon backpacking tent the better choice.

Campsite in Fort Bragg 08 16 2019.jpgCampsite near Bear Trap Basin, Stanislaus National Forest, Calaveras County CA - July 2019.jpg

 

Laps

Member
I have owned many tents over the years, including small 1 person backpacking tents. I own a Kodiak canvas 8' x 9' and after using it exclusively over the past 2 years I can say its the best tent I've purchased, for its intended purposes. Also, I can set it up almost as fast as my brother can set up his Gazelle. Just takes some practice. I guess the hardest part of the procedure is hauling it to the desired place for set up (the tent and stakes with the crossbars is very heavy) and then staking it down (lots of stakes in order for the tent to have the proper geometry and tension). It is very impressive during inclement weather, and very cool during the summer. I'll take the extra room and 4 season capability over a nylon tent for truck camping.
 

eatSleepWoof

Explorer
OP, keep in mind that Springbar/Kodiak tents are not freestanding, meaning they HAVE to be staked down to hold their shape. I have camped in a few spots where staking down was impossible, and was glad to have free-standing tents. Even though you said an OZ Tent was out of the budget, I'd still suggest looking for one at a good (accessible) price point. They do come up used here and there. I have some thoughts about my previous OZ Tents here: https://overlandtested.com/gear/ground-tent-vs-rtt. I'm a big fan and regret selling both of my RV4 tents!
 

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