springbar tent choice

cparcell

Observer
So I have nixed the idea of a rooftop tent in favor of a non vehicle dependent
Quality tent.
Springbar is the pick, what I'm having a hard time choosing is a size. I would like to keep it smaller to take up less room but I also have a wife and two daughters.
Most trips will either be wife and I or the girls and I. With all 4 of us together I think we will setup a second cheap low rent tent for the girls so they can enjoy the lessons of hard ground, leaking tent like I did as a child.
So when comparing models do most of you spring for the Cadillac size or a more manageable compact.
I have been watching the for sale section to see if a used one pips up to sway my choice but yet to see anyone selling a spring bar which honestly is a great sign at how nice they are.
 

rob mellor

Observer
Check out Kodiak Canvas http://www.kodiakcanvas.com/flex-bow-tents/ I live in Utah where springbar tents are made and grew up sleeping in them as a scout. My dad also owns a Traveler 5. I think that the Kodiak are just as well made and offer some upgrades the springbars don't have. They're carried at Cabelas and Sportsmans Warehouse but this site has the best pricing. http://www.competitiveedgeproducts.com/Kodiak-Canvas-Tents_c_11.html?gclid=CO7OvpCXucwCFQIOaQodLQEF-Q

As far as size I have the 10X10 Kodiak VX. I can fit 2 Eezi Awn King Goanna stretchers in there and have a 2-3 foot aisle down the middle. Last time I had it out I slept in a cot, my son slept in the other cot and my daughter was on a pad on the floor between the two cots. There wasn't any aisle between anything but there was about 2' at the bottom of the tent. We were able to store gear/bags under the cots so it wasn't too crowded. It was tight but doable, there's no way 3 cots would fit in there though. If you were sleeping 3 on pads on the floor it wouldn't quite be as crowded since the walls do taper a bit as they go up so you could push out farther towards the edges of the tent. So my summary, for 2 cots the 10X10 is ideal. 3 on pads would be plenty of room to sleep but not much aisle room. If you're looking for 3 cots you're going to have to go 10X14 or get creative with a disc-o-bed.
 

cparcell

Observer
After watching spring bar in the tornado, I was sold on the design. If only the Kodiak wasn't a Chinese ripoff I would be more open to purchase one. Do you notice if the bar vs Kodiak pack up smaller.
 

KevinsMap

Adventurer
After watching spring bar in the tornado, I was sold on the design. If only the Kodiak wasn't a Chinese ripoff I would be more open to purchase one. Do you notice if the bar vs Kodiak pack up smaller.
For me, it is not the "ripoff" issue that rubs me the wrong way, especially since Kodiaks are fine tents. Good ideas get copied; I'm a product designer, it comes with the territory.

It is more a sense of duty, put there by a measure of prosperity; buy American, not to prove your patriotism (no one should put up with someone challenging that!), but to improve the economy in which you, yourself, live and work. Now, if you truly cannot afford it, I say you get a pass. No question. But if you can afford it, well, I will pause, and consider. I can afford to "Buy American". I don't always.

My tent, from Durango, Colorado. David Ellis Canvas Tents. Had this one in Fresh Gale winds, no worries. Goes up easy and fast, and that huge veranda is awesome. The Springbar was my first choice, until I found this:

IMG_1244.jpg

packed, behind the drivers seat. Thats the canvas white/tan kit bag, the whole tent; poles, stakes, ground cloth for the veranda

IMG_1057.jpg

Interior

IMG_1253.jpg
 
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rob mellor

Observer
The Kodiak isn't one of those cheap Chinese knockoffs where it looks the same but falls apart instantly. I found this chart http://www.competitiveedgeproducts.com/assets/images/Kodiak_Springbar_Comparison_6055.pdf that compairs the two, granted it's by a website trying to sell the Kodiak tents and I'm not sure I agree on some of the points. Like the floor one, I've camped in a springbar as a scout growing up where we almost had a river running around the tent cause of the rain couple of times and I've never seen the floor leak. Both floors felt heavy duty and more than adequate to me.

One time I was at sportsman's warehouse out here looking at both tents when I was trying to decide what to buy and I ended up talking with 2 guys in their 50's about tents. Turns out they owned Kodiak and were there for a meeting with sportsman's and were just there early. The guys were both big scouters and had been around springbar tents for 40 years. They both iterated that their idea wasn't to undercut springbar and make a cheap chinese knockoff but to improve upon the design. That said there are several things I like about both. Springbar I like the metal tent stake loops better. The kodiak has the sewn in fabric loop type, I've never had to use oversized sand stakes or anything like that so maybe it is an advantage. The metal just seems sturdier to me, but that said I haven't had any on my kodiak rip.

I like the front and rear D shape doors that zip all the way around on the Kodiak better then the T shape on the springbar. I like the pole design better on the kodiak, the 2 upright poles are just 2 pieces that are shock corded together. The springbar's poles slide inside each other and have a little button you push and raise the tent to the height you want and the button pops into the hole. I have had the two poles get stuck together when you're camping in a sandy area. But the biggest complaint is if your hand is on the upper pole when you push the button, the upper pole slides rapidly into the bottom because of the weight of the tent. I lost a good chunk of skin when my hand got caught between the two poles.

The kodiak has a lot of loops with a ring sewn around the top of the tent to hang up the gear organizers. What I like these for is to hang up my light-a-life led lanterns. It's easy to tie some loops in 550 cord and tie it up between 2 of the rings, makes for an easy way to light up the tent. Another difference between my kodiak and my dads traveler 5 is the kodiak the awning is sewn on and rolls up. On the springbar it can zip off, I don't have a preference either way but some might.

I like the bag a lot better on the Kodiak. They both fold up about the same size since there's only so small you can fold 50lbs of canvas. The springbar has the usual canvas stuff sack. The kodiak has a bag that you fold around the rolled up tent and then fold up the flaps, buckle the straps and synch them tight. It's way easier to put away. At the end of the video you can see the bag. The side windows in the VX model are a godsend when camping somewhere like Moab. The kodiak is made in china but the stitching and materials are top quality. An employee at kirkhams told me the springbar is sewn in america with foreign made fabric. Either way they're both excellent tents that cared for will last a life time. It just comes down to price, features and where it's sewn really.

 

jonnyquest

Adventurer
How old are your girls? I have an Outfitter 3. Two big guys with a lot of gear fit pretty easy, but the tent packs down to an easy size and weight.
 

brentbba

Explorer
I had a Springbar 10x10 just for myself and it was too large. Buddy had the 10x14 for his family and it was great. 10x10 is plenty of room for 2 and perhaps 3. I'd think it'd get a little crowded with 4.

Sorry Rob, you sound like a Kodiak salesperson. OP stated in his first post he's chosen Springbar. I've seen both and the are both quality tents. The ONE huge factor, outside the made in America with Springbar, is the hefty quality of the base of the tent and stake holders. IMHO, Sringbar is much more beefy in this area and, quite frankly, that's where the tent gets its stability.
 

rob mellor

Observer
Not a salesman for kodiak by any means. I just spent months comparing the two. I made several trips to kirkhams, sportsmans warehouse, cabelas to look at both models in person set up. It's easy to look at pictures and say they're the same tent so I was simply trying to point out some of the differences that don't show up in a small web picture.

i do agree that the springbar has a better base. The sewn in rope and metal loops for tent stakes seems like a more robust system for sure. I was just stating that I like that set up better but haven't had problems with the kodiak. The big difference to me was price. Since both tents come from Utah I was able to pick up my kodiak right from the distributors warehouse in slc for less then 1/2 the price of the springbar. I'm not rich by any means so I couldn't justify paying more then double the price for a tent which I believe has less features. That's just my opinion on the two. Other people have their opinion and believe different features are more important. There's no losers here since competition between brands only breeds innovation and that's better for us the consumer.
 
I bought the Springbar 5 Traveler Tent.

https://www.springbar.com/springbar-traveler-5-tent.html


It's a 10X10 tent, and I think the size is more than enough for a family of 4. There is plenty of room for all of you to spread out and relax in inclement weather.

Mostly though, you are most likely all going to be outside enjoying camping. With two smaller children, and if size/weight/cost are issues, my personal opinion is that you could camp comfortably in the next size down. Of course, it's a matter of personal taste as there is no ones size fits all in camping.

Now-a-days, it's just me and the wife, so a 10x10 is a bit oversize for us. However, it is still a great choice for extended stays. I can set it up like a bedroom and make it nice for the wife, with cots or an air matress, a throw rug; even a small table and chairs can fit. The ventilation is great, it's a place to escape the bugs when they are bad, and just being able to stand up and stretch out is really nice. Oh yeah, and while the tent is on the heavy side, it is very stout, and goes up and down pretty easily too.

Here are a few pics of mine, set up:
IMG_0468

IMG_0467

IMG_0466

IMG_0465
 

afbond03

Adventurer
How do you plan on sleeping? Cots? Sleeping Pads? Etc? I am a family of 4 using a 10x10 Kodiak and currently use a cot for myself and a sleeping pad for my daughter. When my wife and 2 year old son decide to come we will probably have to do move over to the stackable bunk cots if we want any room outside of our sleeping area. The 10x10 can fit 4 depending on your sleeping arrangement. We moved to the Kodiak from a Tepui Autana, I really liked the idea of a RTT but with 2 young kids it just doesn't work for us currently. I love my Kodiak, super easy to setup and great quality so I am sure you will love your Springbar.
 

KevinsMap

Adventurer
So I have nixed the idea of a rooftop tent in favor of a non vehicle dependent
Quality tent.
Springbar is the pick, what I'm having a hard time choosing is a size. I would like to keep it smaller to take up less room but I also have a wife and two daughters.
Most trips will either be wife and I or the girls and I. With all 4 of us together I think we will setup a second cheap low rent tent for the girls so they can enjoy the lessons of hard ground, leaking tent like I did as a child.
So when comparing models do most of you spring for the Cadillac size or a more manageable compact.
I have been watching the for sale section to see if a used one pips up to sway my choice but yet to see anyone selling a spring bar which honestly is a great sign at how nice they are.
I would recommend that you give your wife the final decision about tent spaciousness.

You (and I) chose tents that we can comfortably stand up in, are practical tents for actually living in throughout a foul weather day. Not just for sleeping. So think of it as a real room, and ask your wife how she wants to live in it. Especially with your two girls roughing it in a small tent, they may need to retreat to your tent on that long, rainy day. Weather happens, and should be no reason to "bug out"... so long as everyone can be comfortable. After all, the most glorious days outdoors are after the rain :)

That said, the Springbar tent bag is not a fun way to pack a canvas tent. High effort and slow. The duffle type of bag made for the Kodiak (or my tent, which has a wide opening duffle with compression straps) is much, much better. I agree with your Springbar-over-Kodiak decision, but you will want a bag that wraps around a folded and rolled tent, then cinches it tight and compact. This is the only major Springbar weakness vs. Kodiak. I chose my tent for other reasons (ease of setup, versatility in site placement, the indoor/outdoor veranda, etc.), but the bag is a major plus.

David Ellis, the guy who made my tent (in my previous post) sells these kinds of bags in several sizes for his own tents, and does custom work very reasonably. Something to consider;

http://www.elliscanvastents.com
 
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cparcell

Observer
the height is a huge sale point, but o want a tent that o won't need to buy another for 20 years. I have heard the spring bar has beefier tackle as well as design. I wonder if I could order a Kodiak bag later for the spring bar.
we will pad sleep on the ground and I foresee myself being alone in the bar aswell.
reason for compactness is we kayak and canoe alot and camp along the way so I would hope I can chuck it in the canoe.
 

Ed B

Adventurer
My wife and I have the Springbar Family 7 which is 10x14 in size. Cant say enough positive things about this tent. It does come down to what you're sleeping arrangements are going to be as far as how many can fit, We have the largest cots from Cabela's, and a side table for each. In bad weather we bring in two chairs to wait until it clears. Even with the cots we could easily fit a couple of more in sleeping bags and still have plenty of room. The nice thing about cots is being able to store our clothes etc underneath. The tent is big, heavy and you certainly need some space to carry all the accessories as well as the tent. We haver a ground sheet the extended awning and extra stakes, guide ropes, door mat etc. Springboard is certainly an example of getting what you pay for.
 
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