Gear

Review: Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent

| Zack Newsome |
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The Verdict:

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent is the last tent you will ever buy. It’s solidly built with materials that will last for years (most likely decades). For its size and robust materials, it is easy to set up and take down. Various size options will allow you to pick the tent that fits your needs with room to spare. The waterproof canvas breathes well and insulates better than a typical nylon/poly tent.

Build Quality:

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent is a canvas tent.  For those who have never camped in a canvas tent, it’s like camping was supposed to be. This tent reminds you of a 70’s summer camp but with design and engineering that make it amazing.

Kodiak Canvas tents will last a lifetime IF properly cared for and maintained.  Proper care and maintenance should be recommended practice for all tents, but most people who buy a cheap poly tent from a big box store expect the tent to last a few seasons before it will be replaced by another cheap poly tent.  The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Box tent is in another category of tent built for those who want to invest in a quality tent that won’t let them down.

The build quality of this tent is probably best illustrated in its weight.  With heavy-duty materials all around, the 10×14 flex-bow test we tested weighed 80lbs.  So this is NOT a backpacking tent.  This is a tent you pack in your car and live like a king in the outdoors – possibly for weeks at a time. Having been in some sketchy weather situations while camping in the past, the flex-bow won’t give you anxiety worrying about if the tent will hold up.

 

Set Up:

Unpacking the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow TentThe setup process for these tents is different than your average tent, but it’s not overly complicated. One of the biggest concerns about Kodiak Canvas Tents is that they take more time and hassle to set up. The truth is that the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent takes about the same time to set up as your average nylon/polyester dome tent. In our experience, the Flex-Bow Tent can be set up by only 1 person in under 10 minutes.

The secret to a smooth setup is to set this tent up in your yard to become familiar with the parts and the process.  Kodiak Canvas suggests doing this before your first trip along with lightly spraying the assembled tent with water and letting it air dry to “season the tent”.  According to Kodiak Canvas, this seasoning process causes the canvas to shrink slightly, closing needle holes where the canvas was stitched.

The flex-bow roof is the most impressive part about this tent.  The flex-bow frame keeps the roof taut to better repel water and to improve sturdiness.

Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent Custom StakesOne important thing to mention about the set up of this tent is that it it not built to stand on its own.  It requires placing stakes around the entire perimeter of the tent before the tent is raised to maintain its proper shape and structure.  This is by far the most time consuming aspect of the set up process, but properly staking the base of the tent helps to give it durability against any wind and snow you may encounter.

Size:

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent is available in 4 sizes:

  • 8.5′ x 6′ – 2-person capacity
  • 9’x8′ – 4-person capacity
  • 10′ x 10′ – 6-person capacity
  • 10′ x 14′ – 8-person capacity

These tens include a lot of headroom and will allow most people to stand without issue.  The 10×14 and 10×10 sizes has a roof height of 6’6″ while the 9×8 and the 8.5×6 have heights of 6’1″ and 4′ respectively.

This tent is also available in 3 versions: Basic, Deluxe, and VX.  Differences between the version can be seen on this table from Kodiak Canvas. The Deluxe includes 2 large additional windows, a gear loft, a pocket organizer, 2 small roof vents, and an upgraded carrying bag. The VX version includes 2 additional triangular windows on the ends of the tent along with everything else from the deluxe model (except the roof vents).  Not all versions are available in all sizes.

Interior Size of the 10'x14' Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow tent

Comfort:

The test we tested in the 10’x14′ Deluxe model.  Our family of 4 and our two dogs slept comfortably in this tent with room to spare.  With 4 sleeping bags arranged along the tent walls, we still had open space in the middle to allow us to move around in the tent.  The 10’x14′ tent certainly could sleep 8 people as Kodiak Canvas suggests, but like most maximum tent ratings, you would only want to have this many people in this tent if it was necessary.

The canvas breathes well – we had no problems with condensation in this tent – but it also felt warmer that our nylon/poly tents in our 40 degree test conditions.  The 4 large (almost floor-to-ceiling) windows in the deluxe model give you a lot of control by opening and closing the windows to control airflow.

The no-see-um mesh window screens are well made and are great at keeping the bugs out.  We had no trouble with bugs in this tent except the times we left the door open for any length of time.

The white “flex-bow” ceiling allows for a nice diffused light to enter the tent once the sun rises.  This creates a welcome and subtle wakeup for early-risers, but could be frustrating for those who look forward to sleeping in when camping.

The detachable gear loft and pocket organizers provide some useful space to store items.  The gear loft extends over half the ceiling when deployed.  Multiple attachment rings around the top of the tent give the ability to customize these items to suit your own needs.

Durability:

Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent Carrying BagsIt’s hard to know how long the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow tent will last, but it seems sturdy in every way.  The zippers work well and are protected by heavy external canvas flaps with velcro.

The tent includes a carrying bag made of thick, durable canvas.  Our deluxe model included an upgraded “Strap & Cinch” bag that makes packing this tent back in the bag easy as pie.  Properly stored in this bag, the tent is well-protected during storage.

Everything about is heavy duty – making it a serious consideration for campers looking for a home in the wild.

Value:

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent isn’t cheap. The model we tested currently runs $699 on Amazon. But, the value is there.  This tent is super sturdy, can stand up to strong winds and snow, and is considered a 4-season tent. If you spend a good amount of time in the outdoors, this tent is a must have.  It will make camping enjoyable and worry-free for the whole family. To top it off, this may just be the tent that you make memories with your kids and pass it down for them to make memories with the kids in.  It’s a tank.  It’s comfy. It’s camping in comfort and style.

 

Images:

Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent Custom Stakes

 

Comments (2)

  • Cookie Singhose-Allison

    I love my Kodiak tent, in fact I’m going this week to be elk hunting and I KNOW it’s going to rain & probably rain hard but I have been camping in my Kodiak before in the rain and been totally dry 😁🏕️
    Thank you for an awesome product!

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