Kodiak or Springbar tents

Something to be said about old school. Must have been a pretty good deal at a garage sale. I have avoided those like the plague in the past as I have no need for someone elses coffee old cups or cheesy bric-a-brac, but maybe I should re-consider for the possibility of a useful camping or fishing item.
The kodiack tent is a copy of the old coleman classic in a somewhat larger size , I spent a lot of time in the far north living in wall tents even in the winter so i am partial to them . I looked at the kodiack when it was in fairbanks at the sportsmans wharehouse ( like cabelas) a friend bought one and the first thing we did as it is casnvas or canvas like was to install a stove jack in it my friend likes it a lot so good luck with yours
actually springbar has been around for 60 years and all of those 60 years they have been made in salt lake city by americans. springbar rented the patent to coleman for several years. the pattent ran out and kodiak came out with a real good knockoff of the springbar tent. springbar was invented by jack kirkham of kirkhams outdoor products in salt lake city which is the company that still makes makes the springbar. the main difference between the koidak and springbar other than features and where they are made is the stake loops. in the springbar the stake loops are made of steel and they are kind of stapled in, in addiion the spring bar as a polly rope that is sewn in around the base where the floor and canvas meet and the stake loops are "stapled" around that rope. that rope takes up most of the energy that the wind puts on the tent putting little pressure on the tent stitching and keeping most of the pressure on that rope minimizing the load put on the tent stitching. where the koidak has sewn in webbing for stake loops and no rope in the base so when the wind blows the stitching takes a lot of the brunt of that force. other than that the two tents are pretty much the same. but for me I went with springbar because if i break a pole or something i can walk in to kirkhams (i live in salt lake... im sure you could call and have one shipped) and just pick up a new one where kodiak made in china, getting a new pole or any repairs that i might need may be difficult.
Yes, I do realize that. Do you realize how near the top it is when you Google the subject? Ive weathered some pretty gnar storms on the beaches of Lake Powell in my Family Traveler 6 made in 1988 (this model eventually evolved into the Family Camper). More than one time has it been the only tent in my group that has not blown down or sustained damage in the desert and mountains. This is still the tent I use today. I rarely come across gear like this these days, stuff built to last. I'm not in the market for a new tent dubiously, but I really believe in this product, and I hate to see the Chinese knock it off and sell it for $100 or so cheaper, ultimately that is why I commented on a 3 year old thread. Spring Bar is hand crafted by Americans and you can tell!! if you are ever in Salt Lake City you can stop by and see the show room on State Street and go through the factory in the back if you want. In my case they are a local shop, I have taken my old family traveler 6 in and had it upgraded with a few of the more modern features. it came with a stitched in awning and no canvas around the screen door zipper (they called them kick guards i think). I took it in to them in November they called me and i picked it up a few weeks later with a zip on portico and kick guards installed. I have never needed a repair but they are here to do it and I'm sure the warranty turnaround time would be around the same depending on the time of year. You will not get that kind of service from a Kodiak you got from Cabela's or wherever. I just thought folks should know.
Has it been that long? This tent is still going strong after a number of week long trips in good and bad weather across Oregon. Its a little more weathered but no problems or worn areas. The family loves it. zPlenty of room, we sometimes bring a little table for playing cards in bad weather.
Yes, this is a very old topic but still relevant. 7 years as a scoutmaster and 3 years before that as varsity coach I have used both Springbar and Kodiak canvas tents all that time. Our troop has 2 of the largest Springbar tents and 2 medium sized Kodiak tents, not sure exact sizes. The troop had the Springbar tents about 3 years before my time. The Kodiak tents were purchased just before I became Scoutmaster. Both brands have held up well to abusive boy scouts over many years. And both tents have performed equally well in bad weather. They have both been used in snow storms, freezing rain, and downpours. I think both tents are very high quality and will hold up well over time.

There are a few things that make Kodiak the better tent in my opinion. Some differences are listed below:
1) Kodiak floor is noticeably a thicker mil and I think will hold up better to punctures. Our troop never uses ground cloths and neither tent has ever had a floor puncture yet. But I still prefer the thicker floor from Kodiak.
2) The Kodiak D door design is better and puts less stress on the door zippers. During my 10 years as a scout leader we had to replace the Springbar zippers on both tents. We never had any problems from the Kodiak zippers and I believe this is because of the door design.
3) The Kodiak poles are a ticker gauge, maybe a steel alloy instead of aluminum like the Springbar. Yes, that makes the poles heavier, but also less likely to bend. The Springbar poles have bent a couple of times. Even the slightest bend in the pole makes extending the poles very difficult because the extension is inside the outer pole. Kodiak poles seem sturdier and they don't use the extension design like Springbar. The Kodiak pole size is fixed and no need to lengthen / shorten it. Another advantage of the Kodiak pole is it doesn't matter how you align the receiver on the top pole, it can be oriented either way and the upright will still fit into it. The Springbar receiver can only be aligned one way in order to insert the upright pole.
4) The Kodiak tents have small vents at the top of the wall on either side that can be zipped opened or closed. Because they are at the top of the wall, they can be left open even in rain without risk of leaks. In order to vent our Spingbar tents we have to open a window or door which is not so feasible in rain. Maybe Springbar has added vents in newer models?
5) Canvas quality seems the same on both tents.
6) On the Springbar tents, a couple of the metal loops described by quizzle above have broken away from the tent. We haven't had that problem from the mesh loops on the Kodiak tents yet.

I will agree that the warranty for the Srpingbar tents is pretty good, at least on paper. However, I mentioned the problems we have had with door zippers. When we first started having trouble, rather then replace the entire zipper, Kirkhams would only replace the zipper pull. Unfortunately, this kind of repair did not fix it for very long and half way through scout camp the zipper broke again. Only after the third repair attempt (and three trips to Salt Lake) did they finally agree to replace the entire zipper. Also be prepared to wait a couple of months for the repair to be completed as they always seem to be back logged. We have not needed to do any kind of warranty on the Kodiaks yet so I can not speak to their customer support.

Anyway, having used both tents for many years on scout trips, I would recommend the Kodiak over the Springbar for the reasons mentioned above and also because the Kodiak is quite a bit less expensive. Both tents will perform well and hold up well.

Please keep in mind that our Springbar and Kodiak tents are older. So it is possible that newer Springbar models may have added improvements and may be on par with the Kodiak now. The main thing I would look for is the door design which is the biggest issue with the Springbar in my opinion. The D style door on the Kodiak is much better.
Thought I would answer to the above. I've never had the opportunity to look at a Kodiak tent up close so I cannot do a side by side comparison. I can say that after 5 years of use, this tent has worked great and we've never had any issues with it.
No complaints or issues with the door. The floor is quite thick, and has a cushion effect to it. The Kodiak could be thicker, but not really a need in my mind.
Poles? These are a heavy gauge aluminum, no warpage or bending. And actually I don't think I would want them any heavier than they are now. Being adjustable is a advantage in my mind, makes it easier to for one person to set up.
An area that do think that Kodiak has an advantage in is that they seem to be more innovative in adding accessories to the tent such as interior loops for storage attachments, though springbar appears to have added these recently.
Kodiak has recently added a winged vestibule option to their springbar which gives additional coverage for the awning. They also have a full wall enclosure for their cabin style tent. I like both of these options as it allows you more protection for storing gear in bad weather or out of site from opportunists.

Anyone know of a company in the Willamette valley or southern Washington area that might do custom work on canvas tents? I would like to add some sort of storage loops to the interior of this tent, and I have a couple of other ideas as well I would like to check out.

If you like this style of tent, I don't think you could go wrong with either company.

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
couple of years ago, my good friend Jan Uchytil (Jan the Bear) decided to pop for a used wall tent. That was the year of the big fire near Ellensburg on Blewett Pass, and we had our cook tent plus another little tent already set up for elk camp near the top of the pass. Damned forest service shut off every access so we couldn't get our tent out, and then it began to snow. We lost everything there, so we decided to go up the Icicle (complete waste of time!). Jan's tent had a sewn-in floor, so we had to assemble the frame, stake out the tent, and with 4 guys, try to slide the frame inside. MUCH easier said than done! Yeah, it was nice and warm, and dry since it poured all week, but.....Mr. Bear decided to sell the tent immediately afterward. It was incredibly difficult to put that frame in and out of the damn thing. I had my little A-frame popup trailer, and was comfy the entire time. And when we had to break camp, all I had to do was drop the walls and boogie!
I am wondering about floor seams on the kodiak vs springbar. Springbar has stitched seams and kodiak has welded seams. For you guys out there who have had yours for some years, what's your observation. Are the welded seams holding up ok? I'm not worried about stitched seams. The welded ones I'm not sure about for long term longevity. Like to hear some feedback:)
I own two Springbar tents (Traveler 5, and Colossus) and a Kodiak 9x12 cabin tent with wall enclosure. I have been in bad weather in all the tents.. including snow. I agree the Kodiak has a thicker floor but I always use a ground tarp and a floor drop cloth inside the tent so that difference is not a deal breaker for me. The Kodiak tents have their waterproofing sprayed on the tent vs the Springbar (non Highline version of the tent) made in Utah where the canvas is completely soaked twice in the waterproofing which means better long term protection from the elements. The Springbar Highline tents are made in China and not Utah and use the same spray on method of water proofing as the Kodiak tents. Both tents are very well made and should last decades when stored correctly. I was able to get my Springbar Colossus tent customized by contacting their factory direct so keep that in mind. You wont have that option when buying a Kodiak tent. Plus the Springbar warranty local to Utah and the ability to obtain parts more local than China could be a deal breaker for some. I think the metal stake loops in the Springbar are far superior than the Kodiak stitched cloth stake loops in keeping the tent in one place during bad weather. For my Springbar Travelr 5 I now use 12" large lag bots and washers and a cordless drill to secure this tent in the ground and the metal stake loops in the Springbars work perfect for that. Cuts down on set up time. Over all if I had to choose one tent for my family and cost was not an option then I would go Springbar (local life time warranty, customization possible, better waterproof method, & metal stake loops). If you wanted to save some $$$ and a small drop in quality which might not show up for decades then go with Kodiak. No matter which tent you choose they both will be better in bad weather than most tents out there and they will last for decades. Warning if you do choose Springbar remember they make their tents by hand in batches so it could take 4-7 weeks before you get your tent. If you are in need of a tent quicker than that then Kodiak would be a better option. Happy camping!!!

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