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This is the Ultimate TopNotch Kodiak Canvas Tent 8 Person Review.
What’s the difference between the occasional camper who runs back to the comforts of home after a couple of hours because he can’t handle the elements and the seasoned outdoor enthusiast who can stay in the wild for extended periods of time with relative ease?
Many wonder what the secret is and we’re sure you’d like to know too.
Believe it or not, the secret lies in the Tent….yep, it’s true.
And we’ve found out that it’s not just any kind of tent…it’s the Kodiak Canvas Tent
That’s why we’ve written a comprehensive review about it right here!
But get this…
It’s more than just a simple review because we’re also going to show you how this particular tent measured up to our TopNotch Top 10 Best Wall Tents, every step of the way.
So what’s so great about it?
Well for starters, the Kodiak took our TopNotch Best Value award.
Let’s cut to the chase… after testing the top 10 Wall Tents on the market we found that the best value wall tent is the Kodiak Canvas Tent. Want to know why?
In this ultimate review of the Kodiak Canvas Tent we’ll cover:
- Our easy 5 steps set up
- The details that nobody talks about
- What you should NOT do with your Flex Bow when it rains
So if you want to know why campers can’t stop raving about Kodiak tents, then this is the review that spills the beans.
Let’s get started.
TopNotch – Best Value
Kodiak Canvas Tent (8 Person)
- High-quality canvas
- 6’6” ceilings
- Mesh over windows
- Not quite big enough for 8 people
- Groundsheet not attached to walls
Kodiak Canvas Tent
The Kodiak Tent or Kodiak Flex Bow Tent can best be described as architectural genius meets camping artistry.
We come across great tents all the time, but few really blow us away with their almost flawless design.
Well, its Flex Bow design means that this tent has a pole system that harnesses the strength of high tensile galvanized spring steel. This helps to keep the tent taut even in fierce wind.
We’re also loving how watertight and breathable the canvas is. It kept us dry in heavy rain while preventing condensation build-up in the walls.
The windows and large D doors offer great ventilation and greater than average views of the outdoors from the comfort of the tent.
And that’s not even half of it…
The manufacturers have put some thought into livability by creating a gear loft. That’s a huge plus. We found that stowing things at eye level helps us locate items easily.
They’ve even thrown in an organizer for you to stow smaller items in.
The gear loft and organizer are great places to stow things that you don’t want your little ones getting their hands on if you’re out camping with the family.
Speaking of little ones…
We were more than a little skeptical about manufacturer claims that this is an 8 person tent. And we were right.
Although the Flex Bow can shelter all 8 individuals at a time, for these 8 persons to live comfortably in its confines, they would have to be well-behaved toddlers.
Another thing that sets this shelter apart from the competition is its quality 12-inch galvanized steel stakes. We know how frustrating it is when stake heads break off because they just can’t rough it.
…as dedicated testers who’ve tested countless products on end, we’ve learned not to go out without lag screws in case our tent stakes break or bend.
Lag screws are heavy duty and you’ll need a drill to drive it into really hard ground. They are not mandatory for camping, but they get the work of pitching tents done faster.
For more details about the amazing performance of the Kodiak and how it matched up against its competitors….keep reading.
Analysis Comparisons and Test Results
First up is Livability. We actually had our disagreements when it came to ratings.
Some testers believed that livability should be measured according to how much home comfort a camper could integrate into their tent.
On the other side of the spectrum, some testers argued that the point of being outdoors in the first place is to enjoy it more than being cooped up in a tent.
So a tent that can provide shelter over your head, doesn’t leak, has space for movement, good ventilation, and some storage space should rank highly….i.e tents like the Kodiak.
Who won the debate?
The first group won in the end (because the term “livability” suggests more than just survival), despite the fact that hunters have sworn by Kodiak tents and their ability to act as comfortable secondary homes in the wild for days on end.
But let’s get moving…
For a small tent, the Kodiak gives a camper 6’6” of standing room. It’s hard to feel claustrophobic.
It has a homey feel to it with its gear loft, organizers, extra storage, large windows, and doors.
…if you are looking for the comforts of home, then our Top Pick award winner, the Coleman Breeze with its LED lighting and fan system may be your cup of tea or perhaps the Montana Wall Tent that comes with a stove jack already installed (by the way, we have a whole review on Tent Stoves too)
Related: 10 Best Wall Tents
2. Weather Resistance
Weather resistance in this 4 season tent is pretty amazing.
The premium-grade hydra shield 100% cotton duck canvas with its tight weave and silicone finish makes the canvas water-tight.
Our team of testers tried it out in pouring rain for three straight nights.
Water collected on the awning and weighed it down. We had to keep coming out to push it out as we were afraid that the two rods that were holding the awning up would collapse.
But then we made a crucial mistake…
After coming out to push the water up and out of the awning, we thought we could save ourselves the hassle by rolling up the awning.
Boy, were we in for a shock.
The water soaked into the rolled-up awning and began to leak into the roof of our Flex Bow…lesson learned…never keep your awning rolled up in the rain!
In addition, the flex bow works great in the snow. However, we don’t recommend it for an extended stay in the snow unless you have a way to heat your tent like using a tent heater or something similar.
If you are considering an extended snow fest outside, we recommend the White Duck Large Canvas Wall Tent which won our Best Wall Tent For Winter title.
3. Value For Money
We’ll be honest with you, this is a high ticket item. But once it’s yours, you’ll soon see why it’s worth its price tag, just like Dan, a hunter who’s had his Kodiak for six years now and counting.
Now as an avid hunter, Dan isn’t your occasional backpacker. His longest single stay in his 8-people Kodiak was two weeks.
Now we all know that all products have a limited lifetime but Dan proudly told us that he has weathered torrential rain, harsh sunshine, and snow in this 4 season tent and it still worked as well as the day he took it out of the box.
Some hunters refuse to buy another tent even after four years of owning their Flex Bow, some even up to eight years.
Now that’s value for money!
Value For Money
We all know that good workmanship comes with guaranteed durability and the Kodiak Flex Bow is a great example!
We inspected the interior and exterior of the tent in great detail.
What did we find?
Seams are double-stitched and corners are reinforced for added strength.
The hydra shield, as we’ve already mentioned, makes the canvas watertight.
Additionally, vinyl polyester-reinforced frame 1 inch galvanized steel tubing allows the whole structure to withstand even the most aggressive of winds, by keeping the tent taught.
And finally, a minor detail that’s often overlooked….
And that is the #10 Zippers. We’re totally stoked about it!
They are large, easy to use, and can stand up to demanding use. Not all wall tents have these zippers. The only other tent that has #10 zippers in our Top 10 is the Browning Glacier Wall Tent which also sits at 8 on this metric.
5. Ease Of Use
One person is enough to set this hydra shield cotton duck shelter up.
But here’s a word of caution,the roof is heavy, and raising it can leave you breathless.
Once you get the hang of it, setting up the Kodiak can take five minutes or less to pitch or take down, but with its different parts, it can be a little tricky at first.
But follow these simple steps and it will become second nature to you in no time.
- Spread out the tent on a firm and flat surface. Then stake the floor down using ALL 14 grommets. We’re looking at you Mr. “This rule doesn’t apply to me.”
- Insert flex rods into the canvas roof lining.
3.then insert the ends into the t- junctions. These are the 1” steel tension crossbars that go on the top. They also come in two halves with t-junctions at either end.
4.Attach the 1” steel tube crossbow or ridge poles.
You have two side pieces that come folded with tension in the middle making the two halves easily come together.
5.Use these to hold up the sides of the tent
That’s all there is to it.
We also really like the strap and cinch carry bag on the Kodiak. No more wasting time and energy trying to stuff a tent back into a carry bag!
If this is still too much for you, you can also consider the Gazelle T4 which took the top spot in this metric for its pop-up design.
The Flex Bow is one of the most versatile in our Top 10.
We’ve pitched it in the desert, up on mountain tops, and in snow-covered fields. And it delivered well on each occasion.
So what can you expect?
In the desert or hotter, humid places, the no-see-um mesh windows keep the bugs out and the breeze flowing in.
When it’s cold, you can close the large windows up from the inside by zipping up the window shade.
We’ve even pitched our Flex Bow out on the banks of rocky river beds and found that the heavy-duty, puncture-resistant 16 oz vinyl keeps water out with ease.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t invest in a ground tarp to set your tent over. Lots of campers do this for extra fortification.
Our Final Verdict:
Kodiak Canvas Tent
Drum roll, please…..
After putting the Kodiak Flex Bow Tent through some grueling places, we’re pleased to announce that it’s taken the well-deserved 3rd place position, sitting at an overall rating of 80!
This 8 person cotton duck canvas has exceeded our expectations.
It came up against a few of the big boys but held its own through it all.
As a whole, the structure is impressive in its durability (thanks to its premium materials) against harsh wind and UV rays.
It has weathered the heaviest rainfall while keeping its occupants comfortable and dry.
And it’s just as formidable in the snow.
For a tent that offers so much, the Flex Bow is surprisingly easy to set up, even for the novice camper.
But that’s not all…
We love the details inside the tent too, from the gear loft to the organizer, the storage pockets below the large windows to the ventilation vents that zip open on either end.
The manufacturers did their best to make this a home away from home.
We’re convinced that this is the canvas tent with the best value all around.
Kodiak Canvas Tent 8 person
There you have it
We’ve just told you insider secrets that make the Flex Bow the Best Value Tent on the market.
From the premium tent canvas and its strength to withstand different weather conditions to the add ons you’ll find inside the tent…
…we’ve tested and covered it all.
And let’s not forget that while this is a tent ready for some heavy-duty camping, you now know that you don’t have to be intimidated when setting it up….it’s a piece of cake.
We all loved how it measured up against other similar tents in the market without getting overly complex.
The only problem is, we can’t guarantee that it will be on shelves when you need it. A product of great value flies off shelves faster than you can say Kodiak Canvas Tent.
Related: 10 Best Wall Tents