bell tent or kodiak/springbar

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bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby late » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:30 am

Well freaks,

The ms and i are rather stuck between two different tents, any input?

The choices are either a bell tent or a springbar... both canvas, both heavy, both expensive...
bell tent:
Image
Positives: looks cool, expecially once we paint it up with circus stripes. Zip in bottom allows you to "lift the skirts" for a cool breeze through for daytime.
Negatives: guy lines from hell

Springbar tent:
Image
Positives: easy to set up, no guy lines, easy to add aluminet so we can try to sleep the day away
Negatives: ?

Ok yes, the prospect of having a circus tent looking tent really intrigues us. Anyone have anything to add/detract/pick on me for?

Thankee

--Alex
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby Bob » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:52 am

That first one is not what I'd call a tent.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby late » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:06 am

How 'bout now?

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby Bob » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:13 am

Better, but concentrated stress points eg at the pole and guy points might suffer in extreme wind gusts. Beauty of the Kodiak/Springbar tents is that they spread the wind load. Add a conduit shade awning and you have a nice camp.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby DoctorIknow » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:59 am

You will be in and out of your tent all the time....or maybe not....but one thing is certain: whatever your intentions about return time can be altered by the slightest experience once out the door.

What this means is that you should close you tent, any tent, tight before leaving. No matter that there isn't a puff of air, a white out could happen, and you don't want your tent open...not even one vent.

Which means of course, don't even think of the Bell. You may think you can run around it and release the canvas and secure it in a minute, but it won't be like that. And one of those times you say: "well, I'm just going to Center Camp for a coffee and be right back..." you are in denial and will have to go to a meeting.

And the guy lines, as you noticed, make your footprint quite large and easy for people to run into...even yourself!
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby late » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:42 am

Good points on guy lines. The sturdiness in the wind apparently isn't any problem at all, they've been used in arctic conditions and other harsh environments for a century and a half. Also, the door just zips down like any door, so that shouldn't be bad.

The footprint vs. inside useable space though is a real consideration, thanks guys you're doing great to talk me out of the "looks cool" argument!

--Alex
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:15 pm

But ANYTHING can be made to look cool with a little F art!!! 8)
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby late » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:30 pm

Art? masking out lines with some wide tape is stretching my artistic inabilities already!!

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby trilobyte » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:53 pm

I've never used a bell tent, but it just looks like the sort of thing that you may struggle with. Both in setting it up, and then in dealing with high wind (I have a suspicion that the playa won't give us another year of perfect weather), and invariably with those side walls (pro tip - use chapstick on zippers to keep them from getting stuck). Dust storms and dust devils can kick up FAST, and don't have the common decency to give you the chance to batten down the hatches as it were. You'd either end up with the place shuttered up all week, or everything inside it would be covered in the stuff all week.

Despite those impracticalities, I can't help but keep thinking it's a cool-looking structure though. Perhaps if it were used as a shade structure, and then you had smaller tents underneath (to sleep in, and keep your gear from blowing away)….
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby late » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:04 pm

It's actually a one person 5-10 minute setup, you stake the bottom down, put the center pole in, then pull out the guy lines tight and stake them down.

Really good point on battening it down in a hurry as well, yah, you CAN zipper the bottom on, but try doing that in a flash dust storm...

As for dust all over everything, it has a half and a quarter inner tent you could seal up even when you had the "skirts up".

You guys are doing great talking me out of it! Now to pass it on to the Ms. and get this tent question out of the way so I can get back to everything ELSE lol

--Alex
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:11 pm

Or do this! 8)

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby piehole » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:41 pm

That's cheating!
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby feistypenguin » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:47 am

I used a springbar on my first burn and it worked great! Not fancy, but it was easy to set up and had all of the basics. All it needs is a shade structure draped around it and you would be good to go. I picked the Kodiak because I was flying into Nevada and had to use something that I could fedex to myself and haul in.

It's also something you could set up in the middle of a dust storm with relatively little fuss. We had some neighbors who were virgins as well and went with a large hexayurt. They arrived in the middle of a moderate sandstorm at night and the eight of them simply could not put it together. They were all swearing at each other within 20 minutes because the wind was blowing them around so much. Even with mild winds and neighborly help the next day, they still struggled. I'm pretty confident that my amigo and I could have the kodiak up in about 15 minutes or less, even in very windy conditions (I know, Murphy will bite my ass for saying that).

Sooo... I would definitely give thumbs up for the kodiak.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby Bob » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:05 am

Nothing wrong with guy lines under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, many campsites at Burning Man are beset by a common mammalian pest -- Jackassus drunkus, and his evolutionary cousin, Jackassus ecstasius. And never underestimate their homologous marsupial variant, Parajackassus self-entitularius, usually resident in the next camp in back of yours.

I get the impression you're debating old-school versus new-school. One authentically old-school peaked tent that can use either a center pole or an A-frame prop is the range tent, aka pyramid tent. I understand it was a common tent used by cowboys riding fence in Nevada and the greater West. Best for solo camping, and cozy relations. Like the bell tent, you can get one with or without a floor sewn in. Nevadan who headed the DPW fence crew uses one, when he's not hunkered in his Airstream.

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby AlmostJaded » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:03 pm

I don't know how well a bell tent will hold up in a storm, but I can tell you for a fact that a springbar can take a hell of a pounding.
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My Springbar tent during the dust storm. by AlmostJaded, on Flickr
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby alt12 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:34 am

I got a Kodiak last year and while expensive I have zero regrets. These things are great. While the weather last year was pretty tame, it is a kickass tent. It definitely keeps the dust out well. I had the most dust-free burn on record. It is also very very easy to setup, which I was not expecting. It is also very easy to stand-up and walk around in. I can't comment on the bell tent-design but the sprinbar/kodiak cabin-tent system is worlds above the nylon 12-person tents I used to burn through every year. These things are much more durable (steel poles helps!).
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby teardropper » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:17 pm

Don't own either. My good friend, and campmate, got a Springbar. We took it to Fourth of Juplaya for 5 days, which was easy. And then down to BRC. He put a double cot and memory foam in it and slept well. Kept it zipped up tight most of the time and lived in relative comfort. Certainly not dust-free, but no drifts and, well, what is...? Very sturdy, no guy ropes, nice stand-up for clothes changing and more, worked very well. If there is a con, it is that it is heavy, I think 70 pounds. You'll not be backpacking it, but not a problem on the playa. He will be bringing it back...
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby hotmess » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:41 am

SPRING BAR, all the way. I have had mine for 3 burns out of 6 and I can say hands down it is the best tent for the playa. The only dust that will get in there is the dust you bring in. As long as you are strict about keeping your door shut and removing your dusty outer wear you will be sleeping dust free all week my friend. Also, they sell a portico attachment that adds 5 feet of shade out and 15 feet of shade across. It is tricky though as the portico was not designed to hold up to the high winds as well as the tent. I will fill you in on how I figured out a way to construct it so it is sturdy in high winds.

The poles that come with the portico are not reinforced in the middle. I used gorilla tape and attached 8 inch rebar at the joints in the middle to give the poles extra strength. I also put rebar into the ground right next to the base of each pole and attached with gorilla tape. I then put rebar out by each of the poles and placed guy ropes to keep the entire thing stable. Springbar sells easy to attach guy ropes as well as guy rope attachements that make it even easier. Best investment for the playa ever. I love my tent and the countless hours of sleep, shelter and joy it has brought me on the playa. Best part about the portico is the canvas does not heat up and stays very cool throughout the day. We had set up a cot outside my tent under the the portico. Every morning I or my either camp mates would be fast asleep on the cot as it was nice, breezy and cool.

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:17 pm

What's the size when it is packed?
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby hotmess » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:31 pm

When packed in the canvas bag that it comes with I would say it is about 28 inches tall x 24 inches wide. The poles come in a separate canvas bag. I would say it is an easy pack as all the parts have their own canvas bags that are labeled.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby Herring » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:21 pm

I think the springbar tent price is my new litmus for whether I can afford to go to BRC or not.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby late » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:25 pm

Excellent, thanks everyone. We're sold lol.

@hotmess thanks for the tip on the portico as well. Did you try putting some sort of shadecloth over tent to sleep during the early day or anything?

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby hotmess » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:23 pm

I have not but I have thought about it. I know that if I did have some sort of shade above my tent it would make it significantly cooler. I have looked into shade structures that would be tall and wide enough to clear the height of the tent and there aren't many. One structure I found was the MSR zing. It comes with 2 poles but you can purchase extra poles so the entire thing is completely elevated. The kicker is the poles are quite pricey :shock: (but incredible). My friend purchased one last year with all the extra poles for our camp and we used it as a common shade area. I know that my entire tent would have fit underneath it. Wanted to get one for myself this year but might have to put it off as it is out of my budget at the moment. And not having secured a ticket yet this year makes me nervous to invest in any more gear.

Oh, one think that just came to mind that might work is a shade structure Spring bar makes that can attach to a roof rack of any car. Best for SUV's. http://www.springbar.com/shop/proddetai ... d=43990003. If you have a SUV you could park it behind the tent and extend the shade up wards to cover the back of your tent.

Also, i would suggest buying it before May. Between the Boys Scouts of America and Burners they normally start selling out of their tents around May/June and then they are back ordered and might not be available till late August.

Best of luck

P.S (my name is Alex too :D )
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby StevenGoodman » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:32 pm

I often cover mine in white tyvek or other camo netting.

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby late » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:40 pm

Question for you Springbar owners:
I've heard the zipper doesn't cover the bottom of the door, but you can add one for something like $50. Should I DO this? Did you experience dust blowing through that gap and such?

Thanks!

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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby hotmess » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:09 pm

I don't believe mine has a zipper at the bottom. Not a big problem as there is a big piece of canvas with elastic that sticks upwards and holds the door flaps outside of the tent. I would rather put the $50 towards getting better stacks. They sell some killer ones that are about $5 a piece. Over kill for the whole tent but a good idea for the 4 corners.

Also, I just got an email from springbar. They are offering a free ground tarp with purchase of any tent if you buy in the next week or so. Check there website. It is a $100 savings.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby Boijoy » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:22 pm

I have the kodiak tent. it's been to the playa twice. AWESOME tent for all the reasons stated about. the kodiak comes with a zipper accross the bottom of the door. Last year I put a 10x20' aluminent shade cloth between the top of my truck & over the top of the tent. I had approx. 4' of shade between the truck & tent door & shade over the top of the tent & down the back side. The tent did stay cooler for a little longer in the am. fyi. you should attach the aluminent to the top of the tent before you erect it. I use those big black binder clamps.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby Wicky » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:06 pm

If you can live with the guy lines, definitely get the Bell tent (one with an attachable/detachable ground sheet). It WILL withstand anything that the Kodiac or Springbar can, and IMO the ability to lift the skirt counts for sooooo much in the sweltering heat.
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby teardropper » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:21 pm

The Springbar and probably the Kodiak, if you keep the windows and doors shut and use care with your shoes will not be dust FREE, but not too bad. If you raise the skirt, whether blowing or not, you will be dusted. There is always dust in the air. Try taking a flash photo on a still night. There will be dust. Looks like you haven't cleaned your lens in a week. few things are dust PROOF. But if you open it to the 'breeze' you will be dusted by Wed, Thurs easy.

Use a separate shade of any kind, I think you'll be better off.

Just sayin...
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Re: bell tent or kodiak/springbar

Postby Wicky » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:38 am

True, true. All valid points, but...

You will taste the dust regardless of what you do. Adapt to your environment: don't fight it, embrace it. Store things that need to remain dust free in appropriate containers. Lift the skirt and stay cool while comfortably sleeping off the previous night's excess. Sweep out the tent after the skirt has been dropped back down. Have skirt up textiles to lie on during the day, and store less dusty sleeping fabric in air tight containers until the tent has been swept and it's time to sleep.

Camo netting is perfect for additional dappled shade, and won't turn into a sail when the wind picks up. 2 layers with about a foot of separation is perfect.
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