Thinking about an Alaknak 12x20 for family camping. Anyone have any input?

BuckeyeRifleman

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I’ve got a Cimmeron and an 8 man SO tipi for the backcountry stuff, but I want a super cushy setup mainly for family camping and side use as a base camp setup for elk hunting. I’m mostly a spike/backpack hunter so the Cimmeron/8 man combo got me by just fine with 2-3 guys.

But I’m looking toward the future with the wife, 2 yo and dog. Another kid might be in the works as well.

I thought about a wall tent but I wanted something a bit lighter that had a true floor, as Ohio can be pretty buggy most of the year.

I’m thinking the Alaknak 12x20 will be the right combo of weight, size, ease of setup, etc. I know condensation is an issue compared to canvas but I’m used to having to mitigate that with my tipi tents.

My wife isn’t much for roughing it so room for a queen sized inflatable mattress is a must, plus up to two kids and a 100 lb dog.

I’m also considering the Kodiak Canvas 12x12, but I’m worried that will be too cramped.

Anyone with experience with the Alaknak tents care to comment?
 

DawnPatrol

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My friends have one. We’ve camped in it several times for elk and deer hunting, and in some pretty bad weather, too (foot of snow, 50 mph wind gusts). It worked great. My wood stove made I real comfortable, too. And even a buddy heater made it livable when the temps were in the 20s.

I think it would be good for what you describe.

My only caveat would be that it’s not simple to put up or take down. It’s not as bulky/heavy as a canvas tent, but it’s more like pitching a wall tent than an regular tent….so take that into consideration if you (like me) have a partner who is a little high maintenance or just preoccupied wrangling multiple kiddos/animals. It’s not the kinda thing you put up for one night of camping. (For that, I can suggest the REI kingdome 8 for a family.)
 

Wheels

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I had a 12x20 Alaknak and sold it to buy a 12x12. Love the tents, but realized I didn’t need the extra space for myself and maybe 1 or 2 buddies. They are easy to set up and take down by yourself, I can completely set mine up in 15 minutes and it’s not too heavy to haul around. I think it would be great for a family tent. A queen mattress would fit fine in the 12x12 or 12x20, you’re just looking at 1 pole vs. two in the tent. I had a vestibule, but sold it, found it was just another thing to haul around and I really didn’t need the extra space.
 

JeffRaines

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I don't know what your experience is with traditional wall tents - but if you're looking for cushy, I would begin and end my search with something canvas made by Davis.

They can sew in the floor if you'd like.

I ended up buying a 12x14 for the duties you've mentioned. Its been nice, but honestly I feel like a 14x16 would've been a little better. I was also between a wall tent and a Alaknak style.

Also, don't let the weight scare you away - I can more than handle loading/unloading and even setting up my tent by myself. It takes ~20 minutes solo to erect it, and that's from the bin its stored it to being ready to put the stove in.

If you have a chance to actually check one out before you dump the cash on the Alaknak, its worth looking at. I can almost guarantee after you step foot in one you'll want it over the Alaknak... even more so if you actually spend a couple nights in one.
 

Gone4Days

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Can’t beat a Kodiak flexbow for ease of setup. I can set up my 10x14 in about 6 minutes by myself and my family of four fits fine.
 

JeffRaines

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Can’t beat a Kodiak flexbow for ease of setup. I can set up my 10x14 in about 6 minutes by myself and my family of four fits fine.
This is another good option as well. I have one too and the set up is super fast.

I added a stove jack to mine so I can run a stove during the colder months. It fits my family fine as of right now(myself, wife, 6yo and 1yo) but I can imagine here in a few years when the youngest needs more space it’s gonna be an issue during winter as someone is gonna have to sleep close to the stove and that’s no bueno.
 

actionshooter

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For what you are describing, the Kodiak isn't going to be large enough, Its a great tent but a 3 man tent tops. The 12x20 would work but is hard to put up by yourself and when it gets cold (like really cold) it will be warm next to the heat source (wood stove) and the water is freezing other end. The 12 x 12 Alaknak might be a better choice size wise. I have never had too many issues with condensation but always run the woodstove in the winter which helps a ton. I actually have all 3 mentioned above also.
 

wyojdubya

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I picked up a 12x20 Alaknak for exactly the same reasons--car camping with a wife and little kids and base camp use. I've had it for five or so years and have spent around 100 nights in it. I have no regrets in the purchase.

As others have said, it does take some time to set up; 45 minutes or so including the stove if I'm doing it by myself (it was more like an hour plus the first few times). It's also big and heavy. That said, it's luxurious. For multi-person longer hunts, or those with a high probability of multiple trips out from the spike camp, I'll take the time and pack the weight to get the comfort.

The REI Kingdom 8 mentioned above is a good choice too. Less luxurious but a lot of space for a simple, light, easy setup. I've abused one for a decade and use it as my base camp when I don't feel like the extra work of the Alaknak.
 

danswanky911

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For car camping we use an 8 person Cabelas Alaska Guide tent. Its a palace for three and can withstand a serious storm.
 

jblam

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I’ve had the 12x12 Alaknak and now the 10x14 flex bow. And 2 little kids. I can not tell you how many skinned knees the guy lines on the alaknak caused. And the extra 20 min of setup was an ordeal. We sleep in the flexbow with an inflatable queen and cot bunk beds. It’s the perfect setup for my family!
 

PA Hunter

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I have had one for about 12 years or longer used it as a base camp for fishing Lake Ontario. I have a vestibule kit and floor kit. It is an awesome tent been in snow ,hail,massive downpours and well over 50 mph winds all at once. Never a leak or any problems ever. Plenty of room and I think great quality. It does suck setting up by yourself though. It is heavy with all the components. No regrets.
 

cullenz

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I would be a little hesitant to buy the newer versions of the Alaknak tents. I've got a couple friends with 10+ year old Alaknaks and those things are awesome and can handle some serious weather. My Dad and I each bought our own 2 years ago (he bought 10x10 and I bought 12x12), and those things collapsed and tore at multiple seams the first week they got setup after 2" of snow (the old Alaknak tents set up right next to those held up fine). Then we had another one of our hunting group use a new one last year. It made it through archery season (we didn't get any weather), but tore at the seems similar to the other 2 during a rifle season.

We were far from the only ones that had that issue. I checked Cabelas website during that time and there were multiple reviews or seam tears and quality issues, all were recent reviews. I think they even pulled some of the models from their website for a little while... Hopefully they got the quality issues fixed, the older ones are great tents. I can say, there were obvious differences in reinforcement and sewing (especially at the pole cones) between the older ones and the newer ones. To give Cabelas credit, there were no issues returning. I ended up replacing with a Kodiak Canvas Cabin tent. It worked great last year.
 
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BuckeyeRifleman

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I would be a little hesitant to buy the newer versions of the Alaknak tents. I've got a couple friends with 10+ year old Alaknaks and those things are awesome and can handle some serious weather. My Dad and I each bought our own 2 years ago (he bought 10x10 and I bought 12x12), and those things collapsed and tore at multiple seams the first week they got setup after 2" of snow (the old Alaknak tents set up right next to those held up fine). Then we had another one of our hunting group use a new one last year. It made it through archery season (we didn't get any weather), but tore at the seems similar to the other 2 during a rifle season.

We were far from the only ones that had that issue. I checked Cabelas website during that time and there were multiple reviews or seam tears and quality issues, all were recent reviews. I think they even pulled some of the models from their website for a little while... Hopefully they got the quality issues fixed, the older ones are great tents. I can say, there were obvious differences in reinforcement and sewing (especially at the pole cones) between the older ones and the newer ones. To give Cabelas credit, there were no issues returning. I ended up replacing with a Kodiak Canvas Cabin tent. It worked great last year.
Yeah I know they had some quality issues for a while, I was looking at them at the time and it seems they pulled them from the shelves for a while. Hopefully that’s no longer the case with the newer models. Definitely a reason I would buy new over used at this point. Glad to hear cabelas took care of you!
 

NJDiverDan

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I have had a 12X12 for 16 years. I love the tent and it works great. I have looked at the 12X20 a couple times but normally hunt alone now so no need for that big.

I know a queen air mattress sounds like what you want, but I would recommend individual cots instead. Every time someone moves on a air mattress the other person does too. Plus with cots, you have storage under the cots which keeps the tent more organized. Bunk cots for the kids, individuals for the adults.
 
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