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Our History

Canvas Products Cut & Sewn in Salt Lake City, Utah Since 1944

Makers of Jack Kirkham’s Springbar® Tent Since 1961

Our History

Canvas Products Cut & Sewn in Salt Lake City, Utah Since 1944

Makers of Jack Kirkham’s Springbar® Tent Since 1961

Our History

Canvas Products Cut & Sewn
in Salt Lake City, Utah Since 1944

Makers of Jack Kirkham’s Springbar® Tent
Since 1961

1944-1957

140 East 200 South
Salt Lake City

A young Jack Kirkham Sr. purchases the
AAA Tent & Awning Shop and begins a career in canvas.

 

In 1944, after serving in Naval shipyards as a draftsman, Jack Kirkham Sr. returned to Salt Lake City and purchased the AAA Tent & Awning shop. It was a tiny workshop, just 1200 square feet, but it was a start and Jack began learning the canvas manufacturing business inside and out.

Jack made canvas goods of all kinds: tarps and awnings, covers for sheep camp wagons, horse blankets, and also teepees and wall tents for outfitters, herders, and miners.

In the 1950s—as more Americans started to camp for pleasure—the demand for recreational equipment grew and Jack began to build more 'camping' tents.

He also noticed problems with the conventional tent designs of the time, and began experimenting with new ideas for tent frameworks.

 

 


1944-1957

140 East 200 South, Salt Lake City

A young Jack Kirkham Sr. purchases the
AAA Tent & Awning Shop and begins a career in canvas.

 

In 1944, after serving in Naval shipyards as a draftsman, Jack Kirkham Sr. returned to Salt Lake City and purchased the AAA Tent & Awning shop. It was a tiny workshop, just 1200 square feet, but it was a start and Jack began learning the canvas manufacturing business inside and out.

Jack made canvas goods of all kinds: tarps and awnings, covers for sheep camp wagons, horse blankets, and also teepees and wall tents for outfitters, herders, and miners.

In the 1950s—as more Americans started to camp for pleasure—the demand for recreational equipment grew and Jack began to build more 'camping' tents.

He also noticed problems with the conventional tent designs of the time, and began experimenting with new ideas for tent frameworks.


1957-1979

24 West 500 South
Salt Lake City

Jack’s experimentation led to inspiration and a unique, simple, original design: the Springbar® Tent.

 

Outfitted in a larger shop, complete with a retail showroom, Jack and his team serviced the ever growing demand for recreational camping equipment. In addition to tents and canvas goods made in house, the retail shop expanded to include hundreds of camping accessories like stoves, coolers, and sleeping bags.

In 1961, inspired in part by customer requests for a tent that would be spacious, sturdy, and easy to pitch, Jack invented the Springbar Tent.

The first 10x10 model—the tent that would become the legendary Traveler— had a list price of just $83.

Over the next decade the design was refined and patented, eventually becoming Jack’s “masterpiece of simplicity and function,” and the core product of the business.

 

 

1957-1979

24 West 500 South, Salt Lake City

Jack’s experimentation led to inspiration and a unique, simple, original design:
the Springbar® Tent.

 

Outfitted in a larger shop, complete with a retail showroom, Jack and his team serviced the ever growing demand for recreational camping equipment. In addition to tents and canvas goods made in house, the retail shop expanded to include hundreds of camping accessories like stoves, coolers, and sleeping bags.

In 1961, inspired in part by customer requests for a tent that would be spacious, sturdy, and easy to pitch, Jack invented the Springbar Tent. The first 10x10 model—the tent that would become the legendary Traveler— had a list price of just $83.

Over the next decade the design was refined and patented, eventually becoming Jack’s “masterpiece of simplicity and function,” and the core product of the business.


1979-2019

3125 South State Street
Salt Lake City

Kirkham’s on State & The Golden Age of Specialty Outdoor Retail

 

In 1979, Jack broke ground on a new building on State Street, purpose built to house his growing operation with more than 26,000 square feet of retail and factory space.

The name was changed from AAA Tent & Awning to Kirkham’s Outdoor Products—Home of the Springbar Tent.

The in-house product line expanded from Springbar Tents and canvas goods to include lightweight tents, backpacks, luggage, and more.

The retail side of the operation fully blossomed in the 80s and 90s—the golden age of brick & mortar specialty outdoor retail. At its peak, Kirkham’s carried more than 200 brands, 10,000 items, and employed 50 retail sales staff.

In the 90s, the business was passed to Jack Jr., who’d been working alongside his dad from age 15.
In 2008, Jack Sr. passed away at the age of 90.

With the rise of online competition, Kirkham’s—like many mom and pop shops—found the brick & mortar retail business more and more difficult to maintain. Yet the cult following around the Springbar Tent remained strong.

In 2015, to help meet demand for Springbar Tents, Jack Jr. partnered with Dwell Outdoors to develop the imported Highline Series.

 

 

1979-2019

3125 South State Street, Salt Lake City

Kirkham’s on State & The Golden Age of
Specialty Outdoor Retail

 

In 1979, Jack broke ground on a new building on State Street, purpose built to house his growing operation with more than 26,000 square feet of retail and factory space.

The name was changed from AAA Tent & Awning to Kirkham’s Outdoor Products—Home of the Springbar Tent.

The in-house product line expanded from Springbar Tents and canvas goods to include lightweight tents, backpacks, luggage, and more.

The retail side of the operation fully blossomed in the 80s and 90s—the golden age of brick & mortar specialty outdoor retail. At its peak, Kirkham’s carried more than 200 brands, 10,000 items, and employed 50 retail sales staff.

In the 90s, the business was passed to Jack Jr., who’d been working alongside his dad from age 15.

In 2008, Jack Sr. passed away at the age of 90.

With the rise of online competition, Kirkham’s—like many mom and pop shops—found the brick & mortar retail business more and more difficult to maintain. Yet the cult following around the Springbar Tent remained strong.

In 2015, to help meet demand for Springbar Tents, Jack Jr. partnered with Dwell Outdoors to develop the imported Highline Series.


2019-Present

4026 South West Temple
Salt Lake City

A New Beginning for Springbar, Inspired by the Past

 

In 2019, Dwell Outdoors acquired the tent manufacturing business from Jack Jr., continuing the legacy under the brand name Springbar®.

The workshop moved to a new building on West Temple, with Jack Jr. staying on as Lead Tent Designer.

The transition brought a renewed focus on Springbar Tent manufacturing and design, with a goal of adapting
the business model to the digital era while preserving the tradition of making canvas tents by hand in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

A fresh start for Springbar, rooted firmly in 70 years of tent making tradition.

2019-Present

4026 South West Temple, Salt Lake City

A New Beginning for Springbar,
Inspired by the Past

 

In 2019, Dwell Outdoors acquired the tent manufacturing business from Jack Jr., continuing the legacy under the brand name Springbar®.

The workshop moved to a new building on West Temple, with Jack Jr. staying on as Lead Tent Designer.

The transition brought a renewed focus on Springbar Tent manufacturing and design, with a goal of adapting the business model to the digital era while preserving the tradition of making canvas tents by hand in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

A fresh start for Springbar, rooted firmly in 70 years of tent making tradition.