Backyartisan Rating:

3.55 Stars

The Montauk wooden playset by KidKraft is a unique offering amidst a large swath of playsets that look the same. This item is only available at Target, and you know how fashion forward Target can be with their products. We will take a hard look at your experience with this swing set and see if the Montauk is worth it.

And “why is this playset only available at Target?” you might ask. KidKraft has a long history of dealing with large big box retailers and being their primary swing set manufacturer. If you just take a look around the KidKraft website, you’ll see a bunch of exclusive deals with various large retailers. A quick glance just now shows deals with Costco, Walmart, Target, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club.

As of spring 2021, these retailer deals leave KidKraft with very few of their own swing sets available. I would imagine that after the huge demand experienced in 2020, the large retailers essentially bought up all of KidKraft supply chain for 2021.

The Backyartisan's Verdict

Below, we will cover the following aspects of the Montauk play set by KidKraft. Here are the Backyartisan weighted ratings for each on a 5-star scale. You’ll see the weight we give next to each category in the overall rating - 30% to pre-play, 45% to the during-play, and 25% to the dollar-play. Here it goes with the Backyartisan rating for the Montauk wooden swing set by KidKraft.

Backyartisan Rating:

3.55 Stars

Shipping & Receiving

To get a good look at what goes into receiving a playset, you want to take a read over our article on the subject. I’ll just say, you should really know that it is not as simple as most deliveries you’re used to.

Our Montauk verdict: You know, Target and KidKraft are really doing something outside the box with the Montauk. KidKraft is primarily a toy company, so they spend a lot of time and attention to the emotional build-up to their products. Target, on the other hand, is a retailer who really likes to provide fashionable and premium products at a more affordable price. The two together they’ve come up with something really unique in the Montauk.

With that said, KidKraft has not necessarily done anything different here than they do with most of their other swing sets. That means that the weight limits and longevity of the swing set may disappoint -- but we’ll get to that later, as shipping is a strength of KidKraft. We give it 4 stars.

Trucking Company Appointments

This swing set ships via LTL freight, which is a very common delivery method for large items shipped throughout the US. It may take a few days in transit, and you will have to plan to set aside a little bit of time for a delivery window when it is in your neck of the woods.

Dealing with Pallets

Be prepared to deal with a pallet when your Montauk arrives. The length of the pallet is upwards of 8’ for these four boxes. You’ll need to dispose of the pallet when all is done.

Unboxing and Taking Inventory

In general, KidKraft has really dialed in their packaging process. You should expect for neatly designed boxes properly packed with everything and no excessive inventory counting needed.

Be sure to snap a bunch of pictures of the playset while it is still on the truck. I don’t care if you don’t see any damage, it just always helps to have that for your file if something comes up. For example, you might find pieces missing or other issues inside the box, and you want to avoid finding yourself between a transportation company and a large toy company pointing fingers.

Box Weight and Dimensions

As mentioned, the length of the shipment is 7.5 feet. In total, the shipping weight is 328 lbs. spread over four boxes. Like I said, this manufacturer has really tightened up the packaging process so you shouldn’t find yourself struggling with receiving the Montauk.

Installation

Installation of playsets is not for the faint of heart across the entire industry. There is an entire cottage industry that exists of professional installers who are more than willing to come by your backyard and get things set up for you at the right price. This is not a step in the process that you should take lightly, as it determines the safety of your children. Check out our article on installing a playset get a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

Our Montauk verdict: The Montauk is right in line with most of the industry at this price point. There is a nice touch where some of the panels for the fort are pre-assembled for you, but I’m not sure it moves the needle in terms of your experience with this product. Lots of screws, lots of hex bolts, lots of nails, you get the picture…

Tools Required

The tools that you’ll need are pretty standard and should be found in most toolboxes: tape measure, hammer, level, square, and ratchets. You’ll also need a shovel and a ladder to get the job done. In terms of a drill, you’ll need the Phillips head attachment and ⅛” and 3/16” bits.

Ease and Timeframe of Installation

The manufacturer suggests that this assembly will take roughly 2 days for two people, and that sounds about right. For lesser experienced folks, I would definitely round up to that third day. The tube slide alone can you take quite a bit of work. Don’t be fooled by the single fort and simple swings, this can feel a bit like a beast to put together.

Definitely plan on having a buddy or two for the more complex parts like the tube slide and the upright and crossbeam connections. It’s worth noting that there are quite a few pieces that come put together inside the box. This is a specialty that I’ve mentioned before of KidKraft. They do pay pretty good attention here and there to helping you along with the receipt and installation process.

Quality of Directions

These directions are pretty strong with some color and lots of diagrams throughout. At 65 or so pages, it is quite an instruction manual. It is well written and generally gives you everything you need to get the job done. There isn’t as much fluff or other helpful hints you might see in other manuals by different manufacturers.

Space Needed

The use zone of the Montauk swingset is just under 29’ x 27’. This allows for up to 6 feet of space surrounding the entire playset. The overall height of the Montauk is 9.5 feet, Which makes it a good bit bigger than some budget rate options.

You will need a ladder for installation to connect the crossbeam to the fort. It will also give you the height needed to make sure you take care of any necessary fastening to the roof.

Stability & Durability

In this section we evaluate the stability and overall durability of the swing set. We’ll cover the Montauk‘s longevity and try to point you in the right direction for maintaining the swing set.

Our Montauk verdict: KidKraft really isn’t known for the longevity of their playsets. They generally spend more time and effort on the shipping and front end. The Montauk fits right in line with that, though I would say it’s probably a little bit more sturdy than the low range of what KidKraft offers. The Montauk is appropriate for ages 3 to 10 and up to 10 users. With that said, at a weight limit of 110 lbs. per child, it doesn’t feel like the final last for very many years to come.

Joints & Hardware

The joints in hardware for the Montauk swing set are probably sufficient for a less than heavy duty product. The screws are #8 and all hex bolts are 5/16” or smaller. Given the weight of the wood, these sizes should do the trick, but it doesn’t point to a very heavy duty swing set.

The plates that connect the crossbeam to both the fort and upright posts are very solid.

Wood Thickness

Compared to many of KidKraft's other options, I am fairly pleased with the crossbeam size that they use here. At 4 x 6, this is a pretty beefy crossbeam. I do also like the upright post extending all the way from the ground to the crossbeam. As strange as it sounds, that’s becoming less and less common among the place that’s under $1,000. The primary reason being that shipping costs can be curbed with tighter packaging of upright posts.

Plastic Thickness

For the Montauk swing set, KidKraft has gone with a spinning tube slide. They have put a few nice touches to bracing the tube to the fort and ground, which is very important if you want to keep the slide from sagging and potentially creating dead spots on the ride down. The plastic itself is appropriately thick, and the way the slide breaks down into mini half-pipe shaped pieces really makes it simultaneously easy to ship and a pain to bolt together. Obviously the bright blue stands out and is very unique.

Wood Stain & Finish

The stain of the Montauk swing set is what really sets it apart from mini that you will see on the market. It’s obvious to me that Target teamed up with KidKraft to really try and create something unique. In general, I think of Target as being slightly more fashion forward than other large box retailers, which is probably why this playset design is slightly more trendy.

Honestly, I find it gives the market a breath of fresh air with this new color scheme. I just feel like I look at the same brown, yellow, and red stains in this industry.

Weight Limits

The weight limits of a swing set define just how much stress and strain your children can put on the wood and joints. With a max weight limit of 112 pounds per child, the Montauk can handle most young kids. That also means that it can’t handle most normal adults or larger children.

It is possible that KidKraft is being a little conservative with this weight limit rating. After all, it is a very solid looking forward to me. With that said, I certainly won’t recommend doing anything over and above the manufacturer’s suggested weight limits.

Ongoing Maintenance

You will want to check out our swing set maintenance checklist to get the most out of your money. Regular inspection and cleaning will go a very long way to preserving your playset.

With the Montauk, you should definitely plan to be careful about matching stains when you decide to re-stain the product. I say that mainly to make sure that you end up happy with the matching color. The easiest way to do that is to pick an inconspicuous corner of the playset before you apply the new stain.

Play Elements

Here we go! Now let’s review the main ways kids will interact with the place that you’ve gotten them. We hit on the climbing, sliding, swinging, and playing below to give you a sense of how much fun there is for your kids to discover!

Our Montauk verdict: There are some common elements along with 2 solid upgrades to keep your children engaged with the Montauk. We’re giving it an average rating of 3 stars, which seems right, given the price point.

Ups, Downs & Acrosses

This section covers the climbs, crawls, and slides of a playset. The Montauk has one way up in one way down on this fort. The latter with climbing rocks is a classic, and I personally think that tube slides are pretty awesome for a backyard playset. After those two items, that’s it. With only one fort, you can’t really expect any acrosses and maybe a max of 3 other elements.

Swings

The Montauk comes with two belt swings and one glider. That accommodates up to four kids at one time, which I think is pretty great. That is the maximum number of kids that I ever plan on having at least...that would leave room in the fort for friends.

Social Play Accessories

The Montauk lacks some of those typical accessories that parents have come to expect out of playsets these days. Essentially, this swing set only has the fort space to play. Now it would be worth mentioning that there are many windows throughout the town, and that provides plenty of visibility for parents looking in their backyard for kids (i.e. spotting a fight!).

Solo Play Accessories

KidKraft does attach a small plastic clock to the wall of this fort. Do I know why? Not really. Seems like a little bit of a filler doodad with matching colors. Other than that, there really aren’t many accessories available on the Montauk.

Roof & Kit Options

The Montauk wooden swing set comes with a wooden roof standard, and I think that’s a pretty great decision by the manufacturer. Would roofs last longer, provide more shade and protection, and cannot be blown about in a bad storm. To me, they also look great compared to some vinyl tarps.

Price & Value

So this particular site and its color scheme has caught your eye, now it’s time to decide if you really think the value matches the price.

Our Montauk verdict: We give this Montauk swing set 4 stars. It is certainly above average, but there are some parts of working with a KidKraft playset that gave us a little pause from giving it a 5-star rating. We will get into the details here.

Overall Value

We think that the Montauk hits a lot of the high points and offers plenty of swings and a cool tube slide. But beyond the basics, we feel like this price gets you more of a color scheme/fashion statement overall. The price of $1,200-$1,300 is probably a little on the high end for what you’re getting from a pure fort and accessory standpoint, but we think it’s generally in line with what you should expect. The 3-swing setup and crossbeam is a really nice touch for this price. You just aren’t getting many more bells and whistles.

Shipping Costs

Given the size of this playset, I would expect the actual cost of shipping throughout most of the US to be $250-$325. Of course, that is baked into the cost from Target when you buy it. I only want to point that out because you may be responsible for paying that kind of money and/or not fully receiving a refund if you decide to return it.

Installation Costs

I would expect installation cost to run upwards of $400-$500 for this playset. When you take into consideration a couple of hours for a little over one full day's work, you can see how the price could get that high. Not a whole lot of moving parts to explain the 10-hour set up, but that’s just the nature of the beast in playsets.

Warranty

KidKraft has a 5-year limited warranty for lumber only. Hardware and accessories come with a 1-year warranty. I would say that you should expect your place up to outlast the warranty, but the warranty isn’t really that special to begin with. The limitations on wood damage is pretty high when you get into the details.

Backyartisan Rating:

3.55 Stars

The Montauk wind swingset gets an overall rating of 3.55 stars. Shipping and installation are generally where KidKraft hits the mark. Longevity, not so much. We do like the uniqueness of this particular swing set, and what it offers in a sea of repetitive stain colors. We got to give it up to target and KidKraft for partnering on something that looks out of the box. We are always reviewing more swing sets here at The Backyartisan, but we definitely like to run across something new like the Montauk.

Montauk also made our Short List of the best backyard playsets of 2021 as the most unique option!

Outside of it’s uncommon luck, the Montauk pays close attention to getting to key features on this playset at this price point: the tube slide and the glider. Add those to the wood roof and the multiple windows around the entire fort, and you’ve got something that sticks out and up to the game for the basics. Beyond that, the Montauk is fairly spartan, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’m just pointing that out.

We appreciate you reading The Backyartisan review of the Montauk wooden swing set by KidKraft!

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