User Review: Ozark Trail 16' x 11' Sportiva Dome Tent
Design: three season dome
Ease of Setup: fairly easy once you get the hang of it
Weight: not sure ? maybe 10 pounds or so?
Price Paid: $88.63 Canadian Funds
I purchased this tent to replace an older one of a different brand name. I set it up in the back yard and left it there for a week. I set the tent up as per the instructions, used all the metal tent pegs and fully attached the rain fly including using the velcro wrap around tapes that help attach the rain fly to the poles. It has been through rain and wind and high degree humid conditions. So far, so good. It did not leak, it did not blow over, I did not loose the rain fly and it has not ripped anywhere (yet).
I bought the tent before I read all the reviews, and it should have really been the other way around. When I started reading some of the reviews on Ozark Trail tents, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Was this a nightmare tent?! I have heard horror stores about loosing the rain fly, severe tent leakage and someone actually had a tent pole puncture and rip their tent fabric on other Ozark Trail tents, among other rotten things happening to the tent on their camping trip! I almost considered taking it back, but thought, no, I'll set it up and give it a chance. So far, I'm glad I did.
Pros: 6 averaged sized people could certainly fit into this tent. You wouldn't want to throw a party in it, but 6 could sleep in it. 16' x 11' and 61/2' tall is a pretty darn good size for an average family. I am in my mid 40's and I can set this tent up by myself, as I usually go camping by myself and I really like lots of room for my junk. So it could certainly be easily set up by two or more people.
This tent has a small hard plastic dome with a hook to insert the tops of the tent poles into and hook it to the peak of the roof. It would be very difficult to drive a tent pole through the roof fabric of this tent I would think. If the rain fly is properly and completely attached, and ALL metal pegs are used, it is unlikely that you would have it blow off, unless you were camping in such severe weather conditions that probably not only would the rain fly blow away, you might have to chase the whole tent down the road! ie. hurricane type weather. In that case, I think that ANY tent might leak severely and/or blow away!
For extra assurance, for rain leakage, you can set up an overhanging tarp (an inexpensive purchase) over the tent, and also use waterproofing stuff to seal the tent seams up really well if you are at all worried about it. Then you can be absolutely sure of a dry tent. This actually goes for ANY tent on the market.
The rain fly is BIG! It completely covers the top, side and back screened panels of the tent and stays quite taut when properly set up and attached. There is a large extended area of the rain fly that comes fairly far out in the front of the tent. It provides great shelter in the rain. You can put a couple of lawn chairs and a small table under it and you can still sit outside during a rain storm instead of being stuck sitting in the tent. Nice feature. Nicely screened for good, constant ventilation.
Tip: Angle your metal tent stakes inward with the bottoms toward the tent base. If they go in straight up and down, you may loose your tent a lot easier that if they are driven in on an angle. It's harder for the wind to pull them out of the ground on an angle.This tent is also gentle on the wallet. $88.63 Canadian Funds. Not really too bad of a deal.
Cons: Well, let's face it, it's not a top of the line super expensive tent. But I don't think that it was intended to be either.
This tent I would recommend to use exactly for what it was intended. Car camping at a private or provincial park. Nothing more. If you try it out in more remote, less civilized camping areas with severe weather conditions, and it does well, GREAT! Lucky you! But don't be too disappointed if it does not do well in a more rugged setting. And if you have wicked bad weather, pack it up and go home, because I seriously doubt that this tent was intended for that kind of use, and I'm not so sure that many tents are. If you find one this is intended for this, you will probably pay BIG bucks for it. A rain storm, a light thunder storm, but not extremely severe weather. However, it does give a nice camping trip in average, not so severe weather.
Under those circumstances, it is a peach of a tent and a peach of a deal! As for the fiberglass tent poles breaking and or the bungee cord snapping on them, yeah, that can also happen with other tent brands too. It happened on the last one I had, and it was an expensive, very well known brand name tent too. Happy camping everyone! Be safe and enjoy!
Update: August 22, 2010
Up date to my previous review of June 27, 2010.
Actually uprated this tent to a 4 star from a 3. Have used this tent several times over the summer in July and August (camp a lot in spring summer fall). This is not a bad tent at all! I have been very pleasantly surprised by how well it holds up in the wind (when the rain fly is completely and properly attached) and had a fairly heavy overnight rainstorm one night with no leaks what so ever.
You know, for the price, I would be very happy if this tent gives me even say 3 years of good camping. If I get a couple more out of it after that, well lucky me! Please note that I am also using it for car camping only in provincial parks, on some fairly rugged sites, but nothing extra super rugged. I still don't think it was intended for super rugged camping. But great for average family camping!
Also, I just read another recent review on this particular tent here on this site, and I believe that the reviewer was having a little trouble getting the tent folded properly so it would fit back into the bag. It took me a couple of tries, but once I figured it out, it does fit back into the bag with room to spare.
1. Spread tent out flat and straighten out any lumps or bumps so the whole thing is as flat as possible
2. Fold one end 1/3 into the middle
3. Fold the other end also 1/3 into the middle so it covers over the first 1/3
4. Take another end and fold it 1/3 into the middle
5. Take the opposite end and fold it also 1/3 into the middle
6. Fold it in half end to end
7. Fold it in half again being careful to push the air pockets out completely because air does get trapped in the tent during folding and make it as flat as possible
8. Place your tent poles and pegs (in their bags) at one end of the already folded tent
9. Start rolling the tent as tightly as you possibly can, rolling the poles and pegs up inside the tent. It has to be rolled as tightly and straight as you can possibly do.
10. Tie the tent securely with the ties provided and pop back into the bag
11. I roll the rain fly up very tightly as well, and if you're really good, you can roll it up inside the tent with the poles and pegs, or just fold it up and roll it around the already rolled up tent (I fine this easier to do)
I've rolled it quite a few times using this method and never have a problem fitting it back into the bag. The trick is keep it very straight and evenly folded, and roll it up just as tightly as you possibly can. Hope this helps, and I hope I didn't miss any folds!
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