Your home away from home on quick car camping adventures, the Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Dome Tent is a functional abode for family-friendly outdoor excursions. This affordable tent puts ease of use at the forefront of its design, thanks to its instant assembly system and convenience-focused features.
Comfort and Space
When it comes to comfort, the Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Dome Tent is a solid performer in the woods.
Ozark Trail designed this shelter with a 10’ x 9’ (3 x 2.7 m) floor plan, which works out to 90 sq. ft (8 sq. m) of sleeping area. While you could sleep 6 adults with this amount of space, we’d say this tent is comfortable for up to 4 adults or 2 adults and 4 children. In fact, the company advertises that this shelter can fit 2 queen size air mattresses, which suggests that it’s designed for 4 adults.
The 6-Person Instant Dome offers a respectable 5’8” (172 cm) peak height. This is more than sufficient for sitting, but it’s not tall enough for everyone to stand upright in. Also note that the sloping sides of this dome-shaped tent slant quite a bit, so headroom is limited toward the periphery of the shelter.
Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Dome tent has only 1 room, so it is best for campers that don’t mind sharing their personal space.
The tent doesn’t have a vestibule or screen porch. This means you’ll have to stash your gear inside the main compartment further limiting the sleeping area. The tent does come with a gear loft and storage pockets for smaller items.
Breathability and Ventilation
The last major comfort-related consideration with this tent is its breathability and ventilation. As this tent is a single wall shelter, it doesn’t have a mesh canopy overhead for breathability. However, it does come with two mesh windows that you can open up for airflow, as well as a built-in ground vent for increased ventilation.
Note that this shelter does not use Ozark Trail’s Dark Rest technology, which helps to cut sunlight and cool down your sleeping space. So, if this is a feature that’s really important to you, it might be better to opt for a different shelter.
Regardless of where you plan to go camping, it’s imperative that your tent can keep you warm and dry in periods of inclement weather.
To that end, Ozark Trail designed this tent with a single, thick layer of polyester fabric. However, this is a single wall tent, there is no separate rainfly or tent body. Rather, the waterproof fabric on the 6-Person Instant Dome is used throughout the entire tent, both on the roof and on the tent floor.
This single wall tent design is advantageous because it makes it easier for you to pitch your tent when you arrive at camp. However, single wall tents do tend to be less breathable than their double wall counterparts.
As a result, even though this shelter is naturally quite waterproof, you may find that you get quite a bit of condensation build-up in your tent during a storm. Therefore, if you plan on camping in particularly rainy areas, opting for a double wall tent with a full-coverage rainfly is often your best bet.
When it comes to wind resistance, the 6-Person Instant Dome performs decently well. The tent’s dome shape provides it with a reasonable amount of durability in light to moderate winds. However, as we’ll see in our discussion on the tent’s durability, the included fiberglass poles aren’t ideal for use in exceptionally windy conditions.
As far as durability goes, the Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Dome is an average performer in its class.
The tent is made from relatively thick polyester fabric, which is an economical and relatively rugged fabric, even if it is heavy and bulky. Polyester is often a good choice when budget is a concern, but it’s more prone to rips and tears than ripstop nylon.
Ozark Trail engineered this shelter with a set of pre-attached fiberglass poles. Again, this type of pole is great for cost-effectiveness, but they are prone to breaking in high winds.
Of course, the dome-shaped design of this shelter provides it with a bit of natural wind resistance. But anyone buying a tent with fiberglass poles needs to recognize that these poles are not designed for use in truly high winds. So, this tent is more suitable for fair-weather camping in a sheltered environment.
Ease of Use
As an instant pop-up tent, the Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Dome Tent is designed to be as convenient as possible.
To that end, Ozark Trail used their proprietary instant technology on this tent, which integrates pre-attached poles with an external frame for added ease of use. As a result, pitching this tent is as simple as unfolding it, staking it to the ground, and extending the poles into position.
Since this tent doesn’t have an additional rainfly, you also don’t have to worry about attaching the rainfly and tensioning it properly. Therefore, this shelter is a popular choice among campers who want to arrive at their tent site and have their home for the night set up in just a few minutes.
Packed Size and Weight
Tipping the scales at 13.8 lbs (6.3 kg), the Ozark Trail 6-Person Instant Dome Tent is by no means light enough to be a backpacking tent.
However, as far as 6 person car camping tents go, it’s a fairly reasonable weight. For comparison’s sake, the performance-centric MSR Habitude 6 weighs in at 13.4 lbs (6.1 kg), so these shelters are fairly equivalent in weight.
But, do note that the Habitude does have a large vestibule as well as a taller ceiling height, despite being slightly lighter. Those weight savings are made possible by the fact that the Habitude is constructed from higher-quality (yet much more expensive) ripstop polyester. So, there’s always a trade-off between price, quality, and packability in a tent.
When it comes time to pack up camp for the day, this shelter can fold down into a stuff sack that’s about 42.5” x 7.9” x 7.9” (108 x 20 x 20 cm) in size. For a 6 person car camping tent, this packed size is fairly standard, but you should still expect this shelter to take up quite a bit of space in your car.
Pros and Cons
- Affordable price point
- Relatively packable for a car camping tent
- Instant pitching design for ease of use
- Features an integrated ground vent
- Built-in storage pockets and gear loft
- Can fit 2 queen size air mattresses
- No need to set up a separate rainfly
- Durability concerns with fiberglass poles
- Ceiling height isn’t tall enough for everyone
- Not ideal for use in very wet or windy conditions
- No vestibules or screen porches included for gear storage
- Doesn’t include Dark Rest technology
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