Gear: The Ozark Trail Screenhouse

Need instructions? If you have the 13’x10′ model, your prayers are answered! Here is a PDF of the owner’s manual. Commenters report good service by calling 1-800-775-1965 for other models. Commenters have also, in the spirit of empiricism and reverse engineering, written their own instructions for the 14′ x 12′ and the 10′ x 13′ (same as 13×10?).

This seems to be a widespread problem. Since you don’t need to leave a comment begging for instructions, how about leaving one with your location instead? We’ll see how many screenhouses across the country we can rescue. You don’t even have to bother reading the following review, whose purpose in life has become feeding the search engines and getting you here to end your desperate plight in the face of that pile of little white tubes…


Now and then I walk into a store, it tends to be named ___Mart, and buy something I know is going to bring nothing but grief and heartbreak. But I hope it won’t. Yes, I know it will, so what gives? Is it plain stupidity? A Pavlovian reaction to super-size doses of advertising? Greed, optimism, stinginess, and materialistic guilt thrashing together in a dance of futility that leads straight to the checkout counter? To make matters worse, sometimes I’m so ashamed of the purchase that I can’t even bring myself to return it.

So far this sounds like a poor review, so let me say that, as the picture shows, the product did eventually reach a state of functionality of sorts. I know there is more grief and heartbreak in my future, but hey, I’m using it.

One mad idea often begets another, and that is how this $34.95 purchase came about. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in the blog, I’m getting married in Joshua Tree on August 2nd, outdoors. It occurred to me that if I insist on inviting people into a blazing Mojave inferno in the height of the summer it would be polite to provide some shade. Shade can be a matter of survival there if you’re outside at midday. So the idea was born. Then I started having other wild fantasies, like effectively adding a room to the desert shack where I live by erecting the shadehouse in the backyard. Hope. Optimism. Greed. Stinginess.

When I got the thing home and deboxed it, the reality began to set in. Dozens of two-foot sections of pipe spilled onto the floor with stickers labeling them ‘1B’, ‘4’, or ‘2B’. Or not 2B. Childhood memories of failures with Tinker Toys came flooding back. But, with determined hope, I began to wade through the instructions.

This is one of those products where the instructions are basically a complete fantasy. They make one false unstated assumption after another. And even then, they’re not simple. What you wind up with is a web of pipes and plastic pieces that falls apart at one end as you assemble the other. Then the instructions start to get really funny. ‘Insert the leg poles into the hubs to raise the screenhouse frame’ got the first laugh. The “frame” barely stayed together on the ground. Any attempt to lift a corner and insert a leg pole resulted in pipes flying everywhere. I thought of resorting to duct tape, but since I had none handy, with great finesse I managed to lift each corner one pipe segment at a time. Some middle sections fell out but I had a standing frame of sorts, swaying and wobbling. Then came the real punchline.

‘Drape the screenhouse body over the frames.’ I thought I had never read a more ludicrous suggestion. Drape the body. HA! Not only was the frame more than a little unstable, the body is BIG, and HEAVY. Where would you start draping? At a corner? No way, the thing would explode. The only slight possibility was starting from the inside, in the middle. With great trepidation and many prayers I managed to do some draping. I had to take some pieces out to drape from the middle, hold everything together, drape, and put them back underneath the canvas. I could hardly believe it when I had the entire thing draped. Victory!

The rest of the process was funny too, with wimpy frizzy guylines, and inexplicable bits of plastic that are supposed to tighten them. I had to use every knot I’ve learned from rock climbing. But it went up. It’s pretty nice. There’s shade, and fewer bugs than outside the screenhouse. I do have some reservations left, though. I wonder what will happen when the wind comes. Will I come home and just find the screenhouse gone, or will I see it blowing around in the street, trailing pipe segments? What about the rain, or the potential for 120-degree heat? We’ll see. For the moment, my dream of an extra room in the back yard has come true. Wish me luck putting it up at the wedding.

177 responses to “Gear: The Ozark Trail Screenhouse”

  1. We purchased this screen tent and put it toether easily “with” the instructions. Unfortunatley, the instructions were ruined and we can’t read them anymore. Does any one have the instructions that they could e-mail us? We sure would like to get more use out of our screen room. Thanks

  2. This is becoming entertaining! I, the author of this review which has long held the #1 ranked answer on google to a search for ‘Ozark Trail Screenhouse’, have lost my instructions as well. If anybody EVER manages to construct the thing WITHOUT instructions, please tell us! I will notify the Guiness book editors.

  3. Just here to let you know that last night we lost the instructions for our Ozark Trail Screenhouse and some how by the good graces of God himself we got it put together. Alright for us.

  4. Would you believe the dog ate my instructions.Been trying to figure this dammmmm gig saw puzzle out for a couple of days now. If any one has the instructions for the 14 by 12 screen house please send them to meeeeeeeeee!!!!!! Thank You.


  6. I bought the exact model screenhouse last
    year after the season. The instructions had
    gotten wet and were stuck together. We
    managed to get the thing together, just in
    time for a storm and the dog to tear it down.
    We were also had considered the duct tape.

  7. I have lost the directions for putting up the 12′ x 14′ Ozark Trail Screen House. Can you please send them to me? THANKS!

  8. Just call the company at 1-800-775-1965 and they will e-mail a set of instructions to you or either fax them. They were very nice and I had my instructions within 10 minutes!!!

  9. well, i can see i’m not the only one who has enjoyed this little treasure. but i have really enjoyed it. i to lost my insructions. thanks for the phone #. i didn’t tie mine down and had a small hurricane go through and the poles bent on some of the legs. got replacements but the wrong size.( oh i had to pay $2.00 per piece)they sent me the right ones. i used it all summer and then got the bright idea of using the frame for a greenhouse for the winter. in the winter winds it started taking off like a hot air balloon. got it down and put it away then realized the instructions were in it and now they’re gone. my husband says he can put it up but the way he started out originally (claimed all the pieces weren’t there and was going to jerryrig) made me decide to try the company again. enjoyed your comments.

  10. i hope there is a pic of the instructions i called the number and recieved the instructions in pdf format. i will try to post the pic here

  11. the directions to my 13ft x 10ft screen hous got wet last year and i would like to put it up this year gould you please send me the directions so i can thank terry

  12. can you send me the instructions for the ozark trail 13×10 screenhouse? they blew away in the wind last year and I don’t remember how to set it up. Thanks

  13. I need instructions for 14×12 ozark screen house. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!I already used duct tape but cannot quite get the center part together.


  14. does anyone have the instructions for the ozark trail screen house 13 x 10 size? I have been waiting for a reply from people and no one sends them to me and im leaving on a trip in one day.

    Thanks again

  15. Hey,

    This is my third request for the OZARK TRAIL 13X10 SCREEN HOUSE INSTRUCTIONS. Will someone please send me them as I am leaving tomorrow night 10 June 2004.
    Thats the 13×10 foot ozark trail screen house. I am pleading with everyone.


  16. Please if anyone has instructions would they please send them to my email address. Thanks very much. Stacy Miller

  17. Thanks go out to cyberhobo for the instruction pic!! I got my screen house home and “bingo” no instructions at all!

  18. I need the instructions to the 13 X 10 screen house, I haven’t been able to find them since the last time I used it. If anyone can help me I would appreciate it. Thanks

  19. I have the pic of the instructions but not sure they will work.

    Do you have any other copies of the instructions?

    Thank you!

  20. DuH!


    North Pole
    USA Customer Service
    3333 Yale Way
    Fremont, California 94538-6169.

    All I had to do was search Wal-Mart’s web site.

    Hope this helps.



  21. Just got the instructions emailed to me. Tks for putting that phone number up.
    I find this to be quite an interesting social phenom. Here we are hapless victims of the follies of camping. No doubt most of us are novices, which makes it that much more interesting. Billions of us on the net looking for stupid instructions to a product, that most of us seem to be not all that impressed with, yet here we are trying the best we
    can to save some money by not having to buy a new tent, save us from frustration and loss of of control in front of our kids, and to save just a bit of our sanity. Sanity which we hold precious and dear to us as the rat race tries to steal it from us on a day to day basis. This fall, I plan to enjoy myself with my family, and I also plan to rest easy with
    peace of mind knowing that all I need is a good cup of java in one hand as take in the morning mountain air….and in the other hand. Good reading material….my Ozark
    screenhouse intructions.
    Happy camping Y’all!

  22. PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have lost my instructions to my 9/13. My husband and I have been trying for the last 2 hours to get this stupid thing together. If I don’t get them soon one of us is going to burn the stupid thing.

  23. We bought this same screen room at Walmart about 3 yrs ago, & over time the instructions have gotten wet, ripped, etc… I have a hard time putting things together w/out instructions. I printed off the picture you have posted, but it’s kinda dark. Can you e-mail me a better set? I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks so much!

  24. I need instructions for the ozark trail screen house. Have not even attemted once I saw all those poles. Please help asap.

  25. I need instructions for the ozark trail screen house. Have not even attemted once I saw all those poles. Please help asap.13×10

  26. I’m so glad i found your site…We were setting up for a party in our back out the screen house…hmmm…no instructions..We had to do the best we could to get the thing together.We got it up but man it was a mess.It looked more like a screen shanty than anything else..Thanks again for putting your instruction on the web.Hope you help out a lot more people…

  27. Somehow I have two of these. I have figured it out before – at the campsite – without instructions. It took five minutes to set up and two hours to figure out how to set it up. Thanks for the instructions from Tacoma, WA

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