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…

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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.

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177 thoughts on “Gear: The Ozark Trail Screenhouse

  1. Just wanted to say “thanks” for the instructions. The screen house actually belongs to my cousin and her husband. We just came back from a wonderful trip from Florida and we managed to get the contraption erected without instructions (they were left on the piano at home) in a terrible down pour of thunder, lightning and rain. Not too smart, ehh? Needless to say it wasn’t exactly like the instructions direct you to put it up, but it stayed up for the week we were there. We too were tempted to use duct tape but couldn’t find it in the storm. Since that was my cousins second attempt to put it up without instructions, they lovingly sent the thing home with me. So, thank you soooo much for the instructions. I will be laminating them and duct taping them to the bag:)

  2. I need the instructions for a 15 x 13 can any one help me and does the company still have the same phone number?

  3. Thanks for this site. It has come in handy since my mother could not remember where she put the directions. We have been outside most of the day trying to figure out how to put it together so they have it for their trip. Mom was getting frustrated so I told her I was going to see if I could get some information on the internet. I am very greatful that you have this site because it will make my daughter and me life a lot easier without my mother hollering.

  4. searching all over the house, the shed and even my truck. I had forgotten mine outside the night i put it up and it rained. Then a week or so l8er another storm came and 1/2 of it was in the neighbors yard. I remade the poles i couldn’t fix but never put it back up. The wife was gonna buy another last weekend when i told her we still had this one. so here i am… pieces everywhere and no instructions. I looked like a monkey f-ing a football.

    I found this site 5 minutes into my search (55 minutes faster than i realized i had to have them)
    Thanks for posting them… Funny- It just started storming again. Full circle I guess.

    Thanks again!

  5. THANKS WE LOST THE PAPER THE FIRST TIME WE USED THE THING AND WE HAD THE SAME LUCK YOU DID AND DUCT TAPE IS THE O N L Y !! WAY TO GO… WITHOUT THIS WE COULD NOT GET THE THING UP AGAIN..
    THANKS

  6. Ages ago I wrote the assemblies (2-2B-2B-2B, 1B-1B-4, 1B-1, etc…) on the plastic junction parts so I could lose the instructions (which I eventually did). Now, because of bendage, I had to hunt the PDF and instructions down here to figure out how to order new parts.

    Thank you.

  7. Well well, I just bought a 10×13 Ozark Trail ScreenHouse and I hadn’t unpacked it before I thought I’d better check it out on the internet. Whose website came up first? My own son’s! With 112 comments (I am #113). I think after this entertaining read that I will return the thing without taking it out of the box. THANK YOU!

  8. Wow, this post has always been an odd phenomenon, but I think this officially launches it into the twilight zone!

  9. Well, another big thanks from a fellow camper who can’t find her directions to assemble the tent. We have not used it in several years, but just bought a used pop-up and I needed it as a kitchen again. Dumped out the poles and the whole family proceeded to stare at one another and someone sort of remembered it was tall when it was up. Eep. You saved our whole afternoon!

  10. Lost a part to the screenhouse (wmt-1390s-1) Called the company, no longer carry that model and they do not have a comparable piece for what I need. If someone knows a website where I can order this part. Part GBLT-03(3-way hub Gable T)

  11. Wow, this was hilarious reading! I bought this product in 2004 ??? to set up my massage chair at a skydive event. After about 30 minutes of getting one part together and another part falling apart and feeling very stupid with the other vendors observing now and then, another lady came over and gave me an assist. It definitely was a two-person job for me. In 2005, I gave it to my daughter and son-in-law, who promptly lost the instructions. Fast forward to 2009. I have retrieved the piled-up mess beside their garage, its having never been used since my son-in-law disgustedly gave up on it on a camping trip. It is full of bugs and dirt and now is sitting on the front lawn as I determine whether or not all parts are there… seem to be missing several… no number 3s??? and I am laughing, because apparently it is all there and here I go. I will report back! lol Then again… the fabric would make great hanging planters… hee, hee.

  12. Glad to entertain – I would accept massage in thanks if there is ever such a skydiving event near Santa Fe. Good luck!

  13. Darn. No hanging planters today. All the pole pieces are there. Zippers do not work well. They didn’t when it was new. I am going to draw a diagram on the pole case, roll this thing up and it will go into my daughter’s moving sale. It only needs support lines and tent stakes.

  14. Does anyone know where I can purchase replacement poles for the Ozark Trail Dining Canopy 11FT x 8FT. I need (1) 2b and (1) #1 (these are gable poles) Thanks

  15. I am also in need of part#GBLT-03 Gable T. We have used this tent for many years and a bad wind storm finally took it down on a camping trip but all that was damaged was the 3 way hub. Don’t want to trash it just because of this one piece. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  16. ok I got the tent, 13×9 WMT-1390s but have lost all the frame pieces. Anyone else done this and what did you do?

  17. I have enjoyed reading this. We have had 2 13x10s for about 6 years. Instructions helped us the first year. After that, we were on our own. Since last use, we lost an entire set of poles. I was browsing to buy replacement poles when I ran across cyberhobo. I needed the amusment. Thanks so much, and yes, it can be put up without istructions, just not poles. The tie-downs are important in windy or rainy environments.

  18. These instructions are a life saver. We are trying to put up a borrowed tent for the 4th of July and this really saved the day.

  19. if any one has the instructions to the ozark 13×9 screen house would you please email them to me? I bought it used and of course no instructions

  20. Anyone know how many #3 poles and #2 poles the 14’x12′ screen house is supposed to have? I am waiting for the instructions from the company and after taking inventory (bought it second hand) am finding only two #2 poles and two #3 poles. Seemed odd and I am wondering if I should be looking for some replacements while waiting for instructions. Let me know…

  21. Laughing, but at myself as well. My wife decided this would be a good purchase, without asking me. It has somehow stood us in good stead through a homecoming (from Iraq) party and a going away (Afghanistan) party and tomorrow (we hope) will shade a yard sale. Thanks for the instructions, and yes, it’s wobbly, cheap and cr@ppy as all heck. Peace all!

  22. Help, I have the instructions but need some replacement parts–the plastic PVC connectors bent during a very rough rain storm and I am having trouble finding where I can get more.

  23. Help, I have the 10.5 x 10.5 screenhouse. Bought it new in 1999 and have had no problems with it till now. Use it many times for fire department fund raiser functions. Recently a child tripped over a nearby tree root and fell into screenhouse which bent leg pole at the folding joint. I called the company but they do not carry parts after 5 years. Does anybody have a chain corded leg pole (blue) they’d be willing to sell me or info on how to repair leg? It is the model #2087 Ozark Trail 10.5 x 10.5 Screenhouse. Thanks for any help anyone can offer me.

  24. Does anyone have instructions for the Ozark 14 x 12 tent with screenroom. Please e-mail — would be so grateful as customer service center is closed for holiday weekend. Thanks

  25. Does anyone have instructions for the Ozark 14 x 12 tent with screenroom. Please e-mail — would be so grateful as customer service center is closed for holiday weekend. Thanks

  26. I am needing the instructions for the Ozark Trail 13X9 screen house. I tried calling the 800 number but they are only Mon – Fri. If anyone has these could you please email them to jandafuller4@att.net. Thanks.

  27. I called the North Pole yesterday for instructions for the 14×12 Ozark Trail Screen House. Unfortunately, as everyone else knows, and I just found out, they are not open on weekends. If anyone would be so kind, I would appreciate it if you would e-mail them to me…. Thank you in advance. malawest@verizon.net

  28. There’s a center part? ??? I almost strangled my best friend in frustration when we couldn’t get that stupid tent up. Had to drape it over the clothesline. a slight wind came along and half of the poles popped out and we got hit by flying pieces. we gave up, but I mentioned it on facebook, and my fave librarian (thanks E)sent this link.
    I’m laughing so hard, I had to hold it. what a piece of junk. thank goodness I only wasted $20.

  29. thanx so much for posting the directions for the 13′ by 10′ screen house…your a life saver…;)

  30. Help, I have the 10.5 x 10.5 screenhouse. Bought it new in 1999 and have had no problems with it till now. Use it many times for fire department fund raiser functions. Recently a child tripped over a nearby tree root and fell into screenhouse which bent leg pole at the folding joint. I called the company but they do not carry parts after 5 years. Does anybody have a chain corded leg pole (blue) they’d be willing to sell me or info on how to repair leg? It is the model #2087 Ozark Trail 10.5 x 10.5 Screenhouse. If you have a pole I could purchase please email me at fp46203@yahoo.com. Thanks for any help anyone can offer me.

  31. I tried calling the number and they are experiencing a high volume of calls, probably because they are ready to bolt for the weekend. With all of the requests on here, you would think that some pdf files would have been added by now so that we could open up the manuals already. As everyone else states, in need of instructions, mine is the Ozark Trail 14 x 12 screen tent, just like about another 50 people already. If anybody has a copy reply to this or submit comment and let me know if we need to exchange contact information. Thanks for your help, Kelly

  32. Ok, I figured out the 14 x 12 Ozark Trail Screen Tent and after I get a pen and paper and transpose the information to some paper or a piece of leather to reside in my tent bag I will send the information to you, maybe some of the others can do the same, it seems like there are a lot of duplicate entries out there and maybe this will resolve the bulk of them. 🙂 It wasn’t too hard to figure out, I started from the center and setup the Cross “X” section, then it was a matter of trying to figure out the rectangle sides, using a tape measure I tried to figure out which or how many B2’s and a 2 or how many B2’s and a 3 would create the correct lengths for each side. Before I tear it down I am going to take a permanent marker to everything and make sure it is easier next time. For example I will label each corner piece A, B, C, and D and then tell which pieces to install between the corners. I might even label the corners on my screen tent if I feel like getting carried away to make sure we don’t have to rotate the stupid tent about the frame next time. LOL

  33. I have the Ozark 10×13 and The instruction were not included. Also I was missing a pipe and had to return it.The second one was missing instructions as well.

    Here is how I got it togeter. First look at your connecting brackets. The brackets marked “T” are the center crossbeam. The “L” are the second and the “R” is the third crossbeam. The “2” and “2B” pipes make the cross beams. The “B” pipes have the tapered end. You have three total crossbeams each made of three “2B” and one “2” pipes. I setup the top frame of the house with a single “1B” pipe going down to start. Check that the pipe going down is not angled out rather it is going nearly straight down when you account for the upward angle connecting your center beam. When you look down on the “L” and “R” brackets they should be a 90 degree angle. So the top frame will be square. Your “L” and “R” crossbeams are connected to the “T” crossbeam by a “1B” and “1” pipe. There should be no tapered end entering any bracket. Once you connect your three crossbeams you should see the shape coming together. Next drape the fabric over the short frame loosely. Now add a second “1B” and then a “4” to each leg. The “4”is on the bottom as it has the spike to keep the leg in place. The spike should go through the metal loop in the bottom corner of the fabric. Pull the hook on the fabric down to a hole on the “4” pipe until the fabric is tight. Connect a “5” and “5B” pipe and snap it onto an outside crossbeam and the center crossbeam on each side in the center of the house. Then velcro and spike it down and add the grouding ropes to the metal loops on the outside corners. These will keep your lower edge closer to the ground. That should be it.

    I brought a sharpy and made a unique mark on each set of pipes where they connect and I placed an arrow on each bracket pointing down to make the process quicker the next time the screen house is needed.

  34. Lifesaver–candies with a hole in the middle.
    Wifesaver–CYBERHOBO! Thanks, you’ve saved the day, if not the marriage!!! Just joking about the marriage.

  35. I’ve always told people that if you can put up a tent (much less a screenhouse) together, you can probably handle marriage…

  36. 14 x 12 Ozark Trail Screen Tent Instructions:

    Sorry I sort of forget to get back to this, only after receiving an email was I reminded that I was going to give better detailed information.

    So here it is:

    Starting from the center X bracket, which is located at the center top roof of your tent after final assembly, you assemble the four legs of the roof(for each leg) three (1B) pieces and one qty (B) piece which are actually the rod corners. So now you have a big “X” assembled on the ground.

    Assemble your four plastic corners next at the base of your corners (piece B).

    Now for the tricky part that messes everyone up:
    Connect 5 qty (piece 2B) and one qty 1 (piece 2) for each long side of your tent.

    For the short sides you connect qty 4 (Piece 2B) and qty one of (piece 3) for each short side.

    So now your X frame now has rectangle sides with a big “X” going through it.

    I wish I had done it this way, this is how I am going to assemble the fabric next time:

    paying attention to which side of the tent is long vs short, orient the fabric long side in accordance to the long side of the rectangle frame and then pull your tent fabric over top of this erected assembly and fit the corners into position as this will help hold everything together, trust me one you get the corners in alignment you have to pull the fabric down over top of the corner brackets and this is going to be a very snug fit.

    But once you get everything pulled into position, you can now very easily manage this tent because the fabric will hold all of this frame work together and you can simply lift everything up to install your four legs now.

    The leg consists of qty 3 (4B), ensure that the very bottom leg (next to the ground) is the one that has the holes in it for assembly of the corner hooks (you will see what I mean once you view the holes, in regards to the hook that is mounted onto the corner of the tent fabric.

    Sorry I don’t have pictorial view for you, I don’t have a scanner but that should help.

    Good Luck-

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