The Ozark Trail brand is a rather
infamous (cough, cough) well-known brand in the camping industry.
While I love Ozark Trail’s budget-friendliness, and I do think that they’re decent picks for the beginner fair weather camper (emphasis on fair weather), I know for a fact that they’re not the most waterproof tents out there.
Are Ozark Trail tents waterproof? No, they are not waterproof, and only water-resistant, for the following reasons.
They do not have hydrostatic head ratings.
The waterproofing features are lacking – the rainflies are too short, not all seams are taped, and the quality of the seam taping is lacking as well.
They can take only a few minutes of light rain, and will start leaking immediately in heavier rain.
First-time, budget-conscious, fair weather campers can consider buying Ozark Trail tents, but not anyone else.
An Ozark tent can be waterproofed by using inexpensive waterproofing sprays and seam sealers.
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RELATED: Best Waterproof Tents
What is the Waterproof Rating of Ozark Trail Tents?
I’ve got 2 Ozark Trail tents, and these are the exact models:
I did my best to scour the internet, and also whatever little documentation my tents came with, looking for the exact waterproof rating of my Ozark tents.
But I couldn’t find anything.
Essentially, Ozark Trail tents do not have hydrostatic head waterproof ratings.
In contrast, other budget-friendly tent brands like Coleman and Core Equipment do at least have stated hydrostatic head ratings. Here’s a quick table summarizing all 3 budget brands:
|Hydrostatic Head Rating
Other Waterproof Features of Ozark Trail Tents
Apart from the lack of a waterproof hydrostatic head rating, do Ozark Trail tents have any other waterproof features?
I looked at not only the 2 Ozark Trail tents that I have, but others as well, and here are the 2 main ‘waterproof features’ that are commonly advertised by Ozark Trail:
Waterproof rain fly
Fully taped, factory-sealed seams
In the marketing description of some Ozark tents, I saw something like this being written – “Rainfly included for long lasting rain protection”.
And for both my Ozark Trail tents, while I did see the need for a rainfly to cover the ceiling mesh panels, I also noticed that the rainflies provided by Ozark Trail are not long enough.
In fact, the Ozark rainflies barely cover only the ceiling mesh, and don’t extend down long enough to cover any of the windows and doors.
Here’s what my Ozark Trail Cabin 10’s rainfly looks like:
And here’s what my Ozark Trail Instant Cabin 6’s rainfly looks like:
So, in the rain, all the windows and doors get drenched, so I can’t open them at all.
And on top of that, a lot of water runs over the tent fabric not covered by the rainfly, leading to a leaky situation inside the tent.
Another marketing description I’ve seen being used on these tents goes something like this – “Fully taped, factory-sealed seams provide dry zone camping”.
And while I noticed that both my Ozark Trail tents did have some taped seams inside the tent, not all the seams were seam-taped.
In fact, both my Ozark Trail tents also had un-taped inverted seams as well, usually at the bottommost horizontal seam connecting the tent fabric to the bathtub flooring.
And this seam was incredibly vulnerable to the rain, and was the first place to leak in both my tents.
Seam Taping Quality
And that’s not the only complaint I have about Ozark’s seams.
Of all 30 camping tents that I’ve tested over the past few years, I noticed that Ozark Trail’s seam taping was the shortest-lived.
After just a few months in storage, I pulled my Ozark Trail Dark Rest Instant Cabin 6 back out to test and film, and I noticed that the entire seam taping turned yellow. Here’s a photo that I took of it:
And right after I took this photo, I tried to put the tent up, and the seam taping just fell off the tent entirely, leaving me with no taped seams at all.
This has never happened to me with any of my other tents, not even the budget-friendly brands like Coleman and Core.
How Much Rain Can an Ozark Trail Tent Take?
Based on my testing of both my Ozark Trail tents, I noticed that they were able to stay dry in just 15 minutes in light rain, and will get wet almost immediately in heavy rain.
Now, compared to 2 other budget-friendly brands, Coleman and Core Equipment, how does the Ozark Trail brand stack up?
Both Coleman and Core Equipment had about the same results, both a little better than Ozark Trail. They were able to stay dry for about 3 hours in light to moderate rain, and between 30 to 60 minutes in heavy rain.
Are Ozark Trail Tents Waterproof?
So, are Ozark Trail tents waterproof?
From the table that I provided you above, it’s clear that Ozark Trail tents are not waterproof at all. They’re just merely water-resistant, as they cannot even take any heavy rain at all.
Also, here’s another piece of evidence I have for you:
Waterproof tents generally have a rating of at least 1,000 millimeters, and anything less than this is just water-resistant, and not waterproof.
And since Ozark Trail doesn’t even have a minimum waterproof rating, this again shows that Ozark Trail tents are not waterproof.
Should You Buy Ozark Trail Tents?
Despite this, should you still buy tents from Ozark Trail?
If you’ve been following my blog and YouTube channel for a while now, you might notice that I hardly ever recommend Ozark Trail in any of my reviews.
However, I still do think that Ozark Trail tents can still be useful if you fit the following criteria:
You are a first-time or beginner camper who wants to try camping out, but you don’t know if you’re going to want to continue camping in the future.
You are on an extremely tight budget, and only Ozark Trail fits your budget.
You are camping only in fair weather, and will not expect any rain or wind at all.
If you tick all the boxes, then get Ozark Trail.
If not, I would recommend either Coleman or Core Equipment as a better budget-friendly brand. These are usually more suitable for many campers out there.
On the other hand, I would recommend any of the best waterproof camping tents I’ve tested instead, if:
You have a little more money to spend.
You love camping and expect to take your tent out on multiple trips.
You expect moderate to heavy rainfall on your camping trips.
Or, if you want to make your own decision, read my blog post here on how to choose a waterproof tent for yourself.
Can You Waterproof Your Ozark Trail Tent?
Any cheap tent can be waterproofed, as long as you do it the right way. Here’s what I normally do when I’m re-waterproofing my tents for extra protection:
Use waterproofing spray (I recommend this waterproofing spray for polyester tents.)
Use a seam sealer (I recommend this seam sealant for polyester tents.)
When camping as well, you can also do the following to increase the water protection of your Ozark tent:
Set up a tarp shelter over the tent (I personally like this relatively budget-friendly tarp.)
Buy an inexpensive ground sheet from Amazon and place it under your tent.
If you do all of these things, you’ll be kept relatively dry during your camping trip. The spray and sealer are the bare minimum for additional waterproofing, the tarp and groundsheet will cost a bit more.