I bought the Ozark Trail Dark Rest Instant Cabin 6-Person Camping Tent from a friend to make this review, and I managed to test its ease of use, dark rest technology, quality, and loads more.
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I would recommend this Ozark Trail tent only if you check all the following boxes:
You’re on a very strict budget
You’re a first-time/casual camper who just wants to try it out
You love both the dark rest and instant setup for the price
You camp only in fair weather.
Otherwise, there are plenty of other tents out there that are better than this.
To watch my full review, check out my YouTube video here (TBA):
Check out the Ozark Trail Dark Rest 6:
RELATED: The 7 Best Instant Tents
Alternatively, keep reading (if you prefer that to watching a YouTube video). Here’s everything you’ll find out in this blog post:
- In the Box
- 1. Set Up
- 2. Pack Away
- 3. Rain Test
- 4. Window Ventilation
- 5. Vents
- 6. 'Innovative' Dark Rest Technology?
- 7. Base Dimensions
- 8. Mattress Sizing
- 9. Peak Height
- 10. Side Walls
- 11. Windows
- 12. Interior Ceiling Panels
- 13. Door
- 14. Removable Pocket Organizer
- 15. Hanging Gear Loft
- 16. Power Port
- 17. Materials
- 18. Stitching
- 19. Ceiling Mesh
- 20. Instant Mechanism
- 21. Portability
- What I Liked
- What I Disliked
- The Verdict
- Bonus: Must Read!
In the Box
Here’s what I got out of the box:
Tent body (with pre-attached poles)
Pocket organizer (included) x 1
Gear loft (included) x 1
Stakes x 9
Carry bag (included) x 1
And now, here’s all the testing that I did with this Ozark Trail tent, and of course, I’ll show you why I don’t really like it that much.
1. Set Up
Setting up this Ozark Trail Instant 6 took me about 6.5 minutes, and this includes staking and guying out the entire tent. Without staking and guying, it takes about 5 minutes instead.
For a step-by-step guide on how to set this tent up, check out my YouTube video here (TBA):
I really liked how almost everything was pre-attached; this includes the pre-attached poles, pre-attached pole clips, and the 4 pre-attached guylines.
However, I didn’t like that rainfly shock cord to be attached to the tent was super tight. There’s a lot of strain and tension on the shock cord, and eventually you’re gonna need to replace it.
2. Pack Away
As for the pack away process, it took me about 6.5 minutes as well.
It would have been a little quicker, if one, compression straps were provided to help get the tent down into a smaller size, and two, if the carry bag provided could have been a little bit bigger.
3. Rain Test
I put this Ozark Trail tent through only a very light rain test, and after just 15 minutes of this, I noticed that some of the rain had actually seeped into the fabric of the tent from the outside.
When I went into the tent, I also noticed that this un-taped flooring seam here got damp. I checked the entire seam around the tent and found that it was damp throughout, which is pretty bad.
Weirdly enough, this is the only seam exposed to the outside that wasn’t taped.
Overall, this tent is not waterproof at all.
4. Window Ventilation
As for ventilation on rainy days, after the 15 minutes of light rain, I checked the windows of this tent and found that the mesh was already kind of damp. And that’s just from light rain, not to mention heavy rain.
That’s because the rainfly is so tiny, it doesn’t cover any of the windows at all. So, no window ventilation.
Luckily, there is 1 single floor vent at the back of the tent, which measures almost a foot in width from the outside.
The dimensions of the ground vent from the inside are about 29 by 7 inches.
Not the most ventilation, but better than nothing.
6. ‘Innovative’ Dark Rest Technology?
Does the Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin tent truly have “innovative dark rest technology”? Well, I conducted tests on this too, and here’s what I found.
The Dark Rest tent does keep you very slightly cooler (about 0.5-1 degrees cooler) inside the tent on hot days, compared to a similar tent without the dark rest feature. (Emphasis on the ‘very slightly’.)
The Dark Rest tent also blocks sunlight coming into the tent during the day, allowing me to sleep longer.
Here’s what the 6-Person Dark Rest Instant Cabin Tent looks like from the inside, during the day:
However, there was one thing I really didn’t like about this Dark Rest tent, and that’s the degrading of the blackout fabric. After just 1.5 years in storage, the dark rest tech started peeling off.
Every time I touched the wall of the tent, it started leaving a sticky residue on my fingers. I initially wanted to use and test this Dark Rest tent out for longer, but I decided to junk it after a few days cos it was really gross.
Overall, I can’t say this 6-Person Dark Rest tent was particularly innovative, I’ve seen better dark rest features in other tents.
7. Base Dimensions
Here are my personal measurements of the dimensions of this Ozark Trail 6-Person Dark Rest Instant Tent:
Length: 117.5 inches
Width: 104 inches
Base area: 84.9 square feet
This is quite a bit smaller than the marketed dimensions of 10 by 9 feet.
8. Mattress Sizing
I found that the Ozark Trail 6 could fit exactly 6 single pads or single sleeping bags, and here’s what they look like inside the tent:
But of course, you’re sleeping like sardines, and there’s hardly any floor space leftover for gear.
This tent can also fit 2 almost-queen bed mattresses, and here’s what they look like as well, along with their dimensions:
Notice how my beds aren’t exactly the full queen size, yet they fill up the entire tent? So, if you have 2 actual queen beds of 80 by 60 inches, it won’t be able to fit into the tent, because the length is a little too short for 2 actual queens.
There is some leftover space for gear at the foot of each mattress though.
9. Peak Height
The peak height at the center of this Ozark Trail tent is just 65.5 inches, which is right about the marketed peak height of 66 inches.
However, even though I’m not very tall, when I’m standing at the center of the tent, my head is almost touching the top of the tent.
So, if you’re taller than me, you literally won’t be able to stand up in this tent.
10. Side Walls
Not only does this Ozark Trail tent have the lowest peak height of any other 6-person cabin tent I’ve tested, it also has one of the least vertical walls I’ve ever seen.
Here’s what one of the side walls looks like:
This tent has 3 windows in the entire tent, and here are the dimensions:
Side windows (there are 2 of these): 25 by 21 inches
Front window: 33 by 28 inches
As you can tell, these are not large windows at all.
On top of that, the zippers for the windows are small and feel flimsy, even though they’re SBS zippers. Thankfully though, at least they don’t snag.
Another minor con I noticed is that the top of the 2 side windows do not zip up, so this tent is definitely only for summer camping. In any other season, cold air would get in easily.
And as for the quality of the mesh, here’s a close-up of what it looks like, it’s just regular mosquito netting.
12. Interior Ceiling Panels
One unique thing about this tent is the ceiling panels. So, basically, there are 2 more windows up top, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in any other tent so far.
This tent has 2 plastic skylight panels on the rainfly, so, when you open the top windows, you get to look at the sky, or stargaze at night, without having to take the rainfly off.
These windows aren’t too big though, each of them is in this triangle shape, with a longest length of 39 inches and longest width of 19 inches. Not exactly unblocked views of the sky, but better than nothing.
The other 2 panels at the top are just full mesh and can’t be zipped up (and are covered by the rainfly in the picture above).
There’s just a single door at the front of the tent, and to be honest, I didn’t really like it very much for a few reasons.
First, it’s not very big, it has a length and width of just 46 by 36 inches.
Second, it measures just 46 inches from the ground to the top of the door, so you’re gonna have to do a whole lot of ducking to get in and out of this tent through this door. I’m not very tall myself, but even I did feel that I had to duck pretty low.
And third, although it’s the same SBS zippers as the windows, the zipping experience for the door isn’t great.
From the inside of the tent, because the wall of the tent is so floppy, I couldn’t even unzip the zipper with one hand, and I had to use my other hand to hold down the zipper before I could do so.
And on the outside of the tent, the rain flap from the outside will always get caught in the zipper track.
14. Removable Pocket Organizer
The 6-Person Dark Rest Instant Tent comes with a removable pocket organizer, and it’s supposed to be hung up on the back wall (the wall that doesn’t have a window).
There are 6 individual pockets in this organizer, and each pocket measures about 14 by 6 inches.
The 4 corners of this large gear organizer have an S-hook, and each of these are to be attached to the fabric loops on the back wall of the tent.
15. Hanging Gear Loft
There’s also 1 lantern loop right at the very top center of this tent, and another four more loops around it for the provided gear loft (which also has s-hooks in each corner for hanging up).
The gear loft is really quite small, it measures only about 11 by 11 inches.
But one thing I did like is that I could still fit a small lantern up on the lantern loop, even with the gear loft in place.
16. Power Port
There’s also electrical cord access on this tent, at the middle of the tent. From the inside, you can seal it shut completely with Velcro, it’s quite tight and shouldn’t let in any bugs.
Moving on to the materials of this tent, the flooring definitely looks like polyethylene, while the rest of the tent fabric is made of polyester, and the poles are made of alloy steel.
Oh, and the poles are also starting to show signs of rust, which isn’t good.
The stitching on this tent isn’t the best, there were quite a few areas of patchwork all around the entire tent, so unfortunately, that’s another con against this tent when it comes to quality.
19. Ceiling Mesh
This is what the tent looks like without the rainfly:
I think this is great for stargazing at night, or to look out during the day as well, and it’s also useful for more ventilation on hot summer days.
20. Instant Mechanism
As for the instant cabin mechanism, there’s only a single hub at the very top of the tent.
There are also 4 elbow joints, which helps to connect some of the poles, and this also make up the instant mechanism.
Unfortunately, these joints have the tendency to buckle pretty easily in strong winds, so I’d keep this tent away from that.
Also, I felt that this entire tent was really floppy, even with me just shaking it with minimal strength.
For portability, I measured the packed size of this 6-Person Ozark Trail instant tent to be about 44 by 11 by 9.5 inches.
Here’s what it looks like beside a 6-Person Eureka cabin tent, a 2-Person Coleman Sundome tent, and also a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle.
Notice how it’s a lot longer than a 6-person regular tent without the instant mechanism?
The carry bag comes with a hand strap at the top, and this entire tent weighed about 17.8lbs for everything.
What I Liked
Here are all the pros that I could think of when it comes to this Ozark Trail 6-Person Dark Rest Instant Cabin Tent:
It’s an inexpensive, freestanding family camping tent
Takes 40 to 70% less time to set up than a regular 6-person cabin tent
Decent dark rest feature, useful for blocking out sunlight in the day and blocking shadows at night
Unique skylight windows, can stargaze without taking the rainfly off
What I Disliked
However, here’s everything I didn’t like about this 6-Person Dark Rest Instant Tent:
The plastic skylight panels turn yellow after a while
Very little livable space in the tent (low peak height, walls not vertical), feels more like a dome tent rather than a cabin tent, can’t walk around, a lot of bending and crouching inside the tent
Will not stand up to rain and wind
Dark rest fabric will degrade after 1-2 years
Warranty is only 6 months long
Quality is not the best
I think you can tell that there are actually way more cons than pros for this 6-Person Dark Rest Tent, and I wouldn’t really recommend this tent unless:
You’re a first-time or even a casual camper who just wants to try it out;
You love both the dark rest and instant setup of this tent for the price;
You only plan to use it for summer camping; and
You camp only in strictly fair weather.
Bonus: Must Read!
I highly recommend investing in a slightly better tent for the long term, I can recommend way better dark rest tents or instant camping tents. I’ll link to them here when they’re ready, so that you can find something better for yourself.
The Best Blackout Tents (Bought & Tested!)
Note: “Dark rest” tents is an Ozark marketing term. These tents are more commonly known as blackout tents.
Alternatively, check out the tent here: