I like car camping. Most of all I like going to the desert. I need a break from the Pacific NW clouds and rain sometimes. I go out to the rural part of the state where it is hot and dry. While this is amazing for evenings around the camp fire, the day time in the sun can be brutal. I can’t handle a full weekend in this type of condition. So I spent the last year looking for a budget friendly sun shade. After researching many different models, I decided upon the Ozark Trail Sun Shade. This is a decision I soon regretted.
Ozark Trail Sun Shade Review
I am all about saving a few bucks with Walmart’s camping gear. I’ve had great luck with the Ozark chairs, sleeping pads, and other basic camping items. These products are overpriced at name brand stores like REI. You are paying for marketing, not quality. You are buying the idea of being some cool, unique, outdoor person. The type of guy that would list hiking as a hobby on his dating profile.
Related: Walmart Camping Gear
Ozark Trail Sun Shelter Setup Instructions
I broke out the Ozark Trail Sun Shade on my first outing this season. The setup was relatively straightforward. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the flaps on the bottom are designed to be sandbags for use at the beach. Other than that, the setup made sense. I appreciated the directions being attached to the storage bag so they did not get lost or misplaced. It was helpful that I happened to have a hammer to pound the eight stakes into the hard ground.
The directions claim it only takes eight minutes to setup everything. I would agree with this. Maybe a few minutes longer. Some users complain that is hard to setup in a windy setting. I could see this being true. But seriously what sun shade would be easy to setup on a windy day?
Ozatk Trail Instant Sun Shade Height
We put a small table and cooking supplies under the sun shade and this worked out nicely. It even functioned as a rain shield. Overall, I started out the trip happy with my purchase. The sun shield was a success considering the $50 price point.
The Ozark Tail sun shade comes with side curtains to cover the mesh on the side. I did not have these mounted in the photos posted with this article. The side curtains would function nicely for a windy beach setting. The product also comes with a tarp that can be put along the ground. This would be great for anyone that plans to sit down in the shelter.
Did you know the product is coated with UPF 50+ protection? Also, there is a hidden pocket to discretely store valuables. This is an excellent addition for soccer games or day at the beach.
Ozark Trail Beach Tent Issues
The bad news came a couple days later. Upon taking down the sun shield things started to go sideways. The structure is held up by foldable poles connected by an elastic band. There is glue on the ends of the fiberglass poles that keeps the ends of the poles in the required cap. The glue came loose on both sides. This broke apart the poles from the cap fitting. This effectively ruined the entire product. I couldn’t believe that the glue failed on both sides.
I understand that occasionally products have manufacturer defects. But after seeing this fail on both sides, I am concerned it would happen again if I returned the item for a replacement.
My other complaint was the height of the structure. It is about six inches too short. This made it awkward to stand up inside. Why not add a little extra height to make it more comfortable? This wasn’t the end of the world, but something I will consider with my next sun shield purchase.
Walmart did allow me to return the item. I had purchased the item about eight months before getting to use it. At first, Walmart fought me on the return. I was told there was nothing they could do. Customer service stated that it was past the point where the purchase populated in their system. Eventually they gave in and provided store credit. In theory this item has a one year warranty. If used heavily, I can not see this product making it through a full camping or outdoor season.