Setting Up Camp: Screen House

I consider a screen house to be mandatory for car camping trips in Ontario, in order to have a properly sheltered dining area. The climate here is not arid enough to guarantee rain free camping trips, so a little overhead protection from the rain is well worth the investment and time to set up when you go camping.  Even if it doesn’t rain on your camping trip, the screen house will give you considerable protection from mosquitoes, black flies and other nasty bugs. For those of you who are new to camping, you may want to consider some of these points when setting up your screen house: 

Know How To Set Up Your Screen House: If you have just purchased a new screen house, set it up at home first. This way you will know how to set it up and that there are no missing parts or defects.  

Where to Place Your Screen House on the Campsite: Once your tent has been set up, use the next best spot for your screen house. Select a spot that is higher and relatively flat with minimum stones, roots, and other debris. Do not put the screen house on a low basin-shaped spot, as water collects there during heavy rain, and you may get flooded.  

Fire-Pit and Campground Road: Ensure that the screen house is away from the fire-pit and campground road for safety. 

Shore Up The Screen House: Once you are satisfied with the positioning of the screen house, shore it up with all of the stakes and guy-ropes provided.  

Picnic Table: Move the campsite picnic table (if there is one) inside the screen house. Level it by placing stones or wood chips under the legs of the picnic table where needed. Consider placing the picnic table off centre, inside the screen house, to allow for more usable space. 

Plastic Bags: Screen houses do not have floors in them, as they are designed to cover picnic tables and chairs and would rip if they had flooring built in. Place green garbage bags on the ground, inside your screen house for your cooler, food box, dish box, and anything else that you constantly take in and out of the car. This will minimize the amount of dirt that gets tracked into your car and also keep your camping gear clean. 

Tools and Accessories: Have the following tools handy when setting up your screen house.  An axe – use the back end of it to hammer the stakes into the ground. Spare stakes and guy-ropes as these can easily break or get lost. Duct tape for small repairs to framing poles and fabric. If a framing pole breaks, you can wrap duct tape around the broken section; this may help to keep the pole operational until you can replace it or get a new screen house. Likewise, the duct tape can repair small holes in the screen house.  

The screen house in these photos is an entry level one that I do not recommend. The large hollow framing poles were made out of steel and rusted out and buckled on me in one season. This screen house was also bulky and took up a lot of storage space in transit. It is worth paying more for a model that has shock-corded fibreglass framing poles that are stronger and more compact. You can see a wide selection of screen houses by clicking the following link: 

For more on camping see The Camp Tripper. The Camp Tripper includes: trip planning, reservations, gear, meals, setting up camp, activities, breaking camp, maintenance of gear and many tips for memorable camping trips in Ontario. The book is very reasonably priced and small enough to fit in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Here are four reasons why you might prefer to order it in e-book (electronic book) format:

  • The e-book price is 37% less
  • No shipping costs, which saves you even more
  • Instant delivery to your computer or hand-held device
  • Eliminates paper and saves trees

This book is currently only available in online bookstores.


About Patrick Dzieciol

I have authored and published "The Camp Tripper - The Secrets of Successful Family Camping in Ontario" If you want to get in touch with me, please drop me an email at:
This entry was posted in Book, Camping, Dining Shelter, Gear, Screen House, Setting Up, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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