Outside-Inside Freestyle Dome Cornhole and Ladderball

Spring is finally here and daylight savings time means more time outside. The Outside-Inside Freestyle Dome Ladderball and Cornhole is a lightweight, and packable game that combines two classic outdoor games.

Outside-Inside Gifts is a company owned by GSI Outdoors that makes a variety of what they call “Adventure Games.” They have three classes of Adventure Games:

  • Backpack games are optimum compact and lightweight for all backpacks, suitcase or glove compartment.
  • Freestyle games are collapsible for travel when there’s some room to pack. Take them camping, to the cabin, beach or tailgating.
  • Basecamp games are still portable, but largest and heaviest of the groups. Perfect to have on hand in the shed, at the cabin or RV.”

The Freestyle Dome Ladderball and Cornhole game falls into the “Freestyle” class.

Product Overview

A packable, portable, lightweight ladderball and cornhole game. Unlike the traditional versions of ladderball and cornhole which have a set of ramps and ladders that players toss back and forth to, the Freestyle Dome Ladderball and Cornhole game has a single unit that has games on opposite sides. This means that only two players can play at once, as opposed to the usual four.

View of Freestyle Dome from Ladderball side

The Freestyle Dome comes in a long slender stuff sack which includes all of the components of the game: nylon dome exterior, fiberglass poles, bolos, and bolo bags for cornhole.

  • Packed dimensions: 24 x 4 inches
  • Set up dimensions: 39 x 39 x 39 inches

Materials:

  • Poles: Fiberglass poles
  • Dome: Rip-stop nylon fabric

The game also uses six “bolos” (3 yellow and 3 blue) which serve as the game pieces which are tossed for both of the games. To play cornhole, the bolos are placed into small nylon drawstring bags which can then be synched down and tied.

Bolo Bag with bolo inside and draw string tied.

Bolo being placed into bag.

Assembly

I can’t say that assembly is very intuitive, or even easy for the game. It looks like a dome tent, (I’ve put together a dome tent many times) but it took me probably 15 minutes of struggle to get assembly correct (see time-lapse video below). I had to thread the poles and then undo my work a couple of times to get the dome set up correctly. Just to make sure the assembly difficulties weren’t 100% me, I also had someone else read the directions and take a a swing at putting the game together. The result: they struggled about like I did.

My suggestion: Read the directions and get a general idea of what they say. Grab the tag that comes with the game and reference how the dome looks fully assembled in the photo. Go slow and think about how a dome tent is set up(keep in mind how the poles cross over each other like an “X”). There are a lot of different strips of fabric (sleeves for the poles and then straps for ladderball) that can and do get tangled and twisted, so keep track of them and untangled.

The game also comes with stakes to secure the four corners of the dome. I’d recommend using them. I left the dome out one afternoon in the back yard without it staked down and found the game  had blown across the yard (undamaged), pushed up against the fence.

Corner stake.

Gameplay:

Ladderball:

I’m impressed with how ladderball actually played. Three fiberglass poles slide into sleeves to make each rung of the ladder and are actually rigid enough that the bolos won’t bounce off.

Ladderball sleeve for fiberglass pole.

Three poles of differing lengths and heights are your target to catch the bolo on. The higher and shorer rungs are worth more more points. The result is a fun game of ladder ball that is very similar to the styles you are likely to see at picnics and tail-gates.

Ladder ball rungs with bolos.

Cornhole:

The gameplay of cornhole isn’t actually much like cornhole in its traditional form. There are three holes of various sizes and heights on the dome that you throw the bolos into. The holes have mesh pouch interiors to catch the bolos, so if accurate, the bolos don’t fly too far.

Cornhole side of the Freestyle Dome

Each hole has a corresponding number of points assigned to it. The smallest and highest hole having the highest point amount. To play cornhole with the Dome Freestyle, you have to place the bolos in small drawstring bags that come in yellow and blue (correspond to the bolo colors). The bolos stuff into the bag and can either have the drawstring synched down and tie the cord, or just leave it untied. I have tried both tying the cord and leaving it untied and found that leaving it untied works good well enough that I don’t have to worry about untying any knots when I am done playing.

One of the drawbacks of cornhole is the bags themselves that have to be used to house the bolos. They are small and lightweight and at the lightest breeze will cause them to fly away unless they are secured someplace safe. In fact, that same wind that blew the whole dome away in my yard scattered the bolo bags and I was lucky to find each of them. While not using them, I found the best way to store them was to place 5 of the small bags into one of the bags and then keep it in the stuff sack.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, I really do like the Freestyle Dome Ladderball and Cornhole. Below are some final takeaways after using the game for about a month and a half:

Thumbs up:

  •  Portable: The game is lightweight and packs small enough that taking the game along on many different activities is really no burden.
  •  Fun to play: While it’s not ladderball and cornhole in their purest forms, the gameplay of both is enjoyable and easy for all ages to play.

Thumbs down:

  • Assembly: There is no way to sugar coat this part of the game. It’s not easy or intuitive to assemble the first few times you put it together. It does get easier with experience, however.
  • Bolo Bags: Easy to lose because they are so lightweight and separate from the bolos themselves. Keeping track of these for the lifecycle of the Dome may prove to be difficult.

Thanks to Outside-Inside and 4AllOutdoors.org for the chance to test out the Freestyle Dome game!

Kaleb