When it comes to camping, a tent is one of the essential items you’ll need. While selecting a tent, you’ll likely come across tents with vestibules. However, if you’re new to camping, you may not know what a camping tent’s vestibule is. In this post, I’ll provide you with all the information you need to understand what a vestibule is and how it can enhance your camping experience. By the end of this post, you’ll know the benefits and drawbacks of having a tent with a vestibule, and you’ll be better equipped to decide if a vestibule is a necessary feature for your next camping trip. So, let’s get started!
What is a Camping Tent’s Vestibule?
A camping tent’s vestibule is an extension of the tent that provides additional space and protection from the rain. Vestibules are typically made of the same waterproof fabric as the tent’s fly or shell, and they come in various shapes and sizes.
- Shell vs Fly:
It’s important to understand the difference between a tent’s shell and a fly. Some tents are single-layer constructions and have only a shell, while others have an inner canopy and a fly as a second layer. In the case of single-layer constructions, the vestibule is usually part of the shell. In contrast, with double-layer constructions, the vestibule is part of the waterproof fly.
- Removable vestibules:
While not very common, some tents have a removable vestibule. This feature can be useful if you want to reduce the weight of your tent or if you’re camping in an area where a vestibule is unnecessary.
- Full Coverage Fly:
Most tents with a full-coverage fly come with vestibules, and this is almost always the case with dome tents. However, cabin tents with a full-coverage fly may not have a vestibule. For example, the Coleman Octagon 98 Full Fly Tent is a cabin tent without a vestibule.
What is the purpose of a tent vestibule?
A tent vestibule serves a variety of purposes that can enhance your camping experience. Here are the most common uses of a tent vestibule:
- Storage: One of the main purposes of a tent vestibule is to provide additional storage space for your camping gear. By using the vestibule, you can keep your boots and other equipment protected from rain and dew. Additionally, some vestibules come with a removable floor that provides an extra layer of protection from groundwater, keeping your gear dry and mud-free.
- Cooking: When the weather is rainy or windy, a vestibule can serve as a safe and dry area for cooking. While some campers prefer to cook outside of their tent, having a vestibule can be a lifesaver when the weather is less than ideal. If your vestibule has a floored area, you can use it to set up your cooking stove and prepare your meals.
- Protection from insects: A zippered vestibule can keep you protected from flying insects, such as mosquitoes and flies. This can be especially useful when camping in areas with a lot of bugs. However, keep in mind that a floored vestibule may not offer protection from crawling insects and snakes.
- Space for sitting: Some vestibules are large and tall enough to provide a comfortable sitting area. This can be a great place to relax, read a book, or play cards during bad weather.
- Inner door protection: When you have a vestibule, the inner door of your tent is fully protected from rain and wind. If your inner door has mesh sections covered with zippered panels, you can keep them with mesh all the time, which can increase ventilation. Some inner doors are only mesh, and this is fine because they are deep under the vestibule, and great ventilation is guaranteed.
- Awning: Some vestibules come with double zippers that allow you to create an awning. This can be supported by a pair of included poles or by using your trekking poles. An awning can provide additional shade and shelter outside of your tent, making it a more comfortable space to hang out.
Disadvantages of Having a Vestibule
While a vestibule can be a useful addition to your camping tent, there are a few drawbacks to consider:
- Non-freestanding: When you have a vestibule, your tent becomes non-freestanding. This means that the inner tent can be freestanding, but once you put the fly on to create a functional entry and storage space, you have to stake the vestibule’s flaps. This can limit your camping options and make it harder to find a suitable camping spot.
- Zippers: When you have a vestibule, you have to deal with zippers all the time. This can be a hassle, especially if you need to get in and out of your tent frequently. Additionally, zippers can wear out over time, which can compromise the vestibule’s ability to keep you protected from the elements.
- Additional weight: A vestibule adds extra weight to your camping setup, which can be a consideration if you’re backpacking or trying to reduce the weight of your gear. While some vestibules are removable, they still add weight to your tent.
- Cost: Tents with vestibules tend to be more expensive than those without. If you’re on a budget, a vestibule may not be a necessary expense.
A camping tent’s vestibule can be a useful addition to your camping gear. By providing additional storage space, protection from the elements, a safe cooking area, increased ventilation, and a comfortable sitting area, a vestibule can make your camping experience more enjoyable and comfortable. However, it’s important to consider the disadvantages of having a vestibule, such as non-freestanding design, zippers, additional weight, and cost. Ultimately, whether or not to have a vestibule in your camping tent depends on your specific camping needs and preferences. We hope this article has helped you understand what a camping tent’s vestibule is and how it can enhance your camping experience.