What is a tent Vestibule?

Tent vestibules are a feature often incorporated into tents which provide added sheltered space for both belongings and seating. They vary in size, height and capacity. 

Whilst they can provide shade and a place to cool off during the summer, they can also be beneficial in the cold weather, as they provide a safe, yet open, space for cooking on a stove. Tent vestibules have several benefits to them, also including a space to store dirty or wet clothing. Previously discussed in Camping in the Rain, using a porch or vestibule is a good way of separating wet items from dry items, thus keeping the tent interior dry. 

Types of Tent Vestibules

A vestibule can be added to any side of the tent, meaning it can be added to the front as some type of porch, or could be jutting out the side of the tent, almost as a sideroom. Some tents have more than one vestibule attached.

Vestibules are usually placed on the front of a tent, and are usually built into the tent. These vestibules are especially useful for campers who are carrying a lot of gear and need to store some outside in a dry area. A vestibule is more useful in this case as the items can be easily reached from within the tent by using the tent door. It also adds a layer of security, as you’d be able to keep a closer eye on items if you can see them through the door. 

Vestibules come in two types of shape, the front vestibule and the side vestibule. Side vestibules are a more enclosed cover for your tent, and are usually larger, whilst front vestibules usually cover the door of the tent and are a lot more cramped. Side vestibules are often treated as their own rooms, as they are spacious enough for additional storage. Due to their lack of insulation and flooring, they aren’t used for sleeping, but they are great for storage. 

Should my Tent Have a Vestibule?

Vestibules aren’t a necessity on any tent, but they do offer some additional features which many would find beneficial. Due to their additional cover in rain and snow, many believe that vestibules are a must have when camping. A lot of tents come with a vestibule either built-in or attachable, and some companies sell vestibules which can be attached to tent models that don’t have them. The only downside, some might say, is the additional weight that needs to be carried in order to accommodate a vestibule.

How to Make a Tent Vestibule

A makeshift vestibule is possible using a piece of tarpaulin and a sturdy flagpole. Whilst a DIY vestibule may not be as structurally sound or as encompassing as a ready-built one, it can still provide both shelter and shade if in need.

To create your homemade vestibule, you’ll need:

  • A poncho tarp or similar nylon cut of fabric.
  • A flagpole that can be planted which is taller than the tent.
  • Guy lines
  • Stakes

Setting the vestibule up is a fairly straightforward process, by assembling the pole in front of the tent, throwing the poncho tarp over it and securing the tarp over the tent and pole using the guy lines and pegs. The end result should look somewhat like a pup tent placed over your original tent. 

Can I Buy a Tent Vestibule? 

Tent vestibules can be purchased and installed on tents that didn’t originally come with them. Most detachable vestibules are made with a specific tent model in mind, however, so it’s important to consider the size and shape of your tent – along with costs. 

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