What Is A Vestibule In A Tent?


The protected areas at the front or the sides of your tent are the vestibules, and they give you extra space outside of the tent’s interior. These vestibules are beneath a rainfly, and they are excellent areas for storage. You can store wet or muddy shoes or clothing and extra gear to save space in your tent. You can also cook in the vestibules, but you have to be extra careful not to inhale carbon monoxide or catch the tent on fire if you decide to make the vestibule your cooking area. Not all tents come with vestibules as you need to purchase them separately, and you can also make a DIY one. Let’s now go over the different tent vestibules.

Side Vestibules

If you get a tent with side vestibules or decide to add one on either side, that is what it is. You can have one side vestibule or two, and having two of them is great to have since there is a lot of extra space you can use it for, whether it is to cook or store dirty shoes or clothing. Or, you have a lot of room to store extra gear that you will not need to take up in your tent with limited space. So you can have one vestibule for one side, or you can have two for both.

Front Vestibules

More often than not, campers usually have vestibules at the front of the tent entrance. The size of them can vary, which depends on the tent. However, when tents have one entrance and one front vestibule, it can make entering and exiting the tent awkward if you are storing extra gear or anything else. That is something to always keep in mind when you have a front vestibule. That is why side vestibules may be the better option, but that is entirely up to the camper and their preferences. Many campers have reasons for having a front vestibule even though they are aware of this situation.

Vestibules That You Can Add On

Some tents do not come with vestibules, and you can add them on instead separately. Some campers do not want to buy tents with vestibules because they add on too much weight, and campers would prefer to buy them individually for that reason. However, is that economically a good idea? And you have to deal with carrying the vestibule and tent on your backpacking trip together. Therefore, you do not save on extra weight and space. However, the option is there for campers who do not want to buy their vestibule with the tent. Now, let’s go over the meat and potatoes about vestibules which are, are they necessary to have?

Are Vestibules Necessary To Have?

Do you need a tent vestibule? No, you don’t. If you are camping alone, that is. However, they make your camping life a lot easier, which is why many campers like to have them. That is if they are also camping with many people and have several others staying in the tent. Space is limited in the tent, and claustrophobic would benefit from having a vestibule. As a matter of fact, if you are not camping alone, that is when they are necessary to have.

Having other people in the tent will take up a lot of space, and you need extra room for gear and dirty clothing. That is why a vestibule is a must-have in a case like that. Some campers do not like to have them because they add extra weight to the load you carry. However, the excess weight is limited, and it does not significantly impact you at all. When you think about the advantages you would have if you had a vestibule over some extra weight you may carry, you will see it is worth having. There is nothing better than knowing that you can take your dirty clothes or boots in the vestibule before entering the tent because your main goal is to keep your tent as clean as possible. Having a vestibule will help that happen for you.

However, you can also DIY a vestibule which means you can use waterproof material to create one instead of buying one separately. You can use a tarp to create one, which can be very effective.

You may want a vestibule for having a kitchen as well near your tent. Many campers cook in their vestibules, and if this is what you want to do, you will want to ensure you do it safely. If you cook in your vestibule, you want to ensure that you have good ventilation, so you do not allow dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up. You also want to ensure that you do it safely so that there is no risk that you can start a fire. And you may want to consider that if you cook in your tent, the smells may attract bears which is not what you want. If you are camping in an area with plenty of bears, you will want to cook away from your tent.


Many tents come with vestibules which are areas outside of the tent that can store your dirty clothing, shoes, or extra gear‘, so you save space in your tent. Additionally, vestibules are also great when it comes to keeping your tent clean for storing your dirty clothes or shoes away from your tent. You can also cook in your vestibule if you want to have a kitchen in your tent.

However, you have to be careful if you decide to do that because you could risk having carbon monoxide leaking in, which can have severe health and even fatal consequences. Additionally, you are risking a fire, and if you are in bear country‘, smells from you cooking in your vestibule would attract bears which is what you do not want. However, if you are very careful with everything, you can have a kitchen near your tent. A vestibule is needed if you are camping with many others, but it has its advantages if you are camping alone too.