Why do you want / need vestibules?
Nov 1, 2022 at 9:37 am #3763313Joey GBPL Member
First off I’m a newish backpacker. Maybe 6-7 trips so far. So this is an honest question. I actually like keeping all my gear in my tent with me and not in the vestibule.
On my last trip in Olympic National Park, there was an infestation of deer. Everyone kept there stuff in their inners. I actually kept someones backpack with me in my tent who was using an X-Mid 1 because they didn’t have enough room. I would rather have space in my inner tent than space for a vestibule. Seems like wasted space to me.
I do understand that some people cook in their vestibules if it’s raining. Another use might be for dirty shoes. But what else am I not seeing?
Thanks to all the replyNov 1, 2022 at 9:51 am #3763314Mark FerwerdaBPL Member
I think it comes in handy for not bringing dirty stuff into the inner. Smaller inner usually means less weight, which is of value to the BPL community. I do have a 2 person tent and when I use it for myself, the extra room is glorious! But not enough to bring it backpacking.Nov 1, 2022 at 11:08 am #3763320Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
for me vestibules are about moisture/dirt management like a “mud room” in a house. It’s the place where I am out of the rain but I am not dripping on everything I want to keep dry / clean are. I can put on/take off wet clothing and stash gear when it’s wet. In extreme cases I have cooked but that is risky, especially since the materials used in many ultralight shelters are not flame resistant and depending on which stove you use can produce significant carbon monoxide,Nov 1, 2022 at 11:36 am #3763321Joey GBPL Member
Thanks Marks! I guess I haven’t been in the rainy muddy situation yet. I can see that be useful though.Nov 1, 2022 at 3:35 pm #3763335
My first thought on reading your subject line was, “Why would you not want/need vestibules?”
I agree with the mud room thought and, to a lesser extent, a place to cook if the rain persists. It’s also a buffer zone that’s okay to take on a little water when opening the door for egress. If the vestibule were part of the tent, whenever the door is open, the rain’s falling on the tent floor. And especially for two-man tents, who wants to be cooped up with muddy, sweaty boots and socks?Nov 1, 2022 at 4:03 pm #3763336Jon Fong / Flat Cat GearBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
I would rather have space in my inner tent than space for a vestibule. Seems like wasted space to me.
The storage space inside your tent rather than outside (vestible), increases the overall weight (and cost) of your tent as you have to have a larger inner and fly. As others have said, the vestible acts like a mudroom, a buffer space between you and the outside elements. I usually store my shoes, headlamp and other things outside as I am bound to go pee somewhere in teh middle of the night. I can get my shoes on and everything set before openning up the fly. My 2 cents.
Additionally, my un-expert opinion is that a vestible may help with air circulation.Nov 1, 2022 at 5:57 pm #3763353
Additionally, my un-expert opinion is that a vestible [sic] may help with air circulation.
I’ll add my un-expert concurrence with that opinion. I don’t think there’s any fundamental physics difference, just the fact that you can stay protected from the elements with the fly higher off the ground when there’s a vestibule buffer.Nov 1, 2022 at 9:44 pm #3763396Rex SandersBPL Member
I’m mostly a fan of vestibules for many of the reasons already stated. But not everyone agrees.
From my interview with long-time gear creator Michael Glavin:
For a line of tents at Sierra Designs, they added a vestibule and ruined three-season tents. Supposedly it’s for storing gear, but for most of these, there’s no room to store anything. They make you go through two doors to get in and out. Even though it’s not an ideal place for storing your gear because it’s right in the middle of the doorway.
I look for tent vestibules where enough storage doesn’t block doors. Uncommon, but they’re out there.
And you can open properly designed vestibules to allow much more ventilation in light rain, without getting the inside wet. A big benefit.
But I agree that going through two doors is kind of a pain.
PS – Never underestimate laziness as a reason to cook in vestibules. Roll over, fire up the stove, and quickly get that morning jolt of caffeine, carbs, or both, while staying warm. Not that anyone I know has ever done that, and lived to write about it :-)Nov 2, 2022 at 2:22 am #3763399
Not that anyone I know has ever done that, and lived to write about it :-)
There can be other reasons for a good vestibule than just laziness.
Like maybe what’s outside . . .
But yes, comfort and food were definitely available.
CheersNov 2, 2022 at 8:44 am #3763409BC BobBPL Member
@bcbobLocale: Vancouver Island
I would recommend not cooking in your tent or in the vestibule. You’re in bear country and the smells will be infused into the tent and everything in it. Not to mention the carbon monoxide risks that Mark Verber mentioned.
I have the XMid 1P and always put my backpack and boots in the vestibules and have never had a problem with critters or anything else.
Nov 2, 2022 at 10:47 am #3763416Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Hey Roger. Is there someplace that still possible to get Powermax canisters or is this an ancient picture?Nov 2, 2022 at 11:38 am #3763420
In many decades of backpacking and climbing, in all conditions summer and winter, I have never once cooked inside the tent or inside the vestibule. I don’t want food or food smells inside my tent. There is the potential for carbon monoxide build up, the potential for fire, … and, really, I find it very uncomfortable to cook when laying down or sitting up with legs crossed or folded under me. If it’s raining or snowing, I put on my rain gear, get up and cook outside. Or just eat a cold snack and start hiking. Even on an expedition, the guides would not allow cooking in the tents… even in minus 30 or 40 conditions… once, our soup froze inside our cups before we could finish it… :)))Nov 2, 2022 at 11:57 am #3763424
However, I do very much want vestibules for keeping my backpack out of the rain… and wet rain gear out of the main part of the tent, away from my sleeping bag… if boots are muddy they go in the vestibule, but if they are not muddy they go inside the tent for fear that some animal could take a liking to them and carry one boot off during the night… maybe never happen, but the consequences would be harsh…Nov 2, 2022 at 12:34 pm #3763427JCHBPL Member
Until the XMid I never knew how well a vestibule could work. It is a game changing design. Whether or not it is original I do not know…it seems very little in tent design is anymore. Regardless, the door/pole/vestibule orientation and interaction is the best I have seen. I.E., in my opinion a well designed vestibule is very valuable. 2 of them are even better :)Nov 2, 2022 at 2:21 pm #3763435
We don’t have bears as such in Australia, so none of those precautions apply here. In parts of America there are indeed problems.
Mind you, any bears around in the depth of the winter in America are very likely to be hibernating in a den somewhere, and should not be a danger at all. But, YMMV.
CO and CO2 build-up would be a worry if you have a Reactor stove in a tent or a hut, if they are sealed up. Reactors are very dangerous. Otherwise most ordinary stoves do not emit much CO at all, an if you have a vent nearby any steam, hot air and CO (and CO2) will waft out gently.
If it’s raining or snowing, I put on my rain gear, get up and cook outside. Or just eat a cold snack and start hiking.
The wind outside was doing about 100 kph, with snow. Standing up was difficult. Being inside my tent having a hot meal was a lot more comfortable. My wife thought so too.
Powermax canisters – sigh. No longer commercially available. You can sometimes find them on ebay, empty, but they go for high prices today. I never threw out any of mine so I still have a stash.
CheersNov 2, 2022 at 3:55 pm #3763437Jon Fong / Flat Cat GearBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Here is waht Yosemite NP says about bears and hiberbnations, basically, it comes down to food supply https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/where-do-bears-go-in-winter.htm.
Even if you don’t have a bear issue, another reason not to cook your vestible are marmots and mice. I am going on a kayak camping trip to Bodega Bay and they even recommend bear canisters to keep food from being eaten by mice/rats. My 2 cents.Nov 2, 2022 at 4:28 pm #3763439Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
On the beach of the Olympics they recommend cannisters for bears and raccoons.
I think maybe I’ve seen a bear before, but I see raccoons all the time.Nov 2, 2022 at 5:00 pm #3763442dirtbagBPL Member
In winter, deep freeze and snowy conditions I have no quams to use a stove in a vestibule to melt snow/ boil water for freezer bag re-hydrating or drinking. I also sometimes sleep with my food! Strictly middle of winter and harsh outside conditions. Don’t be like me! Be like yourself!!!! Those nights/mornings a vestibule would be nice. I also have some weird fear of a porcupine, raccoon, some varmint possibly eating or stealing my shoe/shoes, so… I know they are not likely to be out in severe winter conditions, but I prefer to have my gear inside with me when its sleeptime. Mornings afternoons and evenings its nice to put my pack and shoes in a vestibule. My micro spikes and poles I don’t mind leaving in vestibule.. Could I go without a vestibule? I mostly spend my nights in bivies and/or under flat tarp..Do I want or need a vestibule? Doesn’t really matter to me. Take it or leave it. My 2 winter tents do not have vestibules, but they are available as add on. I picked up a the vestibule for one of them.. Figuring I want to try and ride out a storm for 2, 3 or 4 days this winter and having that added space to boil water and melt snow will save some sanity for me if the conditions are in my favor and I am tent bound!! Only problem with bringing the vestibule is more for me to do. I don’t mind the added weight, for that luxury, but it is one more thing for me to have to pitch and take down.. And when its COLD COLD FREEZING COLD.. Possibly windy and snowing!! I want to basically hibernate and do what is needed but not extra work.Nov 2, 2022 at 7:43 pm #3763446DanBPL Member
I could probably get by without a vestibule, although then I might need a larger tent. Even then, there are a few items I like to leave in a vestibule, like muddy boots.Nov 3, 2022 at 6:34 am #3763458
Until the XMid I never knew how well a vestibule could work.
Gotta agree with this. It’s in a league by itself.Nov 3, 2022 at 8:48 am #3763467
TheNov 3, 2022 at 9:54 am #3763472JCHBPL Member
Re: XMid 2P Pro vestibule. I can fit a fully assembled chair one/zero in the vestibule along with water, shoes and much more without obstructing the door at all, and can zip it shut!Nov 3, 2022 at 4:11 pm #3763532
In my case, I watch the weather reports and simply just do not go backpacking under those conditions… ‘
Being inside my home and having a hot meal (and not in a noisy flapping cold tent) is a lot more comfortable’ :)))
We had driven for 6+ hours to get there. I guess we were a bit stubborn by then.
We went up to the tops by chairlift: the girl selling us the tickets was a bit concerned for us. In hindsight . . .
But I have to take up on the ‘ noisy flapping cold tent’ bit: the wind was noisy, but the tent was NOT flapping. It was very stable. ‘Cold’ – dress for the occasion. It was OK inside the inner tent as there was no wind inside.
Years past. Pre-COVID.
CheersNov 3, 2022 at 4:41 pm #3763537H WBPL Member
See the pic for my reason. He’s protected from the weather and he’s not on top of me.Nov 3, 2022 at 5:30 pm #3763538jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
I rarely/never put my pack in my vestibule. I always have a rain cover for it. all of the things I need for the night are placed in the tent after coming into camp. So only a few waterproof items remain inside the pack. I usually have planned my hikes in good weather, but we all know how that goes. Still, in good weather, I’m unsure as to why I'[d have my pack in my vestibule. Theft? I think I have brought my pack into the vestibule a few times in drenching rain.
My boots however always go in the vestibule. I’m concerned about critters wanting them to chew on. It’s never happened over hundreds of nights.
I much prefer double wall tents, so a vestibule is just part of the deal. I like the separation of two walls afforded by this design, for wind and rain (inner panels rather than all mesh).
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