What Is A Tent Vestibule: Complete Guide

tent with vestibule

A tent vestibule is a covered space that extends from a tent entrance or its sides. It offers a sheltered area to store camping gear and other dirty equipment and serves as a transition area between the main tent body and outside.

In addition, it’s a great way to get more space inside your tent while also being a separate area. Tent vestibules are typically made of waterproof materials and provide solid protection from the wind and rain.

Kinds Of Tent Vestibules

There are two primary types of tent vestibules: front and side. Functionally, all vestibules serve the same purpose and are only different in terms of shape and location.

Front Vestibules

The front vestibule is located at the front door of your camping tent. They’re the more common type of vestibule versus the side version.

While you can use the front vestibule for anything, we tend not to store much in it beyond dirty boots, as a crowded front vestibule can make it tougher to get in and out of your tent. They often have a higher top and larger size, which makes them an excellent place to sit and enjoy the outside weather, while still getting sun and rain protection.

tent with front vestibule

Side Vestibules

As the name suggests, side vestibules go on the side of your tent. They’re most often seen on tents with multiple doors, which will usually have two vestibules (both a front and side vestibule).

We like to use these for gear storage, as you can use the other entrance to your tent to easily get in and out, while still getting all of your dirty gear away from your sleeping area.

tent with side vestibule

Do I Need A Tent Vestibule?

A tent vestibule is not necessary, but it provides several benefits, including extra space, storage, and more which we’ll discuss in the next section.

There are also very few downsides to having a vestibule space for your tent, which makes it even more of a no-brainer to get, even if the benefits are small to you.

They do add a small amount of weight, which could make a difference if you’re on a serious backpacking trip, but we doubt it’s something you’d notice going car camping.

The only other factor to think about is price, and there are plenty of affordable or alternative options if that becomes an issue.

tent with a vestibule

Benefits Of Having A Tent Vestibule

Keeping a vestibule on your tent has several perks. If you find yourself having issues with any of the below items, then a tent vestibule could be exactly what you need to fix it.

Keeps Your Tent Clean

If you’ve come back from a long hike or just spent a little time outside in bad weather, your boots and other gear are likely dirty.

Instead of tracking that dirt into your tent and sleeping area, which will make it gross and uncomfortable, you can leave your dirty gear in your vestibule.

This keeps the inside of your tent where you sleep clean, while also letting you explore the nature around your campsite to your heart’s content. The best of both worlds.

Extra Storage Space

Maybe your tent is a bit small, or you bring a lot of gear with you when you go camping. Either way, sleeping with it all right around you can make your tent feel cramped.

Adding a vestibule gives you an extra place to store that extra gear, freeing up more room inside the tent body for you and your sleeping bag.

Weatherproof Outdoor Space

Tent vestibules give you a convenient outdoor spot to relax while also providing great weather protection. If you’re camping on a super sunny day or in some light rain, you might not want to sit outside your tent even if you’d like some fresh air.

Sitting inside of your tent vestibule offers you nice shade and protection against non-extreme weather conditions. And you get to enjoy the outdoors at the same time.

tent with a vestibule

Other Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a lot to know when it comes to tent vestibules. Here’s a collection of some other questions we wish we knew the answers to when we started going camping.

Is It Safe To Cook Inside A Tent Vestibule?

While some sources will say that it’s safe to do so if you’re careful, we’d never recommend that you cook inside of your tent vestibule. While it’s technically a semi-open space, it’s still somewhat tight.

Smoke can fill it up quickly depending on the airflow and what you’re cooking. Many stoves could also give you carbon monoxide poisoning if you cook inside, which is another reason to avoid it.

Also, if you’re using fire, all it takes is one small gust of wind and your tent could burn down, putting you and your camping group in danger. That’s why we suggest that you always cook fully outside, even if the weather is bad.

What Are My Options If I Want A Vestibule?

You have three options if you want your own tent vestibule: you can buy a tent that comes with one, buy an add-on vestibule, or make your own. We cover the latter two options in the next couple of questions.

As far as buying a tent with a vestibule included, you should make sure that the tent you’re buying specifically says it comes with one, as many tents do not.

Generally, tents that come with a vestibule space will be a bit more expensive than those that don’t, but you can find options at many different price points.

How To Add A Vestibule To My Tent?

Many brands sell add-on tent vestibules that you can attach to your tent easily. When you’re searching for one, make sure that the one you’re buying is made for the size and shape of your current tent.

Ideally, you purchase one from the same brand that you got your tent from. That way, you’ll know that your tent is designed to accommodate it. Most brands will sell one that is specifically compatible with your type of camping tent.

tent with vestibule

How Do I Make My Own Vestibule?

It’s fairly easy to build your own tent vestibule if you don’t already own one or want to purchase one. All you need is a tarp with a few holes in it and something to hold it up.

One option is tying a tarp between two trees near your tent to create an extra covered space. Another option is throwing the tarp on top of your tent and using a few sticks or poles to hold up an extended roof. It also acts as an extra rain fly in this case.

We use the same process for tents in our homemade camping tent guide if you want to know the exact steps to setting it up.

How Much Do They Cost?

A tent vestibule will generally cost anywhere between $50-150 depending on the quality you’re buying.

This price range also extends to a tent with a vestibule, which will be priced at about the same amount higher as a tent without one. However, you’re more likely to find a good deal if you buy a tent with one included versus looking for a separate one later.


Now that you’ve read this article, you know everything there is to know about tent vestibules. Whether you decide to get one or not, you’ll be fully prepared for your next camping trip in this department.

If there’s any information you think we missed, please let us know below in the comments. Happy camping!

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