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Tent Buying Guide

Shopping for a tent is like shopping for a home: there are dozens of styles, designs, sizes, and features to consider. In this guide, gear editor Kristin Hostetter shows you how to pick the right one for any outing.
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Vestibules

A vestibule is like a mudroom or foyer–it’s where you make a pit stop to ditch wet boots and drop your pack before diving into the dry, inner sanctum of your tent. Vestibules are covered, but floorless, and they’re particularly critical in three-season tents, when you’ll likely be dealing with wet, sloppy weather. Some vestibule tips:

  • Give Yourself Some Room: Look for one with enough head and elbow room that you can cook inside, if necessary. You can remain inside the inner tent, but there should be enough room in the vestibule to lay out a few pots, set up your stove, and fire it up without scorching any fabric.
  • Check the Drip Line: When it’s raining you’ll often want to open the vestibule, at least partially, to allow some airflow. When rain drips from the top of the vestibule door into the vestibule space, will it end up inside your tent? Try to picture this drip-line–and avoid tents that have outwardly that will get wet inside when things start dripping.
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