Are there any tents with good vestibule space for a dog?

2:13 a.m. on March 13, 2008 (EDT)
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I'm looking at going hiking with my dog (she's a medium sized Lab that weighs 47 lbs) this summer and have been trying to find any type of shelters suited for her out in the wilderness. I've found 'dog tents' that would be fine in a rainless environment, but they have no storm covers and would seem more of a pain in the butt to carry in addition to my own tent. I was wondering if there's any tents out there that have sufficient vestibule space/configuration to allow a dog around the size of mine to have decent cover in the event of a storm?

12:55 p.m. on March 13, 2008 (EDT)
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How much shelter does your lab need? Does she need a ground cloth or floor? I would assume not, since you are asking about vestibules, which are floorless in virtually all tents. My next door neighbor's lab is a wuss and needs comfy, dry shelter to rest, though she runs around enjoying the rain while active (or going through the training exercises).

You might consider using a light tarp, like the Integral Designs SilTarps. Or you might consider sharing a tent like the Black Diamond Megamid, which is a floorless pyramid that weighs about 3 pounds and has room for 4 people (there is a lighter version made of silcoat). You can carry a piece of plastic dropcloth (3 mil thickness, so very light) for you and your sleeping bag, while your lab takes the bare ground.

To get sufficient vestibule, you probably have to go to an expedition tent of 3-person size. These are designed to hold packs, provide a space to brush off the snow before entering the main tent, and have been known to act as cooking areas (forbidden in the manufacturer's instruction sheet, of course). But these are expensive and very heavy (typically 12 pounds or more). There are a few 2-person expedition tents that might have a large enough vestibule. But 3-season and backpacking tents in general have minimal vestibules, maybe enough to store your boots. I have a Sierra Designs Meteor Light that has a vestibule large enough in floor (ground?) area, but it has a sloping roof (the fly), so I doubt your lab could stand up in it to turn around. That's pretty typical for 2-person, 3-season tents.

2:12 p.m. on March 13, 2008 (EDT)
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If you want to treat your dog in style,get something like one of the Hilleberg tunnel tents, such as the Nallo GT. I have never seen one in person, but from the pictures and description, they are relatively light and have a really big vestibule. Their website has drawings that show the floorplans and how much room they have. With a design like this, your dog would have his own shelter and if it's raining, you won't have a wet dog in your tent. You could make a footprint for the vestibule out of Tyvek or something like that, and carry a blanket for her and she would be set.

The problem is they are incredibly expensive. The Nallo GT is about $600. However, they have a very good reputation for being well made. I know someone who has a different model (a Saivo) which he says is a very good tent, especially for bad weather.

6:34 p.m. on March 13, 2008 (EDT)
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Use a tarp. If you need to, put the tarp near the tent. A lab is a big active dog - you can't have him in your tent or your vestibule - unless you take a very large tent.

6:35 p.m. on March 15, 2008 (EDT)
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There are a number of tents with 2 vestibules which work well for people with a dog.

For example the REI half-dome:

or the lighter MSR Hubba Hubba:

12:10 a.m. on May 31, 2008 (EDT)
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Eureka has a annex add on for there smaller tents.

11:02 a.m. on May 31, 2008 (EDT)
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A perfect dog/vestibule tent would be the Hilleberg 8 pound 3-poled dome Staika. It has two spacious vestibules(one on each side each with its own door)and one vesti can be used for the dog and the other for boots, stove, pack, etc.

On the other hand, my dog never stays in the tent or the vestibule with me and sleeps out in all kinds of weather, even snow. He's a part chow/lab mix and the only thing he seems concerned about is fast-approaching thunder. So you might consider letting your dog stay outside all the time.

3:57 p.m. on May 31, 2008 (EDT)
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ive got one idea, though I don't have experience with the tent
i just saw the Big Agnes emerald mountain has an optional "gear vestibule" that looks pretty cool... but that brings the price to 400 bucks,
it looks like a good shelter for human and dog though (this is a solo+dog tent right?)

8:49 a.m. on June 1, 2008 (EDT)
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Hey utahhiker, I have a good bit (9+ yrs.) of experience backpacking with a dog. I own a 120 lb. male Akita, and that is my companion during the winter when my wus friends want to stay home. (wah-wah)!
I am not a gear head, so I will refrain from suggesting a specific model of tent. I can tell you what I have learned about dogs and tents. I have had the same tent for ten years, a Mountain Hardware Skyview 2 which is no longer made. It has a large vestibule which works well for my dog, and enough space inside for my stuff.
I have found this arrangement works best for me.
Most dogs like to be up running around every couple of hours and having one in the tent with you is not an option for most people. If you buy a tent/tarp just for your dog, it will be another shelter you must set up/take down, and don't be surprised when you wake up and your lab is sleeping on the ground beside YOUR tent. You cannot zip most dogs up in his/her own tent while you get your eight hours of sleep. My dog can easily sleep out in blizzard conditions, but prefers to be close to me and all the "camping stuff".
Your lab should fit fine in a decent sized vestibule and have adequate shelter from a storm. She can still sleep wherever she is content in good weather. Some people cut an older thermarest in half to keep the dog off the wet/cold ground. This did not work for me because my dog just walked around with it in his mouth shaking it violently and finally "killed" the thing.
Keep in mind drainage issues when you pick your tent site

Just a side note here, I would strongly suggest buying a dog pack if you haven't already. Your lab can easily carry her own food plus your tent fly, which will lighten the packed weight of the tent you choose. Either that or YOU will carry her food and she will get a free ride! There is plenty of good info out there about introducing your dog to a dog pack, so I won't get into that.

My recommendation is a well made two man tent with a full fly & large vestibule or add on vestibule. Let your dog carry her food and the tent fly/add on vestibule. Remember, dogs have full time 4 wheel drive and a little extra weight will not hurt them!

Have fun and tell your lab I said hi!

11:30 a.m. on June 1, 2008 (EDT)
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actually, now that I think about it more, the emerald mountain , though spacious, might be overkill
just another thought, I think two vestibules/exits would be the best (one for your gear, one for your dog), and then you can also avoid stepping over her in the middle of the night

10:23 p.m. on June 1, 2008 (EDT)
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Would you consider a hammock instead of a tent? Check out for info regarding what is available. The Hennessey UltraLight Backpacker that I use with a soon to arrive Speers 10 x 11 ft tarp will have a total weight (less stakes) of 40 oz and should pack down to a 16"x6" package. The standard Hennessey asymmetric tarp would not provide much shelter for your dog. The Speers will provide protection to you, your dog and your gear from the elements. To view the possible configurations of the Speers tarp go to You normally don't need a sleeping pad unless you end up grounded. So bring the pad for the dog! Your buddy loses the "bed" only if you get grounded.

May 21, 2018
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