Excellent article! Thank you!
The one thing that bothered me about both this article and the earlier "Lightweight Backpacking in Sustained Cold Rain" is that both were written about places (Scotland, New Zealand) that don't have bears! In bear country, cooking in the tent vestibule risks having a bear think your tent is a burrito shell, and for that reason is not recommended. I would have thought that with BPL based in the heart of grizzly bear country, this issue would have been addressed, at least by the editor.
I have managed to overcome this issue in similar conditions by using the following routine after finding a camp site: (1) Fetch and treat water. (2) Pitch the tent. (3) Go inside, shedding rain gear and shoes in the vestibule. (4) Remove shirt and pants. (5) Change into dry baselayer. Add insulating jacket and fleece balaclava. (6) Unpack pack, blow up air mattress, fold sleeping bag on top. (7) Put rain gear back on over all. (8) Cook and eat dinner--well away from the tent, either scrunched under a thick evergreen or pitching a small tarp just big enough to keep rain off the cooking area and stove. (9) Post-meal tasks (feed my dog, bury his post-prandial leavings, take care of my own potty breaks and teeth cleaning, and secure my food). (10) A 15-20 minute brisk walk with the dog to explore the camp area and get our circulation revved up. (11) Retire to the tent, first stripping my rain gear and then toweling the mud and as much water as I can off the dog in the vestibule. (12) Put sweater on dog (to keep his wet coat from rubbing on my sleeping bag) and settle him on his piece of GG Thinlight pad. (13) Remove wet socks (finally!) and put on my 200-wt. fleece sleeping socks. Sigh with gratitude. Insert bottom half of body into sleeping bag, again sighing with gratitude. Remove insulating jacket (gotta have a pillow) and finish getting into sleeping bag. Zip up. Sigh once again with gratitude. Read for 20-30 minutes, if I can stay awake that long, and go to sleep.
Having the extra base layer allows me to do all this in relative comfort. It's not absolute comfort, because my feet are still wet. This routine does, of course, add extra weight, and means I can't use my sleeping bag for in-camp insulation.
I've often been tempted to cook in the vestibule in wet weather in areas where bears aren't a problem, but am concerned about residual food odors on the tent (or, worse yet, my sleeping bag) when I do go into bear country.
I'm wondering what the rest of you who often or occasionally camp in bear country do about the cooking/eating routine in nasty weather.