I’ve been using The NERD tree as a file explorer for vim. It was a bit quirky at first but that was me not knowing how to use it.
I have trained myself to be fairly fast using it but only because I’ve tried to be disciplined about looking up commands if I didn’t know them. It takes more willpower than you think to break old habits (Sublime Text shortcuts, previously TextMate shortcuts) and groove in new ones.
All in all, my vim setup (which is one of my experiements at this point) is decent. I like using it but it still feels like a lot of work to do basic daily functions.