MSR HUBBA HUBBA NX 2 PERSON TENT: Gear Review

SPECS: MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent

Weight: 1.72kg (3lbs 13 oz.)

Dimensions: 1.27m x 2.13m total internal floor area of 2.7sqm

Price paid: $437 from MEC

Packed dimensions: 46cm x 15cm

PROS:

• Very spacious inside for two people with gear.
• Superlight weight and packs down very small.
• Sets up extremely quickly with option of inner first pitching which is handy if it’s raining!
• Freestanding so doesn’t need to be staked out if set up on concrete.
• Well ventilated, no condensation issues.
• Sturdy in high winds.
• Quick and easy to take down and pack into wide opening compression bag (included).

CONS:

• Expensive.
• Material is highly waterproof but feels thin and slightly fragile like it could tear easily.
• Two of our stakes snapped.
• Floor inside the tent was always slightly damp in the morning despite using the footprint.
• Cross pole on the top of the tent started to bend out of shape.

 

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent
Plenty of space for two peoples panniers in the vestibules. Prince Edward Island.

OVERVIEW:

We purchased this tent in 2015 before doing the multi day ‘West coast trail’ hike on Vancouver island with the intention of also using it for our round the world cycle trip. The major appeal of the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent for me was it’s tiny packed size, weight and excellent livable space inside so we wouldn’t feel cramped up after months at a time living in it while riding.

I love this tent, the design, the space inside and out and I wanted this to be our home for a long time, unfortunately it just didn’t seem to last and after 4 months cycling from Vancouver to Halifax we decided it wasn’t up for a round the world trip so we ended up returning it to the store we purchased it from.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent
Lake Superior, having a freestanding tent helps when you can’t stake it out in beach sand!

DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY:

The design and layout of the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent is extremely well thought out and works beautifully. You have a huge amount of floor space for such a lightweight tent, but the big bonus of this baby is the incredible amount of headroom and a feeling of space all around you due to the ingenious vertical sidewalls that the pole set up creates.

Many lightweight tents feel cramped and claustrophobic inside, but MSR managed to make the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent feel like a mansion! We tried out several tents before purchasing this and have tried out many since to replace it, none of which felt as roomy. Several of the tents I tried were actually larger on paper, but when I got inside my feet touched one end and my head touched the other due to a classic ‘dome’ style slanting design as opposed to the Hubba Hubba’s vertical walls. I’m 6”1 and can comfortably lay down in the Hubba Hubba with a little bit of space at my feet for a small bag and we have a nice amount of room either side of us to not to feel like we’re fighting with each other for room.

Kayaking in Deep Cove B.C

The single pole deign is very clever with a central hub connecting a cross pole in the centre to give you plenty of head room and extra stability with another hub each end for the vertical side wall pole pieces to pop into. The poles are made of DAC featherlite aluminum and easily connect with each other and are super easy for one person to connect together by themselves. After you’ve put it up a few times you’ll have this bad boy fully set up in 5-10 minutes…less if it’s raining and you’re cold!

There’s plenty of mesh on the inner tent so it feels nice and airy but still enough material to keep in warmth on chilly nights. Each end of the tent has added ‘kickstand’ opening for added ventilation and to achieve a cross breeze in warmer weather.

The large D shaped doors on either side are easy to get in and out of and have plenty of clearance from the ground so water shouldn’t splash in if you’re making a dash back in to the tent in the rain. Also has built in rain gutters that channel water away from the zips so you don’t end up getting drenched when you unzip the fly.

The two vestibules either side of the tent offers enough room for all of our panniers and would be plenty of space if you were using it for hiking packs. There isn’t a porch or enough room to safely cook in the vestibules, but definitely ample space for your gear.

There are two mesh pockets at either end of the tent to store bits and pieces, would have perhaps been better having the pockets on the sides instead of the ends so you don’t lose any length when the pockets are full.

DURABILITY:

The fly of the tent is made of 20 denier ripstop nylon rated to 1200mm waterproofness while the floor is made of 30 denier ripstop rated to 3000mm. we never had any issues with rain getting into the tent through the roof, but the floor always felt damp no matter how or where we set it up even using the MSR footprint purchased separately.

In order to achieve the impressively light weight, obviously lighter materials have to be used. For me the floor just feels a little bit too thin to inspire confidence and we were always slightly worried about accidentally ripping it. No rips or tears ever did occur in the tent, but no matter how it was set up I always woke up with a wet sleeping bag from the floor.

The plastic hooks used to attach the inner tent to the poles feel very sturdy and I doubt they would ever break unless you stood on them pretty hard and crushed them.

The DAC poles are crazy light, but feel very solid and kept the tent rigid and upright even in strong winds, unfortunately the crossbeam pole in the centre of our tent had begun to bend out of shape pretty badly causing a slight sag in the top of the tent. I don’t know if it would have ever actually snapped, but after 4 months on the road with another 4-5 years ahead of us, we didn’t want to take that risk.

The ‘mini groundhog’ stakes that come included with the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent  are super lightweight and work very well, but unfortunately the heads snapped off three of ours within the space of a few weeks so they definitely lose points there!

The included compression bag is a killer design making packing it away super quick and easy with two compression straps and a string and toggle to squeeze it all together nice and compact. Our bag had developed several small holes on the ends that concerned me; the bag appears to be made of the same material as the tent and if it developed holes that quickly then it might not be a good sign for the tent itself. I could be being a little unfair here as these holes did develop when doing the west coast trail which was pretty wild and rugged hiking where the bag probably took a bit of a beating on the outside of my pack.

mSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent
Camping in Jasper letting the fly dry out before fully setting the tent up.

SUMMARY:

I loved the SR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent . I wanted this tent to be with us forever, but in the end I think it was more suited to hiking and camping rather than a near permanent home that we were trying to make it cycle touring.

Design wise, there is very little I would change about this tent, for two people it hits that sweet spot between having enough space inside and not taking up a crazy amount of room to set up. When wild camping this can be a fairly important factor for choosing a tent as we tend to find ourselves setting up in a random tiny sliver of grass behind a bush on a backroad somewhere so a massive tent that requires a lot of space can be a drawback.

It’s packed size is truly impressive and fit perfectly on my front rack without the need to split the tent up or share the load by one of us taking the poles etc.

In the end the frustration at the leaky floor and our uneasiness with the bent pole made us decide to return the tent while still could taking advantage of Canadian outdoor store MEC’s excellent return policy.

To replace this tent was a tough decision as every other tent we tried after this paled in comparison. In the end we opted for another MSR tent, the Elixir 2 as it is extremely similar in design to the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent, only made of heavier thicker materials. The weight difference is fairly significant (over a kilogram) and it doesn’t pack down as small, but we are hoping that the thicker materials make it longer lasting so we can enjoy our home for years to come on the road! When we’ve actually started using the tent I will post a review of the Elixir 2.

I give the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent a 3 out of 5.

In many ways the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Tent is my dream tent and it would have scored higher if not for the durability issues we had. Amazing tent for weekend cycle trips and hikes, but perhaps just not up to the rigors of long term cycle touring. (Amazon/ Our Gear List)

Enjoyed this gear review? Check out a few others, the Origin8 Classique Cargo HD Front RackEVO Low Rider Fork Mounted Front Rack and the BRODIE CIRCUIT 2015 Touring Bike.

7 Replies to “MSR HUBBA HUBBA NX 2 PERSON TENT: Gear Review”

  1. We have that same tent and have been using it for a year none stop in various conditions. Our observation is similar to the one in this review. In summary this is what we have observed:

    Material the tent is built of is very fragile. The seams are now gone totally so needed to re-seam it. It is not 100% rain proof. If you’re caught in a heavy rain than the rain sheet will last about 10 min and than will let water in. Design wise there is one problem with the tent. If it rains the rain cover (top sheet) does not come all the way to the floor and hangs about 20cm from the floor. This 20cm are covered by wall of the tent but when it rains all the water keeps running on the side of the tent which is not made of very rainproof material. In short this means that in the are of your foot and head you gonna get wet. We think that MSR needs one step extra to make a good thent from Hubba Hubba NX otherwise it’s not worth the money.

  2. You have to make sure that the cross pole is ON TOP of the long pole. Maybe this explains your problems with it? This is a common problem and makes it much less sturdy.

    1. I think you might be thinking of a different MSR tent – the MSR Hubba Hubba has only one pole, which is interconnected with a midway pole (it’s not a separate pole). Maybe you’re thinking of the MSR Elixir 2?

      1. No, it is this tent. The interconnected pole can and has to cross the long pole on top of it. Just try it out. Gravity will put it the wrong way initially, but you have to put it on top.

          1. Hi Benedikt,
            The tent started to leak through the bottom and at the sides (towards the bottom on the tent). We had a ground sheet as well, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. It didn’t really leak through the seams or anything like that. The water was just slowly seeping in through the actual tent. We always made sure we camped on soft ground or where the water could drain, and not build up under the tent. We didn’t have this issue at first, but after about a year it started to happen. Hope that helps.
            Thanks.
            Kelly

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