MSR Hubba Hubba NX Review: Great Tent, Iffy Zippers

I’ve discovered that Mountain Safety Research (MSR) tends to reach at a formidable iteration of a product after which keep it up. Most outside gear firms are likely to step by step spoil their finest merchandise with incessant cost-cutting and penny-pinching, however they need to take a web page from MSR’s e-book. 

That mentioned, if you refresh your merchandise, it is a good suggestion to have a look at what your friends are doing. MSR’s Hubba Hubba NX backpacking tent, which was redesigned for 2022, may’ve used a couple of extra minor adjustments to maintain it from feeling outclassed by its more and more robust competitors. 

Blowin’ within the Wind

The Hubba Hubba NX is accessible in one-, two-, and three-person variations. I examined the two-person model and took it out for every week of mountain climbing in Texas’ Big Bend National Park, from chilly forested mountains to 95-degree desert hikes. 

MSR reduce 10 ounces—a major quantity of weight—off the two-person, pre-2022 Hubba Hubba NX. It now weighs solely 3 ounces greater than the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, and is 6.5 ounces lighter than the Sea to Summit Telos TR2. MSR did this with out decreasing its 29 sq. toes of flooring area inside, and new poles make the partitions stand extra vertically, making it really feel roomier inside. The Copper Spur measures the identical, and the Telos is almost the identical, at 28 sq. toes.

Freestanding tents do not should be staked out to arrange absolutely, and so they have a tendency to face up to excessive winds higher than non-freestanding or semi-freestanding (which solely require a couple of stakes). That got here in useful within the desert, the place at occasions the concrete-like desert flooring would not let me drive even a titanium nail peg into the earth. For excessive winds, I’d pull every guyline out and drop a heavy rock on it, however on calmer nights I simply threw my gear within the tent to weigh it down and went to sleep.

Some robust gusts battered the Hubba Hubba NX round within the open desert at night time, because the cool breezes rolled down the Chisos Mountains at nightfall every night time and despatched a chill over the desert flooring the place I made camp most nights. I wasn’t capable of finding out the wind velocity—to my excessive delight, there was no cell sign on the Dodson Trail—however the tent held solidly with barely a ripple all night time lengthy.

Most folks solely want a three-season tent, which is less expensive and lighter than a four-season one, which is admittedly extra for ultra-low temperatures, very excessive winds, and snow. My coldest night time within the three-season MSR was within the low 40s Farenheit, and utilizing a 20-degree Marmot sleeping bag atop a closed-cell foam sleeping pad, I had no complaints. It has a pop-out vent that you could shut or maintain open. The MSR ventilated contemporary air in addition to different premium tents, which is to say it by no means felt stuffy, like cheaper tents generally do.

Pocket-Sized Problems

At 5 toes and 10 inches tall, I can lie down in most ultralight tents with solely a slight little bit of clearance between the tent partitions and the ends of my sleeping bag. The Hubba Hubba NX is much from the one tent to place a giant mesh pocket down by the foot finish of the tent, but it surely rubs me the incorrect manner each time I see it. Whenever I’d put something in there, it’d sag down and bulge in opposition to my toes—not essentially the most snug factor when making an attempt to sleep.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Photograph: REI

Ultralight tents make a couple of sacrifices to get the load down low. The MSR makes use of 20-denier ripstop nylon for the tent flooring and partitions, and 10-denier polyester mesh for the breathable components of the interior tent wall. Typical double-wall tents will use the identical materials for the semi-permeable interior wall and extra water resistant outer wall, however they’re going to be heavier and thicker, reminiscent of 60 or 75 deniers, and have bigger zippers that are likely to work extra effortlessly.

On any ultralight gear, it is vital for the zipper to work with minimal effort and to not catch any material in its enamel whereas zipping and unzipping. With the material being so skinny, it is a lot simpler for a caught zipper to tear it. At the very least, you are then taking a look at a tent restore in your costly shelter, and perhaps a couple of moist nights if it occurs when you’re on a visit.

The MSR’s two tiny zippers on the interior tent wall’s door weren’t as clean as I’d have preferred, so I had to make use of extra drive with them than I used to be snug with. More drive equals extra potential to tear the material, and even with a lightweight contact, the zippers have been already extra catch-prone than the zippers on competing ultralight tents. Cranky {hardware} was a theme; I had to make use of extra drive than regular to place the Easton Syclone tent poles collectively and take them aside, in comparison with different ultralight tents on this worth vary that have a tendency to make use of poles from DAC.

Zipping Up Some Final Thoughts

The Hubba Hubba NX is not a nasty tent. In reality, it is not even mediocre: It’s an excellent tent, however though it nails the key elements of excellent wind resistance, light-weight design, and inside room, it falls down on the small print: zippers, poles, and pockets. The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 and Sea to Summit Telos TR2 outclass the $480 Hubba Hubba NX by brandishing much less finicky tent poles and zippers, extra considerate inside pocket placement, and so they do not price rather more.

If all you are on the lookout for is a tent to drive as much as a campground and pitch on a reserved web site, then forego ultralight tents completely and purchase one thing cheaper and extra sturdy, such because the REI Co-op Trail Hut 2. But in the event you want an ultralight tent to your subsequent journey and the Copper Spur and Telos are bought out, as they typically have been these days, then the Hubba Hubba NX is a positive alternative. For almost $500, although, “fine” could be a powerful capsule to swallow.

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