MSR HUBBA HUBBA NX REVIEW
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is more than just a tent with a humorous name, though the name isn’t something to ignore. It's clear that MSR intended for this freestanding 3-season, 2-person tent to match comfort and livability with backpacking portability.
With a lightweight and compressed packed size, this tent is perfect for backpacking, and with a special design that maximizes interior space, it's comfortable enough for a regular camping trip. This is in part due to the two covered vestibules at the front and back of the tent, which offer additional storage space and free up more room inside the tent.
A separate footprint is recommended if you do intend to use the vestibules for storage, but the tent itself has a bathtub style, the waterproof floor that makes a footprint unnecessary for the tent itself.
Of course, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX also comes with a specially designed rainfly, with the same trademarked waterproofing as the floor, as well as rain gutters to keep water away from the zippers, helping to keep you cozy even in the middle of the wilderness.
Bottom Line: A reasonable middle of the road tent at a decent price. It does everything pretty well, but if you want more in terms of comfort, weight or weather resistance expect to pay a higher price for it's competitors.
Comfort & Livability
Ease of Setup
Weight & Packed Size
|Minimum Trail Weight||3 lbs. 7 oz.|
|Fly / Footprint Pitch Weight||2 lbs. 2 oz.|
|Packaged Weight||3 lbs. 13 oz.|
|Packed Size||6 x 18 inches|
|Floor Dimensions||84 x 50 inches|
|Floor Area||29 square feet|
|Peak Height||39 inches|
|Number of Doors||2 doors|
|Number of Poles||1 hubbed poleset|
|Pole Material||DAC aluminum|
|Pole Diameter||9.3 millimeters|
|Canopy Fabric||20-denier ripstop nylon / 15-denier nylon mesh|
|Floor Fabric||30-denier ripstop nylon|
|Rainfly Fabric||20-denier ripstop nylon|
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX’s durable nylon fabrics, with Durashield™-coated floors and rainfly allow it to withstand the wind, rain, and the other rigors of the outdoors without tearing or getting waterlogged. Furthermore, the distinctive design of the tent creates more interior room, with the side entry zipper allowing for easier entry and egress, and specially designed rain gutters keep the doorways dry. Kickstand vents help to keep fresh air moving into and out of the tent, and, once it’s time to move on, the compression stuff sack allows the tent to be collapsed back into a highly portable, lightweight package.
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With a floor space 7 feet long and 4 feet, two inches wide, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is spacious for one person, and certainly cozy for two, allowing just enough space for two sleeping pads. Of course, in addition to the floor space of 29 square feet, the peak height of 39 inches gives backpackers sufficient space to move around inside the tent without always bumping heads or elbows. Not that those unfamiliar with backpacking might not feel a bit snug, but for experienced backpackers and campers, the Hubba Hubba NX offers a comfortable space that doesn't force you to act like a caterpillar when slipping into, or out of, your gear. The symmetrical design also assists with this, as the outer walls of the tent rise close to vertically, so there’s less room sacrificed by the curve of the tent and more space to move around inside.
Of course, dimensions aren’t the only thing that makes a tent comfortable. The Hubba Hubba NX also offers two mesh pockets running the width of the tent, below the mesh window vents so that you can store the essentials, such as flashlights, or a few pieces of clothing by your pillow for easy access during the night. What's more, the tent features two doors, a feature which many backpackers consider to be essential when sharing a tent, as few things are as annoying as being stepped on, or crawled over, in the middle of the night when your partner goes to answer the call of nature. To go along with the two-door design, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX rainfly unzips on the sides, so it's easy to exit without having to crawl over gear or press against the inside of a wet rainfly. Just another sign that MSR had comfort in mind when designing this tent.
Furthermore, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX features two kickstand vents on the rainfly, which keeps the tent well ventilated without letting rain in. Also, due to the MSR Hubba Hubba NX's exoskeleton rainfly design, which elevates the rainfly off the top and sides of the tent, minimizes the amount of condensation inside the tent, which is important with two people sharing such a confined space. Leaving the vestibules partially unzipped will also help allow for cross ventilation, but isn't recommended when there's the possibility of inclement weather.
Lastly, the gray color of the MSR Hubba Hubba NX's nylon fabric allows for a greater amount of light to pass into the interior of the tent, which is great during the day, but not ideal for moonlit nights. Obviously, it depends on how sensitive you are to light while slipping, but this could be a significant downside for some hikers.
If there is one type of inclement weather that the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is best designed for, it would be rain. The floor of the tent, for instance, utilizes a bathtub shape, as well as Durashield™ treatments to ensure that you don't need a separate footprint and that no moisture will seep in from below. Similarly, the rainfly is also treated with Durashield™ waterproofing technology, which is sure to keep rain out of your tent, and the rainfly's kickstand vents will help eliminate condensation by allowing for fresh air to still circulate through your tent. Nevertheless, weather conditions with high humidity, or large amounts of mist, can still create condensation inside the tent, as it does allow for air to move into and out of the tent, even with the vents closed.
However, the MSR Hubba Hubba comes with few guy lines, as well as stakes, which makes this tent more vulnerable to high winds. In fact, the rainfly features very few places to even attach extra guys, as the only guy points are on the vestibules doors, or very low on the sides of the tent. It's also possible that high winds could compress the rainfly against the side of the tent, thus compromising the exoskeleton design and the tents ability to keep moisture outside. So, if you expect to run into high winds and other storm conditions while in the backcountry, you'll want something sturdier than the MSR Hubba Hubba NX.
One of the best advantages to the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is that its design allows for two different ways to set up the tent, depending on the weather conditions you're in when you decide to make camp. If the weather is clear, or you're feeling like racing the storm clouds, then you'll be happy to know that the traditional set up of the Hubba Hubba is as fast as it is easy. The tent comes with only one segmented tent pole, with an attached roof cross piece, which you unfold to form the exoskeleton of the tent. Once the exoskeleton is set up, the rest of the process is as easy as slipping the ends of the pole into the metal corner pieces of the interior body and then using the clips along the top of the tent to secure it to the pole. Once that's done, you can stake out the tent using the adjustable webbing straps attached to the metal corner pieces, which will allow you to firm up the tent.
Then, once the body of the tent is set up and staked out, you simply drape the rain fly over the exoskeleton, using the red and grey color coded corners to guide the orientation, and then slip the metal corner pieces of the fly beneath the tips of the tent pole, and beneath the metal corner pieces of the interior body. Once that's done, you can use your guy lines and stakes to secure and tighten the rain fly, including the vestibules. In fact, the structure of the vestibules is created using guy lines and stakes, which is why many experienced backpackers consider the MSR Hubba Hubba NX to be only semi-freestanding, which is a distinction that can matter depending on personal preference.
However, if you have to set up the tent in the rain, whether that's because you're pushing through foul weather, or you lost the race against the rain clouds, there's also a fast fly option that will let you pitch the rainfly first. You simply set up the pole under the rainfly first, using the metal corner pieces and the clips, and then by laying out the inner body of the tent while it's already underneath the fly. Once that's done, all you have to do is slip the ends of the tent pole into the corners, attach the clips to the exoskeleton, and then venture outside to stake out the tent. This will keep the inside of your tent from getting wet, even if you get caught in a sudden downpour. And, if there's high wind, you might want to stake out the fly and interior first, but that's up to the backpacker's discretion. Or, if you're new to hiking, the stuff bag also has the set-up instructions attached to it, so you'll never have to worry about losing the instructions.
When it comes to durability, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is excellent, until you start to encounter high winds. If this tent is not properly guyed out, backpackers have reported tears in the fabric of the tent. However, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is more durable than most all lighter-weight tents, as it's made from sturdier materials. That's why it depends on the conditions you expect to face while backpacking.
If high winds are common, then you would be better served finding a tent specially designed for wind resistance, rather than a tent designed for versatility, like the Hubba Hubba. For the average hiker, though, that same versatility makes this tent an excellent choice. It isn't a poorly constructed tent, or one made with delicate materials as some ultralight tents are, but there's always a sacrifice when it comes to choosing between durability and weight. As the Hubba Hubba is designed to be trim enough for backpacking, the weight it has shed has sacrificed some durability, which means that the Hubba Hubba isn't ideal for severe weather conditions, though it can stand up to most types of weather.
And, speaking of that shed weight, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX weighs in at 3 pounds 7 ounces without stakes, and about 3 pounds 12 ounces with stakes. This makes it on the heavy end for ultralight, but the livability and comfort, as well as weather resistance and durability, will outperform most ultralight tents, especially within the same price range. Also, for the dedicated ultralight backpacker, there is the option of only using the Hubba Hubba's fly and exoskeleton, which weighs in at 2 pounds 2 ounces without stakes. Remember that this configuration does not come with its own footprint, however.
Whichever configuration you choose to go with, it is recommended that you include some extra guy lines and stakes to properly support the tent and secure it against the wind. Removing the tent pole from the stuff sack will give you the more room to pack the stakes and guy lines, or simply allow you to compress the pocket to take up less room inside your pack. Keeping the tent pole strapped to the outside of your pack also helps save time in the event of bad weather, so it's something to consider.
The main limitation of the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is that it's not better designed for high winds, such as by including more guy points, or even just higher guy points, so that backpackers can properly anchor the tent if severe conditions arise. Sure, the Hubba Hubba performs well in low to moderate winds, but for higher wind speeds it's possible that the tent might begin to tear. That's why it's important that the Hubba Hubba is only used in regions and seasons where high winds are rare. Even with extra guy lines and stakes, the Hubba Hubba simply doesn't have the guy points that support withstanding severe wind conditions.
As the name implies, the Hubba Hubba is meant for comfort and livability as much as portability, and that's why this tent is best for backpackers who either like to or expect to spend time inside their tent. Also, as every ounce matters when it comes to your back, the Hubba Hubba is best carried for two people, rather than one. Even backpackers that cut their teeth in the service with 50-pound packs know that weight takes its toll, and lighter options would be better for a lone backpacker.
Also, as has been discussed above, the Hubba Hubba is excellent against rain but doesn't perform as well against high winds, so this tent is best used for trips in regions or seasons without severe weather conditions. Also, as this tent requires the proper guy lines to secure it, it's not recommended that this tent is used in terrain where stakes are impossible, or where the Hubba Hubba's footprint is too large, such as on ridges or mountain sides that are mostly scree or rock.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX performs excellently alongside the other tents within the same price range. It is light enough to be taken backpacking, and it's more durable than lighter tents, and also better equipped to handle moisture and rain. It's an excellent value for the price, though there are newer models of tents on the market, such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, which outperform in some areas (and more on this below). Nevertheless, the comparison between the MSR Hubba Hubba NX and newer models of tents are so close, with the Hubba Hubba outperforming in some areas, and the newer models in others, that Hubba Hubba is still an excellent choice for any backpacker looking to invest in a piece of equipment as expensive as this.
Also, for any campers and backpackers intrigued by the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, but perhaps looking for a tent that can accommodate more people or a tent that's only for one person, the Hubba Hubba is part of a line of similarly designed tents with equally amusing names. The Hubba NX is the 1 person model, with 1 door and 1 vestibule, and a weight of 2 pounds, 7 ounces. The Mutha Hubba NX is the 3 person model, which has 2 doors and 2 vestibules, and weighs 4 lbs, 9 ounces, and the Papa Hubba is the 4 person model with a weight of 5 pounds, 15 ounces.
All of the Hubba tents features the same rainfly design, with fast fly options, as well as the same vertical walls and unified pole system. Obviously, the larger models of the Hubba line have significantly higher weights, but such is the sacrifice for the emphasis upon livability, and backpacking groups might find it more convenient and comfortable to pack a Hubba than to pack multiple, smaller tents.
Also, MSR has designed a few products so that backpackers can customize their Hubba tent. The MSR Hubba Gear Shed adds, even more, storage room in the vestibule of the tent, and the MSR Hubba Hubba HP Tent Footprint will protect the bottom of the Hubba Hubba NX from abrasive materials on the ground, or provide a footprint for the vestibules so that your gear stays dry.
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As mentioned above, the Copper Spur is one of the Hubba Hubba NX's biggest competitors, as both tents offer an excellent value within the same price range, but there are some significant differences in their performance. To start with, the Copper Spur weighs in at only 2 pounds, 14 ounces, which is significantly better for packing around. It also features better resistance to high winds, which is the Hubba Hubba's biggest limitation, and it has more pockets for storage on the inside. However, the Copper Spur is made from significantly less durable material than the Hubba Hubba. Abrasions can shred the Copper Spur when it's pitched, which almost demands a separate footprint, and even brushing against vegetation while backpacking can tear the exposed stuff sack or fly.
The Hubba Hubba, on the other hand, is made of sturdier material, which makes it a better value for backpackers that need a tent to last longer. In the end, it comes to whether you desire a lighter weight, or a more durable tent, which is a hard decision to make. For experienced backpackers, taking care of the Copper Spur's delicate fabric might be well worth the reduction in stress on the back.
Now, unlike the Copper Spur, the Hilleberg Akto is not a newer model of tent. In fact, it's not even in the same class, as the Akto is a 4 season tent, but it's that emphasis upon weather resistance that makes this a worthy comparison for the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. The Akto has excellent wind resistance and is built to withstand winter storms, which certainly outperforms the Hubba Hubba, but it is also much harder to set up, and it is only a one person tent with near the same weight (3 pounds, 8 ounces). Thus, the Akto is an excellent choice for hikers who need the solution to a tent that can withstand high winds, but for less intensive weather, the Hubba Hubba is the best option for livability, size, and setup.
I'm Scott Jackson, one-half of the duo behind MyOpenCountry. In an age when everyone seems to be locked to their small blue screens, I am vehemently passionate about getting more people outside to enjoy the wonder of nature. I hope my posts are informative for both the grizzled veteran and the complete novice alike.