MSR Hubba Hubba NX Review: Great Tent, Iffy Zippers

I’ve discovered that Mountain Safety Research (MSR) tends to reach at a powerful iteration of a product after which keep it up. Most outside gear firms are inclined to progressively wreck their greatest merchandise with incessant cost-cutting and penny-pinching, however they need to take a web page from MSR’s ebook. 

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

Blowin’ within the Wind

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

MSR minimize 10 ounces—a big 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. ft of ground house 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 sort of the identical, at 28 sq. ft.

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 helpful within the desert, the place at occasions the concrete-like desert ground 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 sturdy gusts battered the Hubba Hubba NX round within the open desert at evening, because the cool breezes rolled down the Chisos Mountains at nightfall every evening and despatched a chill over the desert ground 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 evening lengthy.

Most folks solely want a three-season tent, which is less expensive and lighter than a four-season one, which is absolutely extra for ultra-low temperatures, very excessive winds, and snow. My coldest evening 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 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 ft 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 way from the one tent to place an enormous mesh pocket down by the foot finish of the tent, however it rubs me the unsuitable method each time I see it. Whenever I’d put something in there, it’d sag down and bulge towards my ft—not probably the most snug factor when attempting to sleep.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Photograph: REI

Ultralight tents make a couple of sacrifices to get the burden down low. The MSR makes use of 20-denier ripstop nylon for the tent ground 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 waterproof outer wall, however they’re going to be heavier and thicker, reminiscent of 60 or 75 deniers, and have bigger zippers that are inclined to work extra effortlessly.

On any ultralight gear, it is necessary for the zipper to work with minimal effort and to not catch any cloth 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 easy as I’d have appreciated, so I had to make use of extra pressure with them than I used to be snug with. More pressure equals extra potential to tear the material, and even with a light-weight 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 pressure 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 truth, it isn’t even mediocre: It’s tent, however despite the fact that it nails the most important facets of fine wind resistance, light-weight design, and inside room, it falls down on the main points: 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 value way more.

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

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