I am a homeowner, in the sense that I own two tents that I pretty much live out of on weekends. For three out of four seasons in the year, you can find me at the House — AKA our MSR Hubba Hubba NX.
Why did I choose the Hubba Hubba as my go-to home away from home? This three-season, two-person tent is not only an essential piece of gear for my partner and I, but part of our family. Yeah, I said it.
While some think the Hubba Hubba hasn’t kept up with the times, I believe it balances weight, versatility and affordability better than most.
Here are all the things I love (and hate) about the MSR Hubba Hubba.
- Seasonality: 3-season
- Capacity: 2 people
- Free-standing? Yes
- Packed size: 6″ x 18″
- Packaged weight: 3 lbs 13 oz
- Minimum trail weight: 3 lbs 7 oz
- Pole material: DAC aluminum
- Number of doors: 2
A Tent for All Needs
If you are searching for a tent that works in a wide variety of environments, the MSR Hubba Hubba is a strong contender. As I never really know where I’ll be hiking to next, versatility is the number one thing I look for in a tent.
Whether you’re camping in heavy rain, on the hot desert floor or the [moderately] snowy alpine, the Hubba Hubba serves well. Beginner backpackers especially will appreciate this versatility.
Versatility & Adaptability
The Hubba Hubba is made up of three separate parts — a canopy, rainfly and footprint (footprint sold separately). It is uniquely one of very few free-standing tents that can be set up with or without a floor. It’s Fast & Light setup mode, consisting of the rain fly and footprint, has proven exceptionally nice in the Texas desert, where we have set up (in less than two minutes) a shaded area for four hikers to comfortably eat lunch.
At it’s heaviest, the two-person Hubba Hubba weighs 3 lbs, 13 oz. At it’s lightest, 3 lbs, 7 oz. It’s a tent for the noncommittal ultralighters.
Some of the most notable places we have tested the Hubba Hubba include the Californian High Sierras, the Colorado Rockies, the Texas desert, and the always wet Pacific Northwest. In my experience, the Hubba Hubba thrives in a temperature range of 25-95 degrees F.
In rainy weather, the Hubba Hubba keeps users perfectly dry. The “StayDry™ doors” do in fact prevent dripping when the doors are open — but only in light, vertical rain. What is more valuable are the two incredibly wide vestibules accessible on both sides of the rainfly. And with its multiple kickstand ventilation points, a largely mesh canopy and two-door design means you will never build up internal humidity. On the extra hot days, the ability to create a cross breeze has been life-changing.
Compared to other tents of equal value, the Hubba Hubba has an impressive livable space. With almost 30 square feet of living space, I have never felt lacking in room. (Note: I’m 5′ 6″ and I only ever use this tent with my partner, who is 5′ 10″.) It’s a nice balance between a light weight and livable space.
Second to my desire to find a versatile tent was the need to find a lightweight but durable meshed-roof tent. Being able to stargaze from the warmth and comfort of my backcountry house was an important feature to me. The Hubba Hubba delivers here as well. The rainfly rolls up quickly and efficiently for epic stargazing.
Less of a deciding factor but an added bonus discovered later: you can totally fit a full-sized air mattress inside, which adds bonus comfort and function points for me.
Set Up & Take Down
Setting up the tent can take less than two minutes when two people are involved. I find the single hub pole system to be efficient and practical. Everything snaps quickly into place and I’ve always believed that it’s preferable to have a free-standing tent. Being able to place this tent pretty much any and everywhere makes for high ease of use in fair conditions.
You can set up just the canopy, just the rainfly or the rainfly and footprint. The process — which MSR explains in this video — is the same for all three set-ups. I’ve found the process of taking the tent down to be much faster than other tents without a single hub pole set. Just as quickly as everything snaps into place, it packs down as well.
Of all the things we love about the Hubba Hubba, durability is not one of them. The light weight comes at a sacrifice, which is why I own a Mountain Hardwear EV 2 for winter months and extreme conditions.
I have never, nor do I intend to ever sleep with just the canopy floor beneath me. We always pack a footprint because the ripstop nylon of the canopy seems too thin and fragile to endure pressure. For the same reason, I would be hesitant to invite any pets into the tent without extra protection against claw marks or punctures.
Wind & Stormy Conditions
The Hubba Hubba cannot handle any sort of high wind conditions.We have experienced maximum wind speeds of 10-12 mph without any problems or pole bending, but I wouldn’t take it much further than that. The poles are made of DAC aluminum, which is great for shedding weight but not so much for durability.
This is a three-season tent and nothing more. One of the biggest misfortunes in the design of the MSR Hubba Hubba is its lack of guylines and suspension points. The unified, single-hub pole system is great for convenience but a dangerous liability in stormy conditions. (That fact could have been somewhat forgivable had MSR created more ways to batten down the hatches in case of inclement weather.) For that reason, I avoid bringing it on trips where I will experience gnarly weather.
The Bottom Line
The MSR Hubba Hubba is a perfect two-person, three-season tent for those who want to do everything. It’s lightweight enough to carry for long backpacking trips but durable and spacious enough for those who like to be more comfortable when camping.
The best features are its versatility and adaptability. The set up process takes no time at all, thanks to the single-hubbed pole system. Even completely set up, the rainfly can roll up quickly for perfect stargazing opportunities. Even after years of use, I’ve never had problems with rain. If I ever did, I imagine the impressive ventilation system and mesh canvas would allow it to dry quickly.
The largest (and my only) complaint is the lack of guylines and fragility of the poles. The Hubba Hubba performs poorly in extreme, windy conditions.
Our verdict: This tent is best used for camping and shorter backpacking trips.