As an outdoor enthusiast and admitted gear nerd, I tend to have at least a few different versions of every type of gear: there’s the fancy option, the cheaper alternative, and usually at least one in between. But ever since I sold my REI Quarter Dome circa 2013, I’ve been lacking a Goldilocks tent. My options for the last several years have been a Zpacks Hexamid Solo (14.7 oz, $599 with bathtub groundsheet, definitely in the “fancy” category) or a budget-friendly Alps Mountaineering 2-person Zephyr (5 lbs 11 oz, $199).
The Hexamid is amazing when I’m flying solo and covering big/fast miles, but I can’t take it when I’m backpacking with my partner. The Zephyr was a terrific shelter when I lived and worked outside, but it is very heavy and clunky for backpacking trips. So I was tickled to have an opportunity to test something in between: the MSR Hubba Hubba 2-Person Backpacking Tent.
MSR Hubba Hubba 2 At-A-Glance
Minimum Trail Weight: 2 lbs 14 oz
Packed Weight: 3 lbs 4 oz
Interior Peak Height: 40 in
Number of Doors: 2
Materials: 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm DuraSheild™, polyurethane & silicone (rainfly); 20D ripstop nylon & DWR, 10D polyester micro-mesh (canopy); 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm DuraSheild™, polyurethane & DWR (floor)
The Hubba Hubba 2 is designed for three-season backpacking in all conditions. It can comfortably sleep one or two people.
Circumstances of Review
I tested the Hubba Hubba on multiple High Country backpacking trips in western North Carolina throughout the summer and into early fall. Conditions ranged from warm and sunny to very cold and wet.
Per MSR, the Hubba Hubba has the following features:
- “Easton Syclone Poles: Advanced aerospace composite materials make poles virtually indestructible in challenging and windy conditions.”
- “Full-Featured Rainfly: Two large StayDry doors with built-in rain gutters and kickstand vents for extra ventilation.”
- “Tech-Friendly Pockets: Cable ports on all pockets for easy cord management.”
- “Durable Details: Reinforced patches, stitching at guy points and locking anodized stake loop grommets for extra strength.”
MSR Hubba Hubba 2 Pros
Easy Set-Up and Take-Down
The name Hubba Hubba comes from the fact that the tent poles have two multi-way “hubs.” You can see one of the hubs in the photo below; it looks like a small triangle, serving as the connection point between the long part of the pole that runs lengthwise over the tent and the two parts of the pole that meet the ground. It’s like that on the other side, too. This is actually all one pole! There’s also a small, separate pole running horizontally over the tent.
This creative “hub” design provides excellent structural integrity without requiring a bunch of poles (and, thus, weight). The symmetrical design also makes setup fast, intuitive, and easy to do solo or with another person. Clips on the tent canopy easily fasten over the poles, and the rain fly easily clips into the poles over the tent body.
Have you ever been camping with a tent that doesn’t have big vestibules? I have. And let me tell you, I will never do it again. The Hubba Hubba has two generous vestibules that provide ample space to put your shoes on and store your gear safe from the elements.
The vestibule-door combo is also great because it’s easy to lie in the tent and look out at the horizon. Whether you want to enjoy the sunset from the comfort of your sleeping bag or see whatever you can see on a cozy morning in your tent, the Hubba Hubba provides great views. It’s The rain fly door also wraps up very nicely with no drag and no loose ends.
I have to admit that I may not have the most accurate lens through which to evaluate spaciousness, as I am a fairly small person. But I can say that I’ve slept in a lot of different two-person tents, and I certainly have had cramped experiences, even as a small person. So I can confidently say that the Hubba Hubba feels plenty spacious. My partner and I slept very comfortably and still had space at our feet for miscellaneous stuff we didn’t want in the vestibules. The rectangular floor really does its job.
Nice Details and Great Ventilation
Overall, I think the details on the Hubba Hubba are well-designed and well-positioned. The overhead gear loft pockets on the canopy are big enough, but not so big that they droop and make it hard to quickly grab things. The doors have highly effective built-in rain gutters and kickstand vents for extra airflow when you’re all sealed up.
I never got a chance to sleep in the Hubba Hubba without the rainfly due to extreme humidity, even when I had nice weather. But I do think the stargazing mesh would make for great stargazing.
The outdoor gear industry has the potential to make a big impact on responsible stewardship. So, as always, I checked out where MSR stands on social and environmental responsibility. MSR is a founding member of the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group, and they are expressly committed to minimizing the social and environmental impact of their products. You can read about this in their Manufacturing and Social Responsibility Report.
MSR Hubba Hubba 2 Cons
Footprint Sold Separately
Honestly, the only thing that I wasn’t thrilled about was the fact that you have to purchase a footprint separately. I know this isn’t uncommon, but I don’t really understand it. Technically, no, I don’t need a footprint for the tent to work. But it’s a good idea to use one to ensure maximum durability of your gear. Using a footprint can also reduce condensation—which, in my neck of the woods, is critical. I think selling footprints separately is actually a deterrent from buying one for a lot of people, and I wish MSR—and a lot of other companies as well—would just include it in the whole package.
Overall I think the MSR Hubba Hubba 2 is a terrific investment. It’s simple and efficient, reasonably lightweight, and quick to pitch in bad weather. So far, I haven’t had any issues with durability. If you’re in the market for a high-quality, freestanding tent for three-season backpacking, the Hubba Hubba will be worth your dollars.
Weight: 4 lbs 2 oz
Weight: 4 lbs 11.5 oz
The MSR Hubba Hubba 2 tent was donated for purpose of review.
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