Gear Review: MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent

image3

photo courtesy of Chris Maerki

written by Kelly Bauer

The Specs:

  • capacity: 2 person
  • fast & lightweight option with footprint: 2lb 10oz
  • minimum weight: 3lb 7oz
  • packed weight: 3lb 13oz *see note below
  • floor area: 29 sq. ft.
  • interior peak height: 39 in.
  • number of doors: 2
  • number of poles: 1
  • floor fabric: 30D ripstop nylon 3000mm Durashield™ polyurethane & DWR **see note below
  • rainfly fabric: 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield™™ polyurethane & silicone
  • canopy fabric: 20D ripstop nylon

 

The Hubba Hubba by MSR was first released in 2004 and for ten years was MSR’s best selling lightweight backpacking tent. Popularity was due to the weight and a one pole hub and swivel design. Ten years later, the Hubba Hubba underwent a major makeover and the Hubba Hubba NX was born, shaving off half a pound with all new fabrics, smaller zippers and still utilizing the one pole hub and swivel design to maximize space and livability. That year, the Hubba Hubba NX won Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year Award. The Hubba Hubba NX offers one of the best mixes of weight and livability.

hubbahubba1

Pole design for Hubba Hubba NX

Set Up:

  • Ease: The Hubba Hubba NX incorporates a central hub that all the poles are attached to. There are two legs at each end connected by a center spine and a spreader pole which creates more internal volume and headroom. This single-pole design also makes set-up simple and quick. Packing this tent is extremely quick due to the stuff sack design. Instead of a small opening at the top of the bag, there is a large opening on the long axis with a drawstring and compression straps to tighten everything down.
  • Fast & Light: With the additional footprint, the Hubba Hubba NX can be set up using its fast and lightweight option. Leave the tent at home and only pack the rain fly, poles, footprint and stakes. Why go fast and light? This is for the backpacker who wants to shave weight on a solo trip or doesn’t have to worry about bugs. The fast and light option also makes your tent an excellent sun shelter at your next trip to the coast or music festival. Alternatively, the fast pitch option can allow you to safely set-up up your tent in rainy conditions. I recently used the fast and light pitch option while on a backpacking trip in the Olympic National Park. The forecast called for a couple days of rain which did not hold us back. Using the fast pitch, I was able to set up the rainfly and footprint first then set up my tent completely dry underneath.

Livability:

  • The Hubba Hubba NX has two doors and two well-sized vestibules to avoid crawling over your tent partner and their gear for a middle of the night bathroom trip. Internal gear pockets give you space for a headlamp or a book. The ceiling is high enough to comfortably sit with your tent mate and enjoy a game of cards when the rain keeps you inside.

hubbahubba2

Durability:

  • The floor is made of a 30D ripstop nylon. I bought the additional footprint for more peace of mind and to increase where I’ll be able to safely set-up camp. This tent is built to be light. The sacrifice is that durability decreases as the weight is shed. Although I’d like to believe in the invincibility of my tent, I’ve ripped enough bivys and sleeping pads to know that I am rough on my gear. I know that the additional footprint is adding years to my tent.

I’ve only had the Hubba Hubba for a season but I’ve had my eye on it for a couple years. I wanted a two person tent that was light enough that I could also use it as a one person tent if I wanted more room than my Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy or my ENO hammock. The tent is small and light enough in size that I’ve even packed it in my saddle bags and bike-packed with it. Overall, I am more than satisfied with the Hubba a Hubba NX and recommend it for the backpacker that is looking to shave weight while still maintaining livability.

*Packed weight versus minimum/trail weight?? What the heck does that mean? The packed weight listed is exactly what you’re getting when you first open your tent. Depending on the brand and tent, this may include a patch kit, lights, extra guy lines, stake bags, etc.  Minimum weight or trail weight refers to what you need to set up your tent on the trail. This generally includes only the tent, fly and poles. Most likely, the weight you should expect to carry will be somewhere between the two because you will ditch the extras and upgrade things like stakes.

**20D fabric versus 30D fabric and 3000mm Durashield ?? What the heck does that mean? The “D” in 20D stands for denier, which is a measure of thread weight. The lower the number the lighter the thread. In contrast to the Hubba Hubba NX tent,  the Big River Dry Bag from Sea to Summit uses a 420D and the Osprey Atmos AG uses a 100D for the body and 420D for the bottom. Mountain Hardwear’s Optic 6 is a great car camping or family tent and in comparison to the Hubba Hubba NX, has a floor fabric of 70D Nylon. Why the difference? The 30D will be much lighter but also more fragile which is why I invested in the additional footprint. Durashield is a polyurethane coating added to the fabric to keep you dry. It is the coating,  not the fabric density that waterproofs the tent. The 3000mm coating refers to the amount of hydrostatic pressure the fabric can withstand, essentially the point at which the coating will no longer resist water. To test this the fabric is secured to the end of a tube and water is added to the tube until the coating’s resistance fails and water makes its way through. Despite the rain fly taking a majority of the rain, a tent floor will have a higher hydrostatic pressure rating than the rainfly because the weight of the people and gear is adding pressure to the fabric making it easier for water to seep through.

image2

photo courtesy of Chris Maerki

 

Comments are closed