Mountain Safety Research’s flagship backpacking tent got some big durability updates for 2019. We tested it around the globe for nearly a year. Does the MSR Hubba Hubba NX still live up to its storied name?
The Hubba Hubba tent series was introduced all the way back in 2002. It’s been MSR’s best-selling tent since. It’s a freestanding, three-season, two-door, two-vestibule, lightweight backpacking tent. You can get it in one-, two-, three-, and four-person sizes.
The latest MSR Hubba Hubba NX ($450) has been on the market for just over a year now. I got an early sample of the two-person model just before it hit the market last year. As a result, I’ve been traveling around the country and globe with it since.
What’s New in the Hubba Hubba NX?
The big news for the latest version of the Hubba Hubba is big upgrades in durability. After 5 years of development with Easton, MSR has introduced the latest advanced composite tent poles.
Known as the Easton Syclone Poles, these new poles are super-strong, flexible, and lightweight. The Syclone Poles held up to some serious wind and travel abuse over the past year of use, and we’re impressed.
The second big upgrade is the MSR Xtreme Shield durable waterproof coating on the tent fly and floor. This new coating is said to last three times longer than standard waterproof coatings. It has held up and repelled weather flawlessly in our testing so far.
We have no reason to believe this new waterproofing system won’t hold up for years to come.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2P Specs
- 3-season use
- 2-person capacity
- 2 doors
- 2 vestibules
- 2 interior mesh pockets
- Easton Syclone poles
- Unified hub-and-pole system
- Min weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
- Packaged weight: 3 lbs. 14 oz.
- Packed size: 18″ x 6″
- Floor dimensions: 84″ x 50″
- Floor area: 29 sq. ft.
- Vestibule area: 17.5 sq. ft.
- Vestibule volume: 17 cu. ft.
- Interior peak height: 39″
- Fabrics: Rainfly is 20-denier ripstop nylon and 1,200mm Xtreme Shield polyurethane and silicone; canopy is 20-denier ripstop nylon and DWR; floor is 30-denier ripstop nylon, 3,000mm Xtreme Shield polyurethane and DWR, and 15-denier nylon micromesh
- Xtreme Shield waterproof coating
- MSRP: $450
MSR Hubba Hubba NX: What I Love
There are several things I truly love about the new MSR Hubba Hubba NX. The weather resistance, impressive stuff sack, great ventilation, quality zippers, big entry doors, and easy setup design are at the top of that list.
This tent is extremely good at dealing with a wide range of weather conditions. Most impressive to me is its composure in high winds and sideways rain.
I tested this tent in remote Patagonia in strong winds and driving rain. Even under those conditions inside this tent, I was still able to get impressive amounts of comfortable sleep.
The first thing about this tent that I truly fell in love with is its included stuff sack. I’ve never seen or used an easier tent storage solution. A drawcord on the large top side of the bag allows the bag to open super wide and makes packing super simple.
Once you’ve got all the tent in the bag, you just fold over the flap and cinch the cord. It’s extremely simple and easy! A huge benefit of this system is how clean and dry you can be after putting away a wet tent in the morning.
Ventilation is such a key to in-tent comfort — and it’s overlooked with some tents. The Hubba Hubba NX has you covered, however, with lots of mesh in the upper tent body and a cross-ventilating rainfly.
Kickstand vents at each end of the fly allow you to easily modulate the airflow through the tent while still doing a good job at keeping nasty weather out of the tent. Condensation mitigation and temperature control have never been easier.
Details matter and are many times overlooked to save money in production. MSR tends to go that extra mile to provide quality throughout products.
This really shows on the Hubba Hubba NX with its smooth YKK zippers throughout. I found that I could smoothly operate all the zippers on the tent with one hand and in the dark without an issue.
Entry/Exit & Gear Storage
The big design features matter as well. The oversized, easy-entry, D-shaped StayDry doors and large side-entry vestibules really make this tent super livable for two people.
Adding a second door and a second vestibule adds some weight. But I think that extra weight is worth it to keep a lot of gear out of the tent and still protected from the weather.
This design also makes it easy for both occupants to come and go from the tent as they please without disturbing the other person.
Setup & Breakdown
My final piece of real love for this tent is how easy and quick it is for one person to set up. The one-pole-to-pitch design, using a unified hub-and-pole system, makes assembly and breakdown a breeze.
A color-coded system to quickly and properly align the rainfly and tent body also helps make setup that much easier.
What Works in the Hubba Hubba NX
The Hubba Hubba is a tried and true design, and this latest generation carries on the legacy of a quality MSR tent. The keys to this tent’s success are that it’s relatively lightweight, packs relatively small, and has a good amount of interior room and some quality useful features.
Weight & Size
The Hubba Hubba NX two-person tent weighs in at only 3 pounds 14 ounces. The tent also packs down to about 18 x 6 inches, or about two Nalgenes in length (shown below).
Both of these numbers aren’t class leaders in this style of tent, but they’re super respectable, usable, and have worked great for my needs.
The usable space inside the tent is just enough to be comfortable for this style of lightweight backpacking tent. There’s ample headroom at 39 inches, and the pole design provides good elbow room and an overall roomy feel.
The floor of the tent is 7 feet long, which works well for my 6’3″ lanky body to stretch out. The 50-inch width of the tent can feel a bit snug if you don’t like to snuggle with your tentmate, but it has worked fine for my needs.
The light-gray rainfly cover blends in well in most environments and lets in a lot of natural light. The light entry is nice most of the time but isn’t great if you ever want to sleep in on a sunny morning.
The Hubba Hubba NX comes with nice features, like two mesh pockets and 10 lightweight, small, quality, anodized-aluminum stakes. The pockets are a good size for holding camp lights and socks but not a whole lot else. The stakes are built well but don’t hold all that well in soft ground.
What Isn’t Great
There are very few negatives I can point to on the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. The two little things I did find annoying were the unsealed tent fly seams and the finicky pole end caps.
In torrential rain, you really should seam seal the tent fly seams, as they’re not seam sealed from the factory. I didn’t realize this until I found the small “tent care” tag as I was pitching the tent for the first time.
That night turned out to be a very wet one! I will say, for not having sealed seams, the tent did amazing in the foul weather. Just small drips came through the seams, and most of that water just ran down the inside of the fly to the ground.
For very wet-weather camping, I would highly suggest sealing the seams. MSR recommends that you do so with Gear Aid Seam Grip + WP.
Pole End Caps
The only other issue I had with this tent was the end caps coming out of the poles. The end cap on the pole not only creates the attachment point for the pole to the tent body and fly but also retains the bungee inside the pole.
When this little piece comes out of the end of the pole, it can be a real pain to get it to go back into the pole correctly.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX Review
I’m not a huge backpacker, but I do require a small-packing, freestanding, lightweight tent quite often. This style of tent is perfect for adventure motorcycling, multiday whitewater kayaking trips, general international adventure travel, and even general overland adventures.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX met and exceeded my needs across the board. This tent is quick and easy to set up and break down, light and small enough to go on a wide range of adventures, and durable enough to last for years of rugged use.
I’m excited to keep using the Hubba Hubba NX for years to come on my adventures around the globe. If you don’t have the budget, space, or desire to have a quiver of tents in your gear storage, then the MSR Hubba Hubba NX might just be the perfect one-tent quiver for one- and two-person adventure travel.