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MSR Hoop Review

   

Backpacking Tents

  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: November 24, 2013
Street Price:   $399
Pros:  Best tent for people over 6' 2" tall; mostly solid nylon walls block spindrift, add privacy, and insulate; large interior space and large vestibules.
Cons:  Large steep walls catch wind easily, weak pole design, only two guy points, only two small vents.
Best Uses:  Car camping, base camping, luxurious backpacking.
User Rating:     
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 (4.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   MSR
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 30, 2012  
Overview
The MSR Hoop is a larger modular version of the company’s Hubba Hubba. It adds more interior and vestibule space, has mostly solid nylon walls that block spindrift, and weighs a hefty 5 lb. 3 oz. The Hoop competes most directly with the Nemo Losi, REI Half Dome 2, and North Face Minibus in that it’s best for car camping but can be used for occasional or luxurious backpacking.

See how the Hoop compares to other tents tested in our Best Backpacking Tent Review.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Livability
Some say the Hoop’s inner tent feels and looks like an air traffic control tower. Others say it’s more like a submarine surfacing from the dark depths of the ocean. Solid nylon panels extend high up the walls and leave a thin mesh strip for ventilation and for spying on the outside world. The roof is also solid nylon. The tent is designed such that spindrift doesn’t enter the inner tent, which is boxy in shape and provide a wonderful amount of space for hanging out. Our testers also found the Hoop’s solid walls to be useful for camping in busy campgrounds because they add privacy and block light when used without the fly. This is a great feature that only three of the 24 tents tested have.

This is the best tent we’ve tested for tall people; it measures a wholesome 96 inches long and the vertical end walls maximize space at the ends. Unlike many lighter tents that have low angle walls, the Hoop gives you full use of every one of its 32-square-foot interior. Two vestibules total 19 square feet and provide more than enough covered space for shoes and a pack.

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Gorgeous views from the MSR Hoop. The inner tent is all solid nylon except for a thin strip of mesh. Note the pocket in the roof.
Credit: Max Neale
Weather Resistance
The Hoop scores points for its mostly solid mesh walls and loses points for its large surface area and steep walls that catch wind like a sail. Even with the two optional end poles, the tent is not strong. The single primary pole provides minimal support and almost no structure for guying the tent out. There are only two mid panel guypoints! MSR’s Hubba Hubba and Carbon Reflex 2 suffer from the same problem. The company aims for a “three-season plus” tent with the Hoop. We believe it’s suitable for very light duty winter use – camping in protected areas with minimal risk of snow loading. The only advantage it adds over other similar tents is the solid walls. Tents that have two primary poles, such as the Nemo Losi, allow for four or more guy points and are considerably stronger. Two small vents help to compensate for doors that don’t vent. More ventilation would be beneficial. Two pockets lie on opposite sides and two roof pockets provide more than adequate small item storage space.

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MSR Hoop: the main pole supports two shorter top poles that make the walls steeper (adding interior space). Two removable end poles increase strength slightly and make it easier to pitch smaller rocky sites like the one here.
Credit: Max Neale
Weight and Packed Size
With stakes the Hoop weighs a substantial 83 ounces, or 5 lb 3 oz. Leaving the end poles at home saves 7 oz. Compared to the average tent tested here it does not pack small. The lightest double wall tent tested here weighs 50 ounces less.

Adaptability
The Hoop receives a zero here (the highest score is 3) because it must be pitched in the exact same way every time, which can be a drawback for long distance hikers or anyone forced to camp in sites that don’t allow an optimal pitch. The large inner tent and vestibules make big campsites mandatory.

Best Application
Luxurious backpacking, remote basecamps, car camping.

Value
The Hoop is a well-designed and constructed tent that competes with the $180 REI Half Dome 2. Sometimes the Hoop can be found for around $250, in which case it's a reasonable deal. We plot retail prices and our scores for each tent in a Price versus Value Chart.

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MSR Hoop as seen from the top of the Incredible Hulk (11,420). The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 and Black Diamond Firstlight are also visible (can you find them?).
Credit: Max Neale

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 24, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Nov 24, 2013 - 08:19pm
The Call Of K2 Lou · Climber · Squamish, BC
I bought this tent mainly because I'm 6'4". No more feet pushing on the end of the tent. Yay! It was also on sale. Momma'll be so proud of her boy for that!

The interior is quite roomy- the twin cross-poles and steep walls mean plenty of space for sitting upright. The walls are solid to about 2/3rds height, and mesh above. On one particularly damp trip this past fall, we put up a tarp and ditched the fly. This provided excellent ventilation while still affording some privacy. The walls have also allowed us to really push the three-season rating of the tent, so long as snow's not in the forecast. The design is certainly not the strongest, but it's still no slouch. Gusty Squamish winds have done no damage, and the stereotypical Pacific Northwest rain showers have stayed outside where they belong. Pitching this tent is a cinch. (Contrary to the OGL review, the Hoop can be "fast-pitched"- albeit with the purchase of the footprint.)

I suppose that, compared to many of the tents in the review, the Hoop is a bit "heavy". But it's still only five lbs.- half the weight of my winter tent (Mountain Hardwear Trango 2) and only two lbs. more than the lightweights. One kilo is hardly a weight penalty, especially considering the comfort gained.

For my purposes, the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks. Anyone tent-shopping with similar requirements would be wise to take a long look at the Hoop.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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MSR Hoop
Credit: MSR
Related Best-in-Class Review
The Best Backpacking Tent Review

The Best Backpacking Tent Review

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