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MSR Hubba Hubba NX Review

A comfortable, reliable tent with just a few features that keep it from the top tier.
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Price:  $450 List | $449.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Weather resistant material, more durable than it looks, lots of space at peak height
Cons:  Expensive, small fly doors, challenging to set up rain fly
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 14, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 20
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Packed Size - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a solid and comfortable tent with a decent amount of headroom. In many ways though, this model has features that take it one step forward, only to be undone by others that take it back. It has excellent durability and solid waterproofing, but its fly geometry often leaves it flapping in the wind and unsealed seams mean that it is not as effective as it could be in awful weather (unless you are willing to take the time to seal them). The tent itself is easy to set up, but the fly is somehow more complicated than it initially appears. The tent doors are very easy to open and close with one hand, but the corresponding fly doors are a little too small. And the list goes on.

At $450, it's a significant investment that gets you a slightly above-average tent. Unlike a lot of other contenders that, for better or worse, tend to have features of consistent quality, this tent has a considerable distance between the good and the not-so-good; some really nice ones set it apart, and some others that pull it back down to earth.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

We were thrilled to take out the Hubba Hubba NX for some nights under the stars. It kept us comfortable in some admittedly unseasonably warm weather. It performs well overall, but never truly managed to get us excited about using it.

Performance Comparison


This tent served us well  but didn't offer up a whole lot to get really excited about.
This tent served us well, but didn't offer up a whole lot to get really excited about.

The metrics don't offer a complete picture of this tent. Though it doesn't naturally excel in any one area, it does provide a comfortable night's sleep and reliable durability. Its weight and packed size hover right in the middle of the pack, while its materials boost its weather resistance and durability, while a couple of design choices detract from those same metrics.

Comfort


The Hubba Hubba NX makes the most of its dimensions. It feels both longer and wider than its 84"x50" interior floor space would suggest. We suspect that this is due to the uniform peak height that stretches from door to door, making it pretty spacious. It is comfortable for two people to sit up at the same time with enough head clearance along the sides and top. With that, MSR achieves some pretty special volume maximization, given that the 39" peak height is not really exceptional. We found that the two side doors are easier to zip and unzip than the typical tent.

Space to sit up with room to spare.
Space to sit up with room to spare.

The Hubba Hubba comes equipped with four total pockets; two large ones at the head and foot ends that could each hold a journal and an article of clothing (like a hiking shirt), and two very tiny ones at the apex of the doors, meant for items like a headlamp, gloves or a pair of socks.

There are two relatively large pockets at each end of the tent.
There are two relatively large pockets at each end of the tent.

We aren't totally sure what to make of the canopy fabric pattern. We like the high privacy panels on the sides, but the relatively low triangles of see-through mesh at the head and foot sort of negates that benefit. Similarly, any possible panoramic sky view is obstructed by the white diamond of fabric right at the top.

The white fabric obscures skyward views (smaller pockets are visible on the right and left sides of the tent).
The white fabric obscures skyward views (smaller pockets are visible on the right and left sides of the tent).

Ease of Set-Up


The tent itself is easier to set up than the average model, but the fly is a little more difficult. The Hubba Hubba NX has a somewhat atypical pole structure. If you are on your own, there is less wrestling with the poles to get them all in place; they stay in the corner grommets more easily than a tent with an A-frame or X-frame configuration. We also really like the tensioner strap at each corner, which makes it easy to get the tent just a little tauter without having to re-stake it.

The red strap at the bottom is a nice feature that allows you to make adjustments to the taughtness after the tent has been pitched.
The red strap at the bottom is a nice feature that allows you to make adjustments to the taughtness after the tent has been pitched.

We found the fly to be confusing. Maybe it is just us, but the two-tone red and gray kept throwing us off. Even with all of the usual visual reference points (door zippers, vents at each end, logos, etc.), it took a little more time than usual to fasten it down correctly. That could be a real bummer if you are trying to beat the clock on a thunderstorm.

Weather Resistance


As with most of the other metrics, this tent could have been great if not for that one thing. In this case, it's the vestibule geometry. It is more challenging than it needs to be to get the vestibule taut. MSR's Xtreme Shield coating is a marketing tactic for sure, but we were impressed by it. We tried pitching the tent on some very saturated soil; the bottom got filthy, but despite crawling around on our hands and knees, the inside floor stayed completely dry. One word of caution is that many of MSR's newest tents, including the Hubba Hubba NX are not seam sealed in the traditional sense (instead they have "precision-stitched" seams). Whatever you call it, if you are going to be out in the rain for a long time, we would recommend taking the time to apply some sealant to those high-tension areas.

The floor kept us dry  even when we pitched the tent on some decent mud.
The floor kept us dry, even when we pitched the tent on some decent mud.

In terms of wind resistance, the composite material poles are impressively flexible. Each pole segment is very rigid, even a little brittle-feeling, however, the pole skeleton as a whole maintains a flexible but stable form in storms.

Durability


This tent isn't the most durable overall, but it offers great durability relative to its weight and what we would expect from similar materials. In addition to wind resistance, the flexible composite poles also seem less likely to snap during setup (which is, in our experience, the time when poles most commonly fail).


The 30D floor is an excellent balance between sturdiness and weight. The only issue that we actually experienced was with the stakes. The slender needle structure meant that our efforts to drive a couple into some substantial ground with the assistance of a rock got them bent out of shape much faster than stakes with a more blunt-force-resistant structure such as the J-stakes that come with many Big Agnes tents.

They aren't the most sturdy stakes  but this model comes with enough of them for the tent  the fly  and the guyouts.
They aren't the most sturdy stakes, but this model comes with enough of them for the tent, the fly, and the guyouts.

Weight and Packed Size


The Hubba Hubba NX weighs in at a respectable 4 pounds even (though slightly heavier than its advertised 3 pounds, 14 ounces) and packs down to an 18"x6" roll. It's a relatively minor thing, but our testers are not fans of the front-packing tent bag. If you want to actually use it on trail, this design requires you to roll up the tent each time as opposed to stuffing it (it's much better to roll for long-term storage, but sometimes it's just nice not to think too hard about how to pack up a shelter on trail early in the morning).

Best Application


This tent is best for backcountry overnight adventures up to about a week. We certainly wouldn't hesitate to take it car camping as well, but if that is going to be its primary use, there are roomier, less expensive options like the REI Half Dome 2 Plus. Split between two people, this shelter offers a reasonable load relative to the amount of interior space it provides. The extra headroom makes it a good choice for those with a longer torso.

We would take this model on weekend or week-long backcountry adventures.
We would take this model on weekend or week-long backcountry adventures.

Value


We think that the MSR Hubba Hubba NX offers a good value if prioritize a balance between weight and durability. At $450, it is priced in the high-end bracket, just slightly less expensive than the NEMO Hornet Elite, and just as much as the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2. Its performance doesn't quite match its price point, but we have reason to believe that it will stand the test of time.

Conclusion


The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a solid backpacking tent, but also seems to get in its own way. Its materials are above average; we are pleasantly surprised by the headroom and love the ripstop nylon fly and floor that live up to the trademarked Xtreme Shield marketing. However, we found the fly to be problematic in a couple of ways, and there are a variety of minor inconveniences that add up. We would take it on short and mid-range adventures where distance is not the primary objective and pack weight is not a major concern. On the other hand, we would rather spend our dollars on higher performing Big Agnes or NEMO models.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch