MSR Hubba Hubba NX Review
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
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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.
Though it doesn't 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. A couple of design choices detract from those same metrics.
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 exceptional. We found that the two side doors are easier to zip and unzip than the typical tent.
The Hubba Hubba NX 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.
We aren't 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 shovel stakes that come with many Big Agnes tents.
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).
We think that the MSR Hubba Hubba NX offers good value if you prioritize a balance between weight and durability. It's in a high-end bracket, and its performance doesn't quite match its price point, but we have reason to believe that it will stand the test of time.
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 models.
— Ben Applebaum-Bauch