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MSR Habitude 4 Review

An ultra high-quality 4-person tent that makes great use of space with quality components
MSR Habitude 4
Credit: MSR
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $560 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Quality materials, great height, perfectly sized vestibule
Cons:  Hubebd poles, single door, awkward bag
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Rob Gaedtke ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 19, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 14
  • Space and Comfort - 35% 8.0
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 9.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.0
  • Family Friendliness - 15% 7.0
  • Quality - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The MSR Habitude 4 features a sturdy structure, just enough height for most people to stand in, and a well-sized vestibule. It's the perfect pick for smaller families looking for an upgrade in quality and uniqueness. Weighing in at only 12 pounds, it is easy to see why this tent is a great pick for adventures. Unfortunately, there is only a single door, no battery for the porch light, and not one but three hubbed poles. The storage bag is styled after a climbing rope bag and may not be intuitive for some at first. Small criticisms aside, the Habitude easily beat out all of the other 4-person tents in our lineup.

Editor's Note: We updated this review for the MSR Habitude 4 on April 19, 2022, with more information about the value and a direct comparison to other similar products.

Compare to Similar Products

 
MSR Habitude 4
This Product
MSR Habitude 4
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$445.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$699 List$549 List
$384.29 at REI
$202.46 at Amazon
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Pros Quality materials, great height, perfectly sized vestibuleSpacious, great layout, durable, very family friendly, high valueMassive floorspace, 22 pockets, tall ceiling, room divider, awning capableHuge doors and large vestibule, lots of pockets, highly weather resistantSpacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensive
Cons Hubebd poles, single door, awkward bagNot the easiest to pitch, only one door, odd bagSmall vestibule, longer pitch time, awning poles not includedRuns warm, views are a bit more restrictedFiberglass poles, small pockets, lack of ventilation with the rainfly on
Bottom Line An ultra high-quality 4-person tent that makes great use of space with quality componentsThis tent has one of the best uses of space we have ever seen, a great choice for families or campers with lots of gearIf you are looking for a high-quality, family friendly 8-person tent, look no furtherAn excellent mountaineering-inspired tent that is ready for both inclement weather and summer funWherever this tent falls short in quality, it makes up for it in size, features, and overall value
Rating Categories MSR Habitude 4 The North Face Wawo... Marmot Limestone 8 REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Kelty Wireless 6
Space and Comfort (35%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Weather Resistance (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Family Friendliness (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Quality (10%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs MSR Habitude 4 The North Face Wawo... Marmot Limestone 8 REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Kelty Wireless 6
Weight 12 lbs 21.9 lbs 21.2 lbs 20.6 lbs 17.2 lbs
Max Inside Height 6' 1" 6' 6" 6' 5" 6' 2" 6' 4"
Floor Dimensions 7' 11" x 7' 11" 10' x 8' 6" 8' 4" x 15' 7" 9' 2" x 9' 2" 9' 10" x 8' 10"
Floor Area 62.4 sq ft 85 sq ft 130.2 sq ft 84 sq ft 86.9 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-4 season 3-season
Windows 2 2 Mesh top Mesh top Mesh top
Pockets 7 6 22 14 6
Number of Doors 1 3 2 2 2
Room Divider No Yes Yes No No
Vestibules 1 2 2 2 2
Vestibule Area (total) 23.5 sq ft 44.7 sq ft 32 sq ft 40 sq ft 28 sq ft
Packed Size 23" x 9" x 9" 9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5" 28.3" x 16.6" x 11.7" 11" x 24" 27" x 8" x 8"
Floor Materials DWR 68D polyester taffeta 150D polyester 150D PU coated nylon Polyester 68D poly 1800mm
Main Tent Materials 68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU 150D polyester 40D polyester no-see-um mesh Polyester 68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh
Rainfly Materials 68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU 75D polyester 68D PU coated polyester Polyester 68D poly 1200mm
Number of Poles 3 hubbed 4 5 5 3
Pole Material 7000-series aluminum 14 mm aluminum DAC DA17 aluminum 14.5mm Aluminum Fiberglass
Extras Porch Light Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop Room separator 4-Season Pole pockets for easy setup

Our Analysis and Test Results

The MSR Habitude 4 can be fully set up in 9 minutes, a bit long for a 4-person tent. Three hubbed poles — two small and one large — make up the main structure, forcing two poles to connect on each corner. While not overly complicated, setting this tent up isn’t intuitive and comes with a few head-scratchers. That said, the extra strength, extra height, and extra width the poles provide are well worth the added trouble. Once setup is complete, you will find many great features packed into this tent. There are seven good pockets for storage, tons of height for easy changing and stretching, and a great little porch light to help when nature calls in the middle of the night. The rainfly is perfectly sized, allowing for maximum coverage yet superior airflow from under the vestibule and on all three sides of the tent. There's only one door, and it requires two different sides to be zipped independently; while not the end of the world, it is an added step that will inevitably be left open for bugs to venture in.

Performance Comparison


MSR Habitude 4 camping tent - the msr habitude is a very spacious and tall 4-person tent. fitting...
The MSR Habitude is a very spacious and tall 4-person tent. Fitting a twin air mattress and individual pad left room to spare.
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Space and Comfort


This metric is all about how well the tent works for you and your crew. While having a smaller footprint than all of our 6-person tents, the Habitude 4 is still very roomy.


Frankly, it feels bigger than its 62.4 sq ft footprint. The 23.5 sq ft vestibule adds to the spacious feeling when the fly is on, and all zipped up.


Comfort was lost a little with the single door and two-part zipper system. If you don't want to mess with unzipping both parts, it is easy to open the top zipper and squeeze through the side without unzipping the bottom.


But this small critique is easily overlooked when you are laying on a twin air mattress, looking out into nature, catching an easy breeze under the well-ventilated rainfly. When you stand up, there is plenty of headroom with a ceiling height of 6' 1".


Overall, the Habitude 4 scores among the top in both space and comfort, and while not a scoring factor, this tent’s shape, colors, and size look pretty darn good.

MSR Habitude 4 camping tent - happy campers looking out at happy dogs. a great view thanks to the...
Happy campers looking out at happy dogs. A great view thanks to the large vestibule door on the Habitude 4.
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Weather Resistance


MSR used a fairly wind-friendly shape — it is a little broad, so you might want to place the vestibule into the wind. Sturdy materials and quality craftsmanship went into the build of the Habitude 4.


The walls, rainfly, and mesh are all very high-end materials with every seam-sealed and held together with strong aluminum poles. While not overly critical to the tent's strength, the guylines have little aluminum lighteners that are super slick and light.

MSR Habitude 4 camping tent - perfectly placed guylines (with really nice aluminum lockers) help...
Perfectly placed guylines (with really nice aluminum lockers) help this tent breathe like Egyptian cotton
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Airflow is another element MSR nailed on the Habitude 4. While not as open as several other tents in our lineup, there is still ample airflow and visibility with the rainfly off. And with the rainfly on, two vents and a 6-inch gap around the entire rainfly with guylines to pull it away from the main body allow the tent to breathe in hot and cold weather. Thanks to the guylines, the added angle also helps keep the rain rolling off and away from the tent.

MSR Habitude 4 camping tent - the rainfly has the perfect clearance to allow for maximum airflow.
The rainfly has the perfect clearance to allow for maximum airflow.
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Ease of Use


Setup and teardown were much longer than expected for a 4-person tent, thanks to the lack of color coating on the six poles and three hub setup. But outside of that, pitching the Habitude is pretty simple.


The pole inserts did get to be a bit of a cluster. Having two poles and a rainfly connection at every corner made for a tight fit that rubs and scratches — something to consider for those who like to keep their gear pristine.
MSR Habitude 4 camping tent - a team of two setting up the first of three hubbed poles. while not...
A team of two setting up the first of three hubbed poles. While not overly complicated, it is still time consuming
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Weighing in at only 12 pounds, the Habitude 4 is one of the lightest tents in our lineup. With such high-quality light material, it is clear why this tent is a great choice for activities that have weight and size restrictions.


The design of the storage bag mirrors that of a rope bag, with a huge opening that is cinched closed with a small, stretchy cord. This setup will be familiar to rock climbers but may be foreign to those used to a classic tent bag.

MSR Habitude 4 camping tent - arial view of the habitude 4, showing off the great shape and...
Arial view of the Habitude 4, showing off the great shape and stylish design
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Family Friendliness


Weight, durability, and size are all top of the pack for this 4-person tent. The unique shape of the Habitude gives it a roomy vibe for a 4-person tent with great height for changing and stretching. The walls are mostly covered, allowing privacy to change and not be seen while sitting down.


However, don’t plan on fitting four air mattresses in here. A twin and two sleeping pads will get the family off the hard ground with a little extra wiggle room for gear. The extra room in the vestibule also helps make the smaller inside stay open and clean, and seven pockets help keep things organized.


The porch light also falls into the family friendliness metric and is a novel feature that is surprisingly handy for a toddler heading to the bathroom or a groggy father who can’t find his headlamp. The light didn't seem to be the best quality and didn't come with the required two CR2032 batteries, but a few bucks and a quick trip to the store fixes that.

The porch light was a smart and useful addition for easy visibility...
The porch light was a smart and useful addition for easy visibility and quick late night calls
The quality of this light is still TBD, we recommend you keep a...
The quality of this light is still TBD, we recommend you keep a backup handy
Batteries are not included. If you purchase this tent, toss two...
Batteries are not included. If you purchase this tent, toss two CR2032 into your cart at the same time.

While the Habitude 4 is not in our top rankings for family-friendly, the tent can still house two adults, two kids, and a furry friend.

MSR Habitude 4 camping tent - just enough mesh to enjoy the stars at night, while still keeping...
Just enough mesh to enjoy the stars at night, while still keeping you warm and private.
Credit: Rob Gaedtke

Quality


MSR is well known for its quality. They have a reputation for making well-made products using high-end materials, and the Habitude 4 is no different. From the 7000-series aluminum poles to the string used for the guylines, almost everything about this tent screams durability. The walls are made of DWR 68D polyester taffeta on the floor and sides and 40D nylon micro-mesh for the open areas. Designers used a 68D polyester ripstop on the fly, and the stakes are also super light and strong.


There are, however, two exceptions. The first is where the poles attach to the tent. The side-by-side nature ensures that the poles will rub against each other every time the tent moves. And secondly, the plastic hubs. These feel like an unnecessary weak point in an otherwise bomber tent.

Fitting two poles and a rainfly attachment into a single corner...
Fitting two poles and a rainfly attachment into a single corner makes for a bit of a cluster
The three hub setup. While not ideal, the design was surprisingly...
The three hub setup. While not ideal, the design was surprisingly easier than most other tents with hub systems.

Should You Buy the MSR Habitude 4?


The MSR Habitude 4 is the best 4-person tent in our lineup. It has all of the features you would expect from a name brand like MSR and touts a total usable footprint larger than any other 4-person option in our lineup. Some bonus features like a porch light, large vestibule, great ventilation, and a 6'1" ceiling height helps make the price point easier to swallow. A few nitpicky flaws include the two zipper door opening, a light without a battery, and of course, the single entry point. But overall, the pros of the Habitude far outweigh the cons.

What Other Camping Tents Should You Consider?


Considering the quality and lightweight materials used, the larger than normal 4-person footprint, and the stylish design, the higher price point for the MSR Habitude 4 seems fair. If you decide you need the extra space, it's worth upgrading to the award-winning Marmot Halo 6. On the other hand, if this price tag is tough to swallow, the The North Face Sequoia 4 presents a fantastic value for a 4-person tent.

Rob Gaedtke
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