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MSR Habitude 4 Review

An ultra high-quality 4-person tent that makes great use of space
MSR Habitude 4
Photo: MSR
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $500 List | $499.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Quality materials, great height, perfectly sized vestibule
Cons:  Hubebd poles, single door, awkward bag
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Rob Gaedtke ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 4, 2021
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Space and Comfort - 35% 8
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Family Friendliness - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The MSR Habitude 4 features a sturdy structure, just enough height for most 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. A pet peeve, but they also used way too much plastic in their packaging and went with a good-looking but not very functional bag. However, at the end of the day, the Habitude beat out all of the other 4-person tents in our lineup.

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 $499.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$643 List$449.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$469.00 at REI$270 List
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Pros Quality materials, great height, perfectly sized vestibuleMassive interior, great construction, easy to pitchSpacious, great layout, durable, very family friendly, high valueHuge doors and large vestibule, lots of pockets, highly weather resistantSpacious, easy to pitch, great views, inexpensive
Cons Hubebd poles, single door, awkward bagExpensive, odd ceiling pocketsNot the easiest to pitch, only one door, odd bagRuns 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 spaceThe best balance of size, quality, style, and ease of use we've foundThis tent has one of the best uses of space we have ever seen, a great choice for families or campers with lots of gearAn 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 Marmot Halo 6 The North Face Wawo... 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
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Family Friendliness (10%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Specs MSR Habitude 4 Marmot Halo 6 The North Face Wawo... REI Co-op Base Camp 6 Kelty Wireless 6
Weight 12 lbs 21.0 lbs 21.9 lbs 20.625 lbs 17.2 lbs
Max Inside Height 6' 1" 6' 4" 6' 6" 6' 2" 6' 4"
Floor Dimensions 7'11" x 7'11" 9'10" x 9'10" 10' x 8'6" 9'2" x 9'2" 9'10" x 8'10"
Floor Area 62.4 sq ft 96.7 sq ft 85 sq ft 84 sq ft 86.9 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-4 season 3-season
Windows 2 Mesh top 2 Mesh top Mesh top
Pockets 7 8 6 14 6
Number of Doors 1 2 3 2 2
Room Divider No No Yes No No
Vestibules 1 2 2 2 2
Vestibule Area 23.5sq ft 32 sq ft 44.7 sq ft; 21 sq ft 40 sq ft 28 sq ft
Packed Size 23" x 9" x 9" 25" x 14" 9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5" 11" x 24" 27" x 8" x 8"
Floor Materials DWR 68D polyester taffeta 70D nylon 75D polyester Polyester 68D poly 1800mm
Main Tent Materials 68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU 40D polyester No-See-Um mesh, 68D polyester ripstop 150D polyester taffeta Polyester 68D poly 1200mm, 40D No-see-um mesh
Rainfly Materials 68D polyester ripstop, DWR, PU 68D polyester ripstop 68D polyester Polyester 68D poly 1200mm
Number of Poles 3 hubbed 4 4 5 3
Pole Material 7000-series aluminum Aluminum 14 mm aluminum Aluminum Fiberglass
Extras Porch Light Vented fly and color-coded poles Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop 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 super 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. Seven sound 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


A very spacious and tall 4-person tent. Fitting a twin air mattress...
A very spacious and tall 4-person tent. Fitting a twin air mattress and individual pad left room to spare.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Space and Comfort


This category 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 and frankly feels bigger than its 62.4 sq ft footprint. When the fly is on and all zipped up, the 23.5 sq ft vestibule adds to the spacious feeling.


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 enough just to open the top zipper and squeeze through the side without unzipping the bottom. And, this 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. 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.

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.
Photo: 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. Sound 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 all 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.


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 both hot and cold weather. The added angle, thanks to the guylines, also helps keep the rain rolling off and away from the 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
Photo: 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. Also, the bag, while plenty big enough, is an odd floppy setup with a fancy neoprene handle on the side that feels 10x stronger than the bag it is attached to.

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
Photo: 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.

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
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Durability


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. A 68D polyester ripstop was used on the fly, and the stakes are also super light and strong.


There are, however, three 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. The second is the bag. The design mirrors that of a rope bag more than a tent bag, with a huge opening that is cinched closed with a small, stretchy cord and a handle that is noticeably higher quality than the bag it is stitched to. And finally, the plastic hubs. These feel like an unnecessary weak point in an otherwise bomber tent.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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 for 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.


The porch light also falls into the family friendliness category 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 doesn'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 right up.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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

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.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Value


When you consider the quality and lightweight materials used, the larger than normal 4-person footprint, and the stylish design, the higher price point for this tent seems fair. Let’s just say you get what you pay for here.

Conclusion


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 that is 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, wasteful plastic packaging, a light without a battery, and of course, the single entry point. But overall, the pros of the Habitude far outweigh the cons.

The rainfly has the perfect clearance to allow for maximum airflow.
The rainfly has the perfect clearance to allow for maximum airflow.
Photo: Rob Gaedtke

Rob Gaedtke