Between its lightweight packability, ease of set up and roominess when erected, we can hardly think of a better place to recover from a day on the trail or wait out a storm
Ultralight and packable
Front loading compression sack
Quick and easy to set up
Illustrated instructions on stuff sack
Loads of room for two campers and gear
Dual entryway and vestibule
Well ventilated with mesh upper
Comes with plenty of tent stakes
Four storage pockets
Rainfly is confusing to set up initially
Tent stakes are tricky to pull out
Not for winter camping
On the pricier end
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MSR Hubba Hubba NX two-person backpacking tent: first impressions
This ultralight two-person tent from the long-running Hubba Hubba series from NSR and in almost every way, it’s a backpacker’s dream. Though it easily sleeps two, its weight and pack size are comparable to a lot of one-person tents. It arrives in a front loading compression sack with pull handle and illustrated instructions for set up. Once you pull it out of the sack, you can have the inner tent set up in well under two minutes. Rather than two poles, it comes with single pole system that clips to the outside of the tent and because the poles stay in the grommets, you can set this up by yourself pretty easily too. If you’re camping in dry weather, the mesh upper lets you do some stargazing and provides plenty of airflow. If there’s wet weather coming, the rainfly adds a little confusion the first time or two, but provides ample protection from the rain as well as two vestibules for muddy hiking boots.
Once you’re inside, you’ll be surprised at how much headroom there is for two people, plus enough space for backpacks and gear. You’ll each have two pockets for gear you want close to hand and your own side entrance.
• List price: From $449.45 / £445
• Weight: 3lb 12.7oz / 1kg 720g
• Packed size: 18.1 x 5.9in / 46 x 15cm
• Dimensions: 83.85 x 50in / 213 x 127cm
• Max headroom: 39.4in/100cm
• Waterproofing (fly): 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield polyurethane and silicone
• Best use: three-season backpacking, car camping
When it’s time to break it down, the sharp edges of the tent pegs are a little uncomfortable to pull out with bare hands, but it takes only a couple of minutes to stuff it all back in the compression sack without fear of the poles damaging the nylon, thanks to the front loading design. MSR calls this tent its 'most liveable tent', and all in all, we heartily agree.
MSR Hubba Hubba NX two-person backpacking tent: in the field
I’m probably a bit overdue for a tent upgrade – for the last 10 plus years I’ve either been using my ultralight one-person backpacking tent, which is essentially a bivy sack, or a dome-shaped two-person tent that's reasonably light and kind of easy to pitch – and if the MSR Hubba Hubba NX is anything to go by, I’ve missed quite a bit in the world of tent technology.
The top three things I love about this tent are:
- How light and packable it is
- How easy it is to set up
- How much space it provides
Starting with the first, in terms of weight and pack size it’s comparable to my 1-person tent, which as I already mentioned is basically a nice bivy. I thought I’d reserve this for when I’m camping with a partner, but I can’t really see any reason why I won’t be taking it on solo trips too. I love the front loading compression sack it comes in. With top loading sacks, I’m always a bit nervous about tearing the nylon when I’m stuffing the tent body in next to the poles, but there’s no need to worry with this design, plus it comes with handy illustrated instructions for setup on the inside of the lid.
Speaking of setup, we made a point of not looking at instructions the first time we set it up just to see how easy or difficult it really was unguided. We pulled the inner tent out and laid it out on the grass, then when we pulled out the poles we were surprised to find that instead of two poles like you’d usually see, this is one big pole with a T-shape on either end (it looks a bit like a big spider). However, when we extended the pole and laid it on top of the tent body, it was easy to see how it clips in. The four ends of the pole stay in the grommets once they’re in, so I’ve discovered it’s actually quite easy to set up alone, too, and the poles are really sturdy but very pliable.
That part of the setup takes well under two minutes, which is a major bonus if it’s raining. One our first outing, it was dry but quite windy, and we did discover that the spidery design means it wants to tumble away quite easily, but follow the instructions and stake it down first and there’s no problem.
Once it was set up, we couldn’t quite believe how spacious the design is, especially when you take into account how lightweight it is. We both have our own side doors and can quite easily sit up and move around, plus there are four storage pockets for headlamps and phones.
Other things I like are that even though we pitched it in quite wet grass, the tent stayed totally dry and it’s very airy on warm days. Also, it comes with lots of stakes and easy-to-adjust guy lines, which make it easy to pull it taut and secure against those gusts of wind.
The main thing that I didn’t love about it was that the rainfly was a bit complicated to set up, especially because it was quite windy and we were struggling a bit. I’m not totally sure why it’s so confusing, but we got it wrong initially, tried again and then got it almost right. Once we were inside, it was obvious that there are clips and grommets at the top of the tent for the rainfly that we hadn’t seen before, and we were actually able to unzip the doors and adjust it from the inside. Now we know, we know, so I can’t say it’s a major disadvantage. Speaking of rain, like most tents these days, you do pitch the inner tent first and that means it gets wet if you’re pitching in the rain – here in Scotland, that could be an issue but when I’m back in Colorado or California, it’s ideal for the dry climate.
Also, the tent stakes have quite sharp edges and small hooks that you can’t insert a finger into, so they’re a little more difficult and painful to pull out, but they work well and are lightweight and you could always replace them if it bothers you.
It’s on the pricier end of two-person tents, but all in all we’re thrilled with its performance and are planning lots more adventures in this lightweight, spacious abode.
Here’s how it performed:
Comfort and breathability
A comfortable place to hang out for hours thanks to ample headroom and breathable mesh panels, plus the dual entryways mean you’re not climbing over each other.
Weight and packability
Weighs under 4lb and packs down to the size of a lot of one-person tents.
The rainfly and tent floor are watertight. Just stake out your rainfly properly and you’ll have plenty of wet weather protection and stability in high winds.
Ease of setup
The inner tent takes a minute or two to set up, even with only one person, as the poles stay in the grommets and the clips are outside of the tent. Follow the instructions on the compression sack and you’ll have no issues.
It’s a quality tent with solid construction and fabric and sturdy poles that are surprisingly pliable for set up.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.