Logistics: Dome tent with a one-piece pole design. Pitches inner first. Weighs 1610g – including the footprint takes it closer to 1900g.
Space: Plenty of room for two full-size humans and camping gear.
Fixability: There’s no repair kit included for rips and tears. The pole is all one piece so any repairs to the metal sections or elastic would be a big job.
The Damage: Around £340, but there are lots of offers available online. The footprint is sold separately.
I was in the market for a decent tent for wild camping. I normally bivvy, but I wanted an option with more protection from the elements so I can get out more often. I have a 65 litre rucksack and I’m not exactly The Hulk, so the tent had to be small and it had to be light. I did some research and eventually found my way to the MSR Hubba Hubba NX.
When I finally got to see it pitched at Go Outdoors, my first impressions of it were that it was a solid little tent with plenty of room for two people. When the staff handed me the tiny packed bag and I felt the weight of it, I went straight to the till and bought it.
The MSR Hubba Hubba is pitched inner-first. You need to peg out the inner, then fit the pole to the four corner clips and the cross bar and, finally, clip the rest of the inner on to the pole before you can cover it with the outer. This process is pretty stress-free on a clear January evening but if you’re forced to do it in adverse weather, you will end up with a slightly soggy bedroom.
The little clips are good quality and feel like they have a lot of life in them, and the pegs are reassuringly hard to bend despite their minuscule weight.
The cross beam makes the most of the width of the inner to create an impressive amount of head space. You can genuinely fit two actual people inside and, with a door and a porch each, you get as much personal space as it’s possible to have when you’re sharing small tent. The porches are a good size when they’re pegged out, so there’s plenty of room to store bags and boots. They can also be rolled neatly away if you need more open access to the inner. My only real concern is that the sewn-in groundsheet is really thin. I wouldn’t be able to relax if it were pitched on any remotely rocky ground, and would constantly be checking for rips – if you do get a tear, there’s no repair kit included to patch it up.
What’s the catch?
That takes me neatly to the drawback of the whole MSR Hubba Hubba experience: let’s talk footprints. The premium price of this tent does not include the footprint. It is, however, an accessory you really do need if you want to be sure that this tent will get you through almost any weather Britain can throw at you*. You’ll have to fork out an extra £50 for it and it adds an extra 300-or-so grams to the packed weight.
The footprint does offer something in return for your investment, though. It’s protection for your inner in the winter and, in warmer weather, you can ditch the inner altogether and use the outer and the footprint by themselves for an extra-lightweight option. The footprint also helps to get around the pesky inner-first pitching situation: it has the same sturdy little clips as the rest of the tent, so you can peg out the footprint and start by clipping the pole into that, followed by the outer, instead. It’s a less elegant solution – the clips get wrapped around each other because you’ve done it in the wrong order – but it does keep your sleeping space dry.
There is one thing, though, that I cannot forgive the footprint for: MSR, we need to talk about the shape. The footprint comes with its own little built-in bag, which is a nice idea, but WHY oh WHY is it not the same pack shape as the rest of the tent?! By choosing a small square over the long rectangle that the rest of the tent folds down to, the footprint adds a weird bulk to the packed tent which makes it harder to get neatly into a rucksack. It is entirely possible to fold the footprint up to the same shape as the rest and store it that way but, as that renders the storage bag completely pointless, it is clearly not the way the footprint was designed. MSR, if you’re reading this, I would really have preferred you to save the process time spent sewing the bag and charge me a bit less instead.
The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a sturdy and lightweight backpacking tent with plenty of room inside. I’m looking forward to using it again – but it comes at a price, and it doesn’t always feel like value for money.
You can see the full spec of the Hubba Hubba here
If you are a member of any of the groups affiliated with Go Outdoors (like The Scout Association, Girlguiding, or the YHA), you can get an extra discount on top of the Discount Card price, so that might be worth a look. Here’s a link.
* ‘Almost’ any weather – this is a three season tent so it makes no claims to be able to stand up to severe snowfall