MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent | Tested and reviewed

On test we found the 2-person MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent offers impressive space and liveability, but isn't as weatehrproof as some of its rivals.

from MSR
RRP  £459.00
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent pitched on a hilltop with LFTO star ratings

by James Forrest |
Updated on

‘Hubba Hubba’ means ‘an expression of excitement’. That’s fitting, because this dome-like tent is definitely worthy of excitement. The best-selling Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent is a positively cavernous tent, with two doors and two big porches.

The pole structure creates near-vertical walls, maximum head and elbow room, and no excess fabric slack, ensuring great liveability – the inside of the tent feels palatial compared to many other two-person tents.

The downsides are the that Hubba Hubba NX has high walls that can catch the wind, and the mesh interior is quite draughty, which is great in summer but less so in cooler conditions. But ultimately this tent is all about its comfy, roomy interior – if that’s what you want, it’s an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Superb internal space
  • Two doors
  • Two generous porches
  • Excellent headroom
  • Good ventilation
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not suitable for use in strong winds or very wet conditions

Shape, structure, pitching, and internal liveability

James Forrest putting MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent flysheet over the inner
©LFTO

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is pitched inner-first. This approach is popular among campers in countries like the US and Australia, but isn't favoured by many British campers who fear the inner will get wet if they are forced to erect the tent in rain. But in drier conditions it works absolutely fine, and you can still set it up pretty quickly in poor weather.

A single, hub-connected pole forms the freestanding skeleton onto which the inner clips tightly. Colour-coded clips ensure you sync the pole with the inner eyelets correctly, without any errors.

Side-on view of MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent inner
©LFTO

This all-round clever design creates steep walls, a really taut structure and superb internal space, with top-notch head, shoulder and elbow room. The floor is rectangular and non-tapered, which adds to the sense of spaciousness, and the overall dome-style shape is described as “optimised, symmetrical geometry” by MSR. The inner has a bathtub style floor, while the upper part is almost entirely mesh, with a very airy design.

The inner is pegged out using adjustable stake-out loops. Next the flysheet is thrown over the inner structure, and then clipped and pegged into place to complete the tent structure. The sides create two large, side-entry vestibules for storing your gear. Each vestibule has a large StayDry, D-shaped door with built-in rain gutters. Having a separate door for each camper is a big benefit, meaning if one camper needs to go for a wild wee at 3am, they don’t have to awkwardly climb over the other.

Waterproofing

Side-on view of MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent
©LFTO

The hydrostatic head waterproofing stats of the 3-season MSR Hubba Hubba NX are as follows: the 20-denier flysheet is 1,200mm rated while the bathtub-style groundsheet is 3,000mm rated. These are – for the UK’s rainy climate – rather disappointing stats, particularly for a high-end, expensive tent.

However MSR’s tent boffins tell us waterproofing is about much more than just the hydrostatic head ratings. They argue that the DuraShield polyurethane and silicone coatings applied to the flysheet, and the DuraShield polyurethane and DWR (durable water resistant) treatments applied to the groundsheet, ensure high levels of waterproof protection.

They also state that the tight, high-density thread count of the materials used further adds to weatherproofing, while the steep, high walls shed rain easily unlike other tents with flatter roofs and gentler walls, onto which rain can pool.

James Forrest pitching MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent
©LFTO

All of the seams of the Hubba Hubba NX are sealed too, using a manufacturing process known as “reinforced infinity bar tacks and lap-felled seams”. The infinity bar tacks help to keep the seam in place and ‘lap-felled’ is the technique used to ensure the seam stitch is secure, which ultimately is a complex way of saying the seams on the Hubba tent are very well stitched and durable, thus keeping the tent waterproof and secure in bad weather. Meanwhile all the materials used in the MSR Hubba Hubba NX are durable, high-tenacity ripstop nylon.

“At MSR, we carefully consider how thread count, fabric type and denier (fibre thickness) will affect the overall tent performance”, explains the brand’s marketing blurb, while their PR representative tells us “MSR’s engineers test the tents in all weathers, and have never been let down.”

During our test camps, the Hubba Hubba NX coped well in light rain and didn’t let us down either – so we aren’t overly worried about the lower-than-expected hydrostatic head ratings. Although if these could be improved, it would certainly ease the mind a little, particularly when you’re forking out over £500.

Condensation

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent flysheet vent
©LFTO

A key consideration when wild camping in changeable or exposed areas is the flysheet’s shape and coverage. The Hubba Hubba NX’s flysheet doesn’t peg out completely flush to the ground, instead leaving a few inches of gap between the ground and the fly.

In violently wild weather, with horizontal rain, this can prove a problem, risking water ingress underneath the flysheet. The flip side is that the air-gap massively increases ventilation and helps to prevent condensation.

Wind protection

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent fly tension strap
©LFTO

In terms of wind protection, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX works reasonably well, particularly if pitched in the correct orientation. It is reasonably aerodynamic and can cope with medium level winds. However, it has quite tall, steep-sided walls, which can catch the full brunt of a wind, and it does not have a low-profile shape.

For campers who frequently go out in tumultuous weather this may be a deal-breaker, but for those only camping in fairer conditions it won’t be a problem. If you’re planning on camping in strong winds, and need a more weatherproof, stable design, we’d suggest lower-to-the-ground tents such as the Terra Nova Starlite 2.

Weight and packed size

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent storage bag
©LFTO

The Hubba Hubba NX weighs 1,702g on our scales, broken down as follows: flysheet with four guylines (520g), inner (591g), hub-connected pole (413g), pole bag (15g), 10 pegs (87g), peg bag (5g) and the main carry case (71g).

This is a reasonably low weight considering the spaciousness you get. It’s not the lightest two-person tent we’ve ever tested, though at well under 2kg it’s anything but heavy. It packs down relatively small too, fitting neatly into the long’n’thin carry case sized 48x16cm by our measurements. This has a “burrito-style” entry, which is far easier to use than top-loading carry bags.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent inner
©LFTO

The overall weight of the Hubba Hubba NX can be reduced by carrying fewer accessories and opting for a more minimalist set-up. If you purchase the MSR universal two-person footprint (sold separately), you can ditch the inner and pitch your Hubba Hubba NX with just the fly and footprint, thus reducing your weight to MSR’s so-called “Fast&Light” set-up of 1,350g, for example.

If you like MSR as a brand, and are an ultralight obsessive, we’re big fans of the MSR FreeLite 2. At just 1,145g, it’s a minimalist, super lightweight tent with a similar design to the Hubba Hubba NX. You get slightly less space and protection, but it delivers an almost unrivalled space-to-weight ratio. Despite the ultralight weigh-in, you get two good-sized porches, two side-entry doors, generous head room, near-vertical walls, and a rectangular inner footprint with impressive width and length and no tapering at the foot end. It’s all quite remarkable considering the weight – a gram counter’s dream and ideal for long-distance hiking.

James Forrest pitching MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent
©LFTO

Features

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX comes with a compression stuff sack with a pull handle – this works fine and it it's easy to pack the tent back into the stuff sack. You also get 10 pegs and four lightweight guylines with reflective coatings.

The dark green colour of the flysheet is appropriate for stealth camping, and the rainfly also features a kickstand vent to aid breathability and help prevent condensation. You can also roll-up part of flysheet, such as the vestibule door, for a more open structure which MSR calls “stargazer view”.

Verdict

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Backpacking Tent pitched on a hilltop with LFTO star ratings
©LFTO

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent is an exceptionally spacious, comfy tent that’s both stylish and user-friendly – but others are better-equipped for wild weather.

How we tested

James Forrest testing gear for Live for the Outdoors
©LFTO

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent was tested and reviewed by James Forrest, who is one of our main freelance writers on LFTO and our magazine, Trail.

James is one of the most recognisable figures in the British walking and hiking scene and you'll struggle to find anyone more experienced when it comes to trekking and camping in the UK hills and mountains. James is based in the Lake District and tested the MSR tent alongside a range of other lightweight two-person tents.

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