Following on from last week’s Hubba NX review, here’s the variant that is designed for tougher conditions. This is the MSR Hubba HP.
Spec wise, it’s a beefed up version of the Hubba, made to better handle traditional European conditions, that’s to say wetter and windier than the Americas. A tent designed for wet and windy has to be a candidate for the Highlands. The inner has more solid material and less mesh that the standard model and the groundsheet is beefy with a hydrostatic head of 10000mm. The 20D PU coated nylon canopy has a little more coverage and the pole attachments and guy points are reinforced. The pitching arrangement is the same as the Hubba, it goes up inner first with a central pole with hubs and Y-splits at either end and a short crosspole in the centre.
So, do the changes that make it more Europe friendly actually work? Short answer, yes. I’ve been using this tent for well over a year in all sorts of conditions and it’s stable, even in gale force winds. The mainly solid walls on the inner help with minimising wind ingress and reducing heat loss, although it’s still vented so condensation is minimised. On paper, it shouldn’t be this good; the fly is only rated to 1000mm HH, but so far it’s done a fine job of repelling wind-driven rain and snow and I’ve stayed dry and comfy. There are no snow valances, but build a wee wall with the shed snow and it’s fairly snug. There’s no rain gutter on the main zip, unlike the NX, but so far the water resistant zip hasn’t let in. The porch itself is spacious, with room to store gear and cook in. Internal space isn’t palatial, but adequate for long winter nights and wee gear loft is handy for storing your torch in, but nothing too hefty.
The supplied MSR mini groundhog stakes are decent enough, although I binned the stuff sacks for them and the poles. I don’t need every component in a pretty little bag. The guys are fine, but I’ve replaced with my usual dyneema and linelok combo, mainly just because I can trust them. Fire-and-forget should always be the goal with shelters. If you have to spend the night fiddling with it, something’s gone wrong somewhere. The packed weight for my working model is 1390g, which isn’t particularly light, but it’s decent for a tent you can take out to play with in the winter.
Pitching inner first is still a minor bugbear for me, but it’s not a big deal. The freestanding nature of the tent means you can slam it up, move it about then sling the fly over it pretty quickly. It’s still mildly annoying having to rush pitching when it’s hosing rain, but it’s nothing a packtowl and some efficiency can’t sort.
Overall it’s a bomber tent which will protect you in some nasty conditions. If you’re looking for a solid 3 season tent that’s also 4 season capable at a reasonable weight you’re onto a winner with the Hubba HP. It’s a good time to go and buy one too. Recommended.