As promised, here’s the first of a few tent reviews that I’ve been stacking up so we can compare and contrast. Kinda like a group test but carried out over an extended period in the mountains.
First up is the MSR Hubba NX, a lightweight variant of the original Hubba, which was a fine tent in it’s own right. It’s a solo tent, so if there’s more than one of you take a look at the Hubba Hubba, or indeed the Mutha Hubba or Papa Hubba. Nice naming convention there, despite making people my age think about chewing gum.
The fly is 20D silconised PU, and the groundsheet is 30D, which makes sense with that being the bit you spend most of your time on. The poles are DAC, with a curious Y-shaped spread at either end and a floating crosspole. There’s a single porch which has a twin door arrangement, which MSR call a StayDry door. The idea is that the water runs down the gutters at the side of the door rather than the center, reducing your chance of getting soaked as you get in and out of the tent. It’s freestanding and is pitched inner first.
So, how does it all work out there on the hill? Well the compression sack is good for making it portable. It’ll fit down the side of your pack nicely. The poles and pegs come in wee bags which will get blown away or lost, so best just leave them at home. Pitching is straightforward enough and the freestanding bit helps if you need to adjust your pitch to avoid a rock or two. Inner-first pitching does always make me sigh when the weather is inclement. I carry a packtowel and it’s no big drama, but it’s just a bit demoralising if you have to pitch in the rain.
Internal space is good for one, even for all of the 193cm of splendidness that is me. The height is enough for me to sit up and drink my tea and it’s comfortable for a lengthy stay on an autumn or winter night. The porch is big enough for a rucksack and your boots and will still leave room to get in and out or to cook in. The inner is partially solid to help manage draughts, which is welcome in spring, autumn and definitely winter, although sometimes a breeze is welcome in the summer. In that case, just leave the door open.
The guys that come with it are ok but I’ve had one burst on me and so have replaced them all with doubled dyneema lines. The supplied mini-groundhog stakes on the other hand are excellent wee fellows to keep in your pack. Stability is very good in high winds and it sheds rain and snow well. The inner can be cinched down a bit at the peg points for those really nasty nights.
My sample weighs in at 1230g but I do carry my own stake and peg pack separately and I don’t bother with the fiddly wee bag for the poles. This is a reasonable weight for a dual skin tent. You can leave the inner at home and just take the outer with a footprint and significantly reduce the weight, assuming you like midgies that is.
Short version: The Hubba NX is a lightweight yet sturdy option for three season summit camping and backpacking. Recommended.