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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > MSR Hubba HP > Owner Review by Cheryl McMurray

MSR HUBBA HP TENT
OWNER REVIEW  CHERYL MCMURRAY
JUNE 2009

PERSONAL BIOGRAPHY

Name:  Cheryl McMurray
Age:  50
Gender:  Female
Height:  5' 8" (173 cm)
Weight:  145 lb (66.6 kg)
Email Address:  cherylswan@earthlink.net
City, State, Country:  Garden Grove, California, U.S.


BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I've been backpacking and hiking for 3 years, mostly on weekends.  Backpacks are usually 2-3 day trips in the California Eastern Sierras with 38-50 lb (17-22 kg) loads depending on the season and a distance around 30 mi (48 km).  One class 2 rock climb with a day pack is common.  I am working towards lighter weight loads.  Day hikes are 10-15 mi (16-24 km) in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains in California with loads of 15-20 lb (7-9 km).  I have camped in snow, freezing temperatures, winds (once was gale force), but mostly fair weather so far.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Manufacturer: MSR
Manufacturer Website: www.cascadedesigns.com
Listed Minimum Weight: 2 lb 9 oz (1160 g) (tent, fly, poles)
Actual Minimum Weight: 2 lb 11 oz (1220 g) 
Listed Packed Weight: 2 lb 15 oz (1360 g) (tent, fly, poles, 6 MSR Needle stakes, sacks)
Actual Packed Weight: 2 lb 15 oz (1360 g)
Total Packed Weight: 3 lb 8 oz (1580 g) (tent, fly, poles, footprint, 9 Y aluminum stakes, sacks)
MSRP: $349.00 US
Purchase Date: May 2008

SPECIFICATIONS (taken from website)

Capacity    1
Fly with Footprint Weight:   1 lb 15 oz  (870 g)
Floor Area:   17 ft^2 (1.6 m^2)
Vestibule Area:   9.5 ft^2 (0.9 m^2)
Tent Volume:   22 ft^3 (623 l)
Vestibule Volume:   9 ft^3 (254 l)
Interior Peak Height:   40 in (100 cm)
Packed Size:   20 x 6 in (51 x 15 cm)
Number of Doors:   1
Freestanding:   Yes
Number of Poles:   1 DAC
Number of Stakes:   6
Fly Fabric:   40D x 238T ripstop nylon 6 1500mm Polyurethane & Silicone Coated
Canopy Fabric:   40D x 238T ripstop nylon 6
Mesh Type:   20D polyester mesh
Floor Fabric:   40D x 238T ripstop nylon 6 10,000mm Polyurethane & DWR Coated

DESCRIPTION

This is a lightweight, freestanding solo tent that claims to offer increased protection for unexpected early-season snowfalls and stronger winds.   MSR states that the Hubba HP can hold its own in more extreme conditions at well under three pounds.  The tent is made with very lightweight fabric and minimal netting strategically place for moisture ventilation.  The length and height of the tent is generous for taller campers and it provides ample gear storage in the main vestibule.

The Hubba HP can be used as a double-wall tent or light and fast setup with the fly, poles and footprint (not included).  With the all-in-one hub and swivel-pole design, it is easy to set up.

Included:  tent, fly, poles, pole splint, six MSR Needle stakes, two guy lines, tent stuff sack, pole sack, stakes sack, instructions.


MSR Hubba Hp  MSR Hubba Hp  MSR Hubba Hp Tent without fly (taken from website)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I bought this tent because of the amount of fabric on the tent.  I have had tents that are all mesh and have had issues with dust inside and breezes felt while trying to sleep.  I thought the Hubba HP would cure those issues.  

The material of the tent is extremely soft to the touch and feels quite delicate.  The fly material is also softer feeling than other tent flys I have used.  It has a small mesh window at the upper portion of each side and a small mesh window at the top.  There are two stash pockets inside the tent and a removable loft (included) under the mesh window at the top.  

With my sleeping pad, which is 20 x 72 in (50 x 180 cm), and my sleeping bag on top of that, I have enough room at the foot of the tent to store boots and some extra gear from my backpack.  The pack can be stored inside the door vestibule.  There is a small vestibule on the non-door side of the tent that is large enough to store boots but is not accessible from inside the tent.  Just above the small vestibule is a vent that can be opened and closed but is also not accessible from inside the tent.

The manufacturer provides six MSR Needle stakes but if I want the tent completely guyed out, I use eight stakes with an optional extra stake that can guy out a loop that is just above the vent.  I'm not sure if MSR intended that loop to be a guy out point but I called them and they said that it can be used that way in windier conditions.  
The weight difference of six MSR Needle stakes and six Y aluminum stakes that I use (third picture below in silver) is 1 oz (28 gm).  

The pole comes as a single unit with a hub at both ends and a swivel hub in the center for the strut. A pole splint is included.  

The tent is plenty long for my 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) height and when I'm not trying to get dressed is wide and high enough for me to sit comfortably.  I do have problems hitting the sides of the tent fabric with my elbows when putting a jacket on.  

I can fit the tent, fly and footprint into a 6 x 15 in (15 x 38 cm) compression sack (not included) and compress it down to 6 x 5 x 13 in (15 x 13 x 33 cm).

         Tent, compression sack (not included), poles, stakes        Tent in compression sack (not included), poles, stakes               MSR Needle stake on left, Y stake I use on right

FIELD INFORMATION

I have used this tent on six backpacking trips, all three day and two night durations, in the locations of Joshua Tree National Park, San Jacinto Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, and the Eastern Sierra Mountains.  The elevations ranged from 4000 ft (1200 m) to 10400
ft (3200 m) with temperatures (camping temperatures) from the low 30s F to high 40s F (-1 C to 9 C).  The tent was used in the desert, on snow, below tree line and above tree line but no rain or storms were experienced so I cannot comment on it's waterproofness or ability to hold up in snowfall.

FIELD TESTING OBSERVATIONS

DURABILITY/STABILITY

MSR's first claim is that the tent will stand up to wind and light snow with a sub-three pound weight.  That would limit the tent setup to the tent, fly, poles, and six stakes.  My closest test for those conditions was up in the San Jacinto Mts in March of 2009 when I camped on snow using nine SMC snow-stakes.  Unfortunately it did not snow, so I was unable to test the strength of the tent with snow on it.  I did have some high winds on the ridge above my tent that translated into strong breezes where I was camped.  I had no problems with the tent in winds around 15 mph (24 km) but would not have felt as secure without the three extra stakes.  
My tent setup was 3 lb 8 oz (1580 g) with all of the guy lines guyed out.  I also always use a footprint which adds 8 oz (230 g) to the complete setup.  The photo below left shows the tent setup on snow.  Notice the guy line coming out from just above the fly vent.  This does help with stability in wind.

                MSR Hubba Hp setup on snow                                             MSR Hubba Hp  pitched on rocky soil  

Joshua Tree National Park gave me some wind conditions as well.  At no time did I have dust blow in the tent unless the door was open.  I always use all nine stakes every time I set up the tent so I don't know how stable the tent would be with only the six stakes that MSR provides.  After six backpacking trips the only wear the tent has shown is some slight fraying of the fabric ends at the inside of the door zipper.  It looks to be excess material ends and has no bearing on the integrity of the tent.  The photo upper right is above tree line at 11000 ft (3400 m) in the Eastern Sierras on rocky soil (using a footprint) with no visible wear on the bathtub floor.  It pitched well in a small size space.

INTERIOR SPACE

MSR claims that the pole configuration maximizes interior space.  The strut pole not only adds to the stability of the tent but does help open up the interior width.  I do notice that the walls in the lower section bow in a little but unless I'm trying to put a jacket on, I don't touch the side walls at all.  I have found the tent, considering it is a true solo tent, to have ample room lengthwise.  I have plenty of room at the foot of my sleeping bag for my clothing stuff sack and a few other items.  My boots would fit as well but I like to keep them in the vestibule with the pack.  The two stash pockets are large enough for my headlamp, ipod, earplugs, and gloves.  One stash pocket is near my head area and one is at my foot area.  The loft will hold numerous other small items that I don't want to lose and I have never run out of storage space inside the tent or inside the vestibule.  The small vestibule on the non-door side is small and inaccessible but will store my boots if weather is good and going outside the tent without them is not a problem.  The headroom is plenty high for me.  Even when I get up from a sleeping position, I have never brushed my head on any part of the tent.  Both ends of the tent are the same width so there is no head or foot area which makes is nice for me to have the door option on my right or left side.  The door is very large and makes it very easy to enter and exit.

SETUP

Setup of the Hubba HP is very simple.  I stake down one end of the inner tent, then the other end on the same side.  The pole is easy to setup since it is one unit.  After inserting the pole ends into the grommets I then stake down the other side of the tent.  The footprint has matching grommets that also connect into the pole ends.  The inner tent then clips onto the pole and into the ends of the strut pole.  I throw the fly over the pitched inner tent and secure the fly with the same grommet system at the pole ends.  The fly can then be cinched down at each end to make it taut.  I then stake down the two vestibules and then the two guy lines at both ends.  The tent pitches very taut and can be secured in about five minutes.  For extra strength I guy out the loop at the top of the vent.

BREATHE ABILITY

I have experienced condensation on the inside of the fly but not inside the inner tent.  The windows and loft vents are up high where hot air exits and have found the tent to breathe well in the conditions I've camped so far.  Since I have not used this tent in below freezing temperatures where frost can accumulate or very damp rainy weather, I can't comment on its ability to breathe in those conditions.

THINGS I LIKE

Amount of fabric on tent
Headroom and length
Stash pockets
Good ventilation
Side door entrance

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Width could use a few extra inches
Expensive
A few more guy outs would be nice
Pole unit is an awkward shape when folded up
Fly vent not accessible from inside the tent

CONCLUSION

I bought this tent for more protection from the wind and grit that can blow in from too much mesh.  The MSR Hubba HP has lived up to my expectations for more protection and I believe added warmth with the amount of fabric on the tent itself.  This may not be considered an ultra lightweight tent but it is very lightweight.  The only claim that MSR makes about the tent that I feel is exaggerated is that the tent will hold its own in more extreme three season conditions at well under three pounds.  If this was true the tent would have to withstand snow and winds with only a setup of the tent fly and poles.  

It has not shown any wear after six trips and although I have tried to be careful when pitching it, I have not been able to avoid all undesirable camping locations.  It would be a little more comfortable if it had a few inches of extra elbow room but all in all it has been a very comfortable tent for sleeping and dressing.  I've been able to keep track of small items with the stash pockets and loft.  I have barely noticed stronger breezes so long as it is pitched taut with all of the guy lines secured.  This tent is pricey but is justifiable if a sale can be found.


I do recommend this tent.









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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > MSR Hubba HP > Owner Review by Cheryl McMurray



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