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Reviews > Shelters > Tents > MSR Mutha Hubba tent > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

MSR Mutha Hubba Tent
By Raymond Estrella
August 18, 2008


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Mutha Hubba

Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research, Inc. (MSR)
Web site:
Product: Mutha Hubba tent
Year manufactured: 2008
MSRP: $449.95 US
Size: 3-person
Packaged weight (complete) listed: 6 lb 11 oz (3.05 kg)
Actual weight: 6 lb 14 oz (3.12 kg)
Minimum weight (body & poles) listed: 6 lb 2 oz (2.79 kg)
Actual minimum weight: 6 lb 6.9 oz (2.92 kg)
Interior height listed: 46 in (120 cm)
Length listed: 84 in (210 cm)
Width listed: 68 in (170 cm)
Floor space listed (tent & vestibules): 40 + 14 sq ft (3.7 + 1.35 sq m)
Packed size listed: 18 x 8 in (46 x 20 cm) Verified accurate
Warranty: (quoted from company web site) "MSR warranties the materials and workmanship in every MSR tent we make to the original owner. If your MSR tent has received proper care, but fails due to a defect in manufacturing, the tent will be repaired or replaced at our discretion."

Product Description

The MSR Mutha Hubba Tent (hereafter called the Mutha or tent) is a lightweight three-season tent that the manufacture calls their "lightest, most livable 3-person tent". It is the biggest tent in their Fast & Light series of tents. Here is a picture of the separate components.

Parts is parts

Like another 3-person tent I reviewed here, the Mutha Hubba uses a hub system for its main pole assembly. This consists of two hubs with three attachment points each. The gold colored aluminum poles are made up of 21 shock-corded sections that when snapped together make up 5 poles lengths one is the center and has a hub at each end. The other pole lengths plug onto the hubs one on each side of the center pole to create an X with a body if you will, or a kids hang-man spelling game stick drawing without a head. (Oooh, one more missed letter and you are dead…) The center pole crosses the tent sideways with the four ends going into grommets set into nylon stake loops coming from the corners of the tent floor on either side of the door openings.

Two grey colored solitary poles, which have ten sections each, go into grommets at roughly one-third points at the side of the tent floor. These will support the openings later.

The weight of the all the poles is 2 lb 4.8 oz (1.04 kg) and they can be stored in the provided 0.8 oz (23 g) sack. Here is a picture of the poles up, ready for the body. Emma and Ray are holding the end poles where they will be once the body is attached.

Display poles

Once the poles are in place the body of the tent is lifted and the black webbing clips are hooked to the poles.

As can be seen below, the tent has a 4 in (10 cm) high, burnt orange, bath-tub style floor. It is made of 70D nylon taffeta with a 5000 mm waterproof polyurethane coating. The walls of the Mutha Hubba are made of white 40D ripstop nylon and dark 20D polyester mesh. The seams are reinforced to keep the clips from ripping out and to provide lateral strength. Two huge gear pockets made of the same netting run down either side of the tent.

Canopy up

A D-shaped door is positioned at both ends of the tent. When facing them from the outside, the right sides of the doors open. There is a plastic toggle-and-ring keeper on each end that allow the doors to be hooked open, the same is true with the vestibule doors as can be seen below.

Hey my fly is open

The fly is made of 30D ripstop nylon 66 with a silicone treatment and a 1500 mm waterproof polyurethane coating. stakeAll the seams of it are factory taped on the inside. The fly attaches to the tent body by sliding adjustable loop grommets under the pole tips at all pole ends. The straps can then be tightened to pull the fly taut. The ends of the fly are stretched away from the doors and secured with the use of a single stake creating a pair of very nice vestibules. A straight double-ended zipper splits the vestibule down the center and allows access to the tent. It too (as mentioned earlier) has tie backs for the door. By changing which side of the zipper is hooked to the stake the vestibule can be entered from the right or left side.

There are numerous guy-out points on the fly to allow extra support for windy conditions. The tent came with 12 stakes that weigh 0.35 oz (10 g) each. The stakes are packed in a 0.4 oz (11 g) sack. The stakes are made of square, red anodized aluminum with a shepherd's-hook end, as can be seen to the side.

I have the optional $49.95 (US), 10.4 oz (295 g) footprint for it. By using the footprint with just the poles and fly MSR say it can be used as a freestanding tarp-shelter, letting the weight of the body be deducted from the total. In this configuration bug protection is non-existent.

The Mutha Hubba came with an Owners Manual, a couple of line-tensioners, a few pieces of guy-line cord and a tent-pole repair sleeve for emergency fixes. The tent and all of the goodies can be stuffed into the provided 2.3 oz (65 g) storage sack. Here is a picture of everything stuffed.

Oh stuff it

Field Data

I had a full summer of hiking planned for my 9-year old twins that live in Minnesota and spend a week with me each month. I bought the Mutha Hubba expressly for this summer with them and used it on the following trips.

We started the summer off by staying at Buffalo River State Park, Minnesota for a practice hike. (In the summer we can only hike on the trails here, all camping must be done in the "campground".) After a couple miles of "packing" along three of the hiking trails we went back to our camp spot. The tent was set up on dirt at an elevation of 925 ft (280 m).

I next took Emma and Ray to Itasca State Park, the birthplace of the Mississippi River where we got a permit for one of three sites at Myrtle Lake. (Backpacking sites are issued just like camp sites in a campground, a new one for me.) This four mile (6 km) round trip hike was on easy terrain as it is almost all grass, at the worst dirt. Temps were from 64 to 80 F (18 to 27 C) at an elevation of 1500 ft (460 m). My pack weight was around 42 lb (19 kg).

We went with Uncle Dave and their cousin Kendall to Round Valley in San Jacinto State Park (California) for an over-night trip with lots of boulder climbing. The temperatures ranged from a low of 55 F to a high of 80 F (13 to 27 C). This was at an elevation of 9200 ft (2800 m) and the tent was set up on dirt and decomposed granite.

And last we went on a three-day backpacking trip to Maplewood State Park in Minnesota. We stayed at the Beers Lake Backpacker site the first day and at the Grass Backpacker site the second. The weather was great for two days then rained the last. The temperatures were from 79 down to 61 F (44 to 34 C). The elevation was 1340 ft (408 m) above sea level.


As stated above I bought the Mutha Hubba expressly to use with my children. I had a three person tent that I use quite often for Jenn and I. I used it once with Emma and Ray and found even as small as they are it made for tight quarters. I wanted something bigger but still wanted to keep the weight down as low as possible as I knew I would be carrying a lot of gear. My research led me to try the Mutha Hubba. And I have been very happy with the results.

While it is heavier than my other tent it has a ton of room. I used a full sized Therm-a-Rest ProLite 4 sleeping pad and the children used small Z-Lite pads from the same company. Here is a picture of just the pads in the tent before I brought the sleeping bags in to give an idea of the space afforded us.

and a spacious floor plan

As I am a side-sleeper that tosses and turns all night, I was concerned because I knew that I had to sleep in the middle. ("But I want to sleep next to Dad…") I was worried I would be bopping the kids in the noggin all night, but that never happened. I love the sideways room in this tent.

I do wish it were a few inches (8 cm) longer though. As I hang over the pad seen above, once I had my bag on it and my arm stuck under my head I was touching both ends when stretched out.

There is plenty of head room. We sat in the tent for hours in the evenings after dinner. The light lasts a long time each day in the summer in northern Minnesota. But once we are cleaned up we don't want to have to put the gobs of bug spray back on to keep the voracious mosquitoes at bay. So into the tent, we went… There we talked and played Wig-Out and Go-Fish until Dad had to tell his Little Critters, "Just Go to Bed". (A favorite book of theirs by Mercer Mayer.)

The mesh let the hungry, hungry 'squitoes see us, but not eat us. The kids loved torturing the bugs by thumping them as they crawled on the outside of the mesh vainly looking for a way in.

Hit it again, Ray

The mesh also kept condensation at bay. On the trips in Minnesota we had fairly high humidity. All trips were near water, with the one in California being near a creek, and the trips in Minnesota being very close to lakes and a river. As this picture of Raymond helping me stake the tent down shows, the lake is just on the other side of a screen of saplings and bushes.

Yet I never saw a bit of condensation on the tent body, fly or my sleeping bag the entire summer. Our last hike had rain threatening the whole trip, and finally hitting the last day. Yet not a drip inside. The threatened rain made me really appreciate the double vestibules also. This is a first for me and I put them to good use in Minnesota. As I bring the bulk of my gear with me from California each month (where I do most of my hiking and gear testing) I always seem to forget something. One of the trips it was my pack cover. Doh!

I knew I did not have room to bring it inside with me and I was planning on leaving it wrapped in my rain coat and hoping the rain stopped before I need the coat for myself. Then I looked at the Mutha and said, "Hey, I have an extra vestibule". I put all our packs in the one and our footwear in the end we were using as the entrance. I loved it.

At Mt San Jacinto I used the double entrance to exit as the wind was hitting the end we had designated the "door" so as to not wake the kids with a windy blast when I needed to make take a nocturnal stroll...

The kids love the large pockets, especially my daughter who wanted to put every thing in them.

I have used the footprint every time I set up the tent. To date there are no holes in the floor and everything else has proven durable too. I have nothing negative to say about the Mutha Hubba and look forward to using in the future.


The Mutha Hubba has proven to be an excellent choice for my use. The large floor space-to-weight ratio makes it a good choice for actual three-person use. The large vestibules offer plenty of protection and the doors at either end give added escape options.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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