Review: MSR Hubba Hubba NX 3 Season Tent

MSR’s best selling do-it-all 3 season, 2 person backpacking tent

Feature type Review

Read time 5 mins

Published Feb 06, 2023

Author Chris Hunt

Chris Hunt BASE Editor and Bristol-based adventure writer with a penchant for travel by bike, interesting coastlines and adventures that end in the pub.

Our Verdict

A great all-round, 3 season lightweight 2 person backpacking tent. This thing is incredibly liveable without compromising on weight and pack size. On the flip side, I’m not overly confident in the durability of the poles.

RRP £515
Capacity 2 Person
Pack size 42 x 15 cm
Pack Weight 1.72 kg
Rain fly 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield™ polyurethane & silicone


  • Loads of venitation
  • Two doors and two porches
  • Great space to weight ratio
  • Solid in wind and rain
  • Super quick and easy to pitch


  • Pole durability
  • Pitched inner first


Between spring and autumn, I tend to rack up a good few camping days each year. Whether it be a couple of days hiking, packing fairly light, a two week long bikepacking trip or the odd weekend pitched up in a field by the coast. Winter camping is great and all but in reality it’s something I very rarely do. So I’d favour lightweight packability over a more sturdy, heavier 4 season design.

For a lot of the occasions I’m camping, I’ll be moving self-supported. So something that packs up light and small into a tight package is vital. If I’m travelling with someone, I’ll be keen to split the package up too. Half a tent each makes the weight to reward ratio more comparable to the likes of a lighter bivvy set-up with much more added value.

For those longer bike trips, even if I’m solo, I quite like the extra space to make things a little comfier with bags, wet kit etc. So this tent needs to meet the somewhat elusive challenge of not being too big to travel solo with but also have enough room for two people plus their kit if need be. Tall order huh? Perhaps.

Most of the camping I do is wild, so I like the idea of having something aesthetically fairly inconspicuous, that’s going to help me keep a lower profile. Generally speaking I won’t be making a habit of camping in the most brutal of conditions but I do have an affinity for camping close to or on a mountain pass should I have the opportunity, so it will need it to withstand those unpredicted deluges and blustery nights.

First Impressions

The Hubba Hubba series from MSR is the Seattle based brand’s best selling tent, and I – like I’m sure most of you – have seen plenty of its distinctive shape over the years.

I like that the tent is free-standing but it does worry me slightly, particularly as a Brit, that you have to pitch the inner first. In the rain, that could be a problem.

On the flip side, the fact that it’s free-standing means you can still just use the inner of the tent on those hot dry nights. You can also just pitch the outer, using it more like a tarp set up. I’m not sure how much I’d use that option, but I like the concept and the way the inner is ventilated all around, you’d be sure to get a great night of star gazing on a particularly clear evening.

The classic green and red combination does it for me as does its stable distinctive shape. The bag it comes in is neat and relatively small for a two person design. Could the Hubba Hubba provide the balance between weight, comfort and durability I’ve been looking for?

The Test

In September 2022, I took the Hubba Hubba NX as I bikepacked the Torino-Nice Rally, tracking a route between the two cities, following the spine of the southern Alps the whole way.

I’d get to use the tent in a whole range of scenarios. Some nights we could be camped close to 2000m, where temperatures were likely to drop significantly, and we might face strong winds and alpine storms. Other nights we’d be on the damp valley floor, and closer to the Mediterranean Sea we’d have much warmer, drier nights too.

Riding as a pair, we split the tent up into two packages as we rode. Instead of using the original bag it comes with, we’d instead divide the inner and outer into our own drybags and stowing the poles and pegs in our respective bikepacking bags.

While this tent isn’t designed explicitly for bikepacking, this felt like the perfect test as we’d be covering all sorts of terrain, camping in different environments and landscapes and really had to keep our kit to a minimum, packing everything onto the bikes just perfectly.

We could be camped close to 2000m, where temperatures were likely to drop significantly, and we might face strong winds and alpine storms

Who is this tent for?

Described, in MSR’s own literature, as ‘a freestanding, 3-season, compact and lightweight do-it-all’ option, the Hubba Hubba NX 2 is a pretty perfectly suited to most backpackers and cycle tourists / bikepackers out there facing a wide range of weather conditions.

It’s not an ultralight tent so there are definitely lighter options available, but in by saving weight you’ll be compromising on durability as well as the ability to withstand weather. So the Hubba Hubba NX is well-positioned as a tent catering for those after the best of both.

What Stands Out

Living Space

For a two person backpacking tent, the Hubba Hubba 2 is incredible liveable. Mainly down to the headroom afforded by the distinctive symmetrical pole design with that short horizontal pole to open up the roof space.

The floor plan is also non-tapered which gives the inside a nice spacious design for something that packs down so compact and it has two doors and two porches. As anyone who has shared a two person tent for any period of time will be able to attest to, this is incredibly useful. Awkward midnight toilet missions, waiting for each other to clamber in and organise their kit in the rain, or just a particularly early riser can prove to be a pain in the backside if you have just a single entrance point. But the Hubba Hubba’s two-sided doors and spacious porches really put an end to that. It’s also just incredibly useful for storing and organising your own kit in a place outside of the sleeping zone.


Ventilation is certainly a big consideration in the design of this tent – which seeing as I run particularly warm, was definitely appreciated on the warmer nights during the Torino-Nice Rally. It’s designed to still vent even in the rain, but if it’s particularly heavy you’ll want to batten down the hatches.

Featherlight Poles

The poles are noticeably light – which is fantastic. However, with minor signs of ear and slight misshaping already showing, I am aware to take extra caution with them. In splitting the poles up, they are unscrewed from their connection hubs. But with a really delicate thread, they are pretty difficult to screw back in. After just a couple of uses I was worried I had already written off the thread.


With 20 denier ripstop nylon and a waterproof rating of 1200m for the rainfly and canopy fabric combined with 30 denier ripstop and 3000mm waterproof rating, this finds a sweet spot between waterproofing while remaining lightweight.

I only had one real outing in properly heavy rain – and apart from a couple of deflected splashes on a forgotten about left open vent, we stayed totally dry.

Easily Pitched

The last thing you need at the end of along day is to spend unnecessary time faffing to get the tend set up. The design of the Hubba Hubba is really intuitive making it super simple and super quick to pitch.

The poles all come as a single unit so there’s no faffing around trying to work out which pole fits where and there are colour-coded clips to make sure you’ve got the rain fly the right way round.

As it’s freestanding you can quickly fix the poles onto the inner without pegging the full tent down. This makes it really easy to adjust the position of the tent, which when wild camping or with a group is a great option to have.

Versatile Pitching Options

The Hubba Hubba can be pitched with a few different options. Either the full setup – inner and rain fly, just the inner for maximum ventilation (not recommended if its damp of course) or for the ultra minimalist trip, with the additional ground sheet, just the rain fly.

Value For Money

At £515 the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 certainly isn’t a cheap option and you can quite easily find significantly cheaper options available. But, for a tent that will withstand proper rain and wind and be a little over a kilo and a half, this is well worth your consideration.

As most of the use of this tent for me is bikepacking, that extra saved weight is worth the price, but it won’t be for everyone. If you don’t mind a slightly heavier tent, for an extra kilo, the MSR Elixr is a great option that will save you a couple of hundred pounds. Equally if you’re just looking at getting your first backpacking tent and are perhaps likely to use it just a couple of times a year there are other options that might make more sense for a smaller budget.

BASE Bottom Line

As I said at the start of the review, for me getting the right tent is all about something that’ll do it all. As in most instances, that means compromise at some level. The Hubba Hubba however does a great job at keeping those compromises to a minimum.

There are lighter 3 season options available, but most of them won’t offer nearly as much space as the Hubba Hubba. I have no doubt that there are alternatives that will withstand a battering in the wind with greater ease, but for a package weighing just 1.7kg, it’s a great design and feels surprisingly sturdy. You can find cheaper options too – but you guessed it, it’s not going to do either of these things so well.

While pitching the inner first is a potential issue in the rain, it’s not often that I need to pitch in pouring rain and considering the speed at which it can be pitched, I can live with it. However, if you are looking for a tent to perform in tough year-round UK conditions, it’s definitely something to keep in mind. Though with the extra headroom and floor space, sitting out a sustained downpour is going to be a much more pleasant prospect.

The only area this tent really compromises for me is the poles. While it’s an obvious candidate for shaving weight, the thought of cracking a pole and shearing through the fabric of the tent mid-way through a trip definitely makes me nervous.

That said, all in all, I am impressed by this tent and am looking forward to plenty more use in all sorts of conditions and places which after-all is what good kit is meant for.

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