Sunday, June 1, 2014

Living with : The MSR Hubba Hubba Review


This is my second Hubba Hubba - after the first one was stolen. I like the tent so much that I'd buy this again if I have to.

Keywords of things I like about it: lightweight everything, build quality, view, packs very compactly


At first glance, the Hubba Hubba looks like a variation of the dome tent but it is far from it. Hubba Hubba comes with a single pole design - every single piece of the entire pole structure is shock-corded together as a single unified piece. The pole itself is amazingly ultralight - most people when they handle the pole for the first time and get awestruck by its light weight - will just blink the eye and buy the tent. :) It is called DAC Featherlite and weight probably only 1/10 of the normal weight of the traditional 2 piece aluminium dome tent poles. It is that amazing.

Before I bought this tent, I shortlisted a few others - an orange Marmot being one of them which was in the same price range as the Hubba Hubba. I tested the Marmot in a showroom in Singapore - actually was very impressed with the entire package until I saw the tent spikes. For an ultralight tent which went to great pains to save weight - it uses the traditional heavy as lead steel tent spikes. Locals would call those Paku Pontianak. FAIL.
The beautiful MiniGroundhog stakes

MSR made no such mistakes as it went all the way right down to the ultralight and beautiful MiniGroundhog stakes - which looks the business and weighs next to nothing. And they even supply you with insufficient stakes! For this iteration of Hubba Hubba, it came with only 4 stakes - when ideally you need 6 minimum to fully guy the tent in strong wind conditions. One stake costs RM11 so you should grab at least 2 extra.

My recommendation is to buy the tent with the Hubba Hubba Footprint

The Footprint enables me to setup the tent pretty much anywhere I want - protects the tent from rough surfaces underneath and allows me to setup JUST the rainfly without the tent. There are some occasions when you just need the shelter without the tent - so you raise the poles using the footprint and then raise the rainfly. The practical advantage is that when it suddenly rains, you can quickly layout the footprint, raise the rainfly first to get out of the rain, and only then raise the tent underneath. You are dry and the tent is dry : this is one ability which most tent systems do not have.

Full mesh 360 degree view if you remove the rainfly

The tent is almost entirely full-mesh. For hot nights, you can fold the rainfly away and have a awesome view of the sky. The interior is spacious - you can sit up with no problems of hitting the roof of the tent and put Therm-A-Rest side by side. There is now a new version of this tent called  Hubba Hubba NX - it has shaved some 500 gms further making it one heckuva UL tent. But I haven't upgraded .. because of its weight saving improvements, the tent is no longer 360 degree full-mesh. It has side walls and the view is impaired. View or weight savings? 500 gms vs 360 degree views?

NO TENT - Only the rainfly is raised - you can configure shade coverage however you want : half, quarter etc.
Vestibule for gear storage and light cooking away from the wind and elements.
I found the MSR Gear Loft useful : I store my handphone, wallet, watch, keys - and you can use it to put a small light to illuminate the tent.

IN THE ELEMENTS

The coldest I camped was 11 deg - there was condensation outside the tent but it did not get into the tent. I have camped it in extreme high winds - at the time when I didn't have enough stakes. It felt like 20-25kmh winds but with proper guying, the tent stayed up all night. Rain? No problem absolutely.

Price Paid : RM1200.00 for the tent only (2011)

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