MSR Hubba Hubba HP

MSR Hubba Hubba HP with gear shed

Garry’s original tent used for cycle touring was the MSR Velo. But after sitting on the back of Garry’s bike for more than five years, being packed away wet and sometimes left for a few days, it finally wore out!

At the time of replacing it, Garry was umming and ahhing as to what to replace his old tent with as they no longer made that model! In the end, Garry went for the Hilleberg Nammatj 2 GT a two-person tunnel tent.

After several tours with the Hilleberg Garry started to miss his old MSR Velo. He missed its free-standing ability, the fact that it took a relatively small area to pitch in and it could also be pitched on rocky surfaces as there is very little need for pegging down a free-standing tent!

After returning home from his tour of Spain where most of the campsites were gravel, Garry decided that he needed a free-standing tent once more! So, he started to look around at various brands to see what new tents were on the market.

Garry started to look at the MSR Hubba Hubba HP. This tent was around when he brought the Hilleberge but dismissed it as he thought it was quite a lot of phaffing around! Having to put four parts together, the footprint, the inner tent, the vestibule, and the flysheet! However, he was now willing to give it a go.

In early August 2015, Garry purchased the MSR Hubba Hubba HP. His initial thoughts on it were how light it weighed at a mere 1.93kg as opposed to the Hilleberg which weighs in at 3.7kg. The setup was as he thought not as straightforward as the Hilleberg! The single pole system was a bit annoying, and the longevity of the poles could be a problem! They just snap together on their own which could lead to cracks and ultimately break.

The set up as before with Garry’s old MSR Velo was that you had to put the inner tent up first then attach the fly over the top. A nice new feature with this tent is that if the weather is bad and its raining, you can put the fly up first then attach the inner tent afterwards. A big improvement on the old Velo as it was always a pain setting up in the rain! However, you can’t attach the vestibule with this setup. To attach the vestibule, you must put the inner tent up first, attach the vestibule then attach the fly.

The MSR Hubba Hubba HP set up in Garry’s garden

After setting the tent up several times in his garden so he could get a feel for it, Garry decided that the only real test was to try it out in the field (if you’ll pardon the pun!) so off he set on a small tour to Somerset.

On Garry’s first night’s camp, he decided to try the tent out without using the vestibule, just to see how he got on with the smaller tent. It was a real struggle he had to use both vestibules for his panniers, and even then, there wasn’t enough room he had to have some of them inside the tent! Which is not too much of a problem when it’s dry, however when it’s wet I’m not so sure you would want wet bags inside the inner tent!

Garry found the doors to be very annoying! They open from the centre and are always hanging down and getting in the way you can’t just open them and throw them over the side of the tent you have to tie them back each time! Which is fine if your inside and want to look out, but if you just want to get something out quickly, they are a real pain.

Cooking was also not that easy! Garry usually likes to sit inside the tent with the stove outside or if the weathers a bit inclement move it in slightly, this is not an option in the Hubba Hubba! Garry found the inner tent too low on the opening, so he was unable to sit inside and cook! He could have moved the cooker a bit nearer to the tent and sat further inside, but then there was the worry that the cooker was a little bit too close to the tent!

Packing the tent away in the morning was a bit of a phaff! The poles were a pain and with cold hands unclipping the inner tent from the poles was awkward!

Tent in a field
Garry’s second campsite

On the second night’s camp Garry decided to put the tent up with the vestibule attached, again he had the problem with the pole just snapping together on its own which he finds rather disconcerting!

The correct setup is to lay the footprint out with the inner tent on top attach the poles and clip the inner tent to the poles then clip on the vestibule and cover with the rain fly. But after trying the tent out at home, Garry found it more useful to have the footprint in the vestibule. You don’t have that damp grass on the inside of the tent then, and it also affords itself to somewhere else to sit out of the wind. However, despite there now being plenty of room for gear, there is very little headroom! Garry found it impossible to sit up in the vestibule, although the inner tent has loads of headroom!

There are also one or two doubts as to how weatherproof the whole thing would be! The point at which the vestibule attaches to the tent and is then covered by the fly seems to sag down a bit, and possibly if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, could blow up and under here!

On subsequent nights of the tour, Garry continued to put the full setup up but found out that he just couldn’t get on with it!

Tent with luggage
Getting ready to pack away in the morning

In summery it’s not a bad tent, it’s just not very well suited to Garry’s needs! It would be more beneficial if Garry was able to go hiking again, or if he was to go on a tour where he wasn’t expecting to camp very much but wanted to carry a tent just in case he found himself unable to find any accommodation! For the tours when he intends camping for most of the time he’ll stick with the Hilleberg!

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