Mar 12, 2014 at 7:59 am #1314320
I recently picked up the new Hubba Hubba NX from MSR. Its a "two person" backpacking tent that I plan to use when I take my corgi backpacking or to loan out to friends who are less amenable to sleeping under a tarp. I got a chance to use it car camping and trail building this weekend and lucked into some rain. The things that lead me to choose the tent were the rectangular floor plan, dual side-entry doors, and vestibules that overhang the floor to keep out drips.
I set it up in my basement before the trip and the fly fabric was very taut which made it difficult to get the last clip attached to the pole. After being set up for a few days the fabric relaxed and now its much easier. I waited until after dark to pitch the tent in camp and it popped right up in less than 5 minutes. Before I went to bed I went around the each stake point and tightened up the adjustable webbing. Even the stake points for the inner have adjustable webbing so I could get the maximum floor space which was nice. Speaking of stakes, it comes with 6 Mini Groundhogs. They worked fine but I'd bring some full sized Groundhogs if I expected really windy weather.
Inside space was good. The hubbed pole gives lots of head/foot room right up to the wall, you aren't giving up much usable space at the edges like you do with a mid. I had room for my 72" Thermarest plus a pillow. Width-wise there's enough room for two pads with a few inch gap in between. Head height is adequate. I can sit up and change shirts easily but its too low for me to kneel without having to hunch over. It was a palace with just me in it. The doors zip and roll up to one side, not draped on the floor which would be a problem with a dog. The interior has two small mesh pockets, one on each end, and two fabric loops at the top. I hung a small BD lantern on one of them. The body is a mix of nylon and mesh unlike the Hubba Hubba which was all mesh.
The fly has some features I really like. The first being the rain gutters, just small fabric flaps above the zipper that channel water away. It sounds gimmicky but it actually worked pretty well. The second thing I really like is that the vestibule can be deployed in three different manners. In addition to being staked fully out you can use a guy out mid way up the vestibule to keep it taut but roll up the bottom of the vestibule for extra ventilation. It looks similar to the beak on a Tarptent. You don't loose any functionality since the zipper is along the side but you do lose most of the vestibule storage space. You could keep shoes out there but I think a pack would be partly exposed. The third it to roll the vestibule completely out of the way for maximum airflow. Since the fly overhangs the inner you don't have to worry about dew or light rain coming in your tent. And since the body has some nylon panels on the doors you still have a little bit of privacy. The vestibule also has two vents on the ends that can be velcroed closed or propped open with a kickstand. Any adjustments have to be made outside the tent though. All the seams are factory taped and there was no moisture in the tent after sitting in the rain all day. The last note on the fly is that the color is nice when you're inside. Its a very, very light grey, not white, and was very bright inside. I like it much better than the orange of my Marmot car camping tent or yellow pyramid tarp.
The last interesting thing about the tent is actually the stuff sack. It has clips and webbing that allow you to compress it down to about the size of a TR regular Prolite Plus (you have to store the poles separately). Unfortunately this makes the sack pretty heavy.
Of course its not perfect. It takes longer to set up than my pyramid tarp and its slowed down by the method of attaching the fly. Just like the inner, it uses a grommet that slips over the tip of the pole at each corner. This means you can set up just the fly and pole with no need for a groundsheet like most tents but its definitely slower to attach than clips. And I'll admit I couldn't set it up with just the fly and pole when I tried in my basement because I couldn't control the pole. I'll try again outdoors where I don't have to worry about the pole smashing through an LCD monitor. I wish it had a couple of extra stake out points too. There are loops above the vents on the fly but I don't see how they could add too much stability in high wind. I'd prefer some along the poles but to be honest if the forecast is that bad I just stay home!
I know you're all wondering so MSR specs the tent at 3 lbs 13 oz and mine weighed 3 lbs 12 oz after I trimmed the fire hazard tag and set up instructions. There isn't much else I'd want to trim although I suspect replacing the stuff sacks would save a couple ounces. I don't feel like the tent is a great value, you can get much lighter tents for much less money at MSRP. The Stratospire 2 with partial solid inner, for instance, checks all the boxes I wanted for $50 less. However, since I work at a outdoor retailer I got a really good deal on the MSR. If it weren't for the discount I would choose the Tarptent in a heartbeat. Then again, I'd probably end up with neither because I can't afford a $350 tent!
Here's some pictures I took of it: Flickr
I'll be using the tent in about a month for another trail building event. We'll be hiking in about 2 miles and setting up a base camp and I'll be bringing my dog so we'll see how it works for the kind of trips I intend to use it for.
AdamMar 12, 2014 at 8:50 am #2082088
Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I own an MSR Hubba Hubba HP which has a similar design.
One area of concern for me is the large amount of fabric that is supported by the cross pole at the top. Even with moderate wind that area of fabric seems to depress quite a bit.
One person suggested to me that placing hiking poles at the ends of that cross pole might be a good idea in heavy winds.Mar 12, 2014 at 10:55 am #2082147
A question about this:
> This means you can set up just the fly and pole with no need for a groundsheet like most tents … I'll admit I couldn't set it up with just the fly and pole when I tried in my basement because I couldn't control the pole.
Don't you have to have either groundsheet or tent, with grommets at the proper spacing, in order to get the poles in the correct position? You can't put up the poles and the fly without something (such as groundsheet, tent, or perhaps a bit of string, or at least four perfectly placed stakes) holding the tips of the poles in their proper position, can you?
EDIT: Nope, I'm wrong. The MSR video clearly shows the Hubba and Hubba Hubba can be pitched with fly and NO groundsheet, NO tent. They don't show how it's done, and I'm scratching my head. How the heck would you keep the pole ends in place during fly setup?? The pole would be splaying all over the place.
(Found video link here: http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/tents/experience-series/hubba-nx/product)
I'd love to know how to do this, so I can better pitch in rain. Putting up the poles & fly first, seems ideal. Then crawl inside where it's dry, put down your dry groundsheet, and clip in your dry tent.
How is this done?
answer here, at 2:24:
The inside of the fly would get wet, and it looks like it'll take some practice. Also seems it would put a bit of stress on the fly as the inversion takes place.Mar 12, 2014 at 11:29 am #2082162
It might be possible to put up the fly first then attach the inner. I'll give it a shot when I get some free time but I imagine it will be a little difficult and not particularly practical.
It sounds like you figured out how its set up without the inner or a groundsheet but for anyone else who may be scratching their heads I'll try to explain.
In this picture the strap with the black ladder buckle is from the fly. Its hard to see but it has a metal loop that the tip of the pole slips into, the same as the inner. Its the small metal tab sticking out from underneath the larger red piece the pole is going into. All four corners have these metal grommets which capture the tips of the poles the same way the inner does. There are also two more metal grommets that interface with the crossing pole at the apex of the tent on both the fly and inner. I don't see any reason you wouldn't be able to put the grommets for the inner underneath the ones for the fly if you wanted to set up the inner first. The tricky part would be getting the clips for the inner attached to the poles. And like I mentioned I had a hard time getting all four corners of the fly attached to pole while trying to pitch it without the inner. I couldn't get things manipulated just right to get the fourth corner to connect. It might work better to connect the two grommets on the crossing pole first then do the corners.
One other drawback I noticed to the fly-only pitch is that you don't have any stake loops at the corners. Its easy enough to add some short loops of your own though.
AdamMar 12, 2014 at 11:43 am #2082165
Adam did you do the inversion technique as shown in the video? It's basically an inside out upside down pitch. Looks a little like watching a magic trick.Mar 12, 2014 at 12:49 pm #2082187
No I didn't trying doing it upside down. I watched the video you found, that guy makes it look so easy!
Like you say though, you'll get the inside of the fly wet doing it that way.
AdamMar 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm #2082209
I was wondering if you used a light cord (say of mason's line) with 4 loops tied in the appropriate places around the circumference, to capture the pole ends. Put that down on the ground first in the shape of a rectangle, with loops at each corner. Then hook the poles into the loops of the cord. Then on with the fly.
Alternately, the cord could be arranged in the shape of an X rather than the shape of a rectangle. Or maybe it's two separate cords in the shape of an X. Regardless, with cordage, you should be able to capture those pole ends while you set up and rig the fly. And that way, you'd not need to wet the inside of the fly during rain, or subject the fly to "extreme stretch" as you invert the pole.
Once the fly was on, you could remove the cords (use them later for something else–tieouts, etc). Then lay the groundsheet and pitch the tent under the cover of the fly.
I'd imagine you could get sufficient cord to do the job for well under an ounce, which might be worth it if you had to pitch in rain.
I'll try this when I get a chance.Mar 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm #2082228
Max DiltheyBPL Member
Neat idea for every tent, not just this one.Mar 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm #2082299
So, without further ado, and apologies for the thread-jack, I present "Delmar's X." In terms of cutting edge technology, it's probably up there with waterproof down, ripstop nylon, and the invention of the GPS. It is two lengths of pink mason's twine (barely visible in the photos) with a loop tied at each end but…what, you don't find this earth-shattering yet? Well here's the technical part…each length is the precise distance needed between opposing poles (give or take an inch or so), as when the tent is set up. If you can't find a PhD to do this operation for you, you can TRY to do it yourself, but I can't be held responsible for accidental explosions or beheadings.
I was way off in my estimation of weight. My scale won't read less than 0.2 oz, and the two pieces of twine are reading 0.0 oz, so this is a pretty light solution to getting the poles and fly up in rain.
Oddly, on setup, a different approach than that recommended by MSR worked best: (1) lay out the X, hook 2 pole ends into the "far end" of the X; (2) bend the pole and hook the 2 remaining ends into the "near end" of the X–the poles are now freestanding; (3) drape the fly over the poles and hook in two grommets on the "far end" of the fly; (4) hook in the crossbar at the top (this is the out of order step); (5) hook a third grommet at the near side of the fly, pinning the fourth with your knee (pinning probably unnecessary if you sew together the intersection of the X***); (6) hook the fourth grommet of the fly and the fly is up, and, in theory, dry on the underside. More or less.
*** EDIT: I did stitch together the intersection of the X. Makes everything easier and stabler. No pinning by knee necessary. Recommended mod.Mar 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm #2082304
W I S N E R !BPL Member
A few versions of this have been floated around in the past. I built one for my Hubba using mason line with a flat washer tied into each end to retain the pole.
Rather than an "x", I've seen one tied in a rectangle with a washer in each corner. Seems to provide more tension in both width and length than an "x" does.Mar 12, 2014 at 9:28 pm #2082326
John HarperBPL Member
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
The idea works. See my description here:Mar 12, 2014 at 9:49 pm #2082331
W I S N E R !BPL Member
Thanks John. The post you linked is the one I learned this from; the washers are a good addition.Mar 13, 2014 at 5:49 am #2082382
Cool, I like it! I tried the inverting method last night and even though it worked it was still a pain in the butt. I'll give the "Delmar X" a go, it sounds much easier.
Did you try setting up the inner underneath once the fly was pitched? It was pretty tight quarters under mine once I got it set up. It would have to be raining REALLY hard for me to choose to set it up that way.
AdamMar 13, 2014 at 11:55 am #2082491
What, I'm not the first person to consider using string, to pull things together? Outrageous! And here I was already on my way to the patent office.
The washer idea seems a good one; they would tend to cant sideways and lock into place. I was so intent on keeping weight low as possible, I stitched loops. Loops just large enough to make it onto the ends of the poles, but not large enough to slip up onto the poles. Also, stitching the intersection of the X made the device easy to use; that stopped any potential "runaway" effect. If I were to do it again, I'd use different colors of twine for the legs of the X, so you could tell easily which line was which. If you don't lay it out as an X you make a sort of )( shape, with a lot of stress on the stitching at the intersection, so you definitely want the lines to cross. I resolved this by sharpie-ing one of the lines to distinguish it, but having two colors would be more professional.
I've long considered doing this, since I use a home-made polycryo groundsheet that has no grommets and thus is no help in capturing the pole ends. I like that you can get the poles bent to shape and hold them there, and then futz with the placement, before erecting the tent. I'm also more likely to pitch this as desert shade during lunch, now. It was too much work, previously.
About erecting the tent INSIDE the fly: Mixed results. I found attaching the base of the inner, and clipping the inner into place, straightforward. What was difficult for me was attaching the grommets at the top of the inner to the cross pole. That gives me issues under ideal conditions (it's so tight), and I gave up even trying, with the fly already up. So one side of the inner's grommet made it onto the top cross pole, and the other side got a Nite Ize Gear Tie holding it within an inch or two of where it should have been. Major cheat. Yeah, I agree, I won't be erecting the tent fly-first, unless necessary. It complicates things. BUT, I would definitely do it if I got caught in a downpour.
I'll also be packing my tent differently now, with the fly and the poles readily accessible. (Previously they were wrapped to the inside.)Mar 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm #2082496
Again, Adam, sorry for the thread jack. Back to your excellent review. My thoughts:
1) There is less mesh in the NX designs. I'm pleased with that. I like the solid walls a bit higher, the better to block wind coming in under the fly. And you now have the fly vents, if needed.
2) Rain gutters seem a nice upgrade.
3) Color of fly…like the idea of light grey from INSIDE the tent. My green can be kinda gloomy inside. From the outside (for stealth camping) I like the green.
4) You said " I don't feel like the tent is a great value, you can get much lighter tents for much less money at MSRP." This is my major issue. The price went way up with the NX, and it seems MSR thinks they are operating without competition? I would be interested in a Hubba NX, and dropping 6 oz, if I could find one around $220 (what I paid for current Hubba), but above that, my current Hubba does well for me, and there are all those other options out there. Is this really a $390 (Hubba Hubba) or $340 (Hubba) tent? I just can't imagine the new NX'es will be big sellers at their price-points.
Thanks for the great review and looking forward to your post-trail-building report.Mar 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm #2082502
@pastyj-2-2Locale: SE US
I gotta say the new Hubba NX doesn't interest me for a few reasons (on top of the previously mentioned price hike):
– I really like being able to open the downwind door and be protected from wind and rain. If the wind does a 180 (pretty common with thunderstorms in the SE), you simply switch doors.
– While the fly color undoubtedly cheers up the interior of the tent, I like the stealth factor of the green fly. I wish my ZPacks Duplex was available in a darker green for that very reason.
– But most importantly, while the Hubba Hubba's dimensions remained almost the same, the Hubba lost 4" of headroom, 1" in interior length and 3" of vestibule depth (admittedly while gaining 4" of interior width). Those interior losses make the NX much less attractive to my 6'2" frame, plus I considered the previous vestibule barely big enough…I fear the new one is simply too small.
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