Monday, May 25, 2009

Gear review: MSR Hubba Hubba tent

It has been described and acclaimed as the world's best-selling tent and no less than Backpacker magazine chose it as its "Editor's Choice" tent. All said, the MSR Hubba Hubba could very well be the most popular two-person tent in the world. But how does it fare in tropical conditions? Can it still be called the best, or one of the best? Does its unique features justify shelling out P15,000 for it?

During the Visayan Voyage - a succession of five climbs spanning 12 days in the Visayan islands - the MSR Hubba Hubba was one of tents our team used and we were able to experience it in cold, tropical settings such as Kanlaon's Margaha Valley and Talinis' Lake Nailig. I have to admit that its being lightweight (just 4 pounds or 1.8 kgs) was a great advantage especially for long treks or expeditions; it was also very easy to set up with its unique pole configuration. As for the design, it is just right with two doors, two vestibules, and a spacious interior (unless you want to cram 3 or 4 persons inside)

For tropical conditions, the specific considerations are humidity and water protection. The humid tropics is a ventilation challenge, and tropical downpour is simply incomparable with temperate drizzles. The Hubba Hubba makes use of a fine mesh to solve the ventilation problem. It also passes the downpour test, but it does so just like any other tent so it's not a real plus. Perhaps the only criticism that one can throw on the Hubba Hubba is that through time, it offers suboptimal protection from the cold. Its advanced version, the Hubba Hubba HP, is said to do better on that department, but its design for alpine weather makes it inappropiate for our setting - for sure it will not be able to tolerate the humidity here. At any rate, between a very lightweight tent and a heavy duty tent that somehow insulates better, I'd still go for the lightweight.

Going back to the questions I raised: is it one of the best tents around? Yes, it is, even in the tropics. The P15,000-P20,000 price tag is the hard part, though. Nevertheless, I think it's a good investment for anyone who wants to climb for a long time - here and elsewhere.


Joel Flores said...

hi boss gideon,

just a piece of my mind..

i have owned a hubba (1-person) in the past. I say that it really has some of the attributes that a good tent should have. i loved the tent and that's before i start to notice how it stood up with a badass windy campsite. that one thing that i didn't like though is the way it reacts to a very windy environment and the same pole that made it lightweight is the same reason why it's not that stable.. you really have to support it with guylines and even that is not enough to really stabilize the tent.. right now, i own an msr halcyon 1 tent with a wedge-pole design and i must say that based on my experience, it's the best one i ever had.. and besides, it costs less..

joel, MMS

gideon said...

hi joel,

thanks for sharing your views on the hubba and halcyon. regarding wind, the hubba hubba had sufficient withstanding power i think but definitely these lightweights would face some challenge on that department. i haven't tried the hubba though. as for the halcyon, thanks for the recommendation, maybe i should give it a try as well ^^

Niel said...

Ive used a hubba-hubba since 2005 for approximately 25 or so climbs - from Apo to Gulugod Baboy. I agree that in rainy and windy conditions (e.g. Tarak), it has to have some guylines connected, otherwise the fly will stick to the body which makes it drip inside. However, in one climb, it did withstand very fierce winds. In the morning, only 2 of 8 tents were left standing undamaged ( the other one being a talus).
I loved how you could set it up quickly in less than 5minutes, or in wet weather set up the fly first before the body so the tent ( and yourself) can be kept dry. Ever since I learned how to pitch it well with a footprint and double ground sheet inside, i was always dry inside the tent. Very spacious as well, as it fits my 6foot frame quite comfortably.

By the way, the poles have a lifetime warranty. When the initial poles had a problem( I got the older model with the poor hub design), MSR shipped new parts to me at zero charge. Just emailed them a picture of the damage.

Finally had to retire it this year, as the fly is already too worn out, and the center pole cracked. Although my wife would say it was from my inability to care for it according to instructions, hehe.

Anonymous said...

Sir halcyon is made by mountain hardware..tnx

Anonymous said...

Just where can one purchase this jewel of a tent locally? I agree with something I've read somewhere that if you're not a one-climb a year mountaineer, it's best to invest in a very good tent.... I've purchased several already, regretting each purchase after a single use because I was uninformed. Where do we go for good, mountaineer-grade tents Gideon?

Anonymous said...


Would you know if MSR replaces bent poles? I know they have lifetime warranty on breakage but I'm not sure if they do replace bent poles.

I used mine(MSR Hubba Hubba 2008) in Malsimbo and it bowed down to strong winds. They should have put a guy loop in the vestibule area to make all sides stable on windy situations.

I found older versions of it and saw the guy loops in the vestibules. I don't know why they dropped it on newer versions.


miraclecello said...

Expedition Plus carries the two-person Hubba-Hubba, 2nd flr Mile Long Building Amorsolo St. Makati. ROX carries some TNF models.

Anonymous said...

sir saan po makakabili ng murang tent?

Joel Flores said...


Hehe sorry, Halycon is made my Mountain Hardwear and not by MSR. Including the footprint, i bought it at around 7.5kphp.

Sir Gid, I suggest you include in this site a for-sale portal where one can post items for sale.


Joel Flores said...

Hi guys,

Try to buy online. Shipping is around $20-$30 from US to the Philippines. It's still a lot less (shipping cost plus the item's base price) than buying imported brands from local resellers. Normally, local resellers do up to 100% mark-up pricing but that's understandable due to the many hazards of reselling. The caveat of online-purchasing though is that you have at least 30 days for you to receive the shipment. You also need to have a credit card to do this.

I've tried buying online many times and I haven't had a single bad experience. It's perfectly safe, especially if you're really careful. Do a lot of research first, read reviews, there are lots of online shops where purchasing is perfectly safe. Moreover, purchasing can be a lot safer if you buy via PayPal.

However, I still suggest you check the local brands first because there are already a lot that the local manufacturers can offer at a very good price. Try Conquer, it is located at Robinson's Pioneer (or Forum) near Boni MRT Station.

I hope this helps.

Joel, MMS

edge said...

nice promoting..^_^

I'm using Marmot..tested in strong winds and even typhoons(at least signal#2) at the peak..
been using it 1yr now..a substitute for my Coleman & Bobcat tents..

Anonymous said...

hi joel. where did you buy your halcyon tent including its footprint? I'm also interested in buying one. Thanks!

Eddie said...

thanks everyone's comments. am looking for 2man tent, lightweight but not expensive. currently mine is 4man dome type, The Blazing Products, 2.2 kilos. tested against heavy rain and high wind but not typhoon.

rarevision said...

I'm using a locally made "Eusebio" dome type tent and it is one of the toughest tent I've use. Tested on heavy downpour and strong winds but still dry and comfortable inside. Although a bit heavy for a 2-man tent capacity is still fine since I don't climb alone I divide the tent poles and flysheet to my partner.

neneth said...

Hello sir/ma'am. Do you think the Coleman Sundome is a good buy? I've read somewhere na F/G poles are not good but they say most poles are F/G. I'm not a frequent climber pero I want to buy a quality one kasi sayang naman. My budget is around 5K. What can you advise? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

i have been using Coleman Tadpole for almost 4 yrs na, it endured the climate of Pulag, the wind of Tarak and Apo, and the challenges of Halcon and G2....SUPERB! yun nga lang laspagan na talaga sa itsura saka mabigat yung tent...

Anonymous said...

Coleman Tadpole po?! Maybe you mean "Coleman Pioneer 2 Tent" it is different with tadpole but almost the same size... and it's way cheaper than all those high-end tents. (around P3.4K to P4K)

for reviews:


dranreb said...

just check..MARMOT Earlylight 2P Tent
para sa tropical whether..

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