The MSR Hubba is a lightweight 3-season tent that weighs less than 3 pounds (1.4 kg) and is perfectly suited for backpacking, bicycle touring and just about any outdoor adventure where a quick, easy to set up and reliable shelter is needed.
For the last 7 months I have been using the MSR Hubba as my primary home while traveling by bike across both eastern and western Europe. From the frozen shores of Iceland to the hot desert landscapes found in northern Turkey, the MSR Hubba tent has kept me warm, dry and comfortable in a multitude of weather conditions.
In this article I will share with you some of the tent’s basic features, such as its weight, shape, design characteristics, etc. After that, I’ll tell you about the tent’s major benefits… and its flaws. Finally, I’ll conclude this review with a grab-bag of photos of the MSR Hubba tent in use in a wide range of outdoor environments. If you are looking for an amazingly light, well-constructed 1-person, 3-season tent, the MSR Hubba from Cascade Designs might be just what you’ve been looking for!
Basic Characteristics Of The MSR Hubba Tent
The MSR Hubba (not to be confused with the MSR Hubba Hubba, which is a two-person tent designed by the same company) is one of the lightest one-man tents on the market. Weighing in at a minimal 2 lbs. 13 oz. (1.29 kg) and a more realistic 3 lbs 4 oz under regular conditions, the lightweight characteristics of this tent make it perfect for bicycle touring, backpacking, motorcycle touring or any kind of outdoor activity where both size and weight are a major concern. The weight of the tent does increase a little once you add a protective ground-cloth, but even with that small amount of extra weight, the tent is still remarkably light.
In its stuff sack, the MSR Hubba measures approximately 20 inches long (51 cm) with a diameter of about 6 inches (15 cm) on either side. If you were to remove the tent poles from the fabric body of the tent (as I have done while bicycle touring around Europe for the last 7 months) and were to store the poles separately from the rest of the tent, the Hubba packs down to an even smaller size of about 14 x 6 x 6 inches (36 x 15 x 15 cm).
The MSR Hubba is made in Taiwan and constructed from a variety of lightweight fabrics that are common in the outdoor industries. The floor of the tent (the area most susceptible to damage) is made out of 40D ripstop nylon. This makes the floor of the tent extremely lightweight, but also capable of handling a small amount of abuse. However, using a large sheet of plastic (as I have done) or the matching MSR Hubba groundcloth that is available from the company is recommended to keep your tent floor free of holes and tears.
The floor of the MSR Hubba is small, but the upper portion of the tent is large, lightweight and transparent, due to the fact that the screen-like material is constructed from 20D nylon no-see-um mesh. This material allows air to easily flow through your tent, which not only helps to cool the tent in warm conditions, but prevents large amounts of water from pooling on the fly of the tent when used overnight. If you’ve ever used a tent and woken up dripping with condensation, you know how important it is to have a tent that allows air to easily pass through it. Due to the mesh material used in the main body of the Hubba’s construction, condensation is rarely a concern.
The Hubba is held up with one large, but lightweight interconnected pole system. Folded up, these poles measure about 20 inches (51 cm in length), but when snapped together are more than 9 feet (2.8 meters long). This long and easy to construct pole system is what is used to create the free-standing roof of the MSR Hubba tent. Watch the video below to see how the tent is constructed. In this video they are using the MSR Hubba Hubba, which is the two-person version of the Hubba discussed in this review. However, the construction of the tent is exactly the same. Only the size of the tent and the length of the poles in the video are much greater than those used in the 1-person Hubba.
The tent’s exterior rain-fly, which comes in a beautiful light green color, weighs approximately 1 lbs 2 oz and is constructed from 40D ripstop nylon with a 1500mm protective later of polyurethane & silicone, which helps you stay dry in wet weather and prevents the fabric from falling apart in hot and sunny conditions.
The tent’s rain-fly gives you access to the Hubba’s single door. The fly can be staked down to the ground and sealed completely shut to keep you warm and dry in wet conditions, or one or both sides of the rain-fly can be pinned back as to allow excess airflow into the tent’s interior.
The Hubba’s rain-fly not only functions as your main source of protection from the elements and your one and only access point into the tent’s interior, but when staked to the ground, it also creates a medium-sized vestibule where your shoes or gear can be stowed overnight.
There is one large door on the Hubba that allows access to the interior of the tent. The large, single-zippered door is, like the main body of the tent, constructed of 20D nylon no-see-um mesh and can be pinned back and held in place just like the flaps of the rain-fly. The zipper on the door of the tent can be opened from the top or the bottom, allowing for a number of different in, out and half-way open possibilities.
Inside the tent there are two small pockets on the rear wall, where lightweight items can be stowed and easily accessed during the night.
On top of the tent, there is a small flat canopy area constructed of white 40D ripstop nylon, which serves as the roof of your tent and functions as a great place to store a lightweight solar panel or flash light. This flat area can also be used to hang and dry an article of wet clothing.
The Hubba’s Main Benefits
Besides the obvious light weight of the MRS Hubba, there are a number of other noticeable benefits to this tent.
First of all, the tent can be used in a variety of different ways. As the video above demonstrates, the tent can be used:
- With both the main tent body and the rain-fly
- With the tent body, but without the rain-fly
- With the groundcloth and the rain-fly only
- Or with the rain-fly only
This allows you to pitch whichever arrangement you please depending on the environment and weather conditions you find yourself in.
Secondly, the MSR Hubba is a small 1-man tent, but it is large enough to sit up in and remain comfortable. I am a tall 6 foot 1 inch man and I’ve had trouble with tents in the past that were simply too small for me. The Hubba isn’t like those other tents. While the pack-size of the Hubba is small and the carrying weight is light, the tent feels spacious and comfortable. It would be easy to spend several days or even weeks at a time sleeping inside the MSR Hubba.
Third, the tent’s rectangular floor design allows you to use the foot of the tent as the head, if need be… or to switch it around and use the head as the foot. This is a small, but note-worthy benefit to the MSR Hubba because it allows you to set the tent up in a manner that is best suited to the wind, weather and slope of the environment you find yourself camping in. If you want to flip the door around to face in the other direction and still sleep with your head facing uphill, you can do that with the MSR Hubba. Other tents are not so easy to flip around and manipulate to your liking.
Lastly, the Hubba is large enough to accommodate not just your own body, but a small amount of excess gear as well. While there isn’t much room inside the tent to store a large backpack or a big set of bicycle panniers, there is enough room in the tent itself and under the tent’s rain-fly to store whatever items you might need to store for the evening. Over the course of the last seven months, for example, I have usually slept with the two large rear panniers on my bicycle stored inside the tent with me (down by my feet), while my smaller front panniers are kept under the canopy of my rain-fly near the front door. My handlebar bag, tripod and whatever other items I might have with me, easily fit in the small thin space at the side of my sleeping mat.
Drawbacks To The MSR Hubba Tent
There are three noteworthy drawbacks to the MSR Hubba.
First of all, the space inside the tent for excess gear isn’t extremely large and while I found the storage space to be more than enough (once I got used to the tent and learned how and where to store my gear), I fear that some campers may feel a bit squished when they climb inside the Hubba for the first time with all of their belongings.
Secondly, the large zipper on the tent’s main door has given me some problems. Like other MSR tent’s I have owned in the past, the zipper on my MSR Hubba has showed signed of deterioration and I’m afraid that over time the zipper may stop functioning entirely. After 7 months, the zipper is still going strong, but there have been multiple times when the zipper has slipped off its track, got stuck in the mesh material or generally given me problems. So be careful with that main zipper. Treat it well and make it last for as long as you can.
Finally, the length of the poles when in their folded position is worth noting. At 20 inches (51 cm) long, the poles are simply too long to fit inside any of my bicycle’s panniers. This means that either the tent as a whole or simply the poles themselves need to be stored outside of your panniers, which is something I generally try and avoid. I would prefer it if my tent and its poles fit comfortably inside on of my bicycle’s rear panniers. That way I could keep the tent both dry and protected from the sun as I traveled about. Instead, the length of the poles has forced me to carry the poles separately from the tent. I removed the poles from the tent and stored them on the rear rack of my bicycle, while the main body of the tent is stored inside one of my bicycle’s rear panniers, along with my sleeping mat and sleeping bag. If the poles were just a couple inches shorter, the poles would fit inside the rear pannier and I would be able to keep all the parts of my tent together in one place. Unfortunately, the way the tent poles are currently designed, this set up isn’t entirely possible.
Would I Recommend The MSR Hubba Tent?
Overall, the MSR Hubba is an amazing one-man tent that I would whole-heartily recommend. It may be one of the higher-priced one-man tents on the market, but I believe it is worth every cent. After camping in this tent for the last seven months in a multitude of locations and weather conditions, I can truly say that the MSR Hubba is very likely one of the best bicycle touring tents on the planet.