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Mountain Safety Research (MSR) is known for making some of the best backpacking and hiking equipment on the market. Their tents are widely accepted to be some of the best in the game. Two of these tents are the MSR Hubba Hubba and MSR Elixer 2. These two lightweight backpacking tents sit in the middle of the MSR range. On paper, if you have the money, the Hubba Hubba is the better choice. It is lighter, and more compact but has a price tag reflecting this. Over the past year, we have been testing the Elixer 2 and comparing it with its more lightweight brother. We have come to the conclusion that the choice isn’t as simple as it first seemed.
The Hubba Hubba (a 2-person version of the Hubba) is MSR’s backpacking tent. It sits comfortably between the heavier Elixir range and the lighter Freelight. It is the Goldilocks of tents. Not too light so as to be impractical, but not so feature-rich to be too heavy. It still features 2 doors with ample storage space for a large backpack. It is a freestanding twin-skin tent with a waterproof breathable outer fabric and a bug mesh and nylon inner. There are internal pockets for storage, a durable aluminium pole design as well as vents for summer camping. We have used the Hubba Hubba for 3-day backpacking trips and lightweight overnighters a few times and have nothing but good things to say about it. It is spacious, even for 2 people with plenty of space internally to get changed and store gear.
Shop Hubba Hubba
A heavier version of the Hubba Hubba is the Elixir. Its form factor is almost identical to that of the Hubba Hubba and on first inspection, one would be excused for mistaking one for the other. When it comes to sleeping there is very little to separate the two tents. The Elixir is marginally taller which makes changing and getting packed up easier. The storage vestibules are significantly bigger, however. The Elixir also uses heavier fabrics which contribute to the weight deficit of almost 1kg.
On first inspection, a 1kg difference between the tents may seem very large. Especially if one is carrying the tent solo. However, upon further inspection, this deficit gets almost halved. The Hubba Hubba reports an impressive “packed weight”, or all-inclusive weight of 1.7kg, however, it does not come with a few key extras that the Elixir does. the Elixir’s “packed weight” of 2.7kg includes guy ropes, a footprint and extra pegs. If these were to be removed and the weight compared with the Hubba Hubba, we would find the difference to only be 500g. This is still a sizable weight difference especially if you are covering vast distances but it is worth remembering that for the 500g weight penalty you are receiving a more durable, more waterproof (1500mm instead of 1200mm), more spacious tent with a more secure pitch out of the box.
If you are pinching grams for your next trip and want to minimise your pack weight as much as possible the Hubba Hubba is definitely the tent to get. If however you are planning a slower, more leisurely trip with 2 people to split the extra weight across and you want to have a tent that will serve as many purposes as possible, we would recommend strongly considering the Elixir. Especially considering it is currently about 40% cheaper than the Hubba Hubba!
We hope that this has helped you to make a more informed decision.
Like this? You may also enjoy these:
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By Matthew McConnell
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