MSR Elixir 2

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0


Weight 2.10 kg / 4 lb 10 oz



Unique architecture, palatial for one, livable for…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: borrowed it (Returned it.)


Unique architecture, palatial for one, livable for two, sturdy 3-season tent for car camping or non-SL/UL backpacking.


  • Strong architecture
  • Well-ventilated
  • Spacious


  • Finicky setup
  • Heavy
  • Sagging wall pockets

I took this tent out on an eight-day road trip through four national parks, and it performed very well. From Rocky Mountain to Great Sand Dunes, it stood up to mountain rain and desert sand. A unique geometry and spacious interior made for a comfortable road trip. 


My first stop was Wind Cave. I arrived as the sun was setting over the Black Hills, and I had to rush to pitch the tent before it got too dark. The architecture is listed as 2 poles — it has one pole primary pole (two poles attached together with swiveling hubs) and a brow pole. The primary pole when tensioned on the tent body creates two parabolas with two intersections created by the swiveling aluminum hubs as shown in the first photo.

There is a particular way to position the poles, and it can be tricky to figure out which way is correct. If you try to do it wrong, it is almost impossible to get the poles to seat correctly in the body grommets. After a few minutes and a couple failed attempts, I was able to get the pole attached to the body. After several setups in different parks I was still struggling a bit to pitch quickly.

This is definitely a body you want to stake down before adding the poles otherwise it may become airborn. The brow pole rests atop this configuration and seats easily in the top grommets but with very nice tension.


The brow pole creates nearly vertical side walls making for a very spacious geometry. With the vestibules staked out, the pitch is very taut. I used the included guy lines at the short ends to increase ventilation and improve stability in the wind. It didn't flap a bit.

Internal Space

Running solo, I had plenty of room for my sleep system (20in wide Thermarest NeoAir XTherm pictured below), my clothing duffel, and the usual explosion of road trip maps and other ephemera. With a 50" wide floor, I would be comfortable with a friendly tent mate. The length was more than adequate. I'm only 5'8" so the 84" long floor was lounge-worthy.




The polyester fly seems very durable and did not snag on juniper branches in Great Sand Dunes NP. The gray-beige color is actually appealing and lights up with the rising sun. I typically go for green or grey tents when possible, but I liked the red and it is understated when covered by the fly.

Weather Resistance

The weather during the trip was cool to cold (35°F-55°F) during the duration of the trip. The mostly-solid side walls kept out most of the chilling effect of the wind, while the strategically-placed mesh and vents allowed for condensation-busting ventilation. I slept with the vents open on cool drizzly nights - dry as a bone! Even on humid nights in Rocky Mountain NP, there was negligible condensation on the walls and no internal rain. It may be different in torrential downpours with the limited mesh. 

The "StayDry" doors actually lived up to their name. I was able to have the doors open in light rain with no water dropping in on me as I got ready for the day. The rain gutters above the fly door zipper are a nice touch, though I am not sure how much they really did.



The vestibules are quite spacious and accommodate a lot of gear. I was able to put my pack under the protection of the fly, and still stick my feet out to remove my boots before bed. The short ends of the body have large mesh pockets for small essentials. They are convenient, but the top hem is just doubled-over, stitched mesh. They tend to sag greatly when you have anything more than a couple small items in them.

It would be nice to have a nylon or elastic strip along the top edge to hold the shape of the pocket better when there are more items in it.



The included storage sac is pretty large. With a compression sac, one could pack it up for backpacking. The poles are a bit long when folded. The weight is high for super- or ultra-light backpacking, but not unfeasible for two who aren't especially concerned with minimizing weight or just on a short overnight/weekend. For car camping, it was great.


I enjoyed using this tent. The setup was a bit finicky, but very stable and reliable while in use. I would definitely recommend for value-conscious car-campers or beginning backpackers. Solid tent.


*I am the general manager of Whole Earth Provision Co. in Southlake, Texas. My views do not necessarily represent the views of Whole Earth Provision Co., its representatives, or its vendors. I pride myself in providing unbiased reviews of products I purchase for my personal use. NOTE: I borrowed this tent from an MSR field technical representative. I received no compensation for this unsolicited review.

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Manufacturer's Description

Surprisingly lightweight and easy to assemble, the new MSR® Elixir 2 tent is an extremely livable performance backpacking tent—and a great value for all its features. Unlike many tents in this class, our freestanding tent design features two large doors, two large vestibules for storing gear, and true-to-size capacity for two. The versatile tent balances breathable mesh fabric with solid canopy fabric to provide ventilation, warmth and privacy, while the included footprint offers multiple setup options, including a freestanding Fast & Light® pitch with rainfly. Whether you’re planning your first backpacking trip or your next one, the Elixir 2—the most livable backpacking tent in its class—is your remedy.

  • Lightweight: Minimum weight is just 2.10 kg (4 lb 10 oz), or set up in Fast & Light mode for 1.61 kg (3 lb 9 oz).
  • Livable: Unique pole geometry optimizes headroom and fits two mats;adaptable rainfly allows for excellent views.
  • Easy Access: Two large StayDry doors and two vestibules with optimized zipper orientation.
  • Fast Setup: Freestanding system features color-coded poles, clips and webbing for fast and easy setup.

Visit MSR's Elixir 2 page.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

The MSR Elixir 2 is surprisingly lightweight and easy to assemble, the Elixir tent is the most livable performance backpacking tent in its class and an ideal option for new or budget-conscious backpackers. The freestanding design features two doors and two vestibules, and plenty of room per person. The Footprint is included.


Double-wall, 3-season MSR Elixir 2 Tent combines generous living space with lightweight backcountry performance to create a durable, comfortable wilderness shelter for you and your backpacking buddy.


The MSR Elixir 2 Tent blends versatility and value. The Elixir 2 is not only lightweight, but boasts the most livable backpacking space with a high ceiling and performance style pole design to offer maximum space. Unique pole configuration provides maximum interior space, with interior floor space to comfortably fit two 20 inch mattresses, side-by-side Two Stay-Dry entrances and two large vestibules make entry and exit easy and store gear Zipper orientation allows vestibule door to hang out of your way for unrestricted access 40 inches of headroom Adaptable rain fly allows for star gazing Three season design uses mesh fabric with solid canopy to provide airflow, venting and views while balancing privacy and warmth Lightweight weight durable materials keep pack weight down while maintaining longterm use even with dogs and kids Freestanding design allows for Fast & Light(R) setup using just rain fly, poles and footprint for ultimate weight savings Includes free footprint

- OMCgear

MSR Elixir 2 Tent with Footprint The MSR Elixir 2 tent with footprint is the best camping tent for couples. It is lightweight and easily assembled. It has enough space for both of you, and your other MSR Items. The design of the tent maximizes space, and gives easy access with 2-StayDry doors. It perfectly fits two persons. It is made with fabrics that are breathable. This tent will keep you comfortable, warm, and dry. It also comes with a Footprint to ensure that moisture does not get in the tent. For the best camping experience the MSR Elixir 2 Tent with Footprint should be at the top of your list.

- SunnySports