MSR Elixir 2
2.10 kg / 4 lb 10 oz
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The MSR Elixir 2 is a quality tent for people not…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $190
The MSR Elixir 2 is a quality tent for people not as worried about weight but still wanting a high-quality tent. I recommend it.
- Little to no condensation
- Relatively lightweight
- Two doors
- Roomy vestibules
- Sturdy poles
- footprint included
- nice ventilation
- Not ultralight
- Some splashing underneath rain fly
- Not as much visibility out of the top as I'd like
- A little cramped for two people
This tent is the little brother of the Hubba Hubba. It's pretty easy to pitch because the poles, tent, and fly are all color-coded. A footprint is included, and everything buckles and clips in pretty easily.
The main drawback is the pole design. Some of my friends have struggled to figure out how to set up the poles. While a little strange, the pole design allows for more headroom and high walls, so I'm a fan of it. Once you're familiar with the tent, it isn't hard to pitch and takes no more than a couple of minutes.
This tent pitches tautly. It didn't budge in 40 mile per hour winds on a January night in the Smokies. The pole design stretches the material taut and helps it keep its form well. It's held up in rain as well, but I have not used it in snow. The rain fly doesn't stretch all the way to the ground, which led to some splashing of rain water onto my boots in the vestibule during the night. It was minor, but worth noting. Inside the tent, I was dry.
This tent doesn't have as much mesh as some other comparable tents, but it seems to vent pretty well. There are vents in the fly that can be opened to enhance air flow, and the mesh roof, door panels, and ends of the tent seem to allow for adequate air flow. Occasionally, I encounter condensation, but it is nothing major.
The Elixir 2 has adequate headroom within the tent's walls due to the unique pole design. The tent is plenty big for two people, but taller campers might feel a little cramped inside. When alone, there is plenty of room for all of my gear (outside of food) inside the tent. When sleeping two, the tent leaves a little bit of room at your feet for small essentials.
There are also two pouches that run the length of the ends of the tent where headlamps, phones, shirts, and other items can be stored. I don't put anything heavy in these pouches though, because it causes the mesh to sag a little bit. The two vestibules are roomy. There is room for a pack and boots on both sides.
This tent checks in at about 4.5 pounds. It isn't super heavy, but it isn't super light. Split between two people though, it is easy to carry. The tent packs well in my bag and flexes to fill available space relatively well. The pole design causes it to be a bit bulky when packed, but I always put these on top of my pack, so I haven't really encountered a problem. Those who pack their poles inside their pack might not be too fond of this, however.
All things considered, this tent packs and carries well for its price. If you pay up, you can always go smaller and lighter for the same pitched size, though.
The tent has gutters on the zippers of the fly. It's supposed to channel rain water away from the lip of the fly so you aren't dripped on getting in and out of the tent. It's a neat touch, but I don't know how big of a deal it really is. The colors and structure are appealing to me, too.
Unique architecture, palatial for one, livable for…
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
- Finicky setup
- 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.
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.
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.