User Review: MSR Missing Link
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $125
I just traded it in @ MSR for a Fast Stash and a fist full of stickers! Over 5 years my Missing Link devolved from my go-to summer tent to my Punk's backpacking palace / loaner to friends. Finally succumbing to internal stickiness combined with embedded sand, I embrace the memories of my backpacking evolution that the Missing Link helped to see me through.
- 3lb weight
- MSR's customer service/ warranty
- Massive size
- Ungainly footprint/ guy out,
- Condensation in the spring/ fall
- Eventual fabric failure
I bought this tent years ago off of REI-outlet for $125 or so. My purchase was a reaction to having just tasted, as a family of four, a 3km section of the Juan de Fuca trail (Parkinson Main to Payzant Creek) on Vancouver Island totally unprepared, lugging along a 4-man Coleman tent... We had an amazing time, but I swore never to do it that way again... The Missing Link and an old Jones pup tent for the kids would be the beginning of my embrace of the "New Way".
I never had too much trouble setting up the ML solo, though getting it nicely taught always took some fiddling. Before I had trekking poles, I harvested a thrift shop tent for its poles and cut them to length (54" if memory serves) to use.
I echo the comments of previous reviewers about the stickiness and off gassing that developed after a few years. We were getting prepped for our big trip this year (5 days, 4 nights at Cape Scott, an around 60 km round trip to the NW tip of Vancouver Island) and my kids were understandably reticent about going inside of the ML... I set it up to air out and added some fresh lavender flowers before packing it. There was no complaint about the smell on the trip, and the kids slept in every day (Lavender is amazing...) Unfortunately, the sand discipline of my kids left something to be desired, and when we got home sand was fully embedded in the material.
Having read a review on the MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) site about the MSR Fast Stash and how the reviewer had received it as a replacement for the ML, I emailed MSR in mid August. The respondent readily admitted the problem and offered the Fast Stash as a replacement if I would ship the ML to Seattle... It turned out that we were heading that way to visit my Grandmother, so I took the ML to Cascade Designs, was handed the FS and, when I asked, a dozen MSR stickers... The tech I talked to there said that they had had only a few MLs returned, but many of the early Hubba series with the same problem, which has been rectified.
The week before heading down to Seattle, my son and I headed out on a quick one nighter back to Payzant Creek (approaching from the north this time, 14km round trip, from Botanical Beach) to send off the ML in style. I oriented the door into the NW breeze, left the top of the door open over night and felt for condensation in the morning. It was bone dry.
Though I had a heavy heart trading the ML in, I set up the Fast Stash yesterday, and I am more than pleased with the upgrade, although I am feeling overly protective of it... I immediately ordered the footprint for $34 from MEC, compared to $40 from REI or MSR... And my kids are going to have to wait to step inside it unescorted for quite a few years...