User Review: MSR Mutha Hubba
Ease of Setup: it's pretty easy.
So I just got this tent the day I was going on a trip and pretty much tested it in every Canadian summer condition. I usually steer towards the ultralight products but I'm by no means restricted to that realm. I got this tent because I can see it as very usable for backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, carcamping and pretty much anything I choose to do. It seemed to be versatile and I trust MSR as a manufacturer of high quality gear.
Stuff I noticed:
1. Looks sweet: at first I wasn't sure about the colours but when I set it up on the trip it stood out... but in a good way.
2. The space: I describe it a being similar to a circus big top. It's huge in there! It may not have the largest floor area but the interior volume with the vertical walls is awesome. Definitely capable of sleeping 3 comfortably or two luxuriously.
3. Lightweight/ Packability: I was canoeing this trip so weight wasn't really an issue. That said, I packed smaller than I've ever packed before. I stuffed the fly, body and footprint into a compression sack and then put the poles in their normal bag. I think that that's the best way to do it. It was pretty tiny for a 3-man. However, weightwise, it's pretty good too. 6lbs 2 oz isn't that much to brag over but when you divide it amongst 3 people, it doesn't weigh much at all. I was also looking at the Marmot Areos 3p because of it being lighter but when divided by 3, it only subtracts around 4 ounces per person which isn't a big deal provided that you aren't a huge weight weenie.
4. Solid in wind: I set it up with 8 pegs in moderate winds and it stood like a statue. I was so surprised with how quiet it was to sleep in because of this: no blowing or anything. The second night I set it up with a guy-line into the wind above a vestibule just because and it wasn't really neccesary at all. As long as it is set up properly I don't see when that would be needed outside of the extremes. Also, no unwanted air movement inside.
5. Good overall design: vestibules are a good size, could be a bit bigger, but can still get everything under them with some strategic gear arranging. The fly never touched the tent-body. Ever. Good doors, good storage inside (love the side pockets), works perfectly fast-fly set-up. Just solid.
6. Good in rain: plain and simple. No leaks, no worries.
7. Ventilation: Ok. So some questioning hear. On the first night it was quite cold (below freezing) and there was condensation on the inside. Nothing to lose sleep over, but it was there. That night, since it was colder, I had the doors shut tight. The temperature did go below the dew point so maybe that had something to do with but it doesn't really matter. Second night, I unzipped the tops of the vestibule doors about 6 inches (double zipper vestibule is great) hoping for some high venting and that took care of the problem. The tent doesn't have any extra venting options but I think I can easily make do with the vestibule doors and a couple extra pegs. The ventilation also posed a problem because in the mornings it rose to 25ºC in a matter of a couple of hours. It got damn stuffy; especially being in a -9ºC down bag. But I opened up the vestibules and managed to go back to sleep for a couple of hours.
8. Guy-outs: there aren't enough guy-outs! There are only six on the whole tent. That said, maybe it doesn't really need anymore. Like I said, the walls weren't touching the fly, solid in wind, no problem with rain. But still, I'd like to have the option of at least a couple more on the sides below the MSR logo just so I could try to have some more venting and be overly confident that the fly will be secure in a side wind. I'm thinking that it might just be what I'm used to but it's worth thinking about.
9. Easy to set up: monkeys could practically do it. The only point of possible confusion is with the two silver poles going OVER the gold one but it's written in the instructions and once you've identified that, you'll never have to look back. There are a few tricks that can be learnt like but nothing that affects performance or will do more than shave off a minute or two in your set-up time.
So, I gave it a 4.5 because it's a great tent that I already believe to be very trustworthy. Now, it lost a point 5 for two reasons: not the lightest, not the best ventilating. I don't know if the weight factor is overly applicable but there are definitely lighter tents out there. As for the ventilation, I'd like some more options but I think a little creativity should take care of any arising problems. Overall, the tent performs very well and is very comfortable. The pros greatly out weigh the cons and the complaints aren't so great that they can't be accommodated for. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone.