We bought this tent on a trip to Canada in 2009, as a replacement for an old Macpac Minaret. Although the MSR is now also available in green, when we bought it, it only came in yellow, which was a shame as we do a lot of wild camping and a bright yellow tent isn’t the best when you’re trying to be discreet….but the tent’s other features won us over. We liked the excellent headroom and spacious interior, and the entrances down either side of the sleeping area so no disturbing the other when entering or exiting the tent. Having a vestibule each also eliminates disagreements over how tidy the areas need to be kept. We also liked the (almost) free-standing nature of the tent, the speed of pitching, its low weight and relatively small pack size.
So, how did the Hubba Hubba perform on the road?
We’ve used it for a two-week cycling trip in Ukraine, a few UK weekends, and predominantly for 6 months cycle-touring across Europe when we slept under canvas for around 140 nights.
We continued to like all the features that had first persuaded us to buy the tent, in particular the head-room, which is really good throughout the tent. In addition we found the large flat mesh shelf in the roof was really handy for drying the teatowel and other small items overnight. The two interior pockets kept things fairly well organised, but they were a little too shallow for some items and we wished they’d been perhaps a couple of centimetres deeper.The groundsheet felt flimsy so we bought the separate footprint and used that all the time. The groundsheet did prove to be very waterproof though as we discovered when we inadvertently pitched in a hollow and woke up after a night of rain feeling as if we were on a water bed. The water was lapping at the top of the groundsheet, but had not entered the tent.
We found the tent quite stuffy in hot weather. The venting on the flysheet is low down and whilst the vestibule zips can be opened from the top to provide a high-level vent, that does mean the rain can get in so can’t be used all the time.
Although the vestibules provide a reasonable area to store bags in, they don’t offer much space for cooking in when it’s raining. There’s no way to really sit and cook with the doors open without letting the rain right into the inner tent, and I wasn’t very comfortable cooking with the doors closed. We also felt the vestibules would be improved if the footprint extended into them so we made a pair of extra footprints for the porch areas to keep bags off the ground, reduce the amount of condensation rising from the ground and make it easier to keep dirt out of the tent.
We weren’t always able to pitch in shady areas and the fly did suffer quite a lot from UV damage. It seems to have become a little stretched and it’s quite hard to get a nice taut fit now. There’s always one part touching the inner tent no matter how carefully we arrange it. A few little holes have mysteriously appeared in both the fly and the groundsheet despite our careful checking of the ground for sharp items. The ‘single pole’ pitching system was quick and easy to use, but we had a problem with the thread stripping out from where the main pole inserts into the 3-spoked hub unit. We’re not sure if it had already begun to unscrew, and thus was part-way out and already weakened, when we encountered an unexpected ‘mini hurricane’ that absolutely battered the tent, first pushing it to the ground and then trying to rip it skywards. But regardless of whether it was already partly unscrewed or not, the rigours of the storm proved too much for it. We heard a crack and the tent sagged so we thought a pole had broken but on closer inspection we found that the pole had come away from the hub and the thread had become damaged. We were able to screw it back in again, and checked it was fully screwed in each time we pitched it after that, but it became looser and looser over the following weeks until it would no longer stay in place. We now have to use a lot of gaffer tape and a couple of flat struts to support the structure and prevent the pole from detaching from the hub at the slightest gust of wind.
Although it didn’t stand up to the rigours of life on the road quite as well as we’d have liked, we enjoyed living in the Hubba Hubba very much and were sorely tempted to replace it with another one, (although if we did we would get it in green and also buy the MSR Gear Shed to make cooking in wet weather a bit nicer) But in the end we decided that the headroom in the Gear Shed isn’t really sufficient to comfortably sit in, and the ventilation in the Hubba Hubba HP isn’t really as good as we’d like it to be, so, thanks to a generous contribution from Keith’s parents, we’ve invested in a Hilleberg Kaitum 2GT for our next trip.We’re hanging on to the old MSR though. Even though it’s fairly well-worn, there’s still some life in it and it’ll be a lot lighter than the Hilleberg for doing shorter Mountain Marathon style events.