I’ve owned nice tents and cheap tents, a few have buckled and folded in mild breezes and light rain, and a few only made sense for backyard camp outs. Enter the MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent.
MSR’s reputation for making top of the line camping equipment is rock solid and bordering on iconic, and the Hubba Hubba is quickly becoming the default home-away-from-home for adventurers willing to shell out their hard-earned dollars for a robust, spacious, and lightweight shelter. The poles of the Hubba Hubba are all connected via a hub and swivel design that means there is no more struggling to figure out which pole goes where. The tent boasts clips instead of sleeves for weight savings and ease of assembly, two large doors to eliminate any awkward crawling over gear or riding partners in the middle of the night, and two vestibules to stash excess gear and smelly socks. For a lone ranger or pair of travelers, the tent boasts a more-than-adequate 29 square feet of living space and 17.5 sqaure feet of vestibule space in a package just over four pounds that packs down to 20 inches by 7 inches (or smaller in a compression sack without the poles).
Assembly is incredibly quick and easy, even when I rolled into camp after dark. The poles snap together firmly, and having clips on the tent body rather than infuriating sleeves is a wonderful feature. Vertical walls augment usable internal space and help prevent annoying head bumps and a feeling of claustrophobia. The rain fly has cinch adjusters at each corner so keeping the fly taught is easy and I never felt the need to use the included guy lines, even when the wind picked up.
The Hubba Hubba provided plenty of ventilation in California and Oregon where the during balmy nights and the heavy-duty rain fly kept rain, heavy fog, and condensation outside the tent when I encountered the tail end of a hurricane in Minnesota. The included fancy aluminum tent stakes resisted the motorcycle-boot-instead-of-hammer test, but I still managed to trip over and bend two of them in middle of the night. Still these stakes are still a quality touch and a leap beyond the flimsy ones normally included with tents. Morning tear down went quickly and the fly was usually dry by the time I had the bike ready to roll.
The variety of tent set ups associated with traveling on a motorcycle is astounding; some riders pack coffin-like bivy sacks in an effort to save weight, while others bring along portable mansions to accommodate cots, air mattresses, chairs, and the kitchen sink. A two-person tent with a vestibule or two is a happy middle ground and the Hubba Hubba supplies lots of internal space without a significant weight or size penalty. When housing a single occupant the Hubba Hubba is incredibly spacious and with two it is comfortable and not overly awkward. Tall riders are well accommodated as the tent is a full 7 feet long.
Tent packing size is a top concern for moto-travelers and with help from a compression sack I was able to squeeze the tent down to a cylinder 13 inches long by 7 inches wide. The folded pole is the longest part of the kit at 17 inches but is still small enough to fit within most hard case systems.
My main criticism concerns the vestibules: they are equally sized and will hold a duffel bag or pair of hard cases but not much else. If you need to sit or cook in the vestibules then the Hubba Hubba is not the best choice.
At the end of each long day of riding it was a wonderfully reassuring to know that the MSR Hubba Hubba was going to set up easily and quickly, swallow up my gear and I, and resist any weather I encountered without a hiccup. At 299.95 the Hubba Hubba is a significant investment but well worth cost as it will last far longer and function better than the tents found at cheap chain-stores. The Hubba Hubba fits the bill for those who demand the best equipment available and has yet to be surpassed in terms of quality, space, and weight at the same price point.
MSRP 299.95 US
16 days on the road, 5051 miles and a 1994 Honda VFR 750 – OWD contributor Jake Moritz crossed the continent putting the latest camping gear to a motorcycle specific test. Though given Jake is a geography major, we might point out that his route isn’t direct; north from San Francisco to Bend, Oregon, across central Idaho to Yellowstone NP, all backroads From Caliornia to South Dakota, jetting across to Wisconsin into Canada, arcing around the North Shore of Lake Superior, across Ontario and Quebec, then down into New Hampshire before arriving at Middlebury College in Vermont.