The first time we tested this tent was on our wild camping trip to Dartmoor we were spending two nights in the area near Lustleigh. The MSR Mutha Hubba NX 3 man, it's a lightweight backpacking tent. We purchased ourselves one of these and took it out into the countryside for a play. Here is our review of the MSR Mutha Hubba NX.
We chose this tent in particular because of it being a three man with a very small and light pack size. Because of Mrs TentLifes back condition, she has to have a rather substantial sleeping mat otherwise she can’t continue with her outdoor adventures. Also, we had our two dogs with us so we really needed the extra space that a three man tent would offer.
Surely, a good test of any tent is how easy it can be pitched without any instructions whilst being in the dark night of the woods. Not something we would recommend but this is what happened to us. Due to numerous circumstances we didn’t find a decent pitch until much later than expected, however the tent was actually quite brilliant and it was pitched in no time. We were soon settling in for the night under the canopy of the trees, the hooting of the owls and the silver light of the moon all serenaded by the nearby stream.
We had also purchased the MSR footprint to go with this tent as when wild camping we would never know what ground we would be pitching on and wanted to look after the tent for the long term. This footprint is lightweight and packs down small into its own attached pouch, which helps to keep things clean - a bit like those rain ponchos that fold into its own pocket. I did try to find a cheap alternative to the MSR footprint but none were quite the right size or weighed too much.
As far as the size and weight go, I was able to put this into my rucksack with no problems at all. It was sat in the corner along with my other wild camping bits and didn’t take up that much room. I did have dry bags with me so could have attached it to the outside of my bag if I needed to but because of the small pack size there wasn’t any need. The packed weight of this tent is a mere 2.2kg, and it does pack away rather small for a 3 man tent.
So back to being in the dark of the woods and pitching the Mutha Hubba. Tina had her head torch on and I was using the little Nite-Ize lantern (which also doubles as a torch). We had the dogs with us, and I had brought along their ground spike which I had clipped to the outside of my rucksack. So we attached them to the ground spike and they happily began to chew on some old fallentree branches whilst we set up the tent. They were happy and we were excited.
When you start to put this tent together it does look rather cool, the interior material is rather funky coloured with its red bottom, off-white walls and black mesh. The outer sheet on this model is a slightly more subtle dark green so it allows you to blend in to your surroundings instead of giving the impression you got lost and should be at a festival somewhere.
The carry bag that houses everything inside it has a very wide mouthed drawstring opening which makes it really easy to get stuff in and out. There are also 2 outer adjustable straps with side release clips for getting everything nice and tightly packed together. It’s at this point you notice how small and light everything is, sliding it out of your rucksack and holding it in one hand easily.
The poles are a funky anodised red colour and although they seem separate in the bag they actually all form one complete piece, holding itself together using it’s strong internal elastics. It’s a little difficult to explain in words so there will be a photo for you to see, but the best way I can explain it is that it looks like a rather large old fashioned radio aerial or TV aerial.
With the footprint laid on the ground and the tent inner rested on top, we pegged out the 4 corners using the supplied lightweight aluminium anodised red stakes. The radio antenna was sprung into action and quickly attached to the inner/footprint at each corner. The pole frame arches upwards and you can now start to see the shape of the tent, and all that is left to do then is clip the tent inner via its attached hooks onto the pole frame (radio antenna) and throw over the outer rain cover – job almost done.
All that is really left to do is to peg out the spacious triangle shaped porch access sections at each end and we were ready to move into our new luxury one bedroom apartment with running water, owls and 2 excited doggos.
We must say that first pitching was so easy, everything on this tent just makes logical sense. You could argue that we should be more organised, read the instructions, have a practice pitch and actually find out if there is somewhere to pitch before you arrive etc. etc. but when do things in real life actually go to plan?
So other than checking the contents of the tent are correct before we leave (poles, pegsetc), we just want to get outdoors, use the equipment where it is intended and report back to our readers – honestly, unpolished and sometimes with some humour injected. Our reviews have always been honest and real, so when we say this tent pitches quickly and hassle free then this is what we have genuinely experienced, in the dark, in a clearing being laughed at by 2 doggos.
FIRST NIGHT DONE
We sorted our sleep mats and sleeping bags, placed the rucksacks in the porch areas and then had tea. Yes we even cooked tea in the dark, more first time kit used in less than ideal conditions (it’s fun) then had a few ales and went to sleep.
A few moonlit piddles later (this tent is easy to get in and out of in a rush), we awoke the next morning, in the middle of the glorious woods in Dartmoor, tent looking rather resplendent and seeming to have been erected by a couple of experienced outdoor professionals.
After breakfast (and lots of coffee), we packed everything away ready for some walking and to find another wild camping pitch. The tent went away quickly without any hassle, there are so few parts and even though the inner and outer pitch separately, it’s hard to go wrong. We were glad of the footprint though, as it gave us an area on which to keep the contents of the forest floor off the tent as we rolled everything away. It all went back into the wide mouthed storage bag easily and was compressed down even further by the adjustable straps.
We spent the day hiking, visiting Becky Falls and then looking for our next place to pitch. Our second night was much like the first with the tent being deployed with speed and ease. Another glorious nights sleep in an easy to pitch tent, this tent goes up even faster in the daylight – HAHA.
INSIDE THE TENT
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into some showhome estate agent spiel, or a sermone by Lawrence Lewellyn Bowen (who has probably never seen the inside of a tent in his life), but the MSR Mutha Hubba NX is roomy. Probably not the best word to explain it, so lets say ‘spacious’. It’s like the Tardis with lots of room on the inside but from the outside it has a much smaller footprint than you would imagine.
There was plenty of space inside for both of our EXPED sleeping mats. As already mentioned, Mrs TentLifes sleeping mat was quite large because of her back problems, but there was also plenty of room between the beds for the dogs to lie, and we weren’t crammed up the walls either. The dogs did eventually decided that we were the much warmer alternative and they came to lie on the beds with us. You don’t feel closed in by the walls, and there is ample room to sit up and move around comfortably. There are mesh storage pouches in the corners of the tent, so you can organise the bits you need to keep close to hand and have them located off the floor. It also has a centrally positioned hanging point on the ceiling of the tent, for a lantern or a head torch.
There is lots of mesh in the inner of this tent, giving great breathability and minimising condensation. Inspite of the fact there were 2 adults and 2 dogs occupying the tent, there was very little condensation inside. Also, even with all that mesh, it was fairly warm inside too. When you opened up a door to go to the toilet, you could really feel the difference as the cold air rushed in from the outside. If necessary there are also 2 air vents in the outer rain cover that are propped open quickly with a velcro tab (this can be done from the inside or outside).
It is not as bright inside this tent as some of the photos show. The outer is dark green and does more than adequate job of keeping the light out so you aren’t woken up before you are ready to brave another day. We have increased the brightness on some of the images in order that you guys can see more of the details.
BACKPACKS AND BOOTS
As far as storage for backpacks and boots is concerned, we had taken our large 65 L Berghaus trailhead packs (2 of them) with us obviously because when you go wild camping for the first time you have to take far too much stuff with you. Also, we had to carry more stuff than normal as we were reviewing some stoves and other camping kit, and we had camera gear with us too.
At each end of the inner tent there is a door leading to an ample sized porch/storage area. There’s plenty of dry space in which to store the rucksacks, boots and other gear with space to spare. We decided to store both large packs and the rest of our kit at one end of the tent and use the other end to get in and out, especially for those night trips to the bush loo. The doors on these sections can be easily rolled up and stored to one side with a very easy to use elasticated toggle.
The only one negative thing I would say about this tent is that it needs more guy lines included when purchased. There are already fixing points with guy lines attached, but then there are also more fixing points that don’t have guy lines attached (for example, along the sides). However, MSR do sell extra guy line kits in sets of 4 so you get yourself these extra ones if you feel you need them. It’s not like they’ve left out something essential, and it is only a small gripe but I did feel I needed to say at least one negative thing about this tent.
I do get the strong feeling that we have been a little spoilt by this tent. It has made our first steps into wild camping so much hassle free fun that other tents may struggle to compete. We will be doing a lot more wild camping and testing a lot more backpacking tents, and I suppose what I am saying it that the bar has been set very high because this tent was faultless and it really delivered in the areas where we needed it to (pack size, weight and space).
We would like to point out that we purchased this tent with our own money, we had to research many tents based on specific criteria and it wasn’t purchased on a whim. There are cheaper tents and there are more expensive tents, heavier tents and lighter tents (only just), but you will have to buy them with your own money. We hope that our articles, help you invest your money wisely as choosing outdoor gear can be a minefield and you need as much information and impartial advice as you can get your hands on.
We will be taking the MSR Mutha Hubba out many more times as we want to see how it performs in wet, windy and possibly snowy weather. We will keep you all informed, so far it has been a big hit and a very wise purchase.
More fun to come !!
WHERE TO BUY: