Every year around this time I can’t help but wonder where summer went. It always seems like I had this great list of activities I was going to do; I had all these plans to get outside more and make the best of the good weather that never came to be. Now as fall is fully upon us and the days are increasingly blustery and chilly, I can’t help but feel the regret of opportunity lost. Thankfully, the folks over at our local favorite outdoor company, MSR, have felt this pain, too, and come up with a great solution to the dreaded end of the summer. With the addition of their new HP series to their line of Hubba tents, MSR promises to keep you toasty while camping all throughout the shoulder season.
The original line of Hubba tents, which are available in one person (Hubba), two person (Hubba Hubba), and three person (Mutha Hubba), were some of the first tents to use a hubbed pole design. This is a design feature where the poles attach to each other in a hub in order to maximize space inside the tent while still providing a strong and light structure. These tents are well known for being extremely tough and durable, especially in the harshest of conditions. Now, with the addition of the HP versions, MSR has managed to make the Hubba series of tents even tougher.
The most notable difference in the Hubba HP versions is that nearly every spot made of mesh on the normal tent body has been replaced with a super soft and almost silky fabric. This fabric is so fine and lightweight that it actually weighs less than the mesh it is replacing, while adding numerous other benefits. The main advantage this change of fabric provides is that the tent body is much more of a solid wall than a standard mesh tent, so you end up with a lot more protection from the elements as well as a lot better heat retention. The result is a warmer and more insulated tent that can withstand just about all that the Northwest’s mild climate can throw at you and probably a good portion of why Backpacker Magazine named the Hubba series its recommended tent for the East Coast campers.
How much warmer can a lighter fabric be you ask? While we may lack hard facts and figures, we have anecdotes to spare. Recently, on a Youth Group weekend hike up to some nearby alpine lakes, the group was faced with weather that was much colder than anyone had anticipated. While some were grumbling about the cold temperatures, especially once the temperatures dropped overnight, I was secretly excited to perform the ultimate test of the Mutha Hubba HP.
The first morning of the campout, everyone was sharing stories of the freezing cold night, but not a word was heard from the Mutha Hubba gang. In fact, all occupants of the Mutha Hubba HP tent had kept warm all through the night, apparently oblivious to the teeth chattering in the neighboring tents.
If you’re like most people I know, you only own one tent, and it fits your outdoorsman style. Some campers I know are fair-weather friends, lacing up their hiking boots only after the temperatures rise above 75 degrees, but others I know are outdoor sleepers by nature and look for any excuse to pop a tent on their back and climb a mountain or two. If you’re a camper of the first kind, you might be fine with an exclusively mesh tent, like the regular line of Hubba tents, but if you’re more like the latter, the Mutha Hubba HP tent is the answer to extending your summer and thus your camping season.
Summer campers should be warned though, on our first outing with the Mutha Hubba HP this summer we made the mistake of putting the rain fly on our tent too early in the day, and then when we went to lie down for a midday nap, our tent was at least 10-20 degrees warmer than everyone else’s. So much so that we had everyone jumping from tent to tent to compare. While it was warm in all the tents, the Mutha Hubba HP was definitely the warmest. The next day we were able to leave the rain fly off during the day to allow more ventilation to make it more manageable, but it was still warmer than our campmate’s tents. Another option is to pitch your Hubba HP tent with just the rain fly and optional footprint for the ultimate in lightweight minimalist protection, which is another way to expand the usefulness of your tent. Unfortunately my wife refuses to go this route as it lacks the full fledged bug protection she insists upon.
Some other features we appreciate are the included gear lofts and multiple side pockets in the Mutha Hubba HP which allows you to store all your little odds and ends out of the way. Anyone that has ever camped with a baby (or my wife) knows this goes a long way in making your tent feel bigger. Paired with the hubbed poles that allow for maximum headroom by creating almost vertical walls and the bright fabrics that give the impression of space, the Hubba line feels exceptionally roomy.
Both the Hubba Hubbaand Mutha Hubba have two doors with vestibules so your dirty boots and backpacks can stay away from your sleeping bag while still being protected from the elements. And then, in what is possibly the most ingenious feature we’ve seen on a tent that really seems pretty basic is that the set up instructions for the tent are clearly sewn on the lid flap of the stuff sack for the tent. Brilliant, really.
Specifications of the Mutha Hubba HP from the MSR website:
6 lbs 4 oz / 2850 g
6 lbs 13 oz / 3090 g
Fly with Footprint Weight
4 lbs 13 oz / 2200 g
40 sq. ft / 3.7 sq. m
14 (7 + 7) sq. ft / 1.35 (.675 + .675) sq. m
105 cu. ft / 2945 liters
22 (11 + 11) cu. ft / 623 (311.5 + 311.5) liters
46 in / 117 cm
19 x 8 in / 47 x 20 cm
Number of Doors
Number of Poles
Number of Stakes
20D x 330T ripstop nylon 66 1000mm polyurethane & silicone coated
20D x 330T ripstop nylon 66 & DWR
20D polyester mesh
40D x 238T ripstop nylon 6 10000mm polyurethane & DWR coated
Country of Origin
Price: $550 for the Mutha Hubba HP reviewed here, $400 for the Mutha Hubba regular series.
Overall: With a range of tent sizes as well as options for any climate, MSR Hubba series tents have got you covered.