MSR Elixir 4 Tent Review

The MSR Elixir 4 Tent is the perfect camping option for the person who takes the occasional backpacking trip and plenty more car camping trips.  This tent provides the structure, design elements, and durability we come to expect from a high-end tent brand such as MSR.

Tent Weight and Size For Backpacking

The weight of the MSR Elixir 4 is 9 pounds 3 ounces in total which is light in relation to all the 4 person tents on the market, but it doesn’t classify it as a featherweight.  As you may know, there aren’t many 4 person backpacking specific tents on the market within the high-end brands.  One of the challenges to creating a quality 4 person backpacking tent is finding the balance between structural integrity and weight.  The bigger and taller a tent is to accommodate 4 people , the more susceptible it is to the elements of weather.  This is why most backpacking tents are for 1,2, or 3 people.

The MSR Elixir 4 tent size is plenty big for 3 or 4 people or dogs, but a larger size also means it takes more room in your pack.  I typically do a lot of car camping with the occasional backpacking trip and the size of the MSR Elixir 4 is perfect when you have a couple people, a couple big dogs, and want to enjoy a little space.  This is also a great setup if you have small children and dogs and want enough room without worrying about being up all night with knees in your back.  To me, the additional pack room for the tent is worth it.

MSR Elixir 4 Tent Structure

MSR Elixir 4 Tent with no fly

The MSR Elixir 4 tent is structurally sound through the use of a connected tent pole design.  The tent poles were extremely easy to set up during the tent setup process.  Once the tent poles are secured into the floor corners, attaching the rest of the tent body is a breeze.  As shown in the picture above, there is one additional pole that crosses the main pole structure give it 360 degrees of structural integrity.  My first time setting up the MSR Elixir 4 was in the dark and 30F degrees which doesn’t make setting up the tent ideal, but it was still a breeze.

MSR Elixer 4 Tent with no fly

During my time testing the MSR Elixir 4, I ran into winds up to 45 mph which is never fun when camping, but the Elixir 4 held steady.  I’m not going to say the tent isn’t affected by the wind, but it’s not going to fall apart like other tents I’ve I’ve seen flattened like pancakes when the wind picks up.

Storage of Gear in the Tent

Depending how many people you are sleeping the MSR Elixir 4 tent, how much you can store in the tent will vary.  I tested the tent out with 2 humans, 2 airedale terriers (50 and 60 pound dogs) and gear for running, hiking and biking through hot and cold temps.  With all of our gear and dogs, we had plenty of space to sleep comfortably.  If you have 4 adults in this tent with 4 packs, there will be room for all the people and all your packs, but it won’t there won’t be a lot of extra storage.

To help with storage, there are plenty of mesh pockets built into the walls of the tent for storage of important items such as phones, headlamps, contacts, keys, wallets, etc.  This has started to become standard in most tents just like the pockets in a set of your favorite Levi’s, but it’s still one of my favorite features in a tent.

Footprint Included, WHAT???

It is extremely rare that you get a free footprint when purchase a tent.  It usually cost you another $30-$70 which can be a little bit of a gut shot at times after you break open the piggy bank for shiny new tent.  Not with the Elixir 4, thanks MSR!!!

Others Features Worth Noting

The MSR Elixir 4 comes with a light grey rain fly which is a great idea for those camping in the sun and warmer temps.  Other tents use colors that match the rest of the tent, but darker color rain flys can get extremely hot during the day.  Given that most of us camp in the spring, summer and fall, this is a great idea.  In addition the the color tone, the fly on this tent also connects to the ground which helps keep cold air out on brisk nights.  On the flip side, the Elixir 4 has plenty great air flow through a vents that open and close in case it gets too warm.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the MSR Elixir 4 is an excellent choice for a quality 4-person tent at a reasonable price, $399.  After testing, I’ve been happy with every camping experience in this tent and would highly recommend this tent to others lookings for a great car camping and backpacking tent combo.  For more information, visit


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