MSR Hubba Hubba 3 Backpacking Tent Review

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Since I first began adventuring 30 years ago, I have relied on MSR products. From stoves to water filters to tents, MSR’s equipment has been reliable and quality made. MSR still handmakes their products on a production line one floor below the product engineers. My husband and I were finding that there was very little room in our old 2 person tent for us (and our two dogs). I began the search for a new, 3-person tent and decided on the Hubba Hubba 3 Backpacking Tent. It seemed to have ample room for 2 adults and two dogs but was lightweight compared to other tents I researched.

A Big Tent in a Small Package

When the new Hubba Hubba 3 arrived, I was impressed at how small the complete package was. It has a very lightweight tube-sack that holds everything you need to erect the tent. The guy lines are lightweight and reflective and the stakes are compact aluminum. Weighing in at just over 3 lbs. It was just what we had been looking for. The Hubba Hubba 3 Backpacking Tent is a freestanding tent so it was put up for the first time in my living room. I wanted to check it out, learn the ins and outs, and make sure it was all good before taking it out on a trip.

The pole system came in two pieces. One piece is a double ended Y. It pops together easily with two 3-way center joints. The Y’s pop into each corner neatly and securely. The tent then attaches to the pole with the attached C-clips. It didn’t really take it’s shape until I put in the second piece, a short pole that lays across the center of the top pole. Once in place, the tent is nicely shaped and was quite secure. It was easy to pick up and move around as all free standing tents should be. It was difficult to add the rain fly indoors so that had to wait until we were actually on location to put that to the test.

Hubba Hubba 3 Backpacking Tent: On Location!

The first trip using our Hubba Hubba 3 was a kayak trip in the Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. It was January, so we didn’t encounter any extreme heat or cold. We did experience some high winds and rain on our 4 island nights. We had the tent well staked but had not set up the guy lines. The tent stayed well formed and handled the wind without a problem. In hindsight, we should have set up the guy lines, but even without, we were impressed at how well the tent held up in the winds off the Atlantic.

On this particular trip, we traveled without our dogs and oh boy, did we have so much room! The tent is super roomy for a three person tent. The floor is a nice rectangle instead of having a tapered footbed like many other tents we looked at. It is very symmetrical when it is erected and offered lots of headroom during our rainy card games. The tent would fit three people sleeping together nicely but it sure was nice to have that extra space as a room for two. I never felt like I was pressed against a wall due to lack of space in the tent. There was plenty of room in the foot area for us to put some of our supplies inside the tent while we slept.

All of the Comforts

It is not unusual for us to spend a week or more in our backpacking tent. Therefore, I like to evaluate a tent on the comforts it offers. The Hubba Hubba has some excellent features. First, is the ample about of storage. While most tents have a small gear loft or side pocket, MSR went above and beyond! There are long pockets on both ends. You’ll see in the picture that I have my book and shirt in the pocket and I’ve really only used half of the space. Also, there is a small gear loft on either side. These were great for my headlamp, phone and glasses. This really help us stay organized. The gear lofts and pockets have small holes in them to accommodate a charging cord for your electronics, too!

Such BIG pockets!

The doors have a two-zipper configuration with both zipper pulls in the same corner. One zips vertical and one zips horizontal. I have mixed feelings about the zippers. While I felt it was reasonable that I never had to search for the zipper pull, I didn’t love that I had to unzip the bottom zipper completely to slip my hand out and grab something from the vestibule. We grew used to the zippers and they worked just fine. The vestibule zipper was easy to manipulate and the door neatly rolled back and stowed in the attached loop.

We both agreed that maybe the tent had a bit too much material and not enough mesh. We had to sit up to see out the doors and would’ve liked a bit more open space on the top of the tent for stargazing. On the flip side, we appreciated that we would have a bit more privacy for changing if were were in a more populated area. The top of the vestibule has a pop up vent on either side and we didn’t have any complaints about the tent being stuffy or collecting condensation. The tent is extra long at 84″ and there was plenty of room for us both being over 6′.

Technical Specs

  • Sahara
  • 3
  • 3 lbs. 7 oz
  • 3 lbs. 13 oz
  • 84 x 68 in
  • Floor Area (Standard): 39.5 sq. ft
  • Vestibule Area (Standard): 15 sq. ft
  • (2) Easton® Syclone™
  • 46 in
  • 20 x 5 in
  • 2
  • Yes
  • 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm DuraShield™ polyurethane & silicone
  • 20D ripstop nylon & DWR
  • 10D polyester micro-mesh
  • 20D ripstop nylon 1200mm Durashield™ polyurethane & DWR
The simple pole configuration makes this tent easy to set up.
The rolled back fly allows for stargazing without removing the fly completely

Final Thoughts on the MSR Hubba Hubba 3 Backpacking Tent

Overall, we felt like the tent was well made and definitely fit our needs of being roomy and lightweight. While I will admit that I’m not an expert on the technical specs of materials, I do know that in high winds and rain, not a drop of water touched us. The fly is well designed to shed water away and it feels very durable. It was perfectly waterproof and an excellent shelter. The large storage pockets are worth another mention. They were such a luxury. The micro-mesh screens were effective in keeping out the small Florida “beach-bugs” while still providing ventilation.

MSR did a great job with the newest version of their Hubba Hubba 3 Backpacking Tent. They are really keeping up with the needs of their users and still creating quality products. I definitely recommend this tent. It is worth every penny of the purchase price. I’m looking forward to our next adventure with this lightweight, roomy tent. If you would like to check out the MSR website or purchase your own Hubba Hubba 3 Backpacking Tent, you can visit www.msrgear.com, www.rei.com, or www.amazon.com.

Sara Fillman: Sara is an avid ultra-marathoner and outdoor adventurer. Living in Michigan, Sara has ample opportunities for outdoor sports during all seasons. When not open water kayaking on the Great Lakes or backpacking in some distance mountains, she can be found ice climbing in Norther Michigan at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. She is constantly looking for the next big adventure.
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