- An exclamation of admiration, approval, or enthusiasm, used esp. by GIs of World War II as a shout in appreciation of a pretty girl. (Ex: Hubba-hubba, she’s a purdy one.)
- Hurry up. (Ex. Hubba-hubba, drop and give me 20 now soldier.)
- MSR’s lightweight version of their very popular Hubba Hubba 2P tent.
The Hubba Hubba HP is Mountain Safety Research’s (MSR) lightest two-person free-standing tent. By the use of new strong yet lightweight materials, they have come up with a double-wall tent that has a trail weight of 3.85 pounds (1.75 kg), a savings of 8 ounces (227 g) over the standard Hubba Hubba 2P tent that it is based on. Even lighter options can be had by pitching in one of the freestanding tarp-shelter modes, with optional footprint or just the fly and poles alone. While not the lightest tent in its category, it may be the most capable. During the course of the testing, it was used in full-on winter conditions where it shone (even though the sun did not).
|Year/Manufacturer/Model||2009 Mountain Safety Research Hubba Hubba HP 2 Person Tent|
|Style||Three-season, two-person, double-wall tent.|
|Fabrics||Body: 20D x 330T ripstop nylon 66 & DWR & 20D polyester mesh
Floor: 40D x 238T ripstop nylon 6 10000mm polyurethane & DWR coated
Fly: 20D x 330T ripstop nylon 66 1000mm polyurethane & silicone coated
|Poles and Stakes||Poles: DAC Featherlite NSL pole system with press fit connectors and lightweight hubs, total weight 16.5 oz (468 g)
Stakes: 8 needle stakes, 6.25 in (16 cm), 0.35 oz (10 g) each, 2.8 oz (79 g) total
|Dimensions||Length Listed: 84 in (213 cm)
Width Listed: 50 In (127 cm)
Inside Height Listed: 40 in (102 cm)
BPL Verified Accurate
|Packed Size||6.5 x 19 in (16 x 48 cm)|
|Total Weight||Listed Weight: 4.25 lb (1.93 kg)
BPL Measured Weight: 4.27 lb (1.94 kg)
|BPL Trail Weight||3.85 lb (1.75 kg)|
|Protected Area||Floor Area: 29 ft2 (2.7 m2)
Vestibule Area: 17.5 ft2 (1.6 m2)
|Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio||12.08 ft2/lb (2.46 m2/kg)|
|Options||Footprint 5.9 oz (167 g)|
Design and Features
The Hubba Hubba HP is based on MSR's very popular Hubba Hubba. From what I can tell, it uses the same poles as the standard version. I am not sure what the HP stands for, but it's most likely High Performance. Or maybe Heavy-duty Protection (or Habitat Perfection?). By switching to lighter fabrics they cut quite a bit of weight from the regular version, but it is the additions that shine more than the subtracted weight.
Top: The breathable white nylon of the Hubba Hubba HP’s inner reflects sun quite well when set up sans fly. The few areas of mesh are placed in locations that optimize ventilation. A mesh gear loft (seen as a darker layer) mirrors the diamond shape top mesh opening to allow it to be used to dry wet gear. Notice how steep the sides and ends are, which translates into lots of room. Bottom: Two standard size pads fit with ease in the HP, two large or deluxe sized pads will fit too, but only just. The symmetrical fly shape sheds wind quite well.
The DAC pole and hub system is comprised of twenty-two pole sections all joined together, which when assembled form a double-ended Y (or a headless stick man drawing) with a crossing pole at the center. For those that carry their poles separately, as I do, they make a package roughly 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and 17 inches (43 cm) long. The ends of the poles plug into grommets at the four corners of the floor, and the crossing pole plugs into grommets at the top of each door. Then the body connects to the poles by means of eight nylon clips.
The body is mostly comprised of white, breathable nylon 66 that has a DWR application to fight both condensation that may drip from the fly or water blown past it. According to MSR, this fabric weighs 55 grams per square meter (which is the exact weight of the mesh used for the walls of the regular Hubba Hubba). Ventilation is enhanced by triangular areas of mesh at the upper portion of the two D-shaped doors and the ends of the tent. Another large diamond-shaped section of mesh is at the very top. A 0.7 oz (20 g) removable mesh gear loft hangs directly below this diamond. The gear loft does not inhibit air movement when empty and can assist in drying wet gear when used. More in-house storage is provided by long gear pockets that run along the ends of the HP just above the bath-tub floor.
Interestingly, the fly is made of the same fabric as the inner body, with the additions of 1000mm polyurethane and silicone coatings. The fly goes over the poles connecting at the corners and crossing pole ends with grommets also. A stake at the bottom of each vestibule pulls it away from the tent inner to create a protected space in front of each door. A nice touch is the fact that the vestibule may be staked out from either side, allowing you to open whichever side is the most protected from blowing wind, rain, and snow. Another nice touch is the protected zipper “garages” at the top of the two-way waterproof zippers that keep any water from finding its way in. The vestibules can be used for ventilation by either opening the top or bottom, plus there are two hooded vents at the ends of the HP that correspond to the mesh areas mentioned earlier. These vents use a strut to hold them open and can be adjusted from inside the vestibule.
Top Left: Hooded vents at each end provide excellent air movement as they correspond to… Top Right: the triangular mesh areas found at each end of the inner tent. Large gear pockets are seen below. The white fabric really keeps the inside of the tent bright and cheery. Bottom Left: The waterproof zippers on the vestibules have a hooded parking spot to keep water drops at bay. Bottom Right: Vestibule pull-out points can be staked from either side of the door. Lightweight tensioners allow for adjustment in the pitch.
The HP comes with eight red anodized aluminum needle stakes, in order to fully stake out the tent with two extra for use at guy points or to pull out the ends for greater ventilation. The square-bodied stakes come inside of a 0.3-ounce (9 g) stake sack. Sharing the sack are two lengths of guy line, two line tensioners, and a pole repair sleeve. A 0.6-ounce (17 g) pole sack is provided too, and the whole works fits in the 1.7-ounce (48 g) gold stuff sack. There is plenty of extra room in the sack to carry a footprint, although I do not have one. By carrying the poles separately, I can compress the stuffed tent to about 60% of the size seen below. I joked with my brother-in-law Dave that Henry Shires would have put the HP into a stuff sack 50% smaller (Tarptent joke, others move along…).
Top Left: Sing along now. A stuff sack for the tent and another for the poles. Some guy lines, and two tensioners, and stakes that make square holes. A little stake sack and tube for pole repair, the fly and the body makes up what all is there. (Groan…) Top Right: Although the HP does not look that small packed, there's a lot of extra room in the stuff sack.
Speaking of tarps, MSR calls the lighter ways to pitch the HP its “freestanding tarp-shelter modes.” The HP can be set up using the poles and fly with the optional footprint in what I think of as a fast-fly set-up, weighing 2.75 pounds (1.25 kg). Or it can be done sans footprint with just the poles and fly for its lightest option, truly a tarp experience that comes in at 2.38 pounds (1.08 kg). I didn't try the latter option, as I did not receive the footprint, and the weather I used the HP in did not facilitate sleeping on the ground/snow/mud. Regardless, they certainly are nice options to have.
I owned and used a MSR Mutha Hubba 3P tent for two years with my children Emma and Raymond. As the pole design and set-up of the Hubba Hubba HP is very similar to the many Big Agnes tents I have owned over the years, I found the set-up to be intuitive and quick. Having only eight clips to attach the body makes set-up quicker than the up to thirteen clips on some of the other tents of this size and style. That counts when I am rushing to get it up before the sun goes down like one winter afternoon in the snow covered San Bernardino Mountains, or to get it up during a break in the rain that we found ourselves dealing with on the Pacific Crest Trail near the Mexican border.
Because of the time of year that I started testing the Hubba Hubba HP, it saw a lot of bad weather. I had another tent that I was testing at the same time that is absolutely NOT a winter tent, so I left the HP behind whenever it seemed like the weather would be decent. I knew that I had stacked the deck against the HP and expected to be making excuses for it. Instead, I was completely taken by surprise at how well it did (and for what it’s worth, the poor other tent has only seen one nice day so far. Stay tuned…).
Top: On the truly frozen tundra of northern Minnesota. The MSR needle stakes actually penetrated enough to be usable, which was good as there was not enough snow to use snow stakes. Bottom: My winter bags are my longest bags, but this -20 F (-29 C) model, on an Exped DownMat 9, fits with room to spare.
In late November, I used the HP in high winds at Buffalo River State Park in Minnesota (MN). It shrugged the weather off and of course had no condensation at all. One month later I was back at the same park, pictured above. It had been well below 0 F (-18 C) the week before I was there, and while it had warmed up to 9 F (-13 C), the ground was frozen hard. Two days earlier I was at the same location with a different tent that had big round aluminum stakes that bent trying to hammer them in, so I was delighted to see the MSR needle stakes actually go into the frozen ground well enough to hold it in place and with not a single one bent. As the wind just about always blows in MN, I again had no condensation to speak of, just a little frost around the hood opening of my bag.
The last day of January, I did not bring the needle stakes as the nearest ground, frozen or otherwise was seven feet (2 m) under the snow in the mountains of California. I did bring Jenn (ex-wife and still friend) to see how it would do with an extra body heating the space up and adding moisture inside. We were at 9,000 feet (2750 m) elevation with temperatures that got down to 17 F (-8 C). We had a little bit of wind early in the evening, which I wanted to take advantage of. Jenn boycotted that, saying it was too cold with the door open, so I buttoned the HP up but did have both end vents propped open. The wind stopped shortly after it got dark. I was amazed to find in the morning that not one bit of condensation had formed on the inner tent and there was no frost inside the fly. We both had very limited condensation around our faces, hers on the hood of her bag and me on my fleece balaclava and the edge of my Arc Expedition quilt.
The tent provided adequate room for both of us, although the packs had to stay in the vestibules. Fortunately the vestibules are big enough to stow the pack and still be able to go in and out of the tent with ease. When the snow is deep enough, I dig an entry pit in the vestibules that aids in getting in and out. It makes a great seat with a view too. Of course from where Jenn sat she just had a view of a great seat…
One last trip with it to Buffalo River State Park saw about a foot (30 cm) of snow. Once I stomped out a tent space, I was able to hammer the stakes into the frozen ground again. They only went in a little ways but held well. The next morning, though, they were so frozen in that I had a heck of a time getting them out. I did have some frost inside the fly in the morning, as for once there was no wind and the humidity was high.
Top: Early morning in the mountains of California. The Hubba Hubba HP worked wonderfully for two on this snowy trip. The vestibules, dug out for sitting, held our packs while still allowing access. Bottom: Jenn’s -5 F bag (with her head peeking out) and my 0 F quilt puffed up to take most of the room, but we were comfortable. The white fabric reflects a lot light, making it seem bright even in dreary conditions.
I came away from this test really liking the Hubba Hubba HP. While I have lighter tents, I don’t have any that are both lighter and as versatile in a range of conditions. In fact, over the past couple of months I have come to the decision that if I could have only one tent period, for all use, I would choose the HP. It has proven to be excellent at winter weather. I have used it right through the dead of winter in both Minnesota and California, and it has done as well as my four-season tents that weigh more. Now I did not experience any blizzard conditions, and I am not saying that this is a four-season tent (nor does MSR), but it easily pushes the boundaries for a three-season tent and does so well.
The solid fabric is a big contributor to how well the tent worked for me. It breathes extremely well, yet blocks all the blowing snow and dust that mesh lets through. The tent was also warmer, as the fabric kept the wind from blowing away residual heat trapped inside, and the color certainly made the inside bright. Jenn’s little Orbit lantern lit the tent up nicely as it reflected off the walls.
The ventilation has been the best I have seen so far this year. Condensation is almost non-existent in this tent, even with two in it. I am a very light sleeper and wake up each time I turn (about twice an hour). Each time I wake, I run my hand on the tent walls around my head to see what is happening condensation-wise. I never got a wet hand with the HP.
It is also quite roomy. Even with two of us, we had plenty of space to hang out on the long cold winter nights in the mountains. The crossing pole makes for plenty of headroom in the middle section of the tent all the way across, not just in the dead center.
From my limited use, largely on snow, it seems to be durable, but further use will see what wear and tear it gets. I like the Hubba Hubba HP so much that I just ordered a footprint for it and will try it in some other pitching modes later this year (testing schedule allowing). I would also like to try it with just the inner pitched, which is my favorite fair weather way to use a double-wall (the fly sits in the stuff sack, just in case). I may send in an addendum to this story later, sharing any new thoughts and findings I have.
After thinking about my personal feeling of the Hubba Hubba HP, I am guessing the HP stands for 'Happy Packer.'
Dare to Compare
How does the Hubba Hubba HP stack up to the competition? Other tents that share common features like dual doors/vestibules and free-standing style, and limited winter worthiness are the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, Tarptent Scarp 2 (with crossing poles) and the REI Quarter Dome T2.
The Scarp 2 has the most inside space, but with the optional crossing poles, it weighs the most too. It is the only one that sets up while keeping the inside dry as the inner stays attached to the fly. The Copper Spur UL2 has the lowest weight and the most protected space-to-weight with its large vestibules. It does well in shoulder season weather too (I have one), but not as well as the HP. The Quarter Dome T2 is a stand-out at the price. The HP is the most expensive of the bunch. Maybe HP stands for 'High Priced'...
|Manufacturer and Model||MSR Hubba Hubba HP||Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2||REI Quarter Dome T2||Tarptent Scarp 2|
|Manufacturer Trail Weight1 lb (kg)||3.69 (1.67)||3.37 (1.53)||3.75 (1.7)||4.44 (2.01) (with mesh interior and optional poles)|
|Backpacking Light Trail Weight3 lb (kg)||3.9 (1.77)||3.37 (1.53)||3.8 (1.72)||3.84 (1.74) (with mesh interior and optional poles)|
|Fabrics||Floor: 40D nylon 66, 10,000mm PU
Fly: 20D 1000mm PU/silicone coated nylon
Body: 20D nylon 66 & 20D polyester mesh
|Floor/Fly: 1200mm PU/silicone coated ripstop nylon
Body: nylon & polyester mesh
|Floor: coated ripstop nylon
Fly: coated ripstop nylon
Body: nylon mesh
|Floor/Fly: 1.3oz/yd2 (44 g/m2) silnylon
Inner: 0.7 oz/yd2 (23.7 g/m2) nylon mesh
|Poles||DAC Featherlite NSL pole system w/ two hubs & short crossing pole||DAC Featherlite NSL pole system with two hubs and crossing pole||DAC Featherlite NSL pole system with two hubs||One Easton aluminum center hoop pole, ten carbon fiber struts in sleeves at ends|
|Dimensions4 LxWxH in (cm)||84x50x42 (213x127x107)||90x52/42x42 (229x132/107x107)||84x48x40 (213x122x101)||86x52x45 (218x132x114)|
|Floor Area ft2(m2)||29 (2.7)||29.0 (2.69)||28 (2.6)||31 (2.99)|
|Number of Vestibules & Area ft2(m2)||2 - 17.5 (1.6)||2 - 18.0 (1.67)||2 - 13.4 (1.24)||2 - 12 (1.11)|
|Floor Area/Trail Weight Ratio5 ft2/lb (m2/kg)||7.44 (1.53)||8.6 (1.76)||7.37 (1.51)||9.5 (2.02)|
|Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio6 ft2/lb (m2/kg)||11.9 (2.43)||13.9 (2.84)||10.9 (2.23)||13.2 (2.77)|
|Cost US$||450||400||269||355 (with optional poles)|
1Manufacturer Trail Weight: The minimum weight as listed by the manufacturer. Different companies may include different components in this weight.
3Backpacking Light Trail Weight: The weight of tent, rain fly, poles, and stakes needed for basic set-up. It does not include stuffsacks, extra guylines, extra stakes, or repair kit.
4Dimensions: maximum Length x maximum Width x maximum Height (LxWxH) In the case of odd-shaped floor, a double measurement is given for head and foot (H/F). The numbers are as verified by BPL and may differ from the manufacturers' stated dimensions.
5Floor Area/Trail Weight Ratio: The floor area divided by the trail weight.
6Protected Area/Trail Weight Ratio: The floor area plus vestibule area divided by the trail weight.
- Winter-worthy performance
- Plenty of room for two people
- Excellent ventilation
- Lots of interior space
- Very strong stakes
What's Not So Good
- Price at the high end of the scale
- One of the heaviest tents in the lightweight two-person double-wall class
The HP has plenty of room to sit up inside like here on my last trip with it in February 2010. This is a lot of snow for northern Minnesota, the HP said “bring it on.”