FOR A LONG TIME there’s been a great divide in tent options between small one- to two-person backpacking tents and big four-person family-size car-camping tents. But what about those of use who hike into the bush with the kids, or as a group of four mates?
The new MSR Papa Hubba NX 4-person Tent covers that gap. MSR (the parent company, Cascade Designs, also makes Therm-a-Rest and Platypus products) has a reputation for making top-quality stoves, but its tents are also top-notch. Papa Hubba is part of the Experience series and popular Hubba range, which are all lightweight, freestanding tents.
At just 2.67kg, the Papa Hubba NX 4-person tent is light enough to take on family backpacking trips and, to spread the load, you can also split up the inner and fly.
The tent material is so thin and light that you can see the grass through the 30D ripstop nylon flooring. I had my doubts that it would hold up to rough terrain but, after much testing, I can assure you this material is surprisingly strong and durable.
The Papa Hubba is also very easy to erect. Purposely not reading the instructions before first use, I was able to snap the poles into place using the grey and red colour coding, all in about five minutes.
There is plenty of mesh on the inner, which makes for an awesome good-weather summer tent that you can watch the stars from. The light-grey fly also lets in lots of light to help with early morning starts.
This is a roomy four-person tent (2.36m x 2.18m), with enough space to house occupants and essential gear, with two doors and vestibules for storing the rest of your stuff. The 112cm-high ceiling adds to the spaciousness and lets most people kneel inside the tent with no problem.
The aluminium Mini-Groundhog pegs (10g each) have a Y-beam design, which helps to penetrate different soil types. They were redesigned in 2014 to be 10 per cent lighter than the previous model. The only gripe is that the top-end of the peg is not flat, so with hard ground it’s a little ouchy using your hands to push; you’re better off using your shoes.
No tent will completely be able to avoid condensation, but on some really cold nights after warm days, there was quite a bit of moisture when all the vents weren’t used. This can be reduced significantly by using the guy ropes to keep all the vents open (even when keeping the vestibules closed) and making sure the heaviness of the moisture doesn’t cause contact with the inner and fly.
The stuff sack is also well designed – it has a longitudinal side opening, rather than a top one, which means you can lay your tent in it and do up the sack around it. No more re-rolls!
The Papa Hubba is a great tent for sheltering a group of people on any backcountry trip.