Powder River’s Appalachian Trail Journey from Georgia to Maine 2008

Gear Review: MSR Hubba HP


I ordered this tent from Williamstown, MA at the public library, because I needed something that was more versatile for the Whites and for Maine, as I understood that I would encounter a lot of tent platforms, which my Contrail could not handle.

It was kind of tough doing research on this thing while hiking, but I was lucky enough to score a copy of Backpacker Magazine’s gear review issue in Chester, MA at the hostel.  I took the index of tents in the back of the issue with me, which compared weights of all the tents they looked at.  I decided it was down to the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1, or the Hubba HP.  I was much more interested in the Hubba HP, since I was reading reviews about the Seedhouse mesh being very fragile.  Besides all of that, I was shopping for a more weather proof tent for more than just summer use, and for possible use above treeline.  Finally, the geek factor of the HP really appealed to me, as it was a brand new, improved design over the Hubba.

I recieved my new tent in Hanover, NH, along with a couple of other things I had ordered.  I was very excited to pull it out of the box and experience that new tent smell!!  Overall I was impressed by the size and weight, even though I was doubling the weight of the Contrail.  Even though I had very limited space in my pack, I was still able to fit it easily. I never used the original Hubba, but plenty of people were carrying that tent on the trail so I was pretty familiar with it.  The HP has a very cheery yellow color fly, which I liked better than the mustard color or orange of the regular Hubba.  It took me some time (and some comparisons) to notice that the poles are indeed different; they have moved the hub closer to the ground on either end of the tent, which makes the fly fit a bit different.  It seems there is less standoff space between the fly and tent wall on the ends because of this.  There is a nice vent on the side opposite the door, that you can open with a stiff velcro piece.  The zipper looks very solid, and is waterproof.  The fly itself is of a very reassuring feel; heavy enough to seem very waterproof but not too heavy.  (This is a huge improvement over the Contrail fabric, which would actually ‘mist’ water on the inside when it rained)

My favorite feature about the HP is the fabric of the tent itself.  Gone is the mesh dome of the Hubba, replaced by what feels like parachute material.  It is silky, almost weightless, and strong.  You can feel the quality of it, and despite its weight I’ve never had any reason to doubt its durability.  There are some mesh panels up top, but the mostly solid fabric means that this is a much warmer tent than the hubba, especially in the wind.  I first set it up in a parking lot, and it pitches very taught and easily.  I really like the clips that attach the tent to the poles, and even thought there are technically two poles, they are attached with a swivel joint so it is all connected.  The tent has lots of headroom inside, and the vestibule is quite adequate for my shoes and pack.  For anybody who has every tried a Hubba, you will know that the floorspace inside the tent is very narrow, and this is no different for the HP.  My sleeping pad pretty much fills the space, with about a foot to spare at the end.  Inside feels very secure, safe, and dry.

I used this tent for the rest of the trail, and I was not disappointed.  This tent sets up easy, is light, is very compact, and feels like it would be comfortable in cold, snowy, windy conditions.  I can only attest to warm, rainy, windy conditions however, in which it performed beautifully.  I would have a moderate amount of condensation inside on some mornings, which I’m not sure is something that is entirely avoidable in a tent in this area.  There is considerably less airflow in this tent than the Contrail, and of course there being no mesh near the bottom of the rain fly, this makes sense.  This is not a tent I would want to be carrying during the summer, in Virginia or Pennsylvania.  It is a very warm tent, much better suited to late summer or fall in northern climates, and I’m sure can endure much worse.  But there would be nothing about this tent that could cool you down on an extremely warm night.  If I were to hike the AT again, I would take the Contrail, or something similar for most of the trail, and switch to the Hubba HP up north.



  Ham and Brian Glass wrote @

Jeff – Your website is terrific. easy to manoeuver through and most informative.

You had mentioned a few months back you were sending us a video – if you have sent it we have not received it.

We will definitely pay the postage if it arrives here and will return it to you in good shape.

We are gearing up for next spring andare counting the days., but still enjoying life in civilization.

Just saw the movie One Mans WIlderness. Have you seen or read the book?

Best of everything to you.

Ham and Brian

  Michael wrote @

Seems like a quality tent. Must Purchase soon, for up in Scotland in the late seasons. Great review. Great Site

  Cheap Tents wrote @

Its a nice tent and your review makes it clear it is a must buy 🙂

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