Category Archives: Gear and Resources

MSR Mutha Hubba Tent

A general tip is that a 2 person tent is really for 2 people who are very comfortable with each other. It is a cozy fit and if you want your gear inside of the tent, it kind of counts as an extra person. We came home from our cycling trip to find that our 2 person MSR Hubba Hubba tent had been recalled (fabric too flammable – read more on the government website here) and decided that we wanted to move up in the world. Well, moving to the 3 person tent was like upgrading to a palace – so much more room! Here’s our review and final verdict of the MSR Mutha Hubba Tent:

Quick Description: 

Weight – only 2kg
Floor area – 3.8 sq. m plus 1.67 (.84 + .84) sq. m for vestibules
Interior peak height – 112cm

The Mutha Hubba was redesigned for 2014 as an ultra lightweight backpacking tent for three people. It has two doors and the inner tent is made of ripstop nylon with a wide band of nylon micro mesh near the top. There is only one set of connected poles that form the structure of the tent. Think of a giant capital letter “H” where the middle part forms the spine of the tent and the two long sides arch to the ground and the vestibules form a triangle outside of the two long sides. It is a freestanding tent with the option of using only the raincover and groundsheet (purchased separately) to be even less weight.

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The Pros:

  • Symmetrical and non-tapered floor makes for easy sharing and room for stuff
  • I love all of the inner space! We can sit up comfortably and even wave our arms around a bit. It feels like a home rather than a tent
  • It is really lightweight. This 3 person tent weighs less than our old 2 person tent (also by MSR)
  • If you’re one for stuffing your tent into the sack, the tent bag is a compression sack now! We roll up our tent so it doesn’t make much of a difference for us.

The Cons: 

  • Tent pads become a pain in the butt!!
    Tent pads become a pain in the butt!!

    You have to peg down the tent. Because of the “H” shape of the poles, it tips easy side to side. This equates to problems camping on the wooden, raised tent pads which either seems to have the tie-down nails in all the wrong spots or missing. Also, camping in shelters with a floor is also now really tricky.

  • There seems to be spots that are too tight while other spots are baggy. The ceiling of the inner tent is really tight, especially when the corners are pegged down and the seams look stressed and stretching only after a few camping weekends. On the other hand, the floor sides of the tent are really baggy and sag.
  • The inner part of the tent is shaped like a triangle on top of a rectangle while the fly is shaped like a half-pipe. They have really maximized space inside the tent BUT this means you have to be really careful pegging out the sides of the tent. If you don’t peg out the sides of the fly OR peg the side down too steeply, it droops onto the inner tent unfortunately, right at the point over your face. When there’s condensation, it collects on the ceiling, rolls down and then drips on your face. Rather unpleasant!
  • I prefer the older MSR Hubba inner tents made with all mesh sides instead of mostly nylon. The mesh allows the breeze to travel through much better.
  • Accessories for this tent don’t seem to fit right. We got the MSR Universal Gear Loft  and connecting to each of the corners of the tent cuts off a third of the headroom of the tent! The groundsheet straps are too big for the tent and are not adjustable making for the groundsheet to sit loose and move around a bit.

Our Verdict: 

We really feel comfortable in this tent. I love all the space and it is so lightweight. We can both pack up our gear at the same time and I can spend time in the Mutha Hubba, great for being caught in rainy weather. It feels like a home rather than just a tent. We also really love the MSR brand because they consistently have good, reliable backcountry gear. However, in this 2014 redesign, I feel like there are some quirks that need to get worked out. This tent feels a little like an awkward teenager just going through puberty – there ‘s been a growth spurt but doesn’t really know what to do with it yet!  They have really tried to maximize the tent space and I feel like they might have done a little too much. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend the MSR Mutha Hubba as it is today but we are looking forward to checking out the next edition!

The famous Tilley hats and more!

Bryan and I infront of all their hats!
Bryan and I infront of all their hats!

Last Thursday, we visited the Tilley Vancouver store right by Granville and Broadway (technically, Granville and 8th ave) . As we walked in, we were greeted by Yukiko, the assistant manager of the store who has been working there for 15 years and can list off the different variations of endless models of clothing and hats by heart, and by Nikki, the store manager whose’s been associated with Tilley all her life.

Nikki’s last name is Tilley if that gives you a better idea of her association with the brand!

It was Nikki’s uncle who made the first Tilley hat, which is now known for its amazing durability for adventure and its rock-solid warranty. It is a hat for life, literally, because you go back to the store and exchange it for a new one if it gets  worn out.

The back wall of the store is filled with hats of all different sizes and styles. The hats are partially hand-stitched so the sizing is sometimes a bit unique to the hat. Nikki brings out a stack of hats of the same marked size for me to try on as she critically evaluates how it fits me.  I ended up choosing the T4MO Tilley Organic Airflow hat, which has a mesh crown for ventilation and is made from organic cotton!

Once we were finished with the hats, we went onto some pants. Bryan got a pair of Legends Zip-off Pants, which is guaranteed not to wear out for life! If it gets a hole from wear, he can just go back and exchange it for a new pair!

I got pair of Venture Trek-4-in-1 Zip-off Pants,  which is like the one pair of pants to rule them all. There are four options to wear these versatile adventure pants with two different levels to roll up into capris and then it also zips off into shorts.

Bryan and I with Yukiko and Nikki
Bryan, me, Yukiko and Nikki with our proud Tilley hats

After our trip, we will post gear reviews of these items. We are so excited to have these on the trip!

Eager to use them in as much outdoor adventure as possible, we headed out to camp with our friends at Harrison Lake over the weekend. The sun was shining, the lake was cool and wonderful to swim in, and our Tilley hats and pants were marvelous.

Our kayaks

IMG_0041Bryan paddles a Seaward Chilco named Honeybee (for the black lines across the yellow top fyi). It is 18.5 foot long, 22.5 inches wide and 14 inches depth. It has total storage of 346 liters! The Chilco is multi-chine. Well defined chines allow for more stability. IMG_0039 I (Maggie) paddle a Necky Arluk I, so says the writing on my boat. There’s not much info that can be found about my boat because she is so old…*ahem* experienced. Wavedancer was built in the late 1980s. She is named Wavedancer because she is like a 19 foot needle in the water, slicing through waves.  She’s narrow and has a rounded hull making it super responsive (I just have to think of turning and usually my body language moves the boat in that direction) but is less stable than the Chilco. Both kayaks are kevlar (bullet proof vest material!). We invested in kevlar because it is much lighter than polyethylene (plastic) but tougher than fiberglass (lots of barnacles on the rocks and beaches in the Northwest coast). We both got our kayaks used off Craigslist.

My Necky Arluk I on the right and Bryan's Seaward Chilco on the left
My Necky Arluk I on the right and Bryan’s Seaward Chilco on the left