MSR Habitude 6 Tent | Review - Outdoors Magic

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MSR Habitude 6 Tent | Review

US backpacking brand MSR have come up with the Rolls Royce of family camping tents

Why We Chose The MSR Habitude 6: Top quality design and materials, very family friendly

Let’s face it, most family camping tents look like trouble waiting to happen. We expect a fair few people reading this will have their own tales of sleepless windy nights waiting for the dreaded snap and collapse. This take on a family camper, however, called the MSR Habitude 6, should give much better peace of mind. It’s designed with the know-how of MSR’s backpacking tent experts and uses the same kinds of high-spec materials you’d find on high-spec, high performance options for the trail. It even just looks like a giant backpacking tent.

Who’s The MSR Habitutde 6 For?

The one pictured here is the 6-person design but there’s also a 4-person one as well. At £610 for the 6P these certainly don’t come cheap, so you can’t help thinking only serious family campers – those spending several weeks out there a year – are going to be tempted into this. Still, if you’ve got a two-week camping trip in Scotland planned this summer and you want everything to go smoothly, this would be a good option to invest in.

In true MSR style, it’s an inner pitched first design. Photo: Mike Brindley

Unlike most family camping tents, this is actually light enough and packable enough to make it a realistic option to stick in a big backpack and carry for a few miles. It would also be well-suited to any canoe camping.

Design

Four poles are involved here: two main crossing ones – as you’d see on a standard dome tent – and two shorter poles which add extra strength to the sides while also helping to prop up the ceiling at each end. These poles are all colour coded and attach to the inner via simple clips rather than pole sleeves. The flysheet is then thrown over the top and secured to the poles using Velcro tabs and hooks at the corners. The corners and sides can then all be pegged down, along with the two guy lines (only two are supplied but there are plenty of points where you can add on extras).

The footprint, which measures 7.71m2 for the internal compartment plus a further 3m2 for the porch, isn’t as large as you’d find on many family camping tents out there but there’s certainly still plenty of place to sleep six people – even if they’re all adults.

Then there’s the height on this thing. At its highest point it’s 1.95m (about 6 foot 4). Thanks to its near vertical walls, there’s just about enough space to stand up in this thing as well.

The fly sheet comes out quite high off the ground and also leaves fair bit of distance from the inner at ground level so there’s plenty of ventilation here, even though there’s no vent at the top. The porch offers a lot of storage space and can be rolled back to open the tent right up.

Handy features that families will certainly appreciate are the numerous deep mesh pockets lining the walls of the inner and big toggled child-friendly zips.

The pegs come with the tent. Photo: Mike Brindley

Packing it up and away is easy thanks to the widemouth stuff sack and compression straps. And the overall packed size is a surprisingly small (for the category) 58 x 25cm. That’s small enough to fit into a person’s 65L backpack while still potentially leaving enough space for their sleeping bag and sleeping mat.

Materials

A lot of good stuff here, as you’d hope considering the big price tag. The fly sheet is a 1500mm Polyurethane with a ripstop weave and durable water repellent coating. It’s 68D, so a fair bit tougher than what you’d find on MSR’s backpacking tents – the 1.3kg Hubba Hubba NX for instance, has a 20D fly.

The bathtub style floor features a 68D taffeta polyester, rated to 10,000mm, with a PU coating and DWR. Then there’s a mix of taffeta polyester and 40D nylon micro mesh for the walls of the inner.

The poles are all made from aluminium. They’ve got a very high spec look and feel to them; lightweight but still very hardy.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic

“I used this right in the middle of winter with fellow OM staffers Jordan and Giles and we were all very impressed.

“While a lot of family camping tents can feel a little bit brittle and cheap this really oozes quality.

It fitted the three of us plus our gear very comfortably. Photo: Mike Brindley
The fly is thrown over. A touch tricky to do by yourself. Photo: Mike Brindley
You could potentially fit it into a big backpack. Photo: Mike Brindley

“Putting it up took us a little longer than we had thought it would as we had a bit of trouble working out which pole went where in the pitch black of night! Still, it took us well under 15 minutes to have it perfectly pitched with the fly beautifully taut. That’s not bad at all when you consider how much of a headache family camping tents can be. I wouldn’t have wanted to put it up by myself for the the first time, but I reckon I could manage it alone in calm conditions.

“Inside, it really is cavernous. Us three full-sized blokes had bucket-loads of space. It’s like being in the tent equivalent of St Paul’s cathedral.

“It was a windy and wet night and I genuinely felt as secure as I’ve ever felt in a tent. I’ve read another review that says they found it a little wobbly but that wasn’t the case for us. We could hear the wind really shaking the trees around us, but the tent barely seemed to move.

“What’s more, the next morning, there wasn’t a drop of moisture on the inside of fly. Perhaps it was just one of those nights, but still, with the masses amount of ventilation at the base of the MSR Habitude I’d expect internal moisture won’t be much of a problem. As for the packed size, it’s impressively light and compact for a 6-person tent, that’s for sure. Still, it’s not the kind of thing you’re going to slip into your backpack and hike 20 miles with.

“That’s my initial impression anyway, I’ll try and get out with this a few more times this summer and add in a longer term verdict here at some point.”

MSR Habitude 6

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