If you’ve been following my hiking adventures for a while then you’ll know that I spend a lot of time wild camping in the UK. My one-person MSR Hubba NX has been my adventure tent for over a year and I absolutely love it.
But after encouraging my nieces and nephew to camp in their garden during lockdown it was time to take them on a proper camping holiday, which meant a bigger tent. And the MSR Habitude 4 was the perfect tent for the trip.
The campsite was booked and the excitement levels increased over the weeks. Eventually, it was time for our family holiday. I arrived at the campsite first to set up the tent without the kids around – one of my better ideas!
Here I will tell you what I thought about the MSR Habitude tent. Does it work as a family/group tent? How easy is it to pitch on your own? And answer all those other useful tent questions that you might need to know before considering this MSR tent as a new purchase.
This review post is sponsored by MSR (Mountain Safety Research), however, all thoughts and opinions about the tent are my own.
MSR Habitude 4 Tent Review
MSR Habitude 4 information
- 1 polyester rainfly/flysheet (turquoise)
- 1 inner polyester/micromesh section (red)
- 3 sets of aluminium poles (1 x red ends + 2 x black ends)
- 9 stakes
- 2 spare guy lines
- 1 tent expandable bag
How big is the tent?
First things first, if you’re planning a family or group trip then you’ll know that your car can quickly get full of camping gear and gadgets for the trip. What is the packed size and weight of the MSR Habitude 4 and will it take up much space?
- Packed size – 58 x 23 x 20 cm (23 x 9 x 8 in)
- Packed weight – 5.72 kg (12.7 lb)
The bag also has a good carry handle, one that doesn’t cut into your fingers when you carry it!
From packed weight to the next important thing, the size of the pitched tent, including sleeping and porch area. Initially, from reading the dimensions the tent didn’t sound big enough for four people, but as you’ll see from the photos there was plenty of space!
- Total tent size (sleeping area + porch) – 3.63 x 2.41 m (11.6 x 7.9 ft)
- Sleeping area – 2.41 x 2.41 m (7.9 x 7.9 ft)
- Height of the tent – 1.85 m (6 ft)
- Porch area – 1.22 x 2.41 m (4 x 7.9 ft)
The other thing that I noticed is that because the tent only pitches with three short guy lines, the space of the tent is very similar to the total space the tent takes up. And fewer trip hazards for children running around the tent!
How easy is it to pitch the MSR Habitude 4?
I arrived at the campsite beforehand to get the tent pitched. As I have used the MSR Hubba for nearly 100 camping trips I was familiar with MSR tents so figured I didn’t need to read the instructions, which are attached to the bag should you need them!
I’d pitched both my MSR Hubba NX (1-person) and MSR Access 2-person tents several times solo. But could I pitch a 4-person tent solo, time to find out!
Inner tent + poles
Since the inner tent is square with one door that makes it simple to pitch. First, I spun the door to the position I wanted and staked out the four corners, then selected the larger pole system (with red ends) and clicked the poles into place and slotted into the four corners (ensuring the centre section had the grey piece facing up – photo below).
This was fairly easy to do solo, one of the poles did pop out before I’d secured the second one but nothing too difficult to fix. Then I clipped into place with the loops from the inner tent.
Next step is putting together the second two pole sections that fit on each side. This felt weird when I was doing it but once you’ve fitted and clipped into place the tent has a good structure and felt sturdy, even though it was higher.
Note – the weather was windy and had some strong gusts when I was erecting the tent but luckily no rain!
Flysheet + guylines
Then the last step is putting the rainfly on, again it was a matter of finding the zip for the door and then orientating the tent to the right position. Out of the whole process, this was slightly challenging to do solo, mainly as it was windy. I found starting from one corner and securing each section worked well.
There are then velcro loops underneath that secure the rainfly to the tent poles, one on each corner and two additional ones that secure the outer tent to the side tent poles.
Finally, there are three guy lines to stake out, yes you read that right and then two more stakes to secure the porch area.
And that’s it you’re done. In terms of how long it took to put the tent up the whole process was fairly quick, however, as I was stopping to take photos it took me longer. I have a second camping trip booked so I will time and let you know how long it takes!
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How practical is the tent for family and group camping?
Sleeping set up
I was sharing the tent with my sister and her three young children on their very first camping trip, so in total, we had five in the tent.
I set up four Thermarest Neo Air mattresses, one for my sister and me and the other two for my 6-year-old twin nieces, my young nephew then had a the RidgeRest classic mattress which fitted in between. Since it’s a 4-person tent and I’d set it up for five people we were close together but it worked well for what we wanted.
The photos show how you’d have set up with 4 sleeping mats, what the tent is designed for!
Tent space + storage
The sleeping mats were set up at the top part of the tent, which then left a good space at the bottom for keeping a bag in each corner and room for manoeuvring and getting in and out of the tent.
In addition, there were a total of eleven pockets in the tent, ranging in sizes from the small pockets at the top, perfect for car keys or a torch. And medium and larger ones at the bottom, which turned out they were perfect for bedtime storybooks, clothes, nappies, phone chargers and all sorts of things.
The pockets were also see-through which meant you weren’t searching through eleven pockets to find what you put in there!
The porch area turned out to be very useful, especially on day two when we had heavy rain and had to get everything away quickly!
It’s a good area for storage, I had a large pink storage box for kitchen things, plus two coolboxes and that left plenty of space for wellies, shoes and rubbish/recycling bags. There was plenty of space to then get in and out of the tent.
How many people can you fit comfortably in the tent?
The MSR Habitide 4 is designed as a 4-person tent and as you’ve read above we fitted five in the tent, albeit, two adults and three children. However, the children were sleeping on adult mats and bizarrely they seemed to take up more space!
If you’re planning a longer trip then for four people you might want more space, MSR has a second larger tent, the MSR Habitude 6, designed for, you guessed it, 6 people.
The tent is identical in design, except the sleeping space is larger – 3.05 x 2.54 m (10 x 8.3 ft).
How good is the tent in the UK weather?
Staying at a campsite meant the tent was pitched in a sheltered spot but the wonderful British weather managed to throw a mix of different forecasts at us. From 20 mph winds whilst I was pitching the tent to heavy rain on our second night, all handy when you want to review a tent in a variety of conditions.
As a high tent, one of my concerns was how well it would do in the wind, although, I’ve not tested in anything above 20 mph winds I feel that the overall structure is robust enough to deal with stronger winds.
One thing I might consider if I was planning using the tent in maybe Scotland or the Lake District where weather can be really unpredictable is more robust tent stakes. I have the Groundhog tent stakes that I use with my Hubba on wild camping trips and they give me more confidence.
The rain descended in buckets but it didn’t dampen our trip, I cooked our BBQ dinner under a huge umbrella whilst the kids seemed to be the only ones on the campsite running around in the rain. But how did the tent cope?
The design of the tent is brilliant in the rain. The inner and outer sections of the tent are perfectly separated by the pole system so no chance of the outer making the inner section wet.
The rainfly has a rating of 1500 mm and floor area has a rating of 10,000 mm so both great for withstanding bucket of rain – you can read more about the mm rating here.
Yes, we do get some sunny weather in the UK! The material inside the tent (micromesh) will help keep air circulating and also you have the option to fully open up the porch area when the weather is good!
There’s also a vent at the back of the tent rainfly to help minimise condensation. This wasn’t an issue on our camping trip.
What did I like about the tent?
- Pitching was so quick, with only three sets of poles, nine stakes and three guylines you can understand why.
- The simple design, one door and colour-coded poles make it easy to pitch on your own.
- Having enough space to stand up in a tent is a huge luxury for me, at 5 ft 7″ I had plenty of space to move around and get dressed. Even if you’re above 6 ft you’d still be able to move around fairly easily with not too much crouching down.
- I loved all the handy pockets inside the tent – even better they are different heights so you can pop items like torches that you don’t want the kids to waste the batteries of during the day!
Taking the tent down
- Taking the tent down was really quick and easy. Because it wasn’t raining when I took it down it meant I could take off the rainfly and give it a good shake and let it dry out, whilst my sister was still inside packing for the day.
- The tent bag is easy to get the tent back into with a wide opening and drawstring bag.
What I didn’t like about the tent?
- At a glance you might not notice the difference in the poles, it would be handy to have the main tent pole a completely different colour to make it easier when pitching in bad weather.
Inner pitch first
- I personally didn’t dislike this at the time and I do have experience with an inner pitch first tent. But I can imagine on a rainy day the inner tent would get damp during pitching. A simple solution is to give it a quick wipe with a towel so not a big concern.
Tent space in rainy weather
- Since the tent is one open space in rainy weather (night two) we had to pile up the sleeping mat/sleeping bags to create a space for us to have dinner inside.
- Then subsequently, we had to make the kids beds up and keep quiet whilst they fell asleep. Not surprisingly all that fresh air and running around meant then went to sleep very fast!
Overall thoughts on the MSR Habitude 4
After spending many nights in my little Hubba NX the MSR Habitude was a real luxury and I was able to review the pro and cons of the tent from my initial camping trip. I do have another trip planned so I will update again after the trip with any more useful information about the tent.
As a group or family tent, I think MSR has done a fantastic job. The tent feels robust and good quality, you’ll see what I mean if you get one and feel the fabric used.
Who would I recommend the MSR Habitude is good for?
I’d say this tent is great for family camping trips with children, especially younger children where they might feel nervous sleeping in a tent. It works well with two adults and two children (obviously I squeezed an extra one in too!)
Or alternatively, for group camping trips it would be great for friends sharing a tent and enjoying the great outdoors.
Let me know if you have any more questions about the MSR Habitude tent in the comments below.
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This post is sponsored by MSR. However, all thoughts and opinions about the tent are my own.