Here at Gearflogger we love us some Hubba Hubba. And yet, we yearned for more. OK, we yearned for one more, as in the three person Mutha Hubba NX, in which to store a full trio of floggers. But a great sadness fell across the land when we couldn't find a Mutha Hubba. And lo, the clouds parted and descending on a unicorn riding on a rainbow was… the elusive Papa Hubba, apparently no longer in production and relegated to mythological status, unlike the unicorn which turned out to be a donkey with a nasty growth on its forehead.
So yes, we're reviewing a tent you probably can't find new, but if you're looking for a four-person three-season tent that can be comfortably backpacked it's worth scouring the back alleys of the internet and your local used gear shops for the Papa Hubba NX.
We found with our NX 2 review that the old logic that you should subtract a person from the rated capacity of a tent if you want to be comfortable, e.g. a 3 person tent is actually only comfortable for 2 people, absolutely does not apply to MSR's NX series of tents. The NX 4 will definitely sleep four in comfort, even for extended trips.
The magic is not just in more floor space, although at 53 square feet it's more than ample, it's also in the vertical wall design. That geometry in turn is made possible with some very cool pole technology from Easton, called the Syclone and made from a Kevlar-like material that gives it the strength of aluminum and the flexibility and weight of carbon fiber. There is a single giant H-shaped pole and two single straight poles, and you'll definitely want to assemble this one at home before you're caught in a storm trying to figure it out under duress. It's not overly complex, but it's not necessarily intuitive the first time either. Practice once or twice and you're good to go.
Once it's up you enter through either of two opposite large teardrop doors that can be rolled back, allowing easy entry/exit for even the larger among us. The capacious sleeping area is about 84×93 inches, totally doable for four adults even without alternating head-to-toe. The fly and vestibule adds an additional 22 square feet split on either side, so bring Fido along too and you'll still have room for your packs and boots under cover. Sitting up is no problem either with an interior height of 44 inches. Palatial, and much appreciated on longer trips.
Weatherproofing is typical MSR, which is to say bombproof. The 30-denier ripstop nylon floor will put up with any normal abuse, and the venting is good enough for very humid environments or four mouth-breathing adventurers. The only tradeoff is limited storage inside, but you can always buy little gear slings and lofts if that's your thing. You've got enough room to leave stuff lying around on the floor, not something you normally do in a tent full of people. The packed weight is about 6.5 pounds, which on a pound-per-person basis is not bad at all. The Papa Hubba NX is worth the search if what you're looking for is true four-person livability in a tent you can still pack comfortably.