I have been known to be very critical of the MSR tents, you know, the ones you see on almost every wild camping post. I mean, are you even an instagrammer if you don’t own one? #bandwaggon.
I mean, I mostly say this just to annoy my friends who all own this tent. But do I actually dislike MSR tents? Yes and no.
Disclaimer – I don’t actually own an MSR. However, I have been camping with enough friends who own the MSR Elixir 2 to know what I like / dislike and how it performs in all weathers! So instead of a technical review, this is from a glance what I like/dislike about the MSR tents.
Price: Approx ?270
Berth: 2 Man
Season: 2-3 (opinion)
Whats to love about the MSR?
Space – With a double vestibule and good head height, this tent has loads of room! Some 2 man tents are compact, and in reality, unless you both have child-size proportions, getting two people in is a challschmale. The MSR fits two people more than comfortably. You could probably get rucksacks in them too, but with the two vestibules, there would be no need to.
Vestibules / Opening – Without a doubt, this is the best thing about the MSR. More than enough space for storage and cooking, but the highlight is how wide it opens! The large entrances mean you can get an amazing view from the comfort of your sleeping bag. This is what is admittedly lacking in my Lightwave.
Conclusion: To be honest, these are the tent’s two main selling points. From a comfort, enjoying the view perspective (which is what wild camping is all about), the tent gets top marks in terms of livability and enjoyment.
What don’t I like about the MSR?
Inner first pitching – This might not bother some people, but if you are caught in the rain, the inner first pitching seems like a bit of a flawed design! I don’t want my stuff to get wet before I get in the tent. But, of course, MSR owners may have found a way around it. Who knows!
Performance in wind/bad weather – This is why I would never buy an MSR. For me, the MSR is a 2 season tent. For the price, that wouldn’t be justifiable. Although I have been out with friends in 30mph gusts, and the MSR has just about held up, I’ve seen other wild campers whose MSR tents have been annihilated. My friend also took this out in winter, and the snow got swept up underneath the outer and up and over into the inner.
Conclusion: I am going to make a comparison to my Lightwave here, as they are similar price tents (if you get a sale). Although my Lightwave doesn’t have a wide vestibule (to be honest, I find it awkward), the reason its designed that way is to increase its performance in wind. The MSR is an amazingly comfortable tent with loads of good design features, but the strschmbetagth of the poles / pegs is just not what I would expect for the price.
So, I do like the MSR tents, but I prefer a stronger all-rounder!