This testing and review photo shows the MSR Habitude 4 Tent sent up at a camping site.

MSR Habitude Tent Review: ‘Ready for Adventure’

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The new MSR Habitude tent is a tall, family-friendly car camping tent with an adventure-ready design. MSR makes 4-person and 6-person versions.

To get us a closer look, MSR sent Man Makes Fire a Habitude 4 review unit. This is what we learned while testing and camping in the Habitude:

MSR Habitude Review

The MSR Habitude is our new favorite wilderness-ready family camping tent. It’s lightweight but uses a stout aluminum pole design that can handle wind — despite its tall interior height. The full-coverage rainfly is ready for heavy thunderstorms, and the built-in vestibule keeps extra gear and shoes dry.

This photo shows the MSR Habitude 4 Tent setup during the testing and review process.
The MSR Habitude 4 Tent uses three hubbed pole sets to create a tall-but-sturdy framework.

While the Habitude is great for car camping in campgrounds, this is the tent you want to take to primitive campsites. In fact, in our guide to the best camping tents, the Habitude is our pick for most remote camping situations, and it’s certainly the best tent for adventurous families. This should come as no surprise because MSR is best known for making high-quality, expedition-ready gear for mountaineering and backpacking into the most remote areas of the world.

Just to be clear, though, the MSR Habitude is not a tent for hardcore mountaineering expeditions (like MSR’s HUB Base Camp Tent). The Habitude is a hybrid that blends the sweet height and roominess of cabin-style tents with a lightweight, rain-ready design.

Shop the Habitude tents direct from MSR and get FREE shipping in the lower 48!

Lightweight and Rugged Aluminum Poles

The pole system can make or break a tent, and the MSR Habitude pole system is the best we’ve seen this year. To start, the Habitude has three high-quality 7000 series aluminum pole sections. Each of the three sets of poles are hubbed at the center, which forms an X.

You have one large X that crosses over the top to create a dome-like support system. Next, you have two side X sets of poles that provide sidewall support as well as roof support.

This photo shows the author testing the MSR Habitude 4 Tent while on a camping trip during the review process.
The MSR Habitude blends a lightweight construction with high-quality materials.

It might sound complicated to read, but the Habitude is simple to set up. Better yet, it results in a sturdy construction. When paired with the full-length rain fly and vestibule, it also does a good job with wind.

Why does this matter? Many thunderstorms can blow in and out and be gone in a few hours. If your tent collapses and your sleeping bags get wet, your camping trip — especially with kids — might be ruined.

On the other hand, at Man Makes Fire we’ve had many trips with bad storms where we’ve considered packing up and heading home. But when we’ve stuck it out, we’ve also woken up the next morning to bright blue skies. And that is super cool. You want to have the gear that lets you make the choice that’s right for you — not gear that fails and ruins a trip.

The MSR Habitude strikes an excellent balance between tall and roomy tents with a design that can handle the elements. The result is a very livable tent that you can count on far more than most every other cabin-style family tent we’ve tested recently.

Great Vestibule & Rain Fly

We are big fans of built-in vestibules. The MSR Habitude vestibule gives you a protected space to kick off your shoes, sandals or boots. Plus, you can store extra gear out of the rain, out of the sun, and out of sight.

This photo shows the MSR Habitude Tent setup at a camping site with the vestibule and rainfly.
We’re fans of the built-in vestibule and full-coverage rainfly.

Meanwhile, the MSR Habitude vestibule helps protect the entryway from rain during entry and exit. Simply being able to shed wet shoes in a dry spot while taking them on or off is a big deal when it’s raining. Same goes for wet, dewy mornings.

A lot of tall 4- and 6-person tents skimp on the rainfly. In our experience, most tent leaks come from single-wall tents at seams and windows that aren’t fully protected by a separate rainfly. This can be compounded by single-wall tents that allow moisture to build up on the inside, creating a layer of condensation that can wet a sleeping bag that gets pushed up against it. Double-walled tents with separate rainflies pretty much eliminate these problems and risks.

Premium Usability

This photo shows the rear of the MSR Habitude tent.
The near vertical sidewalls make the MSR Habitude feel roomy.

Beyond the basics, MSR includes plenty of stash pockets. You get stash pockets near the door, which are great for stowing phones and keys, as well as up top, which are great for holding flashlights or mini-lanterns.

The peak of the vestibule includes a little porch light, which is quite handy and a nice built-in touch. The only downside is that you’ll need to remember to buy two CR2032 batteries for it (because they’re not included).

The smooth YKK zippers are stainless steel, and they have fairly straight pull directions, which tends to help with long-term durability.

Key Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS HABITUDE 4 HABITUDE 6
Packed Weight: 12 lbs 10 oz 14 lbs
Packed Size: 23″ x 9″ 23 x 10″
Floor Area: 95″ x 95″ 120″ x 100″
Center Height: 73″ 77″
Number of Doors: 1 1
Vestibule Area: 23.5 sq. ft 24.5 sq. ft
Floor Fabric: 68D taffeta polyester 10,000mm Polyurethane & DWR
Canopy Fabric: 68D taffeta polyester & DWR
Rainfly Fabric: 68D ripstop polyester 1500mm Polyurethane & DWR
Mesh: 40D nylon micro-mesh

Missing Guy Lines?

It seems as if our review unit shipped with four missing guy lines. It came with guy lines for the sides but there are four empty attachment points for guy lines at each corner.

The Habitude is surprisingly sturdy without the four corners being staked down, but still, we expected guy lines for the corners. Our guess is this was a manufacturing and/or packing oversight. Either way, we recommend that you check your own Habitude before you head off the grid, just in case.

We always take some paracord when camping, and recommend that you do, too, but you can grab four more MSR Guy Lines and some extra MSR Hook Stakes . . . just in case.

Problem with the Pole Connections?

If you check the customer reviews on the MSR Habitude 4 site, one reviewer believes the corner pole connections rub on each other and should be redesigned. The fix is easy.  

 

The first photo on the left shows the incorrect position. To fix this, all you have to do is switch the side poles from ending on the outside of the corner to ending on the inside of the corner.

When you position the side poles on the inside at the bottom — which isn’t immediately intuitive — the connectors won’t rub up on the poles at a weird angle. (But even if you do set up the corners incorrectly, the tent will continue to function just fine.)

So, is the corner pole design slightly confusing at first? Yes. Is it something to worry about? No.

Shop the MSR Habitude from REI and get FREE shipping!

The Verdict

All-in-all, the MSR Habitude is one of our favorite new camping tents. In fact, it has the best new tent design we’ve seen and tested this year. The Habitude is capable of providing a great campground experience, but you can also take it on a boating, rafting or UTV trip with confidence — even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. As for construction, you get typical MSR quality: lightweight, high-quality materials with excellent fit and finish throughout. Very highly recommended.

Get the Gear:

MSR Habitude 4 or MSR Habitude 6

Check Shipping/Pricing:

CampSaver | Moosejaw | MSR | REI

MSR Habitude Tents
Pros
Tall and roomy
Excellent aluminum pole structure
Built-in vestibule with full-coverage rainfly
Cons
Seems to be missing four corner guy lines
4.7

 

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