08 January 2011


One of the things we are dreaming of for a long time is a hike through the Grand Canyon. This is a great challenge and requires careful planning, good preparation, a lot of fitness and some gear. One thing missing from our list was a really lightweight backpacking tent.

We do have a tent that we absolutely love for motorcycle and other trips and we used that a few times during the last year. It's a Hilleberg Keron 3, a four season tunnel tent that is really awesome. It has enough room for two people with gear or three people with love. ;-)

Hilleberg Keron 3

We got this one as it provides a safe shelter even in harsh weather conditions and is large enough for the two of us, the motorcycle gear, and the packing weight can be stripped down to about 3.5kg, which is not too bad considering that it is a four season tent - so readily usable in the cold, snow, and rain, providing shelter in pretty much all conditions.

The only problem is that 3.5kg is still very heavy when you go backpacking or when I'm alone on motorcycle trips like the one to San Diego over Thanksgiving 2010. Therefore we were looking for a tent that had one simple requirement: being as light as possible while still fitting two people with backpacks (those can be in the vestibules though).

When looking around I found a tent that provides this quite a while ago, but it was too small for motorcycle trips together or when you expect to be "living" in it for extended periods of time due to weather or just a longer trip. The Keron 3 is perfect for this but now that we actively started planning the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike, I started looking again for "super savings". And a few days ago I saw a MSR Hubba Hubba (what a stupid name ...) greatly reduced in price (about half of the new model and down to about 60% of the original price) at REI probably due to the end of production of the old model and REI emptying their inventory.

The problem was: I saw it one day online at the REI site - and the next day it was sold out. That was Thursday. Today we went to REI in Mountain View and asked whether they still have one in stock which they didn't. But they called the other REI stores in the area and were able to locate one, put a hold on it, and we picked it up 30 minutes later. Ha!

Once at home we had to set it up of course to check that everything is included and nothing is damaged as it is not so nice to find this out in the middle of nowhere when just setting it up the first time.

MSR Hubba Hubba in our Guest Room

As the Hubba Hubba is free standing we were able to set it up for a test in our house. Was a bit of a struggle with the still pretty long tent poles but we got it done and it worked great. Awesome little tent and incredibly light. The whole package is about 1.8kg plus an optional footprint (additional layer to put under the tent to protect it). That is really light. 

The plan is to use this tent for me when I'm on motorcycle tours alone - which might happen when Andrea goes climbing outdoors again when it gets warmer - and on the said hiking trips to prepare for the long hike through the Canyon. We are really looking forward to doing these hikes! 

All the other gear should still be okay - we have quite a lot accumulated over the last 20 years. Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, small pillows, hiking boots, backpacks - all available. Now one reason less not to go for hiking trips ... And, to put it another way: three times not taking a cheap Motel 6 room and it's paid for. 


  1. Nice one, but the name... ts ts. Which marketing idiot came up with that? I hope however, you don't make us sleep in said tent in your backyard next time we are visiting. We will behave, so please let us use the guest room inside, pretty please?

  2. Yeah, that name is pretty weird ... not sure what it should mean. And of course, the guest room is your's whenever you're here! Are you planning something? ;-)

  3. Ooh, that Hilleberg is the Rolls Royce of tents.

    We have an REI Half Dome 2. The MSR Hubba Hubba was on the radar, but it was always too pricey for me. Glad you scored a good deal.

    I'm experimenting with minimalist shelter. I'll never be able to flop a sleeping bag under a tarp -- can't get over the bugs and critters -- but a bivy sounds quite nice at the low, low weight of 1 pound.

    Please keep us updated how the MSR holds up.

  4. Yes, we were really, really luck with that deal for the MSR tent as we probably wouldn't have bought it otherwise. The smallest I would go is a single person tent like the Hubba or similar, I really like to have a real shelter where I can sit in and it doesn't feel like just being outside with the sleeping bag.

    I'll keep you all posted how it works out. Today was "just" a day trip to the cost. Still 190km and lots of fun! Will write about that later.