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Comfort is king these days, and backpackers want tents with more elbowroom — even if they must carry a bit more weight to gain space. MSR realized that plenty of people who own the best-selling, two-person Hubba Hubba tent would love some extra space, but don’t want to shell out money for a new, larger tent.
Therefore, MSR created the Gear Shed, a hoop-style vestibule that attaches to a Hubba or Hubba Hubba tent and provides an additional 26 square feet of space. We tested the Gear Shed on the trail and found that it’s great for storing mounds of gear, and freeing up space in and around the main sleeping compartment.
Consisting of a single piece of waterproof tent material, one lightweight pole and a few stakes, the Gear Shed weighs 1 pound, 12 ounces. We found that when we evenly spilt the load of a Hubba Hubba tent and the Gear Shed between two people, it really wasn’t much of a burden. Plus, the space you gain justifies a little extra weight in your pack.
Like the Hubba Hubba tent itself, the Gear Shed goes up easily in just a few minutes. You simply attach four adjustable straps and one grommet to poles on the main tent, and then stake out the Gear Shed at five points. Easy enough.
The Gear Shed has a large L-shaped, zippered opening that allows easy entry, and the peak height of the interior is 35 inches, which allowed our testers to sit up comfortably. While the majority of the vestibule does not have a floor, there is a small floor area at one end where you can place things to keep them off the ground. During one test when it rained, our testers ate a meal inside the Gear Shed and used the floor as a table space for food. Pretty cool.
Another nice element of the Gear Shed is that it can be used in conjunction with the tent fly. Initially, we were concerned that rain would sneak into the space where the Gear Shed and the fly join; however, we found that there is enough overlap between the two components to effectively block rain, and the interior of the Gear Shed remained dry during a storm.
We really had only one criticism of the Gear Shed. Basically, when you pull the attachment straps taut, they put pressure on the neighboring side of the main tent and cause it to buckle and sag slightly. We did find a couple of ways to minimize the buckling. First, you have to make sure you don’t over-tighten the attachment straps. And second, you can attach a guy line to a loop at the peak of the Gear Shed. This will allow you to pull the Gear Shed away from the tent and ease the buckling. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find a good place to attach a guy line.
But, really, this is a minor point when you consider the great convenience you gain with this product. For example, with the Gear Shed attached, users no longer have to store their backpacks just outside the tent door, beneath the small vestibule created by the tent fly. This means no more crawling over gear in the middle of the night to answer nature’s call. It’s just so nice to clear all the clutter from the inside of the tent — especially if you are tent-bound for days in a storm. And there are so many other possible uses — one tester said the Gear Shed could make good sleeping quarters for Buddy, a collie who often joins him on camping trips.
Whether it’s used for the family pooch or for storing gear, the Gear Shed is a great addition for people who just want more room to move, but aren’t ready to let go of their beloved Hubba Hubba.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $149.95
For more information:www.cascadedesigns.com