BA Jack Rabbit SL1 vs. MSR Hubba NXB

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I finally received my Jack Rabbit solo tent and I think it's a keeper. If you don't recall I had tried the 3rd gen Hubba NX solo tent and then 3rd gen Hubba Hubba NX 2 person tent. I returned both.

The Jack Rabbit seems to do what the other two lacked, although some may not appreciate some of the differences.

The Jack Rabbit is asymmetric, as was the Hubba NX, but it is much more asymmetric in that it's actually wider at the head than the feet and the poles are asymm. The Hubba NX had a symmetric pole system with an asymm fly. The Hubba was also color coded. Oddly enough, the BA is color coded on the footprint, but not on the tent body, and then has some color coding on the fly. Either tent was easy to figure out how to set up without looking at the colors.

I feel the MSR had a slightly better pole setup and few other details that made it nice (which I'll come back to later) but it is too cramped for me.

The asymmetry on the BA is a treat and why I bought it. It's wider in the head and shoulders than it is at the feet. The MSR was the same width all the way and happened to be the width the BA is as at it's narrowest point.

The fly and pole config is almost exactly the same on each. The BA just has a wider spread on the head section. This means the poles are asymmetric but it's a no brainer to figure out which side goes where. The spreader bar on the BA isn't connected, like it is on the MSR. This may or may not be a good thing. I like the simplicity but when pitching the fly and footprint only, this is a little more fiddly, and the attachments to the fly don't snap onto the spreader like they do on the MSR. They snap onto the tent though. It's a bit of design detail that is a little fussy and I feel BA could have done it better. It's not a deal breaker though.

What I like a lot more about the BA fly is that it comes with guyouts at the front and the rear to pull the fly out away from the tent. They seem to do this on all their tents and it's great for keeping it dry and maximizing air flow. Both had a vent on the head side of the fly which could be held out with a strut to increase venting.

The real test will come when the fly is wet. The MSR claimed to have a rain channel gutter to keep the fly from dumping on you when getting out of the tent. I never got to test that but we'll see how the BA works in that regard.

The tent body itself is pretty similar but the BA has slightly less mesh and a little more privacy. The mesh also feels beefier than the other BA tents I've felt. Zipper feel tougher on this one too. Def nicer than the MSR zips. I also like the 3 mesh pockets in the BA. I think the MSR had one and it was on what I'd call the foot side.

The only minor faults I can find with the BA is that the door is a bit small. The MSR was just a touch bigger and I thought it was easier to get into. It also seemed a bit taller on the inside. I think the BA is a little taller right in the center, but when I sit up my head touches the mesh, and I'm only 5'-10". I also feel like if I were any taller I'd feel a little cramped on length. It's just long enough I can get my head and feet where I want without touching the sides. I'm sure a taller person could fit but it might feel a little cramped. I think they designed this tent around a 5'10" person.

Another minus on the BA is it comes with crappy stakes. I set them aside for a set of angle J stakes I bought some time ago. They happen to be the same ones the higher UL BA tents come with.

With the other stakes and the footprint I weigh it just shy of 3.5 lbs. Only about 1/2 lb lighter than my 3 person BA, but a much smaller footprint (easier to find a nice flat spot to pitch) and it def packs smaller volume-wise. It is quicker to set up too with less stakes and less guy outs.

It seems the MSR tips the scales just under 3 lb, but I did not confirm that weight.

Another thing I really like about both the MSR and the BA version of this style tent is that in fast fly mode it makes a nice little shelter to hang out if it's raining. You can tie back the fly all the way and it's like a mini lean-to. I plan on using this feature in the future.

As far as the poles and why I think the MSR has a slight edge is the hubs. The MSR has aluminum hubs, the BA are plastic. They seem tough though. My only concern there is durability. Other than that the tent feels a bit burlier than my other SL BA, and that has proven to be plenty durable.

Lastly I'll comment on the stuff sacks. Normally I don't care but the MSR design was clearly better. The burrito style bag with built in compression straps was much nicer than the simple silnylon stuff sacks that the BAs come with. Oh well... the details don't matter as much if you can't get over a major design issue like lack of space.

I think they are both capable solo tents and I'd like to been able to field test them both to really find out if I could live with the MSR, but as of now, the BA is the clear winner in my book (hence why I returned the MSR and kept the BA).
 
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L’oiseau, excellent review.

The Jack Rabbit is asymmetric, as was the Hubba NX, but it is much more asymmetric in that it's actually wider at the head than the feet and the poles are asymm. The Hubba NX had a symmetric pole system with an asymm fly. The Hubba was also color coded. Oddly enough, the BA is color coded on the footprint, but not on the tent body, and then has some color coding on the fly

You had mentioned the asymmetry of the HH NX previously, and knowing my preference for symmetrical tents that helped me pull the trigger on the 2013 version of the Hubba Hubba.

One area where the NX was much improved is in the floor waterproofieness – 3000mm for the Hubba Hubba NX vs 1500mm for the previous generation HH (and 1200mm for the Jack Rabbit).

I would gladly sacrifice some additional weight for a better floor and sturdier zippers, but you can’t have everything.
 
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The BA's do have a thin floor and fly coating... but as crazy as this sounds, with the footprint, I've found them just as good as the heavier coatings. I had my doubts on my first BA, but it's tougher and drier than it looks.
 
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The BA's do have a thin floor and fly coating... but as crazy as this sounds, with the footprint, I've found them just as good as the heavier coatings. I had my doubts on my first BA, but it's tougher and drier than it looks.

That has essentially been my experience with the lower waterproofieness floors on the previous generation HH tents as well and I wouldn’t have bought another if that had been a deal breaker.

There may be some durability advantages to a thicker floor; the bottom of the old HH has seen a thousand nights on the ground and, even using the footprint, has become noticeably worn.

The footprint size/shape and webbing points largely prevented even windblown rains from getting between the footprint and tent floor, and the only times I’ve had seepage issues was with pools of standing water when a well drained tent site was simply not available.

I can attest to the usefulness of the footprint. When I set up the two Hubbas in the yard I wanted to see if the footprint fit the newer version, so the older one went up tent floor on the grass.

It had rained for a couple of days prior, and the ground was saturated, but it was sunny and dry while the tents were up in the yard. When I took them down the next morning the floor of the tent without footprint was sodden with blocked/evaporating moisture from the ground. The bottom of the footprint was likewise wet, but the tent floor was still dry.
 
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