Tested: MSR Habitude 6-Person Tent
Everything you need to know before buying the MSR Habitude 6-person family camping tent
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Large tents are a dime a dozen. So how do you choose the perfect one? First, you want your tent to fit your needs. Since most people camp in the spring, summer, and fall, a 3-season tent should be enough. After that, look at the durability and functionality of the tent to ensure it will last according to your frequency of use. A tent can be a significant monetary investment, but with proper use, it can be one piece of gear you don’t have to worry about replacing anytime soon.
With a hefty price tag, the MSR Habitude makes you pause before pulling the trigger on this purchase. So is it worth it? I had the chance to test this 6-person tent over the summer on the rugged coast of Maine. I was looking for ease of setup, group functionality, weather protection, and durability. Here are the results.
- Capacity: 6 people (also comes in a 4-person option)
- Weight: 13 lbs 6 oz
- Floor Area: 83 sq ft plus 24.5 sq ft of vestibule area
- Height: 77 inches
- Materials: Aluminum 7000 Series poles, 68D taffeta polyester tent, and 68D ripstop polyester 1500 mm rainfly with DWR treatment
The sturdy frame of the MSR Habitude freestanding tent includes a crossbeam that supports the side poles. This provides maximum stability against heavy winds (or energetic kids). The tent is also extremely spacious and stands 6 feet 5 inches at its tallest point. The sidewalls pull out and give the tent a convex, roomy feel. One person can easily pitch the tent thanks to its design. However, with a height clearance of over 6 feet, a shorter person could struggle with the rainfly assembly. I appreciated that the rainfly covers the entire tent and steaks out for runoff. A roomy vestibule area provides a waterproof cover for gear, shoes, and other storage.
How I Tested the MSR Habitude
I took my two children to the coast of Maine for a week of camping this past summer. The rugged shoreline, scenic forests, and temperate summer climate served as the perfect proving ground for the Habitude 6-person group tent. Having my two kids with me helped add more people to the test while still having to pitch, maintain, and pack up the tent by myself. Plus, I found out that two young kids serve as the perfect durability test for the tent—they did not treat it delicately. Over the course of the week, we experienced a variety of weather. Temperatures ranged from 40℉ to 95℉. The tent experienced rainy nights as well as sunny days.
How It Performed
The MSR Habitude 6-person tent kept us dry and comfortable over multiple days of camping in fluctuating temperatures. The easy setup was the first thing I noticed with this tent. While most owners probably group camp with another adult, it was a relief that this large, sturdy tent could be assembled solo. That said, it is important to note that with a clearance of over six feet, shorter users might have difficulty slinging the rainfly over the top.
The X-shaped poles pull the sidewalls taut away from the center of the tent adding stability to help protect against strong winds. The full-coverage rainfly was a great feature that you don’t see on many larger-sized camping tents. This protected us in heavy rains, keeping the interior of the entire tent dry. I was also surprised by how well the outside vestibule protected our shoes from rain and water. While the Habitude is advertised as a 6-person tent, I love it as a 4-person tent. We had a queen and two twin air mattresses and still had additional room for our bags and gear. It was spacious and comfortable. This tent can absolutely camp 6 people, but if you are looking for additional dry storage for gear and equipment, the fewer people the better.
What I Didn’t Like About the Habitude
The downside to a full-coverage rainfly is there is no opening to look outside, check on noises, and see what is going on. You have to unzip the tent and the rainfly to have visibility of camp. The full-coverage rainfly also hurts the ventilation of the tent which leads to it being stuffy. For most of the camping trip, I opened the vestibule and tied it back to get air into the tent. In addition, the MSR Habitude only has one door. This makes it impossible to get a cross breeze to cool down.
Is It Worth the Money?
There are many 6-person family tents on the market and MSR’s Habitude is one of the more expensive ones. With an MSRP hovering around $650, it’s not for everyone. So why splurge for a $600 family tent when you can get one on Amazon for under $100? For starters, this tent is perfect for groups that brave the elements. The Habitude, with its full-coverage rainfly, is going to withstand strong rain and wind. It can be trusted in thunderstorms and will keep you dry when needed. A budget tent without a full rainfly or supportive X poles will make for a miserable experience. Weather can change fast and having a reliable tent for a group of people isn’t only crucial for comfort, but also safety.
You should consider how often you camp before investing in this high-end tent. If camping is something you do casually, or once a year—this tent probably isn’t worth it. In that case, check out our roundup of the best family camping tents of 2022. If you don’t need a family tent then read our picks for the best tents of 2022. Spoiler: The MSR Habitude shows up in both.
The Habitude is designed for dedicated campers who require the best out of their gear. This means camping in unforgiving conditions and being able to shelter and support larger groups. Customers should note that like most high-end tent brands, the footprint is sold separately. This additional $75 item protects the bottom of the tent from tears and provides an additional waterproof barrier. While another tarp, tyvek sheet, or ground cloth will also work, the MSR universal footprint is specifically designed to clip into the system, making it more effective at weatherproofing.
Lastly, for families or individuals that like the features of the MSR Habitude 6, but don’t need a large size, take a look at the MSR Habitude 4. This tent has the best features of the 6-person with a smaller footprint.