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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 sufficient. After that, look at the durability and functionality of the tent to make sure it will last according to your frequency of use. A canopy can be a significant monetary investment, but with proper use, it can be a piece of equipment 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 opportunity 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.
MSR Habit 6-Person Tent
- Capacity: 6 people (also comes in an option for 4 people)
- Weight: 13 pounds 6 oz
- Floor area: 83 sq ft plus 24.5 sq ft lobby area
- Hight: 77 inches
- Materials: 7000 Series aluminum poles, 68D polyester taffeta and 1500mm 68D ripstop polyester canopy, with DWR treatment
The strong frame of the MSR Habitude freestanding tent includes a cross beam that supports the side poles. This ensures maximum stability against strong winds (or energetic children). The tent is also extremely spacious and stands 6 feet 5 inches at its highest point. The side walls retract and give the tent a convex and spacious feel. One person can easily erect the tent thanks to its design. However, at over 6 feet tall, a shorter person may struggle with the rain fitting. I appreciated that the rain covers the entire tent and steaks for leaks. A spacious vestibule area provides a waterproof cover for gear, shoes and other storage.
How I tested the MSR habit
I took my two kids to the coast of Maine for a week of camping last summer. The rugged coastline, picturesque forests, and mild 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 I had to set up, maintain and pack the tent myself. Plus, I found that two small children serve as the perfect endurance test for the tent—they didn’t take it kindly. During 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 during multiple days of camping in fluctuating temperatures. The ease of 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, durable tent could be set up alone. That said, it’s important to note that with a reach of over six feet, shorter users may struggle to cast the rain fly on top.
X-shaped poles pull the taut sidewalls away from the center of the tent adding stability to help protect against high winds. The full cover rain was a great feature that you don’t see in many larger sized camping tents. This protected us in heavy rains, keeping the inside of the entire tent dry. I was also surprised how well the outer shell 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 extra room for our bags and gear. It was spacious and comfortable. This tent can absolutely fit 6 people, but if you’re looking for additional dry storage for equipment and gear, the fewer people the better.
What I didn’t like about the custom
The downside of a full cover rain fly is that there are no openings to look out, check noises and see what’s going on. You need to unzip the tent and rain to have the camp. The fully covered rain fly also impairs the ventilation of the tent, which leads to its stuffiness. For most of the camping trip, I opened the vent and attached it to get air into the tent. In addition, the MSR Habitude has only one door. This makes it impossible to cool a cross breeze.
Is it worth the money?
There are many 6-person family tents on the market, and MSR’s Habitude is one of the most expensive. With an MSRP hovering around $650, it’s not for everyone. So why shell out for a $600 family tent when you can get one on Amazon for under $100? For starters, this tent is perfect for groups braving the elements. The Habitude, with its full coverage fly, will withstand rain and strong wind. It can be trusted in the storm and will keep you dry when needed. A budget tent without a full rain or support X poles will make for a miserable experience. The weather can change quickly and having a reliable tent for a group of people is not only crucial for comfort, but also for safety.
You should consider how often you go camping before investing in this high-end tent. If camping is something you do occasionally, or once a year – this tent is probably not 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 appears in both.
Habitude is designed for dedicated campers who demand the best from their gear. This means camping in unforgiving conditions and being able to accommodate and support larger groups. Customers should note that like most high-end tent brands, the track is sold separately. This $75 extra item protects the underside of the tent from tears and provides an additional waterproof barrier. While another tarp, tyvek sheet or ground fabric will also work, the MSR universal track is specifically designed to be attached to the system, making it more effective at weatherproofing.
Finally, for families or individuals who 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 a 6 person in a smaller footprint.