MSR Habitude 6 Review: Our Detailed Field Test

The MSR Habitude 6 is a massive dome tent that oozes quality and livability in equal measure from floor to ceiling.
MSR Habitude 6 - Intro
This is our review of the MSR Habitude 6, a spacious dome tent with bombproof construction and weather protection.



MSR Habitude 6 Tent

Price: $660
Weight: 13.3 lbs (6.1 kg)
Floor size: 120” x 100” (305cm x 254cm)
Peak height: 77” (195cm)
Number of compartments: 1
Capacities: 6 person / 4person
Shape: Dome
What we like: Quality materials, easy setup, good livability, great interior space
What we don’t: Single door, thin floor fabric, expensive




The Wise Adventurer’s Verdict

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the MSR Habitude 6 and found that its incredibly sturdy frame combined with MSR’s keen eye for livability features and top-shelf material selection made for one of the most premium-feeling tents we’ve ever used.

This camping tent follows MSR’s long standing reputation for building some of the highest quality outdoors gear on the market, which makes sense considering the company’s history. MSR (short for Mountain Safety Research) started as an actual research project, with its founder Larry Penberthy taking other brand’s gear into the mountains to test its mettle. Penberthy ultimately found most gear fell far short of its performance claims, and decided to convert MSR into an outfitter to build gear that actually worked as advertised.

MSR Habitude 6 - Verdict
The MSR Habitude 6 inherits many of the innovations of the outfitter’s backcountry R&D.

The company has since gone on to launch some of the biggest innovations in the industry (we have them to thank for things like pit zips on rain jackets, bicycling helmets, and lithium batteries in headlamps), and many of their backcountry innovations are present on this camping tent.

We spent a long weekend with the MSR Habitude 6 in the field, evaluating it on all the factors we believe make a camping tent worth buying. Like in all our tests, we take a look at everything from weatherproofing to material quality and construction, and the MSR Habitude 6 did pretty well!

Alright, lets dig into our MSR Habitude 6 review!




Detailed Evaluation

After extensively testing and evaluating the Habitude on a wide array of performance metrics, we found this tent to be one of the most well-made and versatile shelters on the market. Everything about the Habitude screams quality and reliability, but as you’ll read below, no tent is perfect.

Space and Comfort

Interior space is often the first casualty when choosing a dome-shaped tent over the vertical walls and tall ceilings of a cabin, but with the MSR Habitude 6, that simply isn’t the case. Both ceiling height and shoulder room abound in this shelter thanks to MSR’s unique three-pole design.

The added poles and intersections all work to pull the tent body outward in every direction, which also allows the Habitude to sport an impressively tall door that spans the entire face of the front of the tent. We were able to stand comfortably inside the Habitude and walk around most of the available floor space.

MSR Habitude 6 - Space and Comfort 1
Interior space like this inside a dome tent is a rare treat indeed.

We found the tent to be ideal for four campers to share with space left over at the front door of the tent. The Habitude only features a single door, which is kind of a bummer considering its size and price, but the design works well and you won’t have to worry about stepping over anyone for those late night bathroom breaks.

MSR Habitude 6 - Space and Comfort 2
Room to spare: There’s plenty of space for four full-sized sleeping pads inside the MSR Habitude 6 with extra space left over by the door for egress.

Ventilation on the tent was adequate, but not quite on par with some of the other more mesh-heavy designs in this year’s field test. We appreciate that MSR chose to maximize the use of solid fabric for durability’s sake, but you’ll want to make sure all your guylines are properly tensioned to maximize the airflow between the canopy and fly.

Weather Resistance

MSR cut no corners with the Habitude’s weather resistance, and we found the Habitude to be one of the most weather-worthy camping tents we’ve ever used. The tent’s hubbed pole design creates several additional pole intersections throughout the frame, which gives the Habitude the look, feel, and strength of a serious expedition tent despite its three-season focus.

MSR Habitude 6 - Weather Protection
All those extra pole intersections work together to add wind protection to the Habitude while also expanding its interior dimensions.

This tough frame, combined with the Habitude’s full-length rainfly, rock-solid front vestibule, and multiple low-mounted guyline attachments make the shelter feel about as stormproof as it gets. We also appreciate the above-average 1500mm waterproofing treatment on the fly, as well as the whopping 10,000mm rating of the Habitude’s polyester taffeta floor.

Aside from that, we found all the little details that make for reliable weather protection were present in our testing. The seams were all well taped, zippers were all protected, and extra fabric reinforcements were present in all high-stress areas of the tent.

Ease of Set-Up

As a fairly simple dome-style tent, set-up was expected to be on the easier side, and the MSR did not disappoint there.

The hubbed pole design felt a bit unfamiliar at first and took some time getting used to, but thanks to the Habitude’s intuitive color-coding, we didn’t hit any snags on our first attempt pitching the tent. Once you get the orientation of the frame down, everything else simply clips into place like a backpacking tent, so the canopy goes up quickly from there.

MSR Habitude 6 - Ease of Set-up 1
Once the freestanding frame is up, everything else simply clips into place.

The Habitude 6’s single-door design certainly isn’t our favorite feature, but it does help take the guesswork out of lining up the rainfly/vestibule combo. The same could be said for the vestibule itself: While we appreciate the extra space and headroom that other models’ pole-supported vestibules provide, the classic protected entryway of the Habitude requires no extra steps to setup aside from staking it down.

MSR Habitude 6 - Ease of Set-up 2
The vestibule may be on the simpler side, but that means it’s also simple to set up and secure.

Durability

All of the MSR equipment we’ve used up to this point has impressed us with its quality and durability (camp stoves, cookware, water filters, etc), and the Habitude looks and feels just as tough as we’ve come to expect.

The hubbed 7000 series aluminum poles felt rock solid and slid together with ease, the stainless steel YKK zippers are rugged and operate flawlessly, and the polyester taffeta floor and canopy look and feel much more durable than their 68D thickness would suggest. We felt that a footprint would go a long way in extending the life of the Habitude, but you won’t have to worry about damaging the floor should you happen to forget it occasionally either.

MSR Habitude 6 - Durability
Durability is in the details: MSR cuts no corners here, and uses anodized aluminum hardware for all the pole attachments and guyline lockers.

The durability of the MSR Habitude 6 even shines through when you dig into the details on the hardware: We loved that things like the pole attachments and guyline lockers were made from red-anodized aluminum, and it’s little touches like this that constantly reminded us why MSR’s products command a premium price.

Weight and Packed Size

While weight and packed size aren’t typically all that important for large camping tents like these, we couldn’t help but notice just how light and compact that MSR Habitude 6 was compared to other models in our field test.

MSR Habitude 6 - Weight and Packed Size 1
The Habitude isn’t small, but it packs down to an impressively light and compact carry for a six person shelter.

Weighing in at well under 14 pounds and packing down close to 4P tent dimensions, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves: Could we take this massive tent on a backpacking trip? We haven’t attempted it yet, but if you’re considering a family trip into the backcountry with a few packs to spread it out in, just know hiking with the Habitude is definitely on our to-do list next.

MSR Habitude 6 - Weight and Packed Size 2
The Habitude’s full length drawstring-closure makes packing up the Habitude a breeze.

MSR uses a full-length drawstring design for the Habitude’s carry case, not unlike the climbing-themed bag found on our North Face Wawona 6. This made the Habitude easy to repack after our first use, and leaves enough room available to fit in a footprint if you choose to add one later.

Value

Value will be the main sticking point for many here, and considering the Habitude 6’s $660 MSRP, we found it a bit hard to swallow ourselves. Once the recommended footprint is added into the mix, campers are looking at spending a whopping $700 on a dome-style tent with a single front door and relatively basic vestibule, but there’s still an argument to be made for the Habitude’s merits.

For one, the weatherproofing in this tent felt on par with the absolutely bulletproof REI Co-op Base Camp we recently tested, which is wild when you remember we’re talking about a camping tent with ceilings well over six feet tall.

MSR Habitude 6 - Value 1
The Habitude’s fly sheds water with easy, and it’s full coverage design leaves nothing to chance.

The overachieving quality and durability of the MSR Habitude’s materials and construction are also important to keep in mind here: Between the burly hubbed poles, the rugged fabrics, and the bulletproof hardware, we would argue that MSR is probably making on of the highest-quality camping tent on the market right now.

MSR Habitude 6 - Value 2
Everything is built to last, right down to the burly anodized aluminum guyline lockers.

Combine that with all the extra livability features found here like tons of well-placed interior pockets, ample vestibule space, and the nifty little “porch light” MSR includes above the door of the Habitude, and you’ll start to see where your investment pays off.

What We Like

Standout takeaways from our time with the MSR Habitude include its premium materials, bombproof durability, and reliable all-weather performance. MSR nailed all the essentials that make a big camping tent a pleasure to live with, and went one step further by adding top-notch hardware and extra livability features to the bill.

MSR Habitude 6 - What We Like
No corners were cut in weatherproofing the Habitude, evidenced by details like the quality of the seamtaping seen here.

We’ll also point out that if ever there were a six-person tent that could take on occasional backpacking duty, this would be the one. Granted we’re still undecided on that point, but considering this tent weighs in well under 14 pounds, splitting it between three packs and hauling it into the backcountry isn’t out of the question, which adds versatility to the equation.

What We Don’t Like

The Habitude is a fantastic camping tent, but we felt two main features held it back somewhat. The first is that for a tent this size, a second door and an accompanying storage vestibule seem like they should be mandatory. Granted, there’s enough space inside and out to make the layout work, but if you’re going to build a tent for six people to share, it seems like an oversight to have them all share a single path of egress.

MSR Habitude 6 - What We Don't Like
The vestibule is long enough to store tons of gear, but isn’t quite tall enough to hang out under.

Our second complaint is with the vestibule itself, which gets the job done, but doesn’t add the kind of value or versatility found in models like the North Face Wawona 6 or Big Agnes Bunk House. It’s a tradeoff that ultimately helps the Habitude pull off its impressive sub-14 pound weight, but a tradeoff nonetheless.

Alternatives

The Bottom Line

We found the MSR Habitude 6 to be one of the highest-quality camping tents we’ve ever tested. Its massive interior combined with outstanding weather protection is genuinely impressive, and MSR’s attention to detail makes a strong argument for its premium price.

MSR Habitude 6 - The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a bombproof family camping that’s built to last, you just can’t go wrong here. The possibility of using the Habitude to pull double duty in the backcountry makes for a particularly interesting proposition we’ve not considered before, and if you don’t mind its single door design and simplified vestibule, we’re confident this shelter will go the distance no matter where you pitch it.

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