We take one of MSR’s most accessible tents to the woods and give you the ins and outs of what makes their lightweight shelters stand out from the rabble.

MSR or Mountain Safety Research has always had a strong reputation for designing and making outdoor gear that stands out. Not just in its sleek looks but also for its immense ease of use and accessibility to those who are less experienced in outdoor living, yet they are still chosen by experienced explorers worldwide. It seems their products can be picked up and properly used by just about anyone and the Elixir, available in one, two and three person options, is their very solid and seemingly very simple freestanding tent is no exception. Here on the TL Blog, I’m taking the time to give this tent the highlight it deserves as I believe it to be a superb wild camping option for those old and new to overnight stays outdoors. Here is a quick look at some of the tent’s features below, as you can see, being an American tent, you of course have the option to go without the flysheet on clearer nights.

As you can see, this seemingly simple little tent is packed full of well-thought-out features, the diagram still does not show everyone.
Pitching the tent is very easy! Simply lay out the inner where you want the tent to go and bring out the cleverly designed, connected aluminium poles. These are colour-coded, one red and one silver. Connected in two places, locate the matching colour-coded grommets on the tent inner’s four corners and flex the connected poles in a way that allows them to enter their matching grommet. From here, you’ll have a solid frame to attach the hard plastic clips to, again these clips have coloured straps that inform you which pole to attach to. (see image below)

This shows a colour coded clip attached to the connected main poles. This system allows incredibly easy pitching.

Once every clip is attached you may now bring out the final pole which attaches to grommets above each of the tent’s two doorways. Already, you have a freestanding structure that on clear nights you can go ahead and climb right into. However, in our wetter British climate, it is more likely that you’ll want to use the flysheet. This very simply can be thrown over the top of the shelter and its four corners are connected to the poles via its own adjustable grommets and tightened with nylon straps for optimal tension. The fly also adds the option of a small porch for your shoes and a neat entrance once tightly pegged down.
It is at this point where I hear a big question, “But what if it’s raining? Will I have to pitch it inner first allowing my sleeping space to get wet?”
To answer, the tent can also be pitched outer first, though a little more methodically.

The main outer fly is made up of a very solid 68 denier Ripstop nylon capable of taking on a lot of abrasions and with a really good hydrostatic head of 1500mm, you can rest assured that not a drop of even the heaviest rain will make its way through. At the foot of the fly, we have 9 reinforced peg points which also feature well-made, adjustable nylon straps for optimal tension and adjustment. These are superb on awkward bits of ground where you may find it tricky to place pegs in precise places. The tent’s robust floor is shaped like a full tray not only protecting you from the ground but also surrounding the sides of the base, with the raised edges of the outer fly allowing air to flow freely through the tent, this tray-like design is perfect for protecting you properly from the wind.
Comfort plays prominently throughout the tent’s design, vents are placed on either side of the tent s outer fly for excellent ventilation. The Elixir 2 tent’s inner is also very generous for two and has superb height meaning you can sit upright with still plenty of head height above. There is 2.13m length for you to lie in, I am 6 foot 4 and fit in there with ease. If you’re sharing with another, this is still a generous amount of space. If you’d rather have your own space, this tent provides loads of room for you and all of your gear. It feels very luxurious if you’re used to minuscule tents.

The inner features a very handy gear pocket above the doors which is perfect for storing those easily misplaced essentials.

The two man tent when packed weighs 2.77kg, which isn’t at all bad for a tent of its design, 2.16kg for the One man and 3.19kg for the Three man. MSR have prioritised strength with the elixir and optimal durability and you can definitely tell in the quality of the finished product. If you’re looking for a lighter option, you could instead look into the MSR Hubba Hubba NX which has a similar design but is approached with an optimal lightweight and smaller pack size in mind. Speaking of pack size however, I believe the Elixirs pack size of about 20 x 7 inches to be very reasonable for the design of tent.

All in all there is a lot of great things to say about this tent. It is very well made and you can really feel the quality in the fabric and stitching when appreciating it and there is nothing quite like how very easy it is to pitch, easily having a freestanding shelter in only a few minutes with a bit of practice. All in all if you’re looking for a 3-season tent which is very tough for its weight and goes up in minutes, is packed with features which optimise ease of use and excellent comfort, this is a tent very much worth your consideration.

If you’d like to see this tent pitched, why not pop over to our Exeter shop’s tent showroom and request to see it pitched?
If you want to save time, you can even book a tent pitching appointment HERE

Happy camping!

Shop the MSR Elixir 2 HERE
You can also find the Elixir in 1-man and 3-man options.