MSR Habiscape 6 Person Tent Review

MSR Habiscape 6 Person Tent Review

When we first introduced our kids to family camping as babies and toddlers, we wanted the experience to be as comfortable and positive for them as possible. Even though part of the allure of camping for us as adults is “roughing it,” we know that the littlest littles can’t always hang with that.

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6-person tent set up in a forested campsite next to a hammock
The new MSR Habiscape 6 tent is designed for maximum family comfort and livability

One of our first investments for family camping was in a tent that could actually function as a living space. It needed to provide adequate protection from the elements, be able to accommodate some creature comforts, and have enough space for changing, nursing, and play time.

After having tested several different 6-person tents over the years with our family of four and large dog, I can confidently say that the MSR Habiscape 6 is by far the dreamiest of them all.

Interior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent with sleep setup for four people and a large dog
The MSR Habiscape 6 sleeps a family of four and a large dog comfortably with plenty of extra room

It checks all the boxes – easy set-up, quality materials, thoughtful design, and super spacious interior. This tent has all that you could possibly need for family frontcountry camping, and a few extra bells and whistles that you didn’t even know you needed to boot!

What makes this tent so dreamy? Read on for our full take on the MSR Habiscape 6!

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent with child jumping in front of it and smiling
The MSR Habiscape 6 gets rave reviews from the whole family (including the kids and dog!)

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MSR Habiscape 6-Person Tent: Specs & Features

Tech Specs

  • Packed weight: 14lb, 6oz (not including footprint)
  • Floor dimensions: 100” x 120”
  • Floor area: 83 sq. ft
  • Vestibule area: 24.5 sq. ft
  • Interior peak height: 77in
  • Body material: 40D nylon micro-mesh, 40D ripstop nylon & DWR
  • Floor material: 68D taffeta polyester 3000mm Polyurethane & DWR
  • Rainfly material: 68D taffeta polyester 1500mm Polyurethane & DWR
  • Pole material: Aluminum
  • MSRP: $599.95
MSR Habiscape 6 tent stock image on white background

Key Features

  • Two double-zippered doors, one with wide vestibule access for easy access
  • 10 (10!) pockets for storing essentials including a “pass through” that can be accessed from both interior and exterior of the tent
  • Near-vertical walls create a roomy and comfortable living space
  • Thoughtfully designed for quick and intuitive setup
Close-up of MSR Habiscape 6 door showing the double-zipper closure
Double-zippered doors mean much less struggle when opening and closing tent doors (especially for nighttime potty breaks!)

MSR Habiscape 6-Person Tent: Best for Family Car Camping

Campsite with MSR Habiscape 6 tent and family members cooking and eating at a picnic table near the tent
The MSR Habiscape 6 tent checks almost every single box for family car camping

Packable Comfort

While this tent is obviously too heavy for backpacking, it still packs down really nicely especially considering its size and number of features. With a packed size of 24″ x 10″ and a packed weight of 14lb 6oz, it won’t monopolize your trunk which really matters when you’re lugging along lots of supplies.

MSR Habiscape 6 tent packed into included storage bag
For such a spacious tent, the MSR Habiscape 6 packs down really nicely into its included storage sack

The DWR material on the tent body, floor, and rainfly also provides excellent protection from the elements which is a huge comfort factor and stress reliever for family camping.

A true 3-season tent that has the stability to handle unexpected weather provides critical comfort for us here in the Pacific Northwest, where MSR is based and has obviously tested this tent extensively.

Maximum Livability

When weight isn’t a huge concern, the features of a family camping tent become the main priority. The MSR Habiscape 6 is incredibly comfortable and roomy, making it an ideal “home away from home” that can help kids adjust to the idea of sleeping outside.

Interior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent with sleeping pads laid out for four people and a dog, and with child smiling while laying inside one of the sleeping bags
The MSR Habiscape 6 is incredibly spacious even with large, plush sleeping pads

Especially when kids are really small, functional interior storage pockets are super helpful for keeping essentials organized and accessible. This tent has so many pockets of varying shape, depth, and height! These pockets make it simple to keep track of everything from headlamps to diapers to beloved stuffies and bedtime books.

Child laying in a sleeping bag inside the MSR Habiscape 6 tent next to a large mesh storage pocket full of stuffed animals
The massive storage pockets in the MSR Habiscape 6 are perfect for holding ALL the beloved stuffies…

If you’re new to camping as a family, check out Jackie’s post on Car Camping for Beginners for more helpful tips and tricks!

MSR Habiscape 6-Person Tent: What We Love

Easy Setup

Especially for a tent this size, setup of the MSR Habiscape 6 is an absolute breeze. I’ve had my fair share of wrestling matches with other 6-person family car camping tents when I was the only adult involved, but I had zero issues with the Habiscape on my own.

Young child helping secure the body of the MSR Habiscape 6 tent to the poles
The MSR Habiscape 6 is unbelievably easy to setup, making it ideal for even the littlest helpers to be part of the process

The poles are sturdy, well-designed, and symmetrical. The tent configuration is intuitive and it’s absolutely perfect for teaching kids to help out with camp setup.

I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate this element of the Habiscape 6 as a parent! Truly game-changing. Less than five minutes from packed to completely ready to inhabit.

Spacious Interior

One of the things that makes this tent so livable is the near-vertical walls. There is just so much space for moving around! And it easily sleeps 2 adults, 2 kids, and a 95lb dog with plenty of room for gear.

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent with the door open and a 5 and a half foot tall person standing inside with arms outstretched and not touching the walls
For reference, as a 5’5″ human I can stand inside the MSR Habiscape 6 with arms outstretched and still not be touching the walls

A lot of families use a portable crib for car camping with babies to help everyone get a good night’s sleep. When we did this in multiple other tents, the angle of the walls made us lose a ton of floor space. This tent, however, makes it possible to really maximize interior square footage and still have room for the rest of the family.

Tons of Functional Pockets and Utility Loops

We may sound like a broken record here, but this tent has POCKETS. So many pockets! Deep ones, wide ones, big ones, small ones, low ones, and high ones. And they actually hold things!

The interior of the MSR Habiscape 6 with 10 mesh storage pockets for organization and storage
The MSR Habiscape 6 has mesh storage pockets of various shapes and sizes placed throughout the interior

An especially ingenious innovation on the MSR Habiscape 6 is the “pass-thru pocket” that is both bug proof and accessible from both the inside and outside of the tent. We love having this pocket for things like car keys and headlamps that we need in both places because it helps us keep bugs and dirt out of the tent interior.

The "pass thru pocket" on the MSR Habiscape 6 is bug proof and accessible from both the interior and exterior of the tent
MSR’s ingenious “pass thru pocket” is bug proof AND accessible from both the interior and exterior of the tent

The MSR Habiscape 6 also has tons of utility loops on the interior – making it simple and convenient to hang your favorite lanterns or solar string lights.

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6 at night, lit up by solar string lights that are hung using interior utility loops
The utility loops on the interior of the MSR Habiscape 6 make it easy to hang your favorite solar string lights

Check out Our Definitive Packing List for Car Camping with the Kids to make sure you have all the necessities to fill these handy pockets!

Large, Versatile Vestibule

The main vestibule on the MSR Habiscape 6 has multiple configurations that are both practical and well-designed. Our favorite option during the day was to roll up the center section and one of the sides for maximum ventilation and easy entry/exit.

Center section of main vestibule of MSR Habiscape 6 tent rolled up for easy access to the main door of the tent
Our favorite daytime configuration of the MSR Habiscape 6 vestibule: rolling up the center section for easy access and excellent ventilation

This vestibule has plenty of space for stashing shoes, wet gear, or whatever else you might want to keep close by but outside the main body of the tent. It also has a nice, wide opening that is great for getting cots or large sleeping pads through the doors.

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent with large main vestibule extended
The main vestibule of the MSR Habiscape 6 has tons of space for storing shoes, bags, and gear

Curious about camping cots? Check out Jami’s review of the Disc-O-Bed cots for kids and grown-ups!

Our only complaint about the vestibule is that the “sun shade” option doesn’t really provide a whole lot of functional shade and requires extra poles that are not included with the tent.

If vestibule space is a serious priority for your family, you may also want to consider the “Lounge” version of the Habiscape (available in both 4-person and 6-person sizes). The Habiscape Lounge has an oversized, shaded vestibule and retails for $599 (4-person) or $699 (6-person).

MSR Habiscape 6 tent Lounge version with extended vestibule
The “Lounge” version of the Habiscape tents includes an oversized vestibule in addition to all the features we love in the standard Habiscape

While we didn’t test this specific version, the tent body is identical to the one we tested with the only difference being the rainfly size and configuration.

MSR Habiscape 6-Person Tent: What We Aren’t So Crazy About

No Included Footprint

For any tent that is specifically designed for frontcountry car camping use, it always bugs us when the footprint isn’t included. Weight clearly isn’t a consideration in this case, and a compatible footprint is critical in protecting the tent floor from damage.

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent with MSR universal footprint underneath main body of tent and folded tarp on the ground underneath the vestibule
Tarps are great for ground cover under the vestibule area, but a compatible footprint is really necessary to adequately protect the floor of the tent itself

The Universal Footprint (6 Person Large) from MSR works perfectly with this tent – we tested that as well and found it to be high quality and fit the Habiscape 6 perfectly. We just wish it was included and not something families would need to purchase separately.

Minimal Vestibule on Second Door

While we love the spacious main vestibule and appreciate the ability to configure it multiple ways, the second vestibule is significantly smaller and not very functional in our opinion.

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent from a side angle showing one large main vestibule and one much smaller rear vestibule covering the second tent door
We love the main vestibule on the MSR Habiscape 6, but the second vestibule doesn’t have much of a protected entry or gear storage space

This does allow for the tent to be placed closer to rocks or trees if you’re tight on space and don’t need access to the second door, but we wish it had just a bit more space for storing gear and keeping things dry.

High Price Point of Accessories

As we mentioned earlier, the sun shade configuration of the main vestibule requires two adjustable poles, which are available from MSR for $80 each. This makes the cost of utilizing this feature an additional $160, which doesn’t seem worth it for how little shade the feature actually provides.

Exterior of MSR Habiscape 6 tent against a white backgroud with vestibule configured as a sun shade utilizing accessory poles
The sun shade feature of the main vestibule on the MSR Habiscape 6 requires additional poles (sold separately)

Because the MSR Universal Footprint that is compatible with the Habiscape 6 isn’t included with the tent, that adds another $95 to the baseline price point of the tent.

We know that MSR makes quality gear that is built to last and that they aren’t the only company that has moved away from including footprints with tents, but it still bugs us to have to pay almost $100 extra for a basic accessory.

MSR Habiscape 6-Person Tent: Bottom Line

The MSR Habiscape 6 is a spacious, well-designed, high quality tent for frontcountry car camping. Tons of storage and thoughtful features make this a practical choice for families with kids of any age. The quick, intuitive setup is an absolute game-changer for a tent of this size, making it one of the best family car camping tents on the market.

Father and daughter roasting marshmallows and eating s'mores with the MSR Habiscape 6 tent in the background
The MSR Habiscape 6 is a near-perfect family car camping tent that has become our go-to home away from home

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MSR Habiscape 6-Person Tent Review

© 2023, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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  • Jessica has always been a mountain woman at heart, but didn’t truly find her place until she worked a summer camp job in Washington State during her college years. She has been in love with and exploring the wild places of the Pacific Northwest ever since, and currently lives in Bellingham, Washington with her husband Ben, 2 kids – Micah (4) and Lydia (2), and adventure dog Yeti (5). Her family is at their happiest outside – enjoying the local pump tracks, hiking trails, lakes, ski hills, and forest service campgrounds. She is a firm believer in the value of the outdoors to teach, heal, nurture, and foster creativity in kids and adults alike and has survived the transition to being a stay-at-home mom by spending as much time as possible outdoors. In her rare moments of free time you can find her running, writing, reading, taking photos, and watching re-runs of Parks and Rec on Netflix.

2 thoughts on “MSR Habiscape 6 Person Tent Review”

  1. Thanks for this informative review and great photo illustrations. I am considering the 6-person Habiscape Lounge version which is on sale for 50% 0ff (there footprint is on sale too). It seems like a fantastic value, and it looks like the Habiscape design is a very livable one for two old folks and two giant dogs! I wish you were an MSR affiliate so I could purchase through your site (if you are, please let me know). Happy camping!

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