This MSR Elixir 1 Tent review is about a new version of the 3-season hiking tent with a footprint included, with double-hubbed aluminum poles and a full-coverage fly.
Key features & benefits
- 3-season tent.
- Footprint included.
- Many storage pockets and a gear shed.
- Large vestibule.
- Aluminum poles.
- Double-hub design.
- Full coverage fly.
What type of tent is this
This is the smallest tent from the MSR Elixir series which has been around for a couple of years, but in 2018 they have launched it slightly modified and with a footprint included. This adds value and extra protection for the tent’s floor. The largest tent in the series, the Elixir 4 is presented here and about the 2-person version you can read here.
It is declared as a freestanding tent, but as usual, the large vestibule has to be staked down if it is meant to be useful. But if you cannot do this (in the case of rock, gravel, frozen ground), you can still spend the night in the tent without staking it down.
Who is it for
Space-wise, obviously this is a solo tent, so let’s see what it offers. The picture below shows the floor plan and the official dimensions provided by the MSR brand. The declared floor area is 20 ft² (1.86 m²) plus the vestibule area of 12 ft² (1.1 m²). This is quite enough for a solo hiker. Some users have been complaining about the width which they think is incorrect, most likely because of the bathtub shape so it is not easy to determine the exact points of measurements. Anyhow, all the numbers here are from the brand.
Weight-wise, they describe it as a lightweight backpacking tent, but it weighs 4 lb 12 oz (2.15 kg) and this is surely not the lightest option on the market. There are even 2-person tents that are much lighter than this, you can see some of them in this list. So I see it better suited for short overnight hiking and mountaineering tours.
Seasons-wise and climate-wise, the tent is with a reasonable waterproof rating (more below) and with all seams factory taped, the frame is aluminum, you have a footprint included, so all this indicates that this is a true 3-season tent suitable for most normal weather conditions.
The picture below shows the tent without the fly so you realize that it is with lots of taffeta for privacy. But you still have enough mesh sections in the upper area. This is certainly good for ventilation but not so great in a cold environment. So if you need something for winter conditions, please check one of these 4-season backpacking tents. For winter camping you can check some of these tents.
Materials & construction
The poles & stakes
Here you have a somewhat unique dual-hubbed poles system. The two main poles cross twice and normally this makes the structure a bit stronger. There is also a third brow pole that goes across the other two and raises the side walls, this adds some volume and the shoulder level in the tent.
The poles are 7000-series aluminum, strong and durable. Everything is color-coded for an easy setup, so you have red and grey poles and match them with the corresponding webbing in the corners. You also have all the necessary aluminum stakes included in the package.
The vestibule side is red so this should make it easy to orient the fly when you put it on the tent. The fly attaches to the frame in the four corners, and from the underside through Velcro tabs. You have guylines around to secure it against the wind. This is a quite durable 68D ripstop polyester with a 1500 mm polyurethane coating and a DWR.
The floor is again a durable 70D taffeta nylon with 3000 mm polyurethane and DWR. The canopy is a 40D ripstop nylon with DWR and a 20D nylon micro-mesh. So you realize that the materials are reasonable and the weight should not be surprising.
If you are not familiar with the terminology, the mentioned 1500 mm coating means it will withstand a 1500 mm column of water for more than one minute before a drop might appear through the fabric. In practical terms, this is about 3 times more than in an umbrella and they claim it is enough even for a hurricane-force storm.
The fly is equipped with a vent and the inner tent has mesh sections on both narrow sides, plus the mesh section above the head. So this should be good enough to fight condensation. Note also that you have two different options on the vestibules to open it partly, so you can regulate the airflow.
- Several very useful internal pockets are available for your gear.
- Stress points are reinforced to prevent tear-outs.
- Internal glow-in-the-dark zipper.
- They give the minimum weight (see in the specifications below). This refers to the tent body, rainfly, and tent poles. So this does not include stakes, guy cords, stuff sack, etc.
- You have the included footprint and this enables you to use the poles and the fly with the footprint in the fast-fly variant for a very lightweight and minimalist freestanding shelter, see it in the picture:
A bit more about the new Elixir 2018 series please see in this video by MSR:
- Best use: hiking, backpacking.
- Packed weight: 4 lb 12 oz (2.15 kg).
- Minimum weight: 3 lb 15 oz (1.79 kg).
- Floor dimensions: 86 x 33 in (218 x 84 cm).
- Floor area: 20 ft² (1.86 m²).
- Vestibule area: 12 ft² (1.1 m²).
- Peak height: 39 in (99 cm).
- Packed size: 19 x 6 in (48 x 15 in).
- Stuff sack included.
MSR Elixir 1 Tent vs Competitors
I mentioned that Elixir 1 was not particularly light. So in the table below you can see what this means when you compare it with one solo tent and one 2-person tent. It is heavier than both of them, though its weight is with the footprint.
COMPARE PACKAGE FEATURES
Weight, lb (kg)
Floor size, sq ft (sq m)
Peak height, in (cm)
Packed size, in (cm)
Payable Every Month
19 x 6
(48 x 15)
Light Year 1
Payable Every Year
15 x 5.5
(38 x 14)
Payable Every Year
18 x 6.7
(46 x 17)
Final thoughts, rating, pros & cons
So in summary, this MSR Elixir 1 Tent is well designed and nicely built, the craftsmanship is at a high level, you would not expect less from a top brand like the MSR. The price is reasonable.
But it is not as lightweight as they want you to think. The protected area is surely large enough for a solo user, but note that this tent is compatible with the MSR Gear Shed, in the case you need more space for gear.
The weight is not necessarily a bad thing, the materials are durable and the tent has quite a number of storage elements. But for backpackers, this is not the best option. Please see how I rate it:
MSR Elixir 1-Person Tent$199.95
If you need more options to consider, please visit my page with tents, you will see them in all sizes and shapes. Do you have any experience with this Elixir series? If so please let us know, there is a comment box below. I wish you a nice day.