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In-Depth review

I’ve been using the MSR Elixir 2 for several trips. Including a 14-day hike in Norway and 7-day hike in Sweden with my Girlfriend.

I can confidently say that this tent lives up to its reputation!

Read the review here.

Weather Resistance: A Must-Have Feature

When you’re out in the backcountry, having a tent that can withstand inclement weather is a must. The MSR Elixir 2’s weather resistance is second to none. The unique pole structure with two main poles that cross each other at two points offers extra stability, making it less likely to collapse or warp in high winds. This is a huge advantage when you’re out in the wilderness, where weather conditions can be unpredictable.

Another feature that sets the MSR Elixir 2 apart from other budget backpacking tents is the trapezoidal vestibules. These vestibules create more structure for the overall design, making the fly easier to tension properly and less likely to whip around in the wind. This adds to the tent’s durability and helps keep you dry during a storm.

I’ve had the opportunity to use the MSR Elixir 2 in some pretty intense storms, and it has held up like a champ. Despite the heavy rain and strong winds, I stayed dry and comfortable inside the tent. The canopy fabric is made from durable nylon, and the fly is made from polyester, providing excellent protection from the elements.


In addition to its superior stability, the MSR Elixir 2 also provides excellent privacy. The fabric paneling over the canopy means that there is less mesh, providing more privacy in crowded campsites.

This is a great feature for those who value their privacy or travel with a partner.



While the MSR Elixir 2 excels in weather resistance and durability, its comfort features are a bit lacking compared to other models in the same category.

Let’s take a closer look at what the tent offers regarding comfort.

The double side doors are a nice touch, allowing sleepers to lie head to toe. They are easy to open with one hand, which is convenient when you need to quickly get in or out of the tent.

However, the doors are not as large as some other models, making it a bit difficult to roll in and out of the tent, especially if you have gear scattered around you.

While each side of the tent has a storage pocket at its head and a small overhead pocket for a headlamp, there aren’t any pockets on the door sides.

This can be inconvenient when you’re lying down and need to grab something from the ceiling. It’s a small detail but worth noting if you value convenience.

The symmetrical footprint is slightly below average in width, but my partner and I still found it plenty wide.

The 40″ peak height also provides enough space for both of us to sit up at the same time, which is a nice feature. However, the length of the tent may be an issue for taller individuals.

At 84″, it can be a bit cramped for those who are over 6 feet tall. When our sleeping bags were fully stretched out, they would often bump up against one end or the other, causing condensation to collect on the tent wall and making our sleeping bags damp in the morning.

It’s worth noting that the cooking area in the tent is a bit slim, especially during inclement weather when you’re forced to cook inside. This can be a bit of a drawback if you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the tent and need a larger space for meal prep.

On the picture below you’ll see our scrambled-together cooking setup after we got caught in a rain storm and had to put up the tent quickly. Our wet gear had to stay in the outer tent. There isn’t much space, but it did fine!

Ease of Setup: Quick and Simple

Setting up the MSR Elixir 2 is relatively straightforward, and one person can do it in 5-10 minutes with a bit of practice. The poles have two permanently attached hubs that connect them, which can be a bit confusing at first, but it becomes more apparent with some finagling. The tent comes with 12 stakes, and we found that using all of them provided the most stability. The included footprint is also a nice touch for extra ground protection.


The Elixir 2 is in it for the long run. It is one of just a small handful of models that comes with a footprint included. The tent itself is made from 70D nylon and the fly from just slightly thinner 68D polyester.

The hardware is hardware — the metal grommets are super sturdy, and the hubs connecting the two main poles are also metal, which gives us much more confidence than the near-universal chunky plastic things that we see everywhere else.

The design also lends itself to increased durability; the less the fly whips and the tent warps in lousy weather, the longer it will be all last.

Weight and Packed Size

This tent isn’t the heaviest, but it isn’t for those looking to go ultralight either.

Coming in at five pounds, eight ounces, it’s a decent carry for two people.

If you wanted to cut down on weight even more since it does come with a footprint, you could ditch the tent itself and ‘fast-pitch’ it — that is, just bring the footprint, fly, poles, and stakes. Be sure to check the weatherforecast!



This model will provide substantial value for those who need a durable tent for the long haul. Though it is one of the more expensive models in a review meant to highlight budget options, you get what you pay for (in a good way). Its fabrics will stand up to hard use and keep you protected, potentially when it matters most. We think it is well worth the modest additional investment for the frequent weekend backpacker.


The bottom line

The MSR Elixir 2 can handle nasty weather with the best bargain tents.

Though it lacks just a couple of the comfort features we admire in other models, it still earns an award because it excels at stability and durability.

I’ll leave you with this view of Gjende i Norway from inside the MSR Elixir 2 tent.

4.7/5 - (3 votes)

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