The MSR Elixir 2 backpacking tent is one of the best of its class and comes at a great value for backpackers of any level seeking to purchase a reliable, lightweight shelter for their next adventure. This in-depth MSR Elixir 2 review will confidently provide all the information you need to know before taking the leap and adding this 2-person tent to your go-to gear list.
Let’s Have a Look at Weight
The Elixir 2 tent weighs in at a respectable load of 2.77 kilograms (6.09 pounds) and is condensed and folded into a MSR tent bag, along with poles and the footprint, upon purchase. The weight of the Elixir 2 makes it competitive to its similar lightweight counterparts but is a tad bit on the heavier side of the scale compared to others (such as the MSR Hubba Hubba NX) but not by much. Regardless, you will hardly notice the difference in weight once you load up the rest of your gear into your backpack and set out on trail. The first time I put the Elixir 2 to the test, I was backpacking with a partner in Iceland and split the load of the tent with them. Poles and footprint in one backpack, the tent and rain fly in the other. Simple. To save space inside of your bag try using a compression sack! You’ll be amazed on how much room is saved for other essential and key pieces of gear. Compression sacks can be found at just about any backpacking or camping store. Nonetheless, the weight of the tent is fantastic for the overall value you receive but keep in mind its not the lightest backpacking tent on the market.
Overall Weight: 4.2 / 5
Ease of Set-Up
The 2-pole, free-standing system for the Elixir 2 is color-coded for easy and fast set-up. These poles are made of 7000 series aluminum and can really take a beating. The footprint and/or tent itself provides a variation of ways to set-up the Elixir 2. One of the two, or both, will be needed in order to properly install the pole system. Like any tent, if choosing and purchasing the Elixir 2, make sure to set-up a few times out in the backyard or an open area before taking it out on any sort of backpacking trip. This may seem obvious but set-up will be unique for each backpacking tent you may experience.
The footprint is a feature that is included when you purchase the Elixir 2. This is a great bonus because most footprints for other backpacking tents are sold separately. The footprint ultimately protects the bottom of your tent by adding an extra layer between you and the ground. So, if you have it, I highly recommend using it.
Like mentioned before, the pole system is color-coded so that set-up can be done with ease. The pole ends will insert into the proper color-coded grommets (either red or gray) at each of the four corners of the footprint or the tent itself. Placing the pole ends in the proper grommet will ensure that the structure of the tent will be set-up properly. The tent has black clips that are attached to color-coded straps, as well. These clips need to be strapped on to the proper colored pole to provide maximum space within the tent. MSR truly makes it painless on us by color-coding just about everything on the Elixir 2. Another smaller but supportive pole will run cross to the main system to open up the two vestibules of the tent. They will attach to two grommets that are a part of the tent body and/or the rainfly itself.
The rainfly of the Elixir 2 can be difficult to put on solo especially if the weather is not cooperating but it shouldn’t be a problem if you are sharing the space with another individual. Ensure that the zippers of the rainfly line up with the 2 doors of the tent body. The rainfly can mistakenly be placed over the body of the tent inside-out, as well. I always try to ensure the MSR logo is facing forward. If the MSR logo is backwards then this will indicate that the rainfly is inside-out. This will also make your zippers inside-out if not set-up properly, risking the possibility of ripping your rainfly. I’m providing you with this important information because it may or may not have happened to me once…or twice.
Overall, the set-up of the Elixir 2 is fast and relatively simple, especially when you have an extra body helping. After practicing set-up and take down a few times, the Elixir 2 can conveniently be constructed in 10 minutes or fewer, without any doubt.
Overall Set-Up: 4.5 / 5
Space & Design Features
This two person tent has many valuable features that will keep adventurers dry, warm and comfortable after each and every sleep. The Elixir 2 provides enough space for two sleeping pads to be placed side by side. There is just enough space for a 6’2 body to lie comfortably straight, however, my head and feet are close to touching the front and back portions of the tent. Any individual over 6’2 will likely experience trouble lying completely flat and may have to rest slightly curled up while they sleep. This could be a problem if condensation or moisture builds up overnight. The end result could be your gear (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc.) being exposed to dampness or wetness. Any backpacker under 6’2 should have zero issues lying completely horizontal while they doze off.
The Elixir 2 comes equipped with two large vestibules located on either side of the tent doors. The vestibules on the Elixir 2 provide up to 708 liters worth of volume. This is great for any backpackers who have loads of gear and need a dry area for storage while they rest. The two sizable doors on the Elixir 2 provide enough space to move in and out effortlessly. Also, the zippers on the doors conveniently glow in the dark so any backpacker needing to take a late night trip outdoors to use the bathroom should have no problem locating them. The inside of the Elixir 2 includes three pouches (located on the ceiling and two on either ends of the tent) for extra storage. I typically use the top pouch for my light source and the end pouches for any additional gear I need in reachable distance.
Ventilation in the Elixir 2 is exceptional and air flow can easily move in and out of the tent. The ventilation system helps with any condensation build-up that may occur in certain climate situations. You will also be able to willingly open and close ventilation as you please. This will allow warmth to stay inside of the tent instead of escaping outside.
The overall design of the tent does a remarkable job allowing precipitation and wind to run-off smoothly. The free-standing design of the Elixir 2 allows for it to be pitched on any sort of terrain but also has the ability to be staked for extra stability, if desired. Slick design and the considerable space the Elixir 2 provides makes it one of the spacious backpacking tents out there.
Overall Space: 4.4 / 5
Overall Design: 4.7 / 5
How Durable is the Elixir 2?
The mesh and fabric of the canopy are manufactured using 20D nylon micromesh and 40D ripstop nylon DWR, respectively. Although this is ultimately a factor in the overall weight of the Elixir 2, it also provides added durability compared to its lighter competition. Like mentioned above, the structure and durability of the Elixir 2 provides this tent with the capabilities of taking a beating from mother nature and will do an exceptional job keeping backpackers dry and warm.
The floor of the Elixir 2 is made of 70D taffeta nylon 3000mm polyurethane and DWR. Although durable on its own, the addition of the footprint provides an extra layer to the Elixir 2 and will help prevent any possibility of the floor being punctured or torn.
The rainfly is composed of solid and dependable 68D ripstop polyester 1500mm polyurethane and DWR material. Although the rainfly can retain dampness and water, it does a fantastic job keeping unwanted elements out of the tent and also drys out quickly when hung up. I have not had any issues with the Elixir 2 leaking during periods of rain and wet snow. Also, with the rainfly intact, it does a substantial job in insulating and keeping heat and warmth inside of the tent. There is quite the difference between having the rainfly on and leaving it off but it all depends on the climate and geography of the area you will be backpacking
Overall Durability: 4.6 / 5
Final Thoughts on the MSR Elixir 2
There you have it. A detailed, in-depth review on the mighty MSR Elixir 2 tent. This tent is an exceptional and trustworthy piece of gear that should be added to any beginner, intermediate, and experienced backpacker’s repertoire. Also, keep in mind that the Elixir 2 is a solid backpacking tent for the price it is retailed at. This reliable, durable tent can be purchased at stores such as Atmosphere, MEC or Amazon and other similar backpacking outlets for a budget friendly price of $249.95 US or $319.95 CAD.
Overall Score of the Elixir 2: 4.4 / 5