If you’re looking for an affordable and comfortable tent that will keep you dry in the rain and cool in the heat, then look no further than the Elixir 3 tent by MSR. We decided on a 3-person tent, as we knew on our motorcycle trip we would have lots of gear to put into the tent. At home, we wanted more room for both us plus Hank. It is beneficial when you’re traveling on a motorcycle to have ample room inside the tent for gear, not only for security but also to keep your gear out of the elements.
We were really able to get a thorough testing done of this tent, as we hit temperatures below freezing, temperatures reaching 80 degrees, rain, sleet, hail, and even a little bit of snow (yes unfortunately on a motorcycle trip we did encounter all of the elements). Most importantly, in a downpour that lasted 12 hours through the night, there was not a trace of water inside the tent in the morning. This was impressive, seeing as how we had constant streams of water forming and running through and under the tent throughout the night.
With the rainfly on, there is ample privacy inside the tent and added storage with the two vestibules, perfect for storing packs or bags or boots throughout the night. We thought the vestibules could be a little bit larger. If there were three people using the tent, storage room would get a little bit tight for gear (keep in mind we are not light packers so that could influence our opinion).
Without the fly on, the views through the mesh fabric skylight are incredible. The best part about camping in the warmer areas was that we could sleep comfortably without the fly on and admire the stars. I remember waking up one night after the moon had disappeared and was in awe of the stars. It’s nice to have a product that not only designed around ventilation, but also took into consideration being able to enjoy the views. That is why we are out there isn’t it?
Someone that has never set up a tent before wouldn’t have an issue setting up the Elixir 3. With color-coded poles, clips, and webbing, it is almost impossible to mess up! It is kind of easy to put the rainfly on backwards, but maybe we were just tired and it was too dark. We did find that the pole design made it a little bit cumbersome at times to set up with just one person. You basically have two very long poles that are connected to each other. When trying to set up or take down the tent, it really wants to run from you. After a few nights, you’ll have a system down but thought it was worth mentioning because it is very helpful if you have a second person hold the tent in place so it doesn’t get away from you.
With that said, the design of the poles allows for amazing headspace. This was one feature that we really loved about the Elixir 3. I could more easily get dressed in this tent then ones with less headspace.
MSR includes a Footprint with the tent, which is really nice and will extend the life and reduce wear on the base of the tent. We find that most times it is not included and must be purchased separately. With that said, the Elixir 3 only comes with 6 stakes. That is the perfect amount for the tent and vestibules, however if you use the guy-lines on the non-door sides of the tent, stakes and line are not included.
Another amazing feature about the Elixir 3 is the versatility. If you want to travel super light, you can opt for MSR’s Fast & Light pitch. You could simply take the Footprint, rainfly, and poles (and stakes) and use this as your primary shelter. We find that no matter what we do, we usually end up finding ourselves in some sort of extreme element and we like the protection of the tent floor, doors, and walls.
This tent doesn’t have the most storage options that we’ve ever seen in a tent, however the two inside pockets are sufficient enough for what we do. The nice thing about the two pockets is that they stretch the entire width of the tent, so they are nice and long, and can be seen from outside the tent. We loved being able to see the pockets from the outside of the tent (without the fly on of course) because when we were taking the tent down each morning we were easily able to check that nothing had been left inside.
Overall, we were very impressed with the MSR Elixir 3 tent. It stood up to the elements, to the motorcycle jostling, and enabled us to thoroughly enjoy the amazing views we found ourselves waking up to. At just under $300, the Elixir 3 proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune for a durable, waterproof, and easy to set up tent.