MSR Elixir 3 Review

Our Verdict

MSR Elixir 3 is for those who prefer quick, simple setup and above-average weather protection. The construction of this tent is noteworthy, to say the least. Its low price makes it appealing to backpackers and campers. And it is remarkably inexpensive for hobbyists and weekend campers.

The tent is quite easy to assemble, and it has excellent ventilation. It stands as a good 3-season tent that stands up against rainfall and remarkably resilient on windy days. The dome-shaped configuration has more headroom and offers improved stability.

People that are above-average in size or very tall should consider limiting the number of beds and guests they invite for a night or two. Generally speaking, if you’re a backpacker who doesn’t intend to camp in bad weather and doesn’t need lightweight qualities (particularly at the expense of comfort), then this is your ideal tent.

The Elixir 3 is a little heavier in weight than other models of the same size but still suitable for frequent use.  The overall durability and capacity to withstand prolonged exposure to weather without leaking make it a decent all-around tent for camping and backpacking.

Specs

MSR Elixir 3
MSR Elixir 3 Review
Packed Weight 7 lbs.
Floor Area 39.5 sq. ft
Packed Size 8 x 20 inches
Dimensions 84 x 68 inches
Peak Height 41 inches
Number of Doors 2
Number of Poles2
Rain Fly Material 68-denier coated ripstop polyester
Inner Tent Material Ripstop nylon/nylon mesh
Price Range$$$
See the latest price on Amazon
See the latest price on Amazon
MSR Elixir 3 Review

Review

The Elixir 3 has a number of notable advantages: durability, comfort, weather resistance, and quick setup, making it an excellent choice for travelers. It only has a relative downside if its weight.

Comfort

Its total area of around 40 square feet is good for two individuals if space is a top priority or three adults if space is not that essential.

The Elixir 3 will provide for all of your essential camping needs. It is more likely you would just be staying in your bed, so if it rains, you will appreciate the extra storage room this model provides.

This interior ceiling is 41 inches tall, so an adult can sit upright without hitting the roof. The tent is more of a dome than a skyscraper. The good thing with a high ceiling is it allows three individuals to sit inside. While they may find it relatively uncomfortable to sleep in a limited interior space, it wouldn’t be a problem for them to sit up.

Since the doors are wide, getting in and out is not too difficult. The Elixir 3 has a special pole shape, which is why it looks larger on the inside than it actually is.

Ease of Setup

During a windy or rainy season, trying to pitch a tent is far from perfect, but Elixir 3 is quite a breeze in these situations. This tent is freestanding and simple enough to set up even when you are alone. The aluminum poles are sturdy and are not likely to bend. They are also color-coded to the clips.

This color-coding helps you figure out how this tent can be set up without directions. The colored pins, clips, and webbing even help setting up at night easier.

You will want someone’s assistance in really windy conditions, but otherwise, you will not run into any significant issues. The simplicity of this tent also ensures that you can pitch it when it is drizzling without getting the interior wet.

Weather Resistance

One of the most remarkable and significant advantages of the Elixir 3 is its capacity to endure variable weather with no decrease in performance. Though this tent is only rated for three seasons, it’s capable of dealing with winds, rain, and cold climate. It’s not recommended for extreme cold weather but should work well with most types of weather conditions.

This tent also has excellent ventilation, which is great in preventing heat and humidity issues. Thanks to the micro-mesh canopy, you can quickly remove or pull up the rainfly to allow air in while protecting yourself from flies and other pests.

The rainfly and floor are incredibly water-resistant. There is a bathtub-style structure for the floor, which limits the amount of water that can be seeped through the 70D coated nylon. The rainfly is a robust DWR-coated 68D ripstop polyester tough enough that some campers lasted through hail without any problems.

Durability

The rainfly is made of tough, abrasion-resistant 68D polyester, plus 1500 mm of polyurethane and waterproof repellents (DWR). The canopy is slightly thinner and is made of 40D nylon, which is tear-resistant as well. The floor is strengthened by Durasheild polyurethane and DWR 70D taffeta nylon. These are thicker than ultra-light tents, which means that they are heavier but much more durable.

The poles are made of heavy aluminum (8.5mm), which makes them lightweight but strong. The design of the poles is very impressive, resulting in a quite sturdy frame, which allows the tent to remain standing even when it’s windy.

The fabrics are more robust than those used in ultra-lightweight versions while being slim enough to keep the weight down.

Weight and Packed Size

One of the most frequently-cited complaints about the Elixir 3 is its weight. This tent is not made of thin weightless material. It weighs about seven pounds, which makes it more difficult to carry when fully packed. The minimum weight of the trail is already 5lbs, which is not helpful when you are in bad weather and need all the protection offered by this model.

That said, for those who carry no more than a small or ultralight bag, it’s unlikely that extra weight will be an issue. If it is just a short distance to the camping site, you will barely notice the difference between this model and other lightweight options.

Additionally, you are less likely to use this alone. As such, when divided between two or more individuals, the pack weight is close to lightweight tents.

MSR Elixir 3 Review
pros
What we liked
  • The MSR Elixir 3 is a durable tent with great weather-resistant qualities.
  • It is made of high-quality materials for an affordable price.
  • The tent is quite easy to set up even during rainy or windy situations.
  • While relatively tight for three people to lie in, it provides enough height for comfort.
  • The pole structure provides great stability in most conditions.
cons
What we didn't like
  • The tent is relatively heavy compared to other three-person models.