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Marmot Limelight 2 Review

   

Backpacking Tents

  • Currently 2.8/5
Overall avg rating 2.8 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: August 21, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $172 - $219 | Compare prices at 11 resellers
Pros:  Window in vestibule, includes gear loft and footprint, affordable.
Cons:  Difficult to get in and out, bad vestibule, not enough pockets.
Best Uses:  Budget backpacking and camping.
User Rating:     
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 (3.7 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  67% of reviewers (2/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Marmot
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 26, 2012  
Overview
The Marmot Limelight 2 is a moderate quality budget backpacking tent. It provides sufficient interior space, a small vestibule, weighs five pounds, and costs less than $200.

Although the Limelight is inexpensive it's not very livable compared to other tents that cost the same amount. A single entrance and an awkward vestibule make getting in and out rather unpleasant and time consuming. One person has to climb over the other person in order to get out. Tents with two doors are more comfortable.

Check out our comprehensive Backpacking Tent Review to see how the Limelight compares to the dozens of other tents we've tested. Specifically, consider the REI Half Dome 2, which is roughly the same price yet stronger and more livable.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Marmot Limelight 2 is a moderate quality budget backpacking tent. The tent's pole construction employs a basic and time-tested design. Two moderate quality DAC Press-Fit poles start on opposite corners and cross once in the center. The Limelight also has a single pole that runs perpendicular to the two primary poles. This lifts the tent body up and out, creating vertical walls and more interior space. The Limelight has one C-shaped door and a pointy nine square-foot vestibule. There's also a very small covered space on the opposite side of the tent that can be used to cover something small.

The Limelight is a reasonably sized tent. Thirty-two square feet provide plenty of space for two people. At an even five pounds, the Limelight is approaches the upper limit of the tents tested here. It's heavy for backpacking, compared to other top tents tested here, but light enough to carry on shorter, occasional trips.

Dislikes
The Limelight's vestibule is shaped like a pointy triangle. It's very difficult to close the zipper from inside the tent. You'll likely find yourself kneeling down and fully extending in order close it up. In wet and/or dirty conditions we found that some debris came back into the tent with us. The vestibules shape is also better for storing gear than for cooking. Excepting much smaller ultralight tents, the Limelight has the least functional vestibule of all tents tested.

More importantly, the tent's door design makes camping with two unnecessarily difficult. The single entrance requires both people to enter separately and climb over one another when getting out. We used the Limelight for two weeks in Yosemite. By the end of our time there we had adapted our sleeping arrangements based on who goes to bed first, who gets up first, and who was likely to get up in the middle of the night. In one particularly fierce downpour, one person entered the tent (unzip fly, unzip inner tent, sit down, zip fly, take off shoes and jacket, climb in) while the other person waited in the driving rain without a rain jacket. Two doors and two vestibules would make the tent more livable.

There are two pockets, but they're both on the door side. One person will have two and the other none. This is a terrible design error less terrible by the small gear loft.

The cross poles connectors are also a nuisance. Most tents connect this pole with grommets, but the Limelight uses reinforced mesh sleeves that require great force and precision in order to inset the pole. Grommets are easier and stronger and wed much prefer them here.

Finally, the inner tents construction is flashy, but functionless. Marmot uses a mix of curved mesh and solid nylon panels to create an aesthetically pleasing, but pointless design. We'd prefer to see either all mesh or, better yet, solid nylon on the bottom half and mesh on the top half.

Best Application
Budget backpacking and camping.

Value
The Limelight is the second cheapest tent in its class. Its a good value, but the REI Half Dome 2 is a much better value. We plot tent scores and prices in a Price versus Value Chart that illustrates how much bang each tent delivers per dollar.


Other Versions
The Marmot Limelight 4, $369, is the four person version.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 21, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (3.7)

67% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (2)
3 star: 25%  (1)
2 star: 25%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   May 15, 2013 - 11:53am
BravoSix · Golden Valley
Wow, talk about a biased review. The Hilleberg has one door, but didn't get penalized? Nice balance OGL -

Anyway, for the money the Limelight 2 is hard to beat. $179 on sale at REI during the year and it includes a gear loft and footprint. Buckled down, this tent is bone dry after a week in the BWCA and was bomber in 20-40mph gusts.

I have no issue with the vestibule at all, it keeps the weather out. The recommendation by OGL of the Half Dome 2 is questionable also, plenty of people complain about that option, check the reviews.

I can't believe this tent was scored so low. It is low condensation, dry, and very stable in nasty conditions. That's what I want out of my tent. One door? Not sure why that is what was focused on. I get in my tent at night and out of it in the am. I'll take all of the other benefits first.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 21, 2014 - 08:53pm
As Bravosix mentioned this review seems very biased, the editor must have had some bad experience with it. I am an eagle scout and do various levels of backpacking in all conditions and this tent has passed with flying colors. Granted i'm mostly using it on my own but even so most of the stated downsides seem like OGL is talking about a completely different tent.

Set up takes 3 or 4 minutes and is not difficult to learn how to do the first couple times. I had absolutely no water issues on soft damp ground in the pouring rain for the first 2 nights of a previous trip. The vestibule is plenty large enough to work with and I leave boots and gear in it with no worries of it getting wet.

On the inside it would be nice to have a couple more pockets but making do with overhead gear loft and couple mesh pockets is easy enough. At just over 6 foot tall and a pretty large framed guy I'm relatively comfortable sitting up in it and moving around as well as storing my backpack and all of my gear next to me.

Any way before I talk your ear off, its upsetting to see my tent scored this low but despite that I would absolutely buy it again and believe that it will compete with any other in its price range as well as many far above.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Apr 3, 2011 - 12:38pm
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA
Was shopping for a new all purpose tent last spring. I really wanted to like this one as it looks nice (nice cheery color, etc) and Marmot generally makes good gear. Checked out the 3-person version in the store, really liked it. Almost bought the 2 person version without realizing it only had one door!

I will NEVER EVER EVER buy a 2-person tent with one door, unless it is on the end - and even then, having owned a tent with one door at the end for 15 years, I much prefer models with a door and vestibule on each side - makes getting in and out SO MUCH easier. Climbing over someone (or being climbed over) every time you have to get in or out is ridiculously inconvenient, as noted in the review. Marmot needs to add a second door to this tent, otherwise it's not even worth looking at.

Got the Half Dome 2 instead - which is a great value and a very solid all around tent.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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Marmot Limelight 2
Credit: Marmot.com
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