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Marmot Limelight 2 Review

   

Backpacking Tent

  • Currently 2.7/5
Overall avg rating 2.7 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: February 23, 2016
Price:   $250 List | Varies from $198 - $249 online
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Pros:  Window in vestibule, includes gear loft and footprint, affordable
Cons:  Difficult to get in and out, bad vestibule, not enough pockets, heavy
Manufacturer:   Marmot
Review by: Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 22, 2015  
Overview
The Marmot Limelight is a budget tent that looks nice and comes with some creature comforts like an included footprint and gear loft, but we found it fell short in the performance and livability departments. Its single side door made it difficult for two people to enter and exit at will, and the fly does not have adequate coverage to protect the inside from rain.

Check out our comprehensive Backpacking Tent Review to see how the Limelight compares to the 15 of other tents we've tested. Specifically, consider the REI Half Dome 2 Plus, which is roughly the same price yet stronger and more livable.

RELATED: Our complete review of backpacking tents

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

We like the Limelight's flashy colors and included footprint and gear loft, but in harsh weather it didn't perform as we had hoped.

Performance Comparison


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The single door makes the Limelight far less livable for two people.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Ease of Set-up


The Limelight is relatively easy to set-up. It has two long poles that cross and a short one across the top to provide more head room. The pole clips seem unnecessarily large and bulky but do the trick. The tent only comes with 4 pieces of thin cord for guy lines, not nearly enough to guy all of its points out properly. We had to prioritize which ones to use.

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The tent's attachment points to the poles seemed like overkill and were annoying to attach and when taking the tent down.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Livability


The Limelight has some nice touches to make it more livable, like the included gear loft and the cute, tear drop shaped window in the vestibule door. We like how the interior door zipper is a "D" shape and zips almost all the way around for a large opening. Otherwise it is not very comfortable to share with two people. Its single side door forces one of the occupants to climb over the other to get out. It also means one in and one out at a time this is especially annoying when one person is left standing in the rain while the other gets in and takes off their shoes. We think that single side door tents are the least livable and prefer ones with two doors like the Mountainsmith Morrison 2. The interior of the tent is not particularly roomy, especially for how much it weighs. We found it tight for two people, particularly when it is raining and all of your stuff needs to be inside, or in the tiny single vestibule provided.

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We like that the Limelight comes with an included gear loft.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Weather Resistance


We were immediately disappointed with the Limelight when we set it up and it proceeded to downpour. We walked away from the tent, and when we came back our sleeping pads were wet inside the tent. We noticed that the fly, if not guyed out at the ends, is too short and does not entirely cover the mesh panels on the sides. This is where the water got in. We learned our lesson after the first rainstorm and used some of the minimal guy line provided to stake the ends of the tent away from the body. We still think that splash back will enter the tent because of that low mesh panel. Marmot should consider moving the mesh panel on the tent body up higher to prevent that problem in the future. Now that we're using some of the guy line for the ends, there is not enough line for the rest of the guy points. We think it is especially important to guy out your tent if it only has one side door. It has only been stabilized on one side and needs to be reinforced on the other. The most weather resistant tent we tested was the Hilleberg Anjan 2.

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We set up the tent and it immediately started down pouring. We came back half an hour later to pools of water in the tent because of the low mesh panel and no guy line on the side point to stake out.
Credit: Jessica Haist
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You can see how rain gets into the Marmot Limelight 2 when this point isn't guyed out.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Adaptability


Marmot includes a footprint with the Limelight. This means that you immediately have the capability to "Bare Bones fast-pitch" it. We think this adds an element of adaptability and allows you to carry a much lighter set up. Otherwise the two piece tent design is not very versatile.

Durability


The Limelight is made from 68 Denier Polyester, which is not as strong as its competitors at a similar price point and weight, like the Kelty Grand Mesa 2, which for the most part uses 75D. The zipper on the body door seems cheap and catches on any little piece of grit or dirt.

Weight and Packed Size


All of the small details like the large pole clips, big zipper, and included gear loft and footprint contribute to the heaviness of this tent. It weighs in at a whopping 5 pounds, 10 ounces, including the footprint, loft, fly, body, poles and stakes. It has the worst space-to-weight ratio of all the tents we reviewed. The fast pitch option without the tent body brings the weight down to 3 pounds, 10.4 ounces. We would rather just buy The North Face Mica FL 2 that weighs in at 3 pounds 7 ounces total.

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The Limelight 2 is one of the largest tents we tested, shown here with the smallest, Big Agnes Flycreek UL2
Credit: Jessica Haist

Limitations


The Limelight's main limitations come from its single door, and its lack of guyline provided as discussed above. The low mesh panel on its sidewalls makes it very susceptible to rain and splash-back getting inside the tent.

Best Application


The Limelight 2 would be a good choice for a single person who is car camping and doesn't have to carry it anywhere. This tent is too heavy to want to bring along on extended backpacking trips.

Value


The Marmot Limelight 2 retails for $219. For the same price we would recommend purchasing the REI Half Dome 2 Plus, which has much more interior space as well as two doors and weighs only 3 ounces more. We also prefer the Kelty Salida that only has one door, but weighs 19 ounces less and costs $70 less.

Conclusion


We are disappointed in how the Limelight 2 performed. Tents with only one side door are the least livable of all the tents we reviewed, and the Limelight is much too heavy for what it is.

Other Versions and Accessories


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Limelight 3
  • 3 person version of the Limelight series
  • 5 lbs 15 oz trail weight
  • Comes with footprint and gear hanging net
  • $280

Limelight 4
  • 4 person version of the Limelight Series
  • 8 lbs 5 oz trail weight
  • Comes with footprint and gear hanging net
  • $370

Jessica Haist


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: February 23, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
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  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 2
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  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 50%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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Write a Review on this Gear

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   Feb 23, 2016 - 08:54pm
Arkansmay · Backpacker · Mountain Home, AR
Wow, once again I must differ with Outdoor Gearlab's review.

First of all you know what you are getting in a 1 door tent, so why dock points? It's a single door tent, and everyone knows how they work.

Second, the list price in this review is very high. I got mine for 99 bucks on sale and sorry but you just can't beat that for a tent in this quality/weight range. Oh yeah PLUS it comes with a footprint AND gearloft!

Third, its super ridiculous that points are taken away because you failed to guy out all the points and got wet? Who buys a tent from the store and goes directly camping without testing it in the yard first? The person who deserves a bad time, that's who. Marmot kept the price down so you might have to supply some cordage and a couple stakes. Guy it out as designed and this tent is stable in a gale and DRY DRY DRY.

This is a very well made tent that will stand up to the elements and prolonged use. It sports excellent zippers and overall build quality. Good ventilation, it's easy to pitch, roomy enough for two plus gear, and just light enough for actual backpacking use. Nothing comes close at the price point and no points given for Bang-for-the Buck, which is where this product really shines.

Get one on sale and spend the extra money elsewhere.

Sorry OutdoorGearLab but you lost points on your review here. "We'd rather buy the North Face…" -Come on at close to 400 dollars sure you would, but can I afford it?

Making this excellent product look shabby just comes off as snobbery.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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