Hands-on Gear Review

Compare backpacking tent ratings side-by-side >

Marmot Limelight 2 Review

   

Backpacking Tents

  • Currently 3.1/5
Overall avg rating 3.1 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: March 21, 2015
Street Price:   Varies from $174 - $249 | Compare prices at 8 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:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Recommendations:  75% of reviewers (3/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Marmot
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 22, 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.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


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 Limelight 2 comes in a three person version for $279, the Limelight 3, and a four person version, the Limelight 4 for $369.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 21, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)

75% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 20%  (1)
4 star: 40%  (2)
3 star: 20%  (1)
2 star: 20%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   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.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   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.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Mar 21, 2015 - 02:47am
Kenzie's Mom · Camper · Seattle, WA
Wow, cranky review, OGL! I've had this tent for a few years now, as a replacement for a half dome. It's a little heavy for backpacking if you take the whole thing… OR you can just take the poles, stakes, footprint and rainfly, all included with the tent when you buy it and leave the tent itself at home. For summer outings, it cuts the weight down, keeps you covered and keeps you dry in light rain. Easy peasy. I've never had a difficult time using the vestibule, or reaching it, for that matter. At 5'2" with T-Rex arms, I'd think that would be a bigger issue for me than for the guy who reviewed the tent for OGL. It's not terribly difficult - it zips and velcros. Nothing overly genius about working it. One door, while not the most convenient is completely doable - I'm last to bed, first up and I usually have to pee at some point during the night, so I sleep next to the door. We manage to get two of us sitting in the vestibule/doorway, taking off shoes at the same time, with little to no difficulty. The tent is roomy enough for my boyfriend to change clothes fairly easily at 5'10" and I have no problem with it at all. I've stayed nice, dry and fairly warm in all 4 seasons of camping, in the Pacific Northwest, with ever changing weather, camping for 10 days in a coastal rainforest (wind and rain, yay!) and at higher elevations. I can't speak to the cooking meals in the vestibule situation - we always have tarps, poles and windscreens for that. I have used my pocket rocket to boil some water for tea, though, and it was fine. Set up is simple, I can do it myself with my shortness and T-Rex arms while using only a little bit of effort. All in all, I really love this tent, for backpacking and car camping, in all kinds of weather, in all seasons. I've recommended it to several people who've also purchased it and enjoy it. It's sold at a lot of retailers - go check it out for yourself and see what you think!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   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.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No


Have you used the Marmot Limelight 2?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Marmot Limelight 2
Credit: Marmot.com
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Oregon Mountain Community $174.24  -  12% off!
MooseJaw $218.95
MountainGear $218.95
Compare prices at 8 sellers >

*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Review
The Best Backpacking Tent Review

The Best Backpacking Tent Review

Over the course of several years we tested over 20 backpacking tents to find the most livable and most practical tents to bring in the backcountry.
Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent

by Jessica Haist and Max Neale