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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Difficult to get in and out, bad vestibule, not enough pockets, heavy
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Limelight is also available in the Limelight 3 and Limelight 4 person sizes. You can get it in a bright orange/grey color or a more stealthy, dark green color.
— Jessica Haist
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 22, 2015
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