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Marmot Tungsten UL2 Review

A comfortable, multi-purpose tent whose fly could use a little bit of help.
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Price:  $300 List | $298.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Roomy for its weight, inexpensive
Cons:  Difficult to tension fly properly, asymmetrical fly with small vestibule, cheaper-feeling materials
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 2, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Weight - 25% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 5
  • Ease of Set-up - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Packed Size - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Marmot Tungsten UL2 is a decent tent that has a lot to like at a reasonable price point. Its pole structure creates the most volume from its dimensions and the large doors are really accommodating for taller folks as well. It's not the flashiest tent around — some of the plastic components and stakes definitely show their sub-premium quality — but it will get the job done at a weight comparable to some top contenders like the NEMO Dragonfly.

We do take some issue with the fly geometry, but for the more patient among us, or for those who just camp where rain is less of a factor, this tent is a solid option. For a model with the same level of livability and increased weather resistance, check out the NEMO Dagger 2.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  
Price $298.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$389.95 at Amazon$449.95 at Backcountry
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$499.95 at Backcountry
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$399.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Roomy for its weight, inexpensiveExcellent balance between weight and features, many storage pockets, large vestibulesTwo large double doors, good headroom, excellent balance of space and weightLightweight, good lateral headroom, large side doors, large overhead pocketGenerous dimensions, large vestibules, good balance between weight and durability
Cons Difficult to tension fly properly, asymmetrical fly with small vestibule, cheaper-feeling materialsTapered foot, pockets are high upDelicate fabrics require special treatment, expensivesmall vestibules, tapered footprint reduces interior spaceSmall doors, expensive, zippers don't always open smoothly
Bottom Line A comfortable, multi-purpose tent whose fly could use a little bit of help.A superior tent that balances light weight with excellent features.Our favorite tent for all your backpacking needs.A comfortable, lightweight tent great for a weekend or a week.A high-quality tent that strikes a solid balance between weight and comfort features.
Rating Categories Marmot Tungsten UL2 NEMO Dragonfly 2 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 NEMO Dagger 2
Comfort (25%)
10
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9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
Weather Resistance (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Set Up (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Packed Size (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
Specs Marmot Tungsten UL2 NEMO Dragonfly 2 Big Agnes Copper... Big Agnes Copper... NEMO Dagger 2
Packaged Weight 3.70 lbs 3.16 lbs 3.06 lbs 3.81 lbs 3.76 lbs
Floor Area 32 sq ft 29 sq ft 29 sq ft 41 sq ft 31 sq ft
Packed Size 18 x 7 in 19.5 x 4.5 in 19.5 x 4 in 20 x 4.5 in 19.5 x 6.5 in
Dimensions 88" x 54" x 42" 88" x 50" x 41" 88" x 52" x 42 in 90" x 70" x 43" 90" x 50" x 42"
Vestibule Area (Total) 9.8 + 5.2 sq ft 20 sq ft 18 sq ft 18 sq ft 22.8 sq ft
Peak Height 42 in 41 in 42 in 43 in 42 in
Number of Doors 2 2 2 2 2
Number of Poles 3 3 2 3 2
Pole Diameter Not provided 8.7 mm 8.7 mm 8.7mm 8.5/9/9.6 millimeters
Number of Pockets 2 + small light pocket 3 2 5 2
Gear Loft No No Sold separately Sold separately Sold separately
Pole Material DAC Pressfit DAC Featherlite NFL DAC Featherlite NFL and NSL Aluminum DAC featherlight NSL
Guy Points 4 5 9 6 10
Rain Fly Material 20D Ripstop nylon 20D Nylon Ripstop Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating 15D Sil / PU Nylon Ripstop (1200mm)
Inner Tent Material 15D Nylon ripstop mesh, 20D Nylon ripstop 15D Nylon Ripstop [Body] Patterned double ripstop nylon/polyester mesh
[Floor] Silicone-treated patterned double ripstop nylon with waterproof polyurethane coating
proprietary patterned random rip-stop nylon with 1200mm waterproof polyurethane coating [Body] 15D Nylon Ripstop / No see um mesh
[Floor] 30D PU Nylon Ripstop (3000mm)
Type Two Door freestanding Two Door freestanding Two Door Two Door Two Door freestanding

Our Analysis and Test Results

This tent offers really nice comfort for sleepers and stargazers alike. It struggles a bit with its weather resistance and despite its name, you shouldn't expect a true ultralight shelter. All in all, we like this model, there are just a couple of key components holding it back.

Performance Comparison


The Marmot Tungsten UL2 fares well in a couple of important metrics, placing it solidly amongst some of the more highly rated tents in this review.

This tent is a good choice for an overnight.
This tent is a good choice for an overnight.

Comfort


We were pleasantly surprised by the space and comfort afforded by the Tungsten UL2. Its length is a fairly common 88" but the pre-bent poles really make the most out of every inch. Combine with a generous 54" width and this tent offers room to sit up and spread out.

There is really nice headroom and space all around.
There is really nice headroom and space all around.

We wish that it came with more pockets. It's limited to two relatively small ones, one on each side. For great gear storage and whole lot else, check out the NEMO Dragonfly.

The pockets are fine if you don't require a ton of storage but we wish they were larger.
The pockets are fine if you don't require a ton of storage but we wish they were larger.

Ease of Setup


The tent itself is easy enough to pitch. It has two standard poles that intersect at a hub with a cross-pole that expands interior headroom.

With its simple pole design  this tent goes up in a matter of minutes.
With its simple pole design, this tent goes up in a matter of minutes.

However, the fly is a little trickier. There are red color-coded tabs at the corners to ensure it is oriented correctly, but staking it out properly takes a little more time. The fly geometry is a little wonky and we found that getting good tension was challenging.

Weather Resistance


Because of the issue with the fly, this tent struggles a little bit with weather resistance. If it's not good and taut, the wind can really whip it around noisily. Similarly, though the polyester fly doesn't expand when wet, if it's saggy to begin with, water will still weigh it down and bring it in contact with the mesh sidewall.

We played with it for a while  but the fly just always seemed to be bunchy or saggy somewhere on this tent.
We played with it for a while, but the fly just always seemed to be bunchy or saggy somewhere on this tent.

There is one large vent at the top that does a good job of dumping moisture and the vestibules can be opened up in a few different configurations to facilitate a good cross breeze. If you want a real champion of crummy weather, the Hilleberg Anjan 2 GT earns top marks in this metric.

The massive vent at the top keeps this model well ventilated.
The massive vent at the top keeps this model well ventilated.

Durability


The Tungsten offers solid durability. Its 30D nylon floor will stand up to regular use. Though its clips and hooks look and feel like they are sub-premium plastic, we still think that this tent can take a good beating. Its stakes are fine until they're not. If you are trying to drive them into hard packed dirt, they will bend very quickly.

For its price point  the durability of the tent and fly corners looks decent. The clips and stakes are a little cheaper though.
For its price point, the durability of the tent and fly corners looks decent. The clips and stakes are a little cheaper though.

Weight and Packed Size


This tent has the label ultralight but we are hesitant to call it that. It has a measured packed weight of 3 pounds, 11 ounces; still a reasonable load for a lot of uses, but UL it is not. Its packed size of 18"x7" is just about what you would expect for its weight. The polyester fly doesn't stuff down quite as much as its nylon counterparts found in the NEMO Dagger 2 or Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.

Best Applications


This tent is great for first-time backpackers looking to test the waters or those who want a less expensive car camping option.

We enjoyed our time in this tent.
We enjoyed our time in this tent.

Value


Retailing at $300, we think that this tent offers a fair value. Issues with the fly might make it a risky proposition for those that do a lot of wet weather camping, but the materials and construction are otherwise on par with what we would expect from a tent in this price range.

Conclusion


The Marmot Tungsten UL2 is a roomy tent at a reasonable price. It has a nice set of double side doors and space for two. We need to have a little more confidence in the fly before we can consider it a real contender, but for those who prioritize livability, this one is worth a look.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch