Taking an interesting approach that uses one adjustable trekking pole and two dedicated aluminum poles for support, the double-wall Marmot Nitro 2P aims to deliver lots of headroom for a small, two-person tent. While it provides good rain protection, we found it awkward to set up and guy out well against strong winds.Both The North Face O2 and the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV2 Platinum earned much higher overall scores. If you are on a budget, we find the O2 Tent a much better value than the Nitro. The Fly Creek Platinum is the lightest double-wall tent we've ever tested for two people, and it won a Top Pick Award for Ease of Use. If you can afford it, the Platinum is the lightest dedicated-pole, double-wall tent out there.
Marmot Nitro 2P Review
Cons: Heavy, overhead strut is difficult to clip in, little room in foot of tent
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Marmot Nitro 2P earned the lowest overall score of the products we tested for the Ultralight Shelter Review. It is the heaviest product we include in this category, and we found the combo of dedicated aluminum poles and one trekking pole support awkward to set up. If you're looking for a higher performing tent, we recommend also visiting our Best Backpacking Tent review where we evaluate many two-person dedicated-pole tents.
The Marmot Nitro 2P does a good job keeping two folks dry in the rain, but we found it time-consuming to add enough guy lines to get a taught, wind-resistant pitch. The fly attaches in five spots to the inner tent, and the vestibule and two sides get staked out independently. Five fly guy out points are available on the Nitro. This number includes three loops at the foot of the tent (where the fly connects to the inner tent with slide-on plastic clips) and two more up top at the strut. At the minimum, you'll want to secure the two up top, ideally with two independent guy lines each. Here, two velcro loops attach the fly to the strut and inner tent for strength.
Weighing in at 2 pounds 10.8 ounces, this is the heaviest model we tested in the ultralight category, and you still need to add one adjustable trekking pole for set-up. The Fly Creek HV2 Platinum is nearly a pound lighter. The North Face O2 is the closest competitor form- and function-wise, and is 4 ounces lighter (with all necessary poles). The Nitro's included stuff sack tapers slightly; a simple feature, but it does make for easier stuffing.
With 29 sq ft of floor space and a 6.5 sq ft vestibule, the Nitro 2P is very similar in footprint size to most lightweight, front entry double-wall tents. What distinguishes it is the very tall peak height at the door; most folks will have nearly a foot of overhead room sitting just inside the door. But, overall, this tent fails to deliver on interior space.
The height tapers very quickly to the foot, and the overhead strut above the door is too narrow to provide good, usable room for two folks to sit just inside the door side-by-side. Because the foot tapers so dramatically, the toe of our sleeping bags always rubbed the ceiling here. Furthermore, Marmot shortened the fly (and instead uses waterproof fabric at the inner tent foot), causing condensation to wet the foot of our sleeping bags. To contrast this, the Fly Creek HV2 Platinum also tapers to the foot, but the inner tent is mesh at the foot, protected by the full coverage fly. Two lower pockets and an overhead hook for hanging a headlamp are pluses for the Nitro. The lower pockets are our favorite.
This tent uses a combination of SilNylon and PU-coated nylon ripstop, and while we did not experience any material failures during our testing, we also avoided exposed and windy conditions with this tent. Our main durability concerns stem from the difficulty of achieving a taut pitch and attaching the overhead strut. We found it difficult to seat the two ends of this strut in the plastic clips and heard some stitching ripping the first two times we set up.
Ease of Set-up
While set-up instructions are sewn into the stuff sack, no length is given by Marmot for the adjustable trekking pole that supports the front of the tent. Between figuring out the best pole length, and struggling to clip in the top strut, our trial set up took a full 11 minutes. This time is in addition to the 10 minutes to add the guy-out lines, which are included but not pre-rigged on the tent. Eight stakes come with the Nitro 2P, and while adequate, two more for a total of 10 is ideal for set-up. Six to seven minutes was the average set up time for one person after practice.
For weight conscious backpackers on a budget, the Nitro 2P will protect you from bugs and rain. We feel there are better options out there at a similar price. The Big Agnes Scout Plus UL2, for example, is lighter, easier to set up, much roomier, and also weighs less.
Retailing at $329, and often on sale, this is a budget-oriented lightweight tent. At this price, we feel there are better values out there. In this price range, we found The North Face O2 a lighter and better option all around.
The Marmot Nitro 2P is the only ultralight tent we reviewed for which we did not find a compelling use. The use of an adjustable trekking pole, combined with dedicated struts, is an interesting approach, but we found it doesn't deliver weight savings compared to similar competitors.
— Brandon Lampley