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.
Marmot designed a split front door for this model. Nice in theory, but we found it awkward to use.
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 can be used on the Nitro. This 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, there are two velcro loops that 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 is slightly tapered; 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. As a matter of fact, the lower pockets are our favorite.
One of the Nitro's positive points are nice side pockets in the inner tent. The pocket holds small items, and larger things can be stowed in the sleeve behind.
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 difficultly of achieving a taught 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 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 are included with the Nitro 2P, and while adequate, 2 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 more roomy, 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 that we do not find a compelling use for. 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.
This is the only model we tested in this year's ultralight review that we do not find a compelling use for.