Gear Review: Marmot Limelight 3P
Gear Type – Tent
Person – 3
Season – 3
Trail Weight – About 6 lb
Floor – 42.6 square ft
Vestibule – 20 square ft
Additional Specs – Marmot
We picked up the Marmot Limelight 3P, as an alternative backpacking tent to our larger and heavier North Face Toad. We wanted something a bit smaller and lighter, that would still allow for a little extra space for gear and our dog. We purchased the Marmot in spring 2012, from Camper’s Village in Calgary.
The tent canopy is made of 68D 100% Polyester Ripstop and 40D 100% Polyester No-See-Um Mesh, the floor is 70D 100% Nylon PU 3000mm, and the fly is 68D 100% Polyester Ripstop 1800mm. It assembles with three DAC Press-Fit™ poles, which gives it enough stability, without more weight. I like that you can assemble the fly independently of the tent, using the poles (and the footprint, which was included) for an extra-light shelter. The fly, tent, and even the footprint are color-coded, to coordinate with each other and the poles. The tent canopy attaches to the poles via double-wide clips. Gear loft is included, and there are several additional interior pockets. The fly comes almost to the ground, and there are 6 main points for pegging out the tent, and additional guy-line attachment spots. The D-shaped doors unzip almost to the ground level, which is nice, because it reduces tripping getting in and out.
Since purchasing, we have set up and taken down this tent over a dozen times, and it’s still in good condition. It’s fairly durable (the mesh seems a bit more delicate than our other tents) although I am not a fan of the weird plastic window on the fly. This tent claims to be 3 season, but with 4 season potential. We actually found it to be extremely drafty, most likely because the fly doesn’t actually make it all the way to the ground, no matter how tight you try to make it. We thought maybe it would stretch over time, but it hasn’t, and the gap lets in a lot of wind. Despite it’s draftiness, the fly did an exemplary job of keeping out moisture. The floor of the tent also proved impervious, even when there was a puddle between it and the footprint. Condensation is rather typical in volume, although does not present any issues for tent occupants, provided the fly is staked down taut. The guy-lines are not required for this, however, I do recommend using them if you are setting up the tent in high winds. You will have to purchase appropriate cord however, as they are not included.
The vestibules are rather small, and do let in some moisture. It was a tight squeeze to fit our big packs, one in each side, and then you’re tripping over them no matter which side you try to go out. With the size and shape of the fly doors, it’s kind of interesting getting in and out. While the Marmot is designed for three people, we find it’s pretty snuggly with the two of us and minimal stuff. Our sleeping pads fit nicely side by side, and one of the better features is that this tent is long enough for Mike to stretch out in.
Care and cleaning of this tent are as simple as setting it up and taking it down. On a sunny day, most of the condensation is generally burned off by the heat. If you need to dry it very quickly, I simply detach the fly, turn it inside out, and then stretch it back over the tent. This seems particularly effective. The tent body is very light, and with the poles still attached, you can tip it over on it’s side, exposing the bottom to the sunshine, which will dry it in no time. However, I’ve packed it up soaking wet more than once, and simply draped it to dry overnight in my basement or garage when I got home, until the next warm day, when I set it up in the yard and clean it thoroughly between uses. The footprint, which generally gets the dirtiest, is easily rinsed in the bathtub or shower (plain water, no soap) and then hung to dry over the shower curtain rod or in the garage. I would recommend washing the fly in the same way, but only if necessary. I usually just wipe any dirt from it with a damp cloth while I have it set up for cleaning. A damp cloth also works for the tent floor. Don’t forget to scrub any leftover dirt from your tent pegs as well, and allow to dry thoroughly before storing.
We have luke-warm feelings towards this tent, and it’s been relegated into our pile of “Loaner Gear”. The kids also use it when we go camping, and we pitch it in the most sheltered area of the camping site, so that the draftiness isn’t an issue. It’s a great little tent for the two of them, and for friends who want to go camping but don’t have proper gear. It’s not a terrible tent, but for the price, I would look at something with a better design.