What started in a college dorm room, Marmot has been making quality gear for years. When you head out into the backcountry, they have a wide array of different products that will provide the warmth and comfort you need to be happy out there. The Marmot Limelight and the Marmot Tungsten are both two-person tents that both work to give you more space and comfort while not adding too much weight. Here we put them head-to-head to see which of the two is best for what use.
The Marmot Limelight is a two-person tent that has become popular with those looking for a good car camping tent. Overall it is incredibly affordable, but sacrifices were made in durability, weight, and weather resistance. If you are wanting to buy a cheap tent that will feel roomy, but won’t be great strapped to your back, the Limelight will deliver.
The Marmot Tungsten is another affordable two-person tent that Marmot has developed to be lighter weight and more spacious than its others. It utlizes a pole structure that helps maximize space inside the tent and pairs it with large doors, a great addition for the taller folks looking to not have to fold up just to get in.
|Marmot Limelight||Marmot Tungsten|
|Packed Weight||5 lbs 10 oz||3 lbs 6.5 oz|
|Packed Size||20 in x 12 in x 8 in||24.5 in x 7 in|
|Weather Resistance||Keeps rain out but condensation in||Vents well but rain fly is difficult to manage|
|Ease of Use||Simple Setup||Difficult Rain Fly|
|Value||Good value budget tent||Medium value tent|
In order to truly put these two up against each other, we need to look more into the specifics of each tent. The Limlight and the Tungsten both have a lot to offer, but often we have found one to outperform the other in one or more of these categories.
Ease of Use
The Marmot Limelight is a straightforward setup that doesn’t require too much scratching of the brain before having it up and ready to go. There are two main poles that cross in the center and a third that helps to expand the headroom and give you more space to sit up comfortably. The Limelight does utilize pre-bent tent poles that help the tent to keep its shape. This feature does make setup just slightly more difficult as the curves can spin the poles when you want them straight.
The Marmot Tungsten uses the same two pole method combined with the third cross-support for expanded headroom. It’s pretty simple and there’s not too much room to mess this up as there’s a simple design. The curved poles from the Limelight found their way into this model as well, making the poles prone to twisting. The rainfly is where it starts to get a little trickier. The color coded corners makes the start of the setup simple, but staking the rainfly out can prove to be a bit more finicky and difficult.
Winner: When it comes to ease of use, the Limelight wins. It is incredibly simple and even though the curved poles can be annoying, they don’t cause any real trouble. The Tungsten’s rainfly is just too complicated for us to let it win this category. Rainflys should be easy to set up and make your time in camp a lot easier.
While the curved poles of the Limelight make the setup a bit more difficult, it ends up being worth it when it comes to comfort. They help to create more vertical sidewalls and an expanded amount of headroom. The crossbar gives enough headroom for two people to sit up comfortable as well. It’s pretty average when it comes to length, but height and width is where it stands out. The Limelight boasts a spacious interior, especially for the dimensions that it has.
The Tungsten uses the same features as the Limelight to provide a generous width and pleasantly comfortable height of the ceiling. The drawback of the Tungsten is its lack of sufficient pockets. There are only two smaller pockets on the sides of the tent where most others in this category have multiple that make stashing your stuff at night a bit easier.
Winner: As the Limelight and the Tungsten are both designed with the same curved poles and crossbar for increased headroom, there is no clear winner here. Both of these tents are good options if looking for a spacious and comfortable setup. The Tungsten really could use just a couple more pockets however.
Against the Weather
In general, the Marmot Limelight performs well up against the rain. The rainfly keeps things on the inside dry and the staking design makes it so there’s no contact with the mesh interior. The footprint is included with the purchase, helping to add extra protection from dirt and any water that could get in from the bottom. The heavy material the tent is made from does tend to sag as the rain continues to beat down on it which can be inconvenient when packing up. The smaller vent at the top of the tent does a poor job at ventilation and you’re likely to wake up with some interior condensation as a result.
The design of the rain fly on this tent makes it less able to handle the elements. If it isn’t staked out perfectly, it’s likely to whip around in the wind and make for a noisy night. The fly is polyester which can be heavy and sag when wet, meaning it may touch the interior mesh. It does have a large vent at the top of the tent, making the ventilation much better than that of the Limelight.
Winner: Due to the problems with the rain fly in the Tungsten, the Limelight takes the top spot for weather resistance. Keep in mind, it still is not at the top of its class when put up against other two person tents that are available. Both of these tents have their issues, the Limelight just is more likely to keep you dry throughout a stormy night.
68 Denier poly tefla makes the Limelight a highly puncture-resistant and durable tent. The clips and pole hubs on this tent are made out of cheaper plastic that will be much more prone to breaking before the material goes. That being said, it does come with a footprint that helps to keep the floor of the tent safe from cuts and abrasions. If you take good care of this tent, it will last a long time, just be aware of the cheap plastic parts that may need replaced.
A 30D nylon floor defines the durability of the Tungsten. This material will put up with a lot and makes the Tungsten a durable tent that you can count on for a long time. The clips of the tent are also plastic, but seem to be a bit more durable than those of the Limelight. You will want to buy the rain fly for this tent to make sure you keep the floor as protected as possible.
Winner: The Tungsten is made of higher quality products that makes it a much more durable and long-lasting tent that you can count on. It will need the typical maintenance that all tents do, but that is to be expected. If you pair this with new stakes that are less likely to bend in hard dirt, the Tungsten brings a long life expectancy along with it.
Weight and Packability
The Marmot Limelight fights in the heavyweight class. It is simply huge at 5 pounds 10 ounces. The heavy fabric makes it unable to pack down smaller and then is put together with clunky and large tent poles that take up even more space. It sits at the bottom of the list when putting two person tents together in terms of weight and packability. This is simply not a great backpacking tent, as it will take up most of the pack, but may be better suited for car camping.
At 3 pounds 11 ounces, the Tungsten is considerably lighter than the Limelight, but is still on the heavier end when considering other lightweight tents. Due to the polyester construction of the fly, it’s difficult to get this tent packed down to a small size compared to the nylon rain flys of other tents. This is labeled as ultra light, but it is on the heavier end for that category.
Winner: The Tungsten is the clear winner in this category. The Marmot Limelight is just not made to be small in weight or packed size. Both the Limelight and the Tungsten are bulky, but the Tungsten is much less so. If you are looking for a lighter and smaller tent, it may be worth looking elsewhere.
Overall the Limelight is a great budget tent that will keep you dry and do well for a really low price. If the price was much higher, the tent may not have much value at all. If you are only going to be car camping, this is a good value tent that will be worth the purchase.
If you look at the price against all of the features of this tent, the value ends up being mediocre. It claims to be an ultralight tent, which it just isn’t. If you were to spend a little bit more on a tent, you can get something that’s significantly lighter and more compact. Because of the rainfly, it is difficult to recommend this to those in wetter climates but will work out well for those in dry areas.
Winner: The low price point for the Limelight puts it at a good value. If you are using this as a backpacking tent, its value will plummet. As a car camping tent for two people, it has good value. The Tungsten just doesn’t have enough to put it at a high enough value to recommend it.
In the end, both of these tents serve a certain purpose and are good options for two very different kinds of camping. The Limelight is a good choice for those wanting to camp out of their cars and not carry the large weight on their back while hiking. The Tungsten is a much better fit for those looking to start walking with a tent strapped on. They both have specific benefits, and both have their flaws, but both will serve you well in very different areas.