Are you preparing for an upcoming group camping trip, but know your old backpacking tent just isn’t going to do the trick? Are you tired of feeling cramped on the road, and need to find a tent with plenty of space and headroom?
I know the feeling, which is why I scoured the internet to find the best backpacking tents on the market to see how they compare and what they really do for users.
After hearing all the hype about the Marmot’s freestanding tent, the Marmot Limelight 3p, I decided to dig deeper and find out whether it really hits the mark for outdoor enthusiasts.
For our detailed review and comparison guide, keep reading!
The Marmot Limelight 3p review and 3 alternative backpacking tents we recommend for 2021:
The Marmot Limelight 3p is a freestanding tent, perfect for groups of travelers, with excellent headspace and a substantial living area due to its pre-bent pole configurations.
Two people can fit into the Limelight 3p with plenty of room to spare, and 3 can rest comfortably (albeit a little cozier). However, if you’re traveling in a group larger than 3, you’ll want to consider some alternative options.
Let’s delve into the key points you need to consider before purchasing a backpacking tent.
Backpacking tents fall into different categories based on the capacity of persons they hold. For example, the Marmot Limelight 3p indicates that the tent holds up to 3 people. A model with “4p” included in the name would indicate that the tent held up to 4 people, and so on.
Not all tent models are created equal, and there isn’t a set standard for size per person, which means that one 3p tent might offer more space than another.
In general, lightweight models are going to be more compact. If you want extra space, another option is to select a tent that is designed for one more person beyond the size of your travel group. You can also examine the dimensions of the model to see if it provides the floor space you’re looking for.
The next thing you want to consider before purchasing a backpacking tent like the Marmot Limelight 3p is the seasonality of the product. Most tents are either designed for 3 or 4 seasons, but most backpackers will do just fine with a 3-season model.
If you want to keep your gear light, then logically, you’ll need to select a lightweight tent design. However, a lighter tent often means a more compact space and not as many features. Pay close attention to the minimum trail weight, packaged weight, and packed size of a tent.
The minimum trail weight is the weight of just the poles, rainfly, and tent body. The packaged weight includes all the additional components you’ll bring with your tent, like the poles and stakes.
The packed size is the space the tent comprises in your pack and how easy it is to transport. If you’re traveling in a group, having each person transport some of the tent components in their pack will help distribute the load evenly.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time inside your tent, you need to make sure the design is compact enough to transport without being so tight that you don’t feel comfortable inside. Pay close attention to the dimensions of the floor space and peak height, to make sure you have sufficient space to move around and sit up as needed.
The shape of the tent matters too. If the walls are more vertically shaped, the inside of the tent has a more open concept feel. Angled designs will be lighter to carry but also make the interior a bit more compact. It’s a tradeoff between easy carrying vs. ease of movement.
The Marmot Limelight 3p is a lightweight, freestanding backpacking tent designed to hold 2 or 3 people with ease. The tent is an ideal option for a variety of backpacking trips and weekend excursions, with a sturdy pre-bent pole that gives you the lightness of an angled design without reducing your living space inside. Truly the best of both worlds!
The tent sports vestibules and doors on both sides so multiple people can enter and exit with ease, with a 3-season design that means you can rely on it for all your spring, summer, and fall treks. The Marmot Limelight 3p is reasonably priced and takes up just 6 pounds and 11 ounces of packed weight in your gear.
The 48 x 68 x 90 floor dimensions are more than spacious, and the tent itself comes with all the components you need for a setup such as guy lines, a footprint, mesh gear loft, and stakes. The tent is simple to set up, and sports taped seams and a ventilated rain fly to keep everyone inside warm and dry if showers hit. The lightweight, weather resistant, and durable design of the Marmot Limelight 3p are fantastic for year-round backpacking for newbies and experts alike.
The simple, functional configurations of the Marmot Limelight 3p are sure to suit a range of user needs, but some might find the floor space a tight fit for 3 people. If you’re traveling in a group of 3, you’ll want to consider opening up space by storing your gear in the vestibule rather than inside the tent. If you want to keep all your gear inside as a group of 3, you might need to look for other alternatives.
Also, the tent doesn’t feature sufficient pegs to do a full setup, while the pegs that are included may not be sturdy enough for tough terrain. Depending on where you’re going to be camping, you might need to purchase additional pegs.
Check out the key features and benefits of the Marmot Limelight 3p here.
The 68 x 90 floor space of the Marmot Limelight 3p is one of the reasons backpackers everywhere turn to this product as a go-to choice for group camping. The nice thing about these spacious dimensions is that everyone inside the tent will have enough space to sleep in any direction they choose without feeling cramped or uncomfortable.
The pre-bent pole is also great because you’ll have more headspace with a 48-inch peak height, which comes in really handy if you’re packing or just need to sit up.
The packaged weight of the Marmot Limelight 3p is just 7 pounds and 3.4 ounces (not counting the stakes). With all the components such as the footprint, stakes, rain fly, etc., included, it comes in at a packaged weight of 7 pounds and 9.2 ounces.
Not bad for a 3-person tent!
Ventilation and breathability are significant components to consider when reviewing any backpacking tent, and the Marmot Limelight 3p certainly delivers on that score. With mesh ventilation on the ceiling and upper walls, you won’t have to worry about feeling stuffy or clammy in warmer weather.
I also noted the nice gap between the outside cover and tent walls, which greatly enhances overall breathability too. The vents are situated on either side of the fly, which is fantastic because this prevents condensation from gathering inside the tent. You can also reach the vent from outside or inside the tent as you need to.
The material of the tent is solid to about halfway up the tent wall, which means plenty of privacy for your group and good wind blockage too. The inside doors have dual, jingle-free zips, but you can also take the fly off to look at the night sky through the mesh canopy if you desire.
Another key element I look for in a backpacking tent is outside coverage that is durable and waterproof, and I were pleased to see that the Marmot Limelight 3p satisfies on both accounts.
The fly is designed from polyester taffeta sporting durable 68 denier specifications, with a fully waterproof exterior so you won’t get wet and chilled if it starts to rain.
Easy setup and breakdown is also a key feature I look for in the best backpacking tents, and yet again, the Marmot Limelight 3p comes through. The tent is super easy to set up and breakdown and 1 person can do this without any issues.
The corners of the tent are color-coded, which makes setup even easier, especially for novice backpackers. All you have to do is align the dual orange tabs at the feet with the fly’s dual orange tabs, clip, and cinch.
Another feature I really liked was the freestanding element, which means you can pick the tent up and move it to a different spot if you need to. The tent comes with a footprint that you can also use if you require.
To breakdown, you just remove the corner and vestibule stakes, take out the pulls, unclip, and you’re done! It’s easy to fold the tent and roll it up with the fly and pole bag, which means you'll have no issue fitting the entire thing into your gear.
You want to hear what users actually have to say about the product. To save you time and trouble, I scoured the internet to discover what real users really have to say about the Marmot Limelight 3p.
Spoiler alert—they love it! Overall, users were more than pleased with the lightweight, durable, and spacious design of the tent, that makes for easy gear transport and user-friendly setup and breakdown.
If you’re not quite sold on the Marmot Limelight 3p or think space might be a tad too tight for what you’re looking for, check out the 3 alternative options below.
The Big Agnes Copper Tent is definitely a pricier option than the Marmot Limelight 3p, but it also comes in 1, 2, 3, and 4-person designs so you can choose what you need based on the size of the group you generally travel with. The tent is super lightweight like the Marmot 3p, with a high-volume pole that opens up the interior and multiple zippers.
The Big Agnes definitely offers more storage capacity though, with a huge ceiling pocket, dual inside mesh pockets, dual vestibules, a single oversized mesh pocket, and even dual cord routing panels. Check it out for yourself!
The MSR Hubba is a 2-person tent rather than the 3p capacity of the Marmot. It features 20 denier ripstop nylon and 15 denier nylon mesh, unlike the 68-denier polyester taffeta of the Limelight model.
The MSR Hubba is even more lightweight than the Marmot 3p at just 3.8 pounds set up, but not quite as durable. If lightweight is your goal though and you don’t camp all the time, this shouldn’t be an issue. It’s a 3-season tent like the Marmot 3p, with mesh panels for ventilation.
The inside isn’t quite as open as the 3p but offers quality space for 2 people for shorter backpacking trips. Click the link to learn more!
The Nemo Dagger runs a close second to the Marmot Limelight 3p, at a slightly steeper price. The 3-season tent offers plenty of space for campers to stretch out, with dual doors and vestibules for gear storage like the Limelight 3p. It is lightweight and easy to set up, with spacious 87 x 67 dimensions, which are great for 2 people, but probably a bit tight for 3.
The Nemo Dagger also comes with all the necessary components like the Marmot 3p, such as the fly, poles, stakes, and guy-out cord. So, the only major disparity here between the two is the price. Take a look!
If you’re looking for a backpacking tent that holds up well in moderate winds and downpours, is easy to set up and breakdown, gives you plenty of floor space, and feels pretty light in your pack, the Marmot Limelight 3 surpasses the mark on all counts.
It is cost-effective and made to last and will see you through all your outdoor excursions for 3 seasons of the year. Considering how large the tent is, the packed and packaged weight is impressive. Ready to take the plunge? Check out the Marmot Limelight 3p for your next backpacking adventure!