While both tents are rated for two people to camp comfortably and three people to camp not-so-comfortably during three seasons, the clear winner is the Limelight 3P as it had more bells and whistles included with it, such as the gear loft, more head & floor space, well thought out entrances and higher solid wall design for more warmth and privacy.
It's better suited to extended-stay, static campers because of the extra features and added privacy.
Its biggest downside is that although the floor space is 1 square feet larger than the Tungsten, it's still too tight for 3 adults unless they're very skinny and/or are OK with sleeping inside the tent without moving.
Also, you'll have a breeze of a time setting up & packing away both tents quickly and easily.
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More head AND floor space, great gear loft, more warmth and privacy, easy set up, much larger doors
Easy set up, better ventilation
Not the best for 3 people, 1 lbs heavier than Tungsten
Even worse for 3 people!, no gear loft, more mesh walls cause less privacy
More serious, extended campers
Both tents are rated for three seasons, but the Limelight has the edge over the Tungsten, which could be a bit chilly in the autumn months due to the higher percentage of mesh in the tent walls. The Limelight offers a gear loft while the Tungsten does not. The Tungsten offers two large doors, while the Limelight has one very large and one large door.
Because 2 person versions are considerably inferior to 3p and 4p and much smaller; while the 4p versions cause a little too much of a hassle like the difficulty to pack along, weight, size etc - without providing any worthwhile extra benefits. To us, 3P versions are the best of both models.
Different volumes mean different products. DO NOT use the information given in this post to decide between 2p or 4p versions of these tents.
The Limelight and the Tungsten each feature zone construction, which Marmot has achieved through the pre-bent poles and strategically placed clips, used to create almost vertical wall construction and offer more headroom. Both tents come complete with all you could need to set up camp including stakes, guy lines and storage bags. However, we think that sturdier stakes and reflective guy lines would be a wise purchase before you set out.
Backpackers find the Limelight and Tungsten easy to carry for a single person but also offer tips on splitting up the tents between two or three people to lighten the load. Because both tents compress into reasonably sized drawstring bags, they are ideal to pack as standard gear in a truck, van, car, boat or motorcycle.
We've been buying tents online for years and never had any problems. Before you buy, do make sure to check the seller's return policy, but you can almost always return an unused tent within a certain time frame and you're good. If you don't dig it after trying at home, you can always return!
Both models tick all the must-have boxes for backpackers as they are easy to pack along & setup. Same with long-trekkers, who find setup and tear down quick and easy thanks to the pole and clip design, with color coding on every component so the tent is the same every time. Static campers like festival campers or long-term visitors will find the three-season rating and spacious design very comfortable for extended camping.
Marmot Limelight 3P Quick Review
Thanks to the generous ventilation, condensation isn’t a concern. The full-coverage rain-fly offers two vestibules for additional storage. A bathtub-style or u-shaped floor keeps water out even on hard ground.
Marmot Tungsten 3P Quick Review
Ventilation system in the fly prevents condensation without a hitch. Two entrances are the utmost in convenience and airflow on hot nights. A waterproof footprint is included but may be left behind if desired to reduce weight. A bathtub-style or u-shaped floor keeps water out even on hard ground. A headlamp pocket is built-in as are four storage pockets in all corners.
Some may consider it a bit heavy for a backpacking tent at over 6 lbs. (2850 g). The interior space may not be entirely comfortable for three people, and measurements should be taken if sleeping pads or cots are being used. There is no gear loft included, just straps for one sold separately. The sidewalls have a high percentage of mesh, which may not be suitable for cooler weather and offer little privacy. Headroom is adequate, but not generous when standing to dress or get a view of the horizon.
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Ease of Use
Ease of Set-up
The Limelight 3P features a pre-bent pole and clip setup, a system that has been well thought out by Marmot designers. The three poles press-fit together to make two long poles for the structure and one short pole, which is called the “brow” pole. After laying out the two longer poles in an X shape across the center of the tent just clip the seams to the poles and fit the ends into the corner grommets. Place the brow pole over the two main poles where they cross, clipping it in place. The rain fly is added by matching up the color-coded tapes to the pitch clips and staking it down to create the vestibules over each door. From footprint to fly, it will only take one person an average of ten minutes to set up the Limelight.
Here is the manual to set-up the Limelight and here's the video by Marmot:
Setup for the Marmot Tungsten 3P model is similar to the Limelight 3P model, with pre-bent poles that are color coded to the tent body and clips. The three poles press-fit together with a tension cord inside for a durable structure. By crossing the two longest over the tent in an X shape, the tent is easily and quickly set up by clipping the tent to the poles. The brow pole is then placed in the grommets on the canopy. Finally, the rain fly is secured with a similar clip system and staked with guy lines to the ground until taunt:
Ease of Packing Away
Packing the Limelight 3P back up is almost as fast as setup. Just remove the vestibule stakes and corner stakes then the poles, unhook the tent clips and break the poles back down, that’s it. Fold the tent to the width of the included bag, and break the poles down, placing them in their own bag. Then just roll the tent up up with the pole bag and rain fly tucked inside.
To pack the Tungsten 3P, remove the stakes and guy lines and fold up the rain fly. Remove the tent poles and disengage them by pulling on each section to loosen the cord. By folding the tent to the same length as the bag and then rolling the accessories, a little compression will get it to fit easily into the included drawstring bag (identical to that of Limelight 3P).
The Limelight has been designed to withstand wind and rain as a three-season tent. The floor of the tent and the rain fly are waterproof, including durably taped seams and special fabric used in the construction. The tent itself is constructed with a u-shaped floor to wall design, which keeps out water even on hard ground. A free footprint is included, which almost seems redundant due to the waterproofing of the tent floor itself, but it’s a nice insurance policy against a wet floor. With use of all six stakes and corner guy lines as advised in the instructions, heavy winds are also not a problem for the Limelight to withstand easily.
Some tents are more waterproof than others and vice versa.
In our case, both tents are at 1500 F/R (=a unit used to measure the waterproofness of a fabric) which means the fabric will withstand a 1500 mm (5 feet) column of water for more than one minute before a single drop will soak through it. In English, it means they're strong enough to prevent rain from leaking in a 75 mph hurricane-force storm - which is great BUT still not enough for winter camping in most cases! When tents are proved to be higher than 1500 F/R they're rated 4 season - which is why both tents in this review are 3 season. Most tents are between 800-1500 F/R - but pro tents such as those of Terra Nova's can go as high as 7000mm!
So although these tents provide great water resistance, it mostly comes insufficient winter camping. If you still insist to use them during winter though, just make sure you know how to heat a tent without electricity and do think of investing a rain fly such as below:
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Rated for the three seasons of spring, summer and autumn, the Tungsten offers high waterproof fabric throughout the tent, rain fly and footprint. The rain fly itself offers full coverage over the tent canopy, complete with securely taped seams. The floor of the Tungsten is cleverly created to keep out water, thanks to its U-shaped construction. Of course, all seams are taped for ultimate water resistance. The dome shape of the Tungsten prevents issues when winds kick up by making it aerodynamic.
Most tent campers worry about condensation, but Marmot has thought of that for Tungsten too. Its rain fly is equipped with vents to lessen the chance that condensation will happen inside the tent. The tent itself has a high percentage of mesh, which allows for airflow to prevent condensation. The airflow also makes the Tungsten more comfortable during warm or hot weather. To keep the heat of the sun off the tent, use the rain fly during the day and remove it at night to catch a cool breeze.
Featuring a d-shaped double door on one side and slightly smaller d-shaped door on the back, the Limelight 3P allows for easy exit and entrance from both sides. This is a great feature for light sleepers, as nobody has to be stepped over for middle-of-the-night trips outside. The larger door can be zipped up or down from either side, or even folded out of the way into a side pouch for easy access. The footprint is made of the same tough, highly waterproof material as the tent floor itself. Also included was a mesh gear loft, providing an inventory with a quick glance overhead.
The Tungsten 3P features two generously sized, d-shaped doors that zip from the sides, both with vestibules courtesy of the rain-fly. The zone construction offers greater living space because of the nearly vertical wall shape. The tent itself has a high percentage of mesh, which is excellent in hot weather to offer cooling breezes for all sleepers. Cleverly shaped like a U, the floor is constructed to keep water out, even if you’re camped on hard ground. You get the same footprint with the Tungsten 3P too.
This is how the front and rear doors of Tungsten 3P are zipped and unzipped.
Easy for a single hiker to take along, the Limelight 3P only weighs around 7 lbs. total (2985 g) with the footprint included; without the footprint, its closer to 6 lbs. Packed up, the Limelight 3P is in a round drawstring bag that is 8 inches around and 22 inches long (56 x 20.3 cm).
Packed for transport, the Tungsten 3P is also 22 inches long and 8 inches in diameter when enclosed in the drawstring bag. The complete weight when packed is 6.5 lbs (2948 g), and gets as light as 5.1 lbs when you ditch the footprint.
Although the floor space of Limelight 3P is 1 square feet larger than the Tungsten 3P, it's still too tight for 3 adults unless they're very skinny and/or can sleep inside the tent without moving. If you're 3 adults planning to use this tent together, make sure checking out how to sleep comfortably in a tent.
At 48 inches high, you have 2 inches of more headroom inside Limelight 3P compared to Tungsten 3P. If you're tall, extra 2 inches makes an important difference as it makes changing your clothes much easier.
There are pockets at all four corners of the Limelight 3P that are great for stashing all the necessities of tent-life. There is also a headlamp pocket in the upper corner of the tent, which was the perfect size to hold a headlamp the right way up and provide light to every corner of the tent.
A storage pocket is built in to each of the four corners at floor height in the Tungsten 3P. Though there is no gear loft, there are straps to secure one if purchased separately. A headlamp pocket is included in the inside top corner of the tent.
For Limelight 3P, the rain fly creates storage vestibules on the side of both d-shaped doors, which are the perfect size for storing backpacks or muddy hiking boots before you enter the tent. One vestibule is slightly smaller than the other, with one at 11.3 square feet and the other at 7.5, which extend the floor space even further.
Each entrance of Tungsten 3P features a vestibule area adding 10.6 and 7.8 square feet, respectively.
The Limelight 3P floor is made of polyester, which is treated to be both water resistant and fire retardant. The canopy and fly are also made of polyester, with a rip resistant weave and are both fire retardant, with the rain fly also treated to be water resistant. The poles are DAC material, which are lightweight yet strong and fit together with a cord system into a pre-bent shape for easy setup. All seams are taped, including those on the floor, footprint and rain fly.
The 9 mm press-fit poles of Tungsten 3P are durable and lightweight, while the nylon tent and floor fabrics are treated to be fire retardant and water resistant. The fly is polyester, meaning it won’t stretch and sag over time, and is treated for waterproof durability. The tent, rain fly and footprint can be cleaned with warm water and a sponge or with mild detergent, if necessary, and allowed to air dry.
The Limelight is sold complete with stakes, guy lines, mesh gear loft, headlamp pocket, footprint and vented rain fly as well as carrying bags. The Limelight is small enough for backpacking and bike trips, even for a single camper, but is easily divided for sharing the load. The rain fly creates almost 19 square feet of vestibule storage space in protected areas on either side of each door. The Limelight can be cleaned with warm water and a sponge or gentle detergents and allowed to air dry out of full sun.
For Tungsten; everything is color coded, so setup is super easy to get right again and again. Marmot has created a zone construction system that provides a roomier tent, ounce-for-ounce, when compared to other three-person rated tents. The packaging includes stakes and guy wires, offering a complete setup on arrival. All seams are taped for full coverage from moisture and rain.
The floor of the tent and the footprint are the same quality, giving you more coverage if you need it, but lightening your load if you don’t. Having doors on either side provides more convenience, while the high percentage of mesh offers maximum airflow even with the doors zipped.
Limelight 3P is the better tent in terms of all design, weather resistance, livability and features. Both tents are very easy to pack away and set up.
If you're planning to use this tent with 3 people mostly and you'd prefer roomy vestibules and entrances with solid wall design adding to the privacy and warmth inside; you should undoubtedly go for Limelight 3P.
However, if you're a little less serious backpacker and will use this tent mostly in a fair-weather with 2 people, Tungsten 3P will work perfectly fine.
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