I don’t know about you, but camping in the great outdoors is therapeutic.
Yes, it could be expensive because most tents offer excellent zone construction like vertical walls for more floor space, durable tent poles, and more, which other tents don’t have.
If you’re trying to find the best backpacking tent…
…you’ve come to the right place, ’cause we’ve got it covered for you!
The Limelight and the Tungsten are two of Marmot’s best selling tents and are outdoor tent industry leaders. This is exactly why it’s so hard to decide which one to buy.
To help you choose between two of the hottest tents on the market, we’ve broken down all the details by category.
Point blank, the Limelight has more perks that lead to versatility.
But, let’s take a deeper look at the Marmot Limelight vs Tungsten.
Review of Marmot Limelight and Tungsten
- Compact three-person igloo tent, two D-Shaped entrances with two spacious apses for equipment; self-supporting inner tent with upper No-See-Um mesh to protect from vermin and for ventilation
- Well thought-out, spacious hiking tent thanks to a specially pre-bent pole in the lower third, providing for Nearly vertical Walls for more space and a lot of headroom
- Highly water-repellent outdoor tent (1, 500 water column) with completely band-welded seams and raised floor tray; UV-resistant; extremely wind-resistant with the right tension
- Very light and rugged 3/DAC Press-Fit 9 mm/ Velocity aluminium 8.5 mm pole with colour-coding for simply pitching of this trekking tent, spacious entrances, various inside pockets
- Backpacking tent, inside measurements 229 x 170 x 122 cm, Outside 229 x 326 x 122 cm (L x W x H); pack size: 56 x 20 cm; Weight: 2.98 kg; Includes carrying bag, guy wires and tent pegs, ground sheet
The Marmot Limelight 3P is a three season tent engineered to optimize space. Vertical sidewalls, exterior vestibules, and interior storage opportunities allow you more space to make yourself comfortable. A wide, 360 degree zippered door in the front, a slightly smaller door in the back, and a canopy of mesh encourage a large amount of airflow through this tent.
Strategic clip placement means more floor space inside the tent. The tent body pulls outward in all the right places to give you more interior space in every zone of the tent.
This tent has all the bells and whistles to make a great car camping tent. Yet, it’s light enough to take on backcountry adventures. With the Marmot name on the front, you can trust that this camping tent will be reliable and long-lasting.
- Pre-bent pole design
- A good amount of privacy
- Two large fly vestibules
- Large scenic lookout door
- On the heavier end of the spectrum for a backpacking tent
- Limited ventilation with flysheet attached
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- Ultra-light four-person igloo tent, two D-shaped entrances with two spacious apses for equipment; self-supporting inner tent with upper no-see-um mesh to protect from vermin and for ventilation
- Well thought-out, spacious hiking tent thanks to a specially pre-bent pole in the lower third, providing for nearly vertical walls for more space and a lot of headroom
- Highly water-repellent outdoor tent (1,500 water column) with completely band-welded seams and raised floor tray; UV-resistant; extremely wind-resistant with the right tension
- Very light and rugged 4/DAC NSL 9 mm pole with colour-coding for simply pitching of this trekking tent; spacious entrances, various inside pockets, roof pocket for headlamp
- Backpacking tent, measurements 234 x 203 x 137 cm (L x W x H); pack size: 70 x 20 cm; weight: 2.7 kg; includes carrying bag, guy wires and enough tent pegs
Marmot tents have taken all the Tungsten’s fan-favorite features and lightened the load to create the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P. This backpacking tent is ideal for backcountry treks but suitable for a camping trip all the same.
Two opposite facing large d shaped doors, tons of mesh, and fly vents ventilate this tent to make for a comfortable internal space. Marmot has checked all the boxes to weatherproof this tent. This includes a bathtub-style weatherproof floor, taped seams, and a rain fly fabric engineered to not sag in the rain.
Its lightweight nature and spacious design make the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P an extremely versatile tent.
- Lightweight tent (3 lbs 12.5 oz)
- Two fly vestibules
- Great ventilation throughout
- Dual doors on opposite walls
- It comes with a lampshade pocket and included drawstring bag
- No footprint included
- Limited privacy without flysheet attached
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Features Face to Face
The setup process for the Limelight and the Tungsten UL are nearly identical.
Both tents have a standard dome shape pitch consisting of two main poles. A third pole crosses over the top of the dome for extra support over the doors.
Both tents have color-coded clips that match the poles, which takes the guessing out of setting up your tent. The tent clips are also strategically placed to optimize interior floor space for sleeping bags, sitting, and head zones.
A full-coverage rainfly comes included with both the Limelight and the tungsten UL. These flysheets are color-coded and can be staked out at the doorways to create two vestibules.
The only noticeable difference in the two tents’ setup process is the Limelight comes with an included free footprint. The Tungsten UL does not include a footprint, but of course, one can be used if purchased separately.
Footprints are one tent accessory where you can’t go wrong. They add added protection and an extra layer of warmth to your tent floor. Because the Limelight comes with a footprint included, the Marmot Limelight 3P wins this category.
The materials on both of these tents are top quality. However, there are some differences between the two to cater to the intended use for each.
The Marmot Limelight 3P is made of 68D polyester taffeta and 40D polyester no-see-um mesh. This tent’s rain fly is also 68D polyester taffeta, with a thread count of 190T and a waterproof rating of 1500mm. These materials are durable, lightweight, and water-resistant.
The Marmot Tungsten UL 3P uses different materials to live up to its ultralight name. The main canopy is made of 15D nylon no-see-um mesh. The fly fabric is a sil/PU coated 20D polyester ripstop with a waterproof rating of 1200mm.
As you can see, the Tungsten UL uses nylon and much more mesh, whereas the Limelight uses polyester. This largely attributes to the three-pound weight difference between the two because nylon is lighter than polyester.
The Tungsten UL makes great use of lightweight materials without skimping on durability. Thus, the Tungsten UL is our winner for the materials category.
Being that both the Limelight and the Tungsten UL are Marmot tents, it’s safe to say that they can take a beating in a storm. Marmot does extensive research and re-design to make sure their tents perform well.
The Limelight uses polyester fabric, whereas the Tungsten UL uses nylon. Both are water-resistant; however, nylon is known to be more durable in the long run.
Both tents are seam taped throughout, but one noticeable difference is found in the floor designs. The Tungsten UL has a bathtub style floor, which is typically favored in terms of waterproofing. Contrarily, the Limelight has a catenary cut floor, which means it doesn’t rise on the sides. Instead, the seams are taped to prevent water from seeping in.
Limelight’s rain fly has a better waterproof rating (1500mm vs. 1200mm). However, it’s important to consider that the Tungsten’s rain fly is sil/PU coated, unlike the Limelight.
This is a give-and-take situation. Both tents have different yet equal material and waterproofing benefits. Although the methods do differ, one is not better than the other, and both will keep you bone dry.
One of the most highly favored features that these two tents share is the pre-bent pole design.
The Marmot tent uses pre-bent poles, so they bend and straighten out through its lower section. Unlike standard tents, tents with pre bent poles have a vertical wall shape or sidewall.
Vertical sidewalls draw the tent material out and away from the sleeping zone. So now you can rest right up next to the sidewall without the sidewall resting on you.
Just from comparing photos of the two tents, it’s clear to see that the poles of the Limelight bend much higher than the Tungsten UL. The lengthened vertical walls give the Limelight more interior space. This leads us to deem Limelight as the winner of this category.
Both the Limelight and the Tungsten UL have two doors on opposite tent walls. This design is a great way to encourage a cross breeze to flow through the tent.
The Limelight features one extra large door that zips completely open and tucks away at the bottom. This gives you a wide range of views of the outdoors.
The door alignment on both tents is a well-designed feature. However, the extra large, scenic door on the Marmot Limelight adds to its versatility and functionality. Therefore, Limelight takes the W in this category as well.
The Limelight weighs in at 6 lbs 0.5 oz. A tent this size is ideal for car camping but absolutely able to be packed up and taken backpacking.
The Tungsten UL weighs in at a slim 3 lbs 12 oz. Marmot has engineered this tent to be ultralight, and it certainly shows.
Stand Out Features of the Marmot Limelight
The tent body of the Marmot Limelight is made of polyester taffeta up through the tent’s sleeping and sitting zones. This provides a good amount of privacy inside the tent when the rain fly is off.
One of the best parts of camping is the beautiful outdoor settings that you find yourself in. The Limelight allows you to take in that gorgeous view from the comfort of your tent. It accomplishes this through its large door design. The front door of the tent has a 360-degree zipper. You can open the tent door, tuck it away, and immerse yourself in nature.
With less concern about weight than the Tungsten UL, the Limelight has several interior accessories. There are standard interior pockets, ceiling hooks, and gear loft loops. However, the gear loft itself is sold separately. These accessories increase livability and make your camping experience more enjoyable.
A footprint is a great tent accessory to have. It prevents sticks and stones from puncturing the floor of your tent, acts as an extra barrier to groundwater, and adds a layer of insulation. The Limelight comes with a footprint included, which means you can always have one on hand, and you don’t have to try to stuff a separate one into the tent sack.
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Stand Out Features of the Marmot Tungsten UL
They don’t call the Tungsten UL ultralight for anything. This tent weighs in at only 3 lbs 12.5 oz. This allows you to pack it on any hike easily.
Storm Resistant Flysheet
Marmot has engineered a special rainfly for the Tungsten UL that is both ultralight and durable in a storm. Many times, flysheets made of ultralight materials sag in the rain and eventually let in water. Tungsten is even more susceptible to this problem because the tent body is made almost completely of mesh panels.
However, Marmot has overcome this problem with its innovative rainfly design. They’ve created the Rain-Shield flysheet that holds true to the Tungsten’s lightweight nature but resists sagging in the rain.
The Tungsten’s tent body almost completely meshes. This allows for a huge amount of ventilation inside the tent. With the rainfly off you’re essentially sleeping in a high quality mosquito net. So, you can sleep surrounded by the crisp backcountry air without the bug bites.
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Which is Better, the Marmot Limelight 3P or the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P?
Back to your question, what is better, Marmot Tungsten or Limelight?
The Marmot Limelight 3P and the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P are two tents that are extremely similar to each other. The small differences between the two tailor them to excel in their unique intended purposes.
Use the Marmot Limelight 3P if:
- You need a versatile tent that you can take car camping;
- You may want to take the same tent backpacking;
- Large doors for scenic views are important to you, and;
- You like privacy in the sleeping zone of the tent
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Us the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P if:
- You’ll be primarily using this tent while backpacking;
- You think the more mesh walls, the better, and;
- You need an ultralight tent
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Needless to say, any tent trademarked with the Marmot name is sure to be a high performing piece of gear. These two tents are so hard to choose between because they are both tried and true. The Marmot Limelight and the Marmot Tungsten UL are both beneficial pieces to have in your camping gear collection.