Marmot Limelight vs Tungsten: Which is the Better Tent

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Marmot Limelight vs Tungsten: Which is the Better Tent

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

Marmot Limelight 3P

Marmot Limelight 3P
  • 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 3-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 back, and a canopy of mesh encourage a large amount of airflow through this tent.

Strategic clip placement means more space inside the tent. The tent body pulls outward in all the right places to give you more space in every zone of the tent.

This tent has all the bells and whistles to make a great car camping tent. Yet, it is light enough to take on backcountry adventures. With the Marmot name on the front, you can trust that this tent will be reliable and long-lasting.

Pros

  • Pre-bent pole design
  • A good amount of privacy
  • Two large fly vestibules
  • Large scenic lookout door

Cons

  • On the heavier end of the spectrum for backpacking
  • Limited ventilation with flysheet attached

Marmot Tungsten UL 3P

Marmot Tungsten UL 3P
  • 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 has taken all the Tungsten’s fan-favorite features and lightened the load to create the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P. This tent is ideal for backcountry treks, but suitable for car camping all the same.

Two opposite facing doors, tons of mesh, and fly vents ventilate this tent to make for a comfortable interior. Marmot has checked all the boxes to weatherproof this tent. This includes a bathtub style floor, taped seams, and a rainfly engineered to not sag in the rain.

Its lightweight nature and spacious design make the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P an extremely versatile tent.

Pros

  • Lightweight (3 lbs 12.5 oz)
  • Two fly vestibules
  • Great ventilation throughout
  • Two doors on opposite walls

Cons

  • No footprint included
  • Limited privacy without flysheet attached

Features Face to Face

Setting Up

Setting Up

The set up 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 up to the poles, which takes the guessing out of setting up your tent. The clips are also strategically placed to optimize interior space in the sleeping, 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 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.

Materials

Materials

The materials on both of these tents are top quality. However, there are some differences between the two in order 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 rainfly 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.

More: Full Review of the Marmot Halo 6 Person Tent

Weather Resistance

Weather Resistance

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 they’re 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 up on the sides. Instead, the seams are taped to prevent water from seeping in.

The Limelight’s rainfly has a better waterproof rating (1500mm vs. 1200mm). However, it’s important to consider that, unlike the Limelight, the Tungsten’s rainfly is sil/PU coated. 

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.

More: Tentsile Una Tree Tent Review

Poles

One of the most highly favored features that these two tents share is the pre-bent pole design.

The poles that Marmot uses for these tents are pre-bent, so they bend and straighten out through the tent’s lower section. Unlike standard tents, tents with pre-bent poles have vertical sidewalls.

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 the Limelight as the winner of this category.

More: What is The Best Teepee Tent [Review and Buying Guide]

Doors

Doors

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 view 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, the Limelight takes the W in this category as well.

More: The Best Inflatable Tent On The Market [Review and Buying Guide]

Weight

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. 

There’s no question that the Marmot Tungsten UL beats out the Limelight in this face-off.

Stand Out Features of the Marmot Limelight

Privacy

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 rainfly is off. 

Scenic View

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.

More: The Best 10 Person Tents and How to Find Them

Interior Accessories

With less concern about weight than the Tungsten UL, the Limelight has several interior accessories. There are standard 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.

Included Footprint

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.

Stand Out Features of the Marmot Tungsten UL

Lightweight

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. The Tungsten is even more susceptible to this problem because the tent body is made almost completely of mesh.

However, Marmot has overcome this problem with their 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.

More: What Is The Best Tent For Beach Camping? The Answer

Ventilation

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.

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
  • You like privacy in the sleeping zone of the tent

Us the Marmot Tungsten UL 3P if:

  • You’ll be primarily using this tent while backpacking
  • You think the more mesh, the better
  • You need an ultralight tent

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 gear collection.

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Tim Fox

Tim Fox

Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all. You can find more about him here

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