Marmot Limelight 3 Person Tent Review

Marmot Limelight 3 Person Tent bodyYou can get a good night’s rest and store your gear under cover in the Marmot Limelight 3-Person Tent.

On a summer trip to the mountains or spring storm-chase the Limelight has the reliability and comfort to see you through.

But does this hold true when you are three Buddies together? Read on to find out..

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Size and Comfort

Table of Contents

Jump Ahead!
1. Size and Comfort
2. Season and Weather
3. Floor
4. Weight
5. Ease of Set Up
6. Dismantling, Breaking camp
7. Durability and Quality
8. Camping Situations for Your Tent(Best Uses)
9. Consumer Experiences
10. Out of the box
11. Manufacturer
12. Accessories (Included or to Consider)
13. Specifications
14. Features
15. Pros
16. Cons
17. Consumer Ratings
18. Price/Value

Having written this review six years ago it’s gratifying to find this tent is still extremely popular in 2020.
There’s no doubt that this is an Awesome tent, indeed a perfect 1 dog, 2 person tent!  Well, that’s exactly what a lot of people want, and expect, from a three-person camping tent. The dog is interchangeable with a smaller child, I guess, and that depends on the build and height of the people concerned.

As is usual with almost any tent, one person less than the ‘sleeps’ number stated is always going to be more comfortable. Many would advise always to go up one person size, and for optimum comfort, that does apply to this tent.

You will have plenty room for two people in comfort. All your gear will fit either inside or in the two big vestibules.

But what if you are a group of 3 backpacking buddies? You better be good buddies, I think, and not wrigglers when you sleep.  You can sleep 3 people on 20″ sleeping pads leaving little space for ‘stuff’ inside the tent, and Marmot makes a good attempt at solving this problem. However, the bonus of two doors, one each side, is lost for the ‘piggy in the middle’.

Marmot Limelight 3 Person RainFlyCheck how tall you are too. It should fit a 6’3″ person ok, but three tall people? Hmm.  Once you get to 6’5″ you need to get your head well into the end of the tent to avoid your feet pushing against the other end.

Supposing the intrepid three are caught in a long daytime downpour, well then, they would have to pile up the sleeping pads to leave some room to sit and play cards or something, and there is good headroom to sit up in the tent. Not ideal, but some will be happy with that.

For the smaller bits and pieces we carry, flashlights, keys, cells etc. not only is there a good hook up gear loft overhead but a mesh pocket in every corner. Gear and wet stuff is stored under cover outside the sleeping area in the two vestibules.

The Limelight has overcome the loss of space common to dome tents with a ‘Brow’ pole which pulls the tent outwards, making the sides with doors nearly vertical and giving extra space inside. This pole also holds the fly away from the doors making the two roomy vestibules which allow you store gear and wet stuff out of the main living space.

This is also a feature of the Kelty Trail Ridge 3 tent, and these two have much in common, but there are differences so it is worth reading that review also.


Marmot Limelight 3 Person body yellowThe design is not all mesh but is only at the top of the tent with panels at the bottom. The 2 large mesh roof panels in the Limelight 3 keep it well ventilated. If there is a danger of condensation build-up you do need to use the guys on the fly and stake it out properly. Users found that even when there was some condensation on the rain fly, the tent stayed dry.

The mesh roof panels will keep out sundry insects and bugs, however tiny, and leaving the fly off in suitable weather is great for stargazing.  There is a small window in the fly giving you the opportunity to check what’s going on outside without opening up the doors.

One Man Tent?

I must mention here that there were numerous users extolling the virtues of this tent for a solo camper. Not so much the backpackers, but people who like to get away from it all with a motorbike, or a car. Also for people who have a temporary job or another reason to be away from home for a short while and need some things around them and room to relax.

Season and Weather

This is NOT a tent that is meant to keep you warm in freezing weather, so the Marmot Limelight 3 Person Tent is definitley a 3 season tent. Of course, there are always those who will wrap up warm and chance it in the snow (Brrr…) and it can stand some snow on top. The dome contruction and strong poles will let you get away with it.

Marmot Limelight 3 Person fly orangeThe tent performs very well with conditions ranging from cold clear fall days, to hot and humid days, and some rough weather in between.

According to multiple users this tent is one to trust in bad weather. It is waterproof even in exceptionally heavy rain and thunderstorms, and withstood up to 45 mile-an-hour winds.

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This tent has a perimeter cut floor also known as a Catenary cut. This permits the floor to be pulled tight, maximising the usable floor area. The seams are fully taped and the fabric is PU coated.

The footprint supplied with the tent fits the tent floor, but does not extend to the vestibule areas. If you want a floor covering there you will have to cut some tarp material to size.

By the way y’all: I have added a page explaining some of the ‘tenting tech’ terms before too long. I thought I was familiar with most, but I keep coming across new ones, and some of you will be brand new to all this…


This tent weighs in at a little more than some, at a minimum weight of 5 lbs. 15 oz. and package weight of 6 lbs. 11 oz. These are the weights quoted by the manufacturer in February 2014.

This is on the heavy side for Solo Backpacking, but with 2 people sharing the weight, it’s perfectly fine.

One user stated that packed in the bag with the footprint and everything, the tent weighs in at 7lbs 12oz. – It may have been the earlier model.

Now, I don’t know exactly what was packed, so if any current owner of the latest version of the tent would care to list the items packed and weigh them, I would love to list that info here. It could be very useful information for people. Please use the comment box if you would like to add that info 🙂

Update 2020

The Marmot Limelight comes with a footprint included at Amazon and these sizes and weights are stated as correct by a seller:
Minimum Weight: 6 pounds 0.5 ounce.
Trail Weight: 6 pounds 11 ounces.
Weight with packaging: 7.5 lb.

Ease of Set Up

Pitching this tent is easy as pie. It’s a piece of cake, a breeze!

These are the type of comments I find all over the place. It certainly is a very simple system that can easily be managed by one. You don’t need to be big and strong to do it either, and the whole thing can be assembled in under 5 mins after a practice run.

Just peg it out,  assemble the crossed poles and pop them in the corners, attach the ‘brow’ pole and then you can hook up the tent with the easy to use double hooks.

The fly is easy too, being color coded to match up with the right corners.
Pull out and peg the guy ropes and you’re done!

The tent can also be set up ‘Bare Bones’ meaning you can use only the poles, footprint and fly for a weather-proof structure. If you don’t need the tent you can leave it at home.

It’s all very clear in Marmot Mountain’s short Video:

How to Set Up a Marmot Tent

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What can I say – this tent comes down real quick and it packs up easily fitting into its bag without a problem.

Durability and Quality

Marmot Limelight 3 Persons TentThe build quality of this tent is high and users state it is a sturdy tent that can stand a lot of punishment.  Some users have owned the  previous version of the tent for several years, but the statement is still valid as the main change for the most recent version has been the design of the zippered doors (the shape, and eliminating the lower mesh).

It has DAC tent poles that are created from a unique alloy making them lighter and stronger than other aluminum poles.

The fabric is tough and the clips are attached with cloth tags, distributing the pull on the seams. These in turn are fully taped. Stress points, such as the fly ends are reinforced with webbing and sewn securely.

All the zippers work well, are very quiet and have a snag-free zipper flap. The reflective tie-down points are a nice touch for night-time visibility helping to avoid tripping over them.

Camping Situations for Your Tent (Best Uses)

This is a good tent for those who demand some comfort in their camping life and good weather protection. While this is not the lightest of tents, neither is it the heaviest and it is popular with pairs of backpackers who can choose to split the load.

Marmot Limelight 3 PersonTent ReviewFor the casual recreational camper, this is a reliable tent with some nice storage features and a bug-free environment.

While it can’t be recommended for use by three people together, it can be done. Couples and duos can be very comfortable even if stuck in the tent on a rainy day.

Car campers with a dog, canoe/kayak campers and motorcycle campers can take it on excursions with ease and the freestanding design is ideal for backyard camping.

Consumer Experiences

I read reviews by consumers from loads of different suppliers and it was hard to find much negative talk about this tent.  I wanted to find out everything about the tent since the purpose behind the whole review is to make it easier to decide whether this is the tent for you.
In my quest to try give to you a fair assessment, it became a hunt to find things wrong with it!

This version of the Marmot Limelight came out in 2013 and many of the features apply to the 2 man and the 4 man tents, as well as the 3 man tent we are examining here. Looking at reviews in 2020 the 5/5 ratings still dominate and most recent users sing its praises.

With that in mind here are some summarised comments:

Top notch tent!
Plenty room for two people and all your gear. Would be very tight with three people. Love the two big vestibules for storing your packs, boots and other misc. items.
Very sturdy tent with tough material. Mine all packed in the bag with the footprint and all weighs in at 7lbs 12oz. A bit on the heavy side, but this is a very tough tent.

It would be better, I think, if the fly set up farther away from the tent to limit condensation but careful setup should take care of that. The gear loft is nice.

The tent stakes are light, the ‘not all mesh’ design is nice, the buckle rainfly is a plus and the little window is a cool feature to have.

The limelight 3P is the best tent we’ve owned.
It never leaks. No condensation problems. Simple setup. Can be put up by one person. Lightweight. Affordable too. Excellent all around tent.

Plenty of head room when sitting up, play cards etc.

All the zippers worked well. Tie down points are all very reflective.

I have used it for a few weekend long backpacking trips. It is lightweight for long days of Hiking.
The best part is how easily it sets up, 5min tops with a partner. This has been the best and easiest I have worked with.

December 16, 2013
It kept us completely dry in the Black Hills during a severe thunderstorm and multiple downpours.
Exceeded all of my expectations.

Would like to have more than a single window, however. It can get a bit stale inside as well, unless you’re willing to leave the fly open all day. Also, the storage pockets inside cannot hold very much. The attached X tent poles is a hassle, at least for me. There was condensation buildup.

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Out of the box

The Marmot Limelight 3P tent is ready to go and comes equipped with a footprint.
All carry sacks and stakes are included.
For those who like to buy stronger stakes I believe the Marmot Limelight 3P comes with nine stakes.


Marmot has a reputation for being innovators in the field of outdoor gear and outstanding customer service.
Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley started making outdoor gear in 1974.
Eric was one of the first in the U.S. to see a new concept in outdoor performance fabrication called Gore-Tex.
A quote from a customer:-
“This was some of the best customer service I have had with any company.”


Marmot gives you a FREE nylon Footprint and Gear Loft
If you want floors in the vestibules you might want a tarp to cut to size.

Specifications (2014)

I found a set of sizes in 2016 that were slightly different from the Specs. below – only ounces difference but some want to know accurately. I cannot determine how accurate this is:

Minimum Weight: 6 pounds 0.5 ounce.
Trail Weight: 6 pounds 11 ounces.  Pkg Wt?
Weight with packaging: 7.5 lb.  perhaps they mean ready for shipping…
Tent Area: 42.5 square feet.
Floor Dimensions: 68 inches by 90 inches.

Min Wt     5 lbs. 15 oz.
Pkg Wt     6 lbs. 11 oz.
Dimensions     7′ 9″ x 5′ 6″
Area (Sq. Ft.)     42.6 + 10 vest + 10 vest
Int Height     3’10”
Pack Size     22″x8″
No. of Poles     3
Pole Size     9mm
Pole Material     DAC PressFit 7001 Aluminum
No. of Doors     2
Hooded Fly     no
No. of Windows     1
Gear Loft     included
Floor Material     70D nylon 3000mm coating
Fly Material     68D polyester ripstop 1800mm coating
Wall Material     68D polyester ripstop/no-see-um mesh
Roof Material     68D polyester ripstop/no-see-um mesh
Netting     no-see-um mesh
Style     dome
Activities     camping, scouting, canoeing
Use     3.5 season
Special Features     Full coverage fly, 2 vestibules, mesh roof

Features as described by Marmot

The Limelight 3P follows the “keep it simple” principle for quick set-up, weight-minimization and camping in style. D-shaped door allows no-step entry/exit; color coded webbing and poles for easier set-up. A roomy side vestibule keeps gear dry in wet weather.

Feature List

Gear Loft and Footprint Included, DAC Press-Fit Poles, Full Coverage Fly, Two Doors / Two Vestibules, Bare Bones Setup, Catenary Cut Floor, Jingle-Free Nylon Zipper Pulls, Light-Reflective Points, Multiple Pockets, Snag-Free Zipper Flap

Tent Floor Fabric:     70d 100% Nylon PU 3000mm W/R, F/R
Tent Canopy Fabric:    68d 100% Polyester Ripstop,F/R | 40d 100% Polyester No-See-Um Mesh F/R
Tent Fly Fabric:   68d 100% Polyester Ripstop 1800mm, W/R, F/R
Tent Dimensions:    46 x 66 x 93in, 117 x 168 x 236cm
Tent Pole Data:    3 / DAC Press-Fit 9.0mm
Tent Min Weight: (Poles, Body, Fly)    5lbs 15oz (2692g)
Tent Max Weight:    6lbs 11oz (3032g)

Other Features: –
Side vestibules provides additional storage (10 q ft)
Jingle free Zipper Pulls, Light Reflective strips on the fly and multiple storage pockets
Fire Retardant
Bare Bones –  To Save Weight – take the poles, fly and included fitted footprint to create an ultralight shelter – leave the tent body home.


Easy to set up
Durable, Sturdy
Fly works well
Two Doors for easy ingress/egress
Water proof
Easy To Take Down, pack up
Reflective points


Too cramped for 3
Best For 2 Adults

Consumer Ratings

There were large numbers of 5 star ratings for this tent, and these become almost universal among the latest reviews I found.
Overall  I would 4.6 out of 5 stars is a fair assessment.


Although this costs more than some of the others in its class, it is still a mid-price quality tent. The extra cost is offset by the provision of a footprint and it does have some useful extra touches that are appealing. The quality is excellent and I believe the Marmot Limelight 3 Person Tent is good value for money.

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