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I'm looking for a good starter tent for my wife and I. We primarily do light backpacking (anywhere from 3-5 day trips in summer/fall) and would like a tent that balances comfort, weight, and space.

Based on my research thus far, we've narrowed down our search to three different options:

1) Black Diamond Mesa (2-person, 3-season)

2) Marmot Traillight (2-person, 3-season)

3) Marmot Limelight (3-person, 3-season)

Anyone out there have thoughts on these models or comparisons between them? They are all a relatively similar price so this is not an issue

  • 1
    What tent did you have prior? What features did you like the most? What features did you miss? – ppl Jul 20 '14 at 21:40
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    I don't agree that this user is after price shopping. He mentions a price but does not say "where is cheapest", so the close votes are invalid for me. – user2766 Jul 21 '14 at 9:39
  • @Liam I think it still fits the premise of being a "shopping question". It's very specific to those 3 tents, and the question basically boils down to "so whadya think". It could just as well have been closed as "primarily opinion based". – nhinkle Jul 21 '14 at 19:27
  • @nhinkle There is a question regarding this on Meta; meta.outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/505/… – ppl Jul 21 '14 at 20:14
  • @ppl right, and the key quote is "The key to a shopping question is that it asks others 'please make a subjective decision for me and explain it' or 'please list all my possibilities with their strengths and weaknesses'." I think this question at present asks the former (make a subjective decision for me). The question could be improved by editing it to say how he narrowed it down to these tents, how they're different, and what specific differences he's unsure of the implications of. "Anyone have thoughts on these" isn't an objectively answerable question. – nhinkle Jul 21 '14 at 20:17
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These three tents are very similar; freestanding, double-wall dome construction. The limelight is a bit heavier with more floor space. The trail light does not have a transversal pole. Any of them should do just fine.

I used a similar tent, the MSR Hubba Hubba, for a while and was quite satisfied with the design. I now retired the Hubba Hubba in preference of a Stratospire 2 as it is more lightweight and spacious (also cheaper compared to the Hubba Hubba). However, it is not freestanding and require trekking poles instead of DAC poles.

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Tenting with two people always comes down to a few items.

  • How easy is it to get in/out?
  • Is there enough room to fit both people and gear?
  • How much does this thing weigh?
  • Can we afford it?

You've ruled out the cost. Given that all three tents have two doors, getting in and out should be equivalent. So it comes down to balancing weight vs. space.

The Marmot 2P should be ruled out immediately due to only having one vestibule. The Marmot 3P has a little more room, and a lot more vestibule space than the Black Diamond 2P, so the decision just depends on how much the extra room is worth the weight. If you hike ultralight, you should not need all the extra vestibule room of the Marmot 3P, and can save the weight.

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I narrowed the choices down on a few factors:

1) I wanted to spend under $400 for the tent since my wife and I will only use it a handful of times a year. I don't mind buying a nice tent if it's an older model and purchased off season. Perhaps that's way my fashion sense is always a year behind?

2) I was willing to trade weight for a bit of comfort and space since my last tent (a Kelty) was officially a two-person, but was a bit tight for the both of us.

3) I like the gear loft addition (great for lightening, odds and ends, etc) and a double entry tent was a must. Climbing over one's partner in the middle of the night to take a piss is not fun.

In the end, I'm thinking a three-person, three-season like the Marmot limelight is the way to go.

Thanks, all!

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