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Marmot or Eureka

10:51 a.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm looking for a tent. I tend to take pretty good care of my gear, it gets used, and sometimes gets put away wet, until I get home from the activities, get unpacked, and then get the clean up process moving. With that said, I do quite a few different activities, especially with the boy scouts and my son. I tend to go with 3 man tents, as it gives me and my son ample room to maneuver around, store gear, etc. I also, on occasion have my daughter with me (but that's usually camping without any hiking).

The scout troop my son is in is relatively active and does quite a few hiking/camping trips, caving, kayak/canoe camping, dog sledding in Alaska, etc. So, I was looking to upgrade my old tent recently and was looking at four tents that have caught my eye, but am undecided and would like some advice from anyone here. The tents are outlined below:

Eureka: Mountain Pass 2XTE / Mountain Pass 3XTE

Marmot: Limelight 3P / Titan 3

I've looked into maybe buying a 4 season tent, but realize that I am not sure that I really want to lug around a 4 season tent within the price range that I'm looking to spend (around $200-250) as I know the more expensive the tent, usually the lighter it is. Again, there are times we camp right out of our vehicles, but there's another 50% of the time that we're hiking to where we need to be. An 8lb. tent won't be as bad, if 2 of us are hiking it in, yes it's not optimal, but doable. Some of the things I look for in a tent is a vestibule for shoes, gear, etc. Decent pocket storage inside of a tent. Fly has to keep the entire tent dry. Ventilation is key to keep away condensation. Durability, as I use my gear. I usually look for "bathtub" style flooring, as I've had great luck with that style of tent, but could be persuaded to not go with a bathtub style floor.

Anyway, thanks for reading this, and any suggestions you might have.

8:20 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm researching tents, too, though the details are different ... mine is strictly for backpacking, and most likely a single occupant version.

But to the OP's point, I think the same principles apply regardless of the tent type. My general impression (which may be completely off base) is that Eureka is a more generic "consumer" brand, whereas Marmot and certain others are more "upscale", presumably with better construction, better reputation for more extreme conditions, etc.

Is there any truth to this or is it just marketing hype?

12:08 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Hellrasier69 Welcome to Trailspace

Well both Marmot and Eureka are both good brands but Eureka is more economical over all meaning you get more tent for the buck. Also Eureka has a very good customer service and warranty department.


bheser1

I have a Eureka Spitfire it is a simple lightweight tent that works awesome for my needs. As far as quality goes Eureka is IMO first rate from there quality to there customer service and economically.

9:33 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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I tend to believe that weight, moreso than price, is the great gear equalizer. All things being equal, lighter is always better; however, as we all know all things are never equal. While there are differences in features between the Marmot and the Eureka, the $30-ish difference between the two is primarily weight. The Marmot is more expensive and lighter. For my money, it's worth it. That's why I bought the Limelight. I considered the same two tent models in their two person configurations recently when I bought a tent. I got the 2-man version because I rarely have a tentmate when car camping and I'm not willing to carry extra weight when backpacking for a little personal space. You can see my Limelight review here.

A lot of this decision is about what's right for you. There are no glaring flaws with any of your 4 selections, unless of course a 2-man tent is completely infeasible for you.

10:40 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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I do not have experience w/the Marmot model that you specified but I do have to say for the $ the Eureka is one hell of a tent. I own both models(2/3xte) and have done reviews here for both. Yes the Eureka may be a lil heavier but the materials are very hard to beat for the price. You can take a look at my pics. There are a few of both of the Eureka tents. That is the 3xte in my avatar photo. You also get a lifetime warranty w/the tent and if you use it and are not satisfied simply send it back.

11:25 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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I appreciate the input greatly and wouldn't have a problem with a 2 man tent, as many I'm looking at have vestibules for gear which is a bonus. Hiking trips require my son's and my gear to stay as dry as possible. The weight difference is huge, I agree. The fact that there is no "bathtub" style bottom which I'm used to disturbs me a bit on the Marmot tents. I feel less likely to get wet with a bathtub style, but that might be my own judgment. The Eureka 2 looks like it has a nice amount of room, and it does look like a very sturdy tent. I guess my biggest concern is keeping dry, durability, and room.

12:28 p.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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As far as keeping dry goes here is my recommendation. Read the directions and follow them, take good care of your tent and it will take care of you. I have had bathtub bottom tents regular nylon bottom tents and have had good luck staying dry with all of them.

IMO Both are very good brands yes in most cases the Marmot is lighter but there are some Eureka counterparts that are light weight as well. Also IMO Eureka tents are a little more sturdy, ot Meaning in quality but in overall design. IMO Eureka is a better choice tent when dealing with Boy Scouts or such like groups.

If I was going to recommend a tent for you I would look for a Eureka AutumnWind 2 or 3, I was discontinued this year or last year but it has a good design its sturdy & durable but still relatively light weight and very roomy inside.

12:50 p.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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I don't know what "bathtub floor" implies, but Marmot uses what's called a catenary cut to lift the floor seams off the ground.

2:21 p.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Several things to consider:

Eureka generally uses fiberglass poles in their tents. The links you give do not say, which indicates to me that the two Eureka tents do indeed have fiberglass poles. Eureka usually says on their website explicitly when they use aluminum poles. Certain Eurekas do use aluminum poles (the Timberline, for example, which is very popular with Scout troops, especially since Eureka offers discounts to troops for certain of their tents like the Timberline). Marmot uses aluminum poles, DAC in the case of the two you linked (DAC is the major competitor to Easton in quality aluminum poles currently). You may be gentle enough with your tents that fiberglass is durable enough, but I would advise aluminum for most people.

The term "bathtub floor" is a bit misleading. The store clerks will tell you that this means "no seams in the floor". It actually means the shaping of the floor. There are at least 4 seams in every "bathtub floor", at the four corners. plus usually one or two across the floor (the material generally is not made in a width to fit a full floor in 3-person tents). Marmot explicitly says that they have seam-sealed and taped the floors in the tents you linked. In the one Eureka tent I own and the ones we use with the scout troop, the floor seams have to be re-sealed periodically.

You link to Sierra Trading Post for the one Marmot tent. While you can get great deals from STP, be aware that most of their stuff is discontinued, seconds, or overstock. That Titan is an old model. Nothing wrong in that, except that you probably will not get a Marmot warranty if you have a problem. For new Marmot gear, Marmot has a superb warranty, fixing accidental tears, wear and tear, and so on for free or cheaply. They replaced my 15-year old Alpinist 3 jacket with the newest version for basically wholesale price. I will note that I am a long-time regular customer of STP, and stop in the brick and mortar shop whenever I am in the Reno area (and once in the one in Wyoming when I was driving across the US). Their store warranty is quite good, though not like Marmot's on new gear.

One thing that baffles me is the current fashion of calling tents with extensive or full mesh "3-season" tents. If you get blowing rain or push into the boundaries of winter and get blowing snow, or anytime in blowing dust, it will come right under the edges of the fly and into the tent. At best, with that much mesh, you get late spring to early fall in areas with little winter snow as the usable part of the year. We have two such "3-season" tents. While I have actually used both in winter, I have also ended up with a thorough dusting of snow inside the tents.

Another thing that bothers me is the claim seen so often with the mesh tents that there is plenty of ventilation, and therefore no condensation. Baloney! You may not get condensation on the main tent. But you do get condensation on the underside of the fly, especially in high humidity conditions, such as you might find in much of the Southeastern US or parts of the Great Plains. And that condensation will drip and come right through the mesh main tent roof. Mesh tents are great in the mountains of the West during the May through October time frame. The humidity is low there during that time. And the ventilation is very welcome then. But just be aware that the fly on any tent is waterproof, which means that it does not breathe, which in turn means that water vapor does not pass through it.

You mention you being in the tent with your son and scout trips. I assume you mean on your private trips with your son, you use the tent together, and not on the Scout outings. I find that not everyone is aware that BSA policy is that on Scout outings, a parent does not deal with his/her own son and does not sleep in the same tent (actually, no adult sleeps in the same tent as any youth). Part of this is the Youth Protection policy (particularly under the notice that just came out of National this past week), and part is the idea of removing the inevitable baggage that always exists between parent and child - plus the philosophy that Boy Scouts is youth-led with the adults in the background as a safety net of last resort.

4:23 p.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Bill The Eureka tents he indicated does have aluminum poles.

8.5 & 9.5 mm 7000 aluminum - Mountain Pass 2XTE
9.5 & 11 mm 7000 aluminum - Mountain Pass 3XTE

12:22 a.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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About 2 years ago i purchased a Eureka Pinnacle Pass 2xta for my son when our troop started backpacking a bit more. So far he loves it. It has never leaked. He also likes the double doors, double vestibules and aluminum poles. I Liked it so much I bought the Apex 2xt for myself.

I fully agree with Bill S about sleeping in the same tent as your son on Scout outings. In our Troop we have at least one issue about this every year when the Webelos cross over.

7:38 a.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Whoa, if you read my statement "especially with the boy scouts and my son" you'd see that the tent gets used on scouting trips, as well as personal trips. I'm asking about tents, not scout etiquette here. Let's try to stay on that topic as I'm looking for a tent, not a lecture on the BSA' Youth Protection, which I'm fully aware of. Anyway, thanks for the advice on the tents and staying on topic to the question asked.

4:24 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Sorry if I sounded like I was trying to lecture, I wasn't. It just came up and it fit with one of our cross over boys that were dealing with right now and thought I would comment.

I have another tent that I like also that I forgot to mention in my other post. A Kelty Teton 2. The only problem I have with it is that I am 6' and the tent could be 6 or so inches longer. I touch both ends if I don't sleep corner to corner. I think this tent will be to small for what you need though.

7:19 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Even with the aluminum poles, I would choose one of the Marmot tents over the Eurekas on the basis of quality and warranty.

Sorry you over-read my comment on YP. It was not clear from your statement what the tenting arrangements were. It was not intended as a "lecture". However, I do find that a lot of parents are unaware of what YP is about. Plus, the notice that just came out in the last week or two is very explicit that all adults who will have contact with the youth must renew YP every two years, with a more stringent interpretation of the words. Note that I said nothing about you personally, just noted that "not everyone is aware", including many readers of Trailspace who may just be getting acquainted with Scouts and BSA policies (we get a lot of posts saying that the person and their son are just starting out on a scouting career).

I might add that if the tent were intended for your son's use on Scout outings primarily, I would get a 2 person tent, rather than 3

8:45 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, that's the catch. I'm kind of hard on gear. Don't get me wrong, I take care of and maintain it, sometimes it will sit for a few days before I get home and clean up my tent, dry it out, etc. So, I'm not exactly the "easiest" on that gear. I like Marmot, and really like the Limelight 2P, which I've resigned myself, with a vestibule, there is no need to get a 3 man tent as I'll have gear room. I appreciate the information as it's been a huge help, especially some of the reviews that this community has done.

9:38 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Bill S- The Eureka has a lifetime warranty. As far as the Marmot goes a friend of mine has the Limelight and IMHO the materials are thicker on the Eureka than the Marmot. I also believe the Eureka to be a bit bigger as far as "usable interior space/vestibule space."

But at the same time you also have the weight diff accociated with the stouter materials. Its pretty much a catch 22.

I personally also like the softer colors on the Eureka compared to the limelight. It blends in w/the surroundings alot better than the "hey I am over here orange on the Marmot." I feel bright colors are suited for more "life endangering" situations. (rescue/location/etc.)

But depending on what your personal preferences are I don't think you could go wrong w/either model.

9:59 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Rick, I read your review after my last post, and you're review sold me on the Mountain Pass 2XTE. I ordered it about 10 minutes ago. I think the extra weight might not be so bad, if I stay lean on pack weight. I'm looking to really lighten pack weight over the next couple of months, real light camping pad, Big Agnes sleeping bag, etc. Thanks again all.

11:44 a.m. on June 12, 2010 (EDT)
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I assure you that the Eureka will serve you well. I have used the Apex 2XT (I bought aluminum poles for it from Eureka) for several years in all types of weather. Yes, you need to seam seal it occasionally, but you have to do that all tents over time.

12:28 a.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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[deleted]

1:14 a.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Hellraiser69

I assure you you will not be disappointed with your choice , the Mountain Pass 2XTE will serve you well and if you ever have problem with it Eureka will bend over backwards for you. I have used several Eureka tent models in the past and as I said before I have and use one now a Spitfire solo. I personally prefer a 3 pole design for a 2 person tent because I feel you get more usable rom on the interior but your on the right path. For your needs it will fit the bill it is a bit heaver than a comparable Marmot but it is also heaver duty. Also I agree with Explorer Robby you will have to seam seal it occasionally.

7:22 a.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Hi Hellraiser 69,

We have the Marmot Limelight 3 and really like this tent. It is light, easy to set up and quite spacious. Two people plus gear fits nicely inside the tent without even using the vestibles. We have not had any condensation problems or leaking and live in a moist region. We use it all year round and have found it to suit our purposes quite well.

Jacqueline

2:16 p.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Bill S- The Eureka has a lifetime warranty. As far as the Marmot goes a friend of mine has the Limelight and IMHO the materials are thicker on the Eureka than the Marmot. I also believe the Eureka to be a bit bigger as far as "usable interior space/vestibule space."

But at the same time you also have the weight diff accociated with the stouter materials. Its pretty much a catch 22....

In my experience, Marmot does more with their warranty than Eureka - though I have had little reason to deal with either one. Eureka's warranty covers defects, as do most manufacturers. Marmot goes further and, as I mentioned, did a replacement for me when the only problem was "normal wear and tear" - very few companies will do that.

On the thicker materials - thicker does not always mean more durable. But my old Eureka Wind River 4-person has about the same weight nylon and same weight mesh as a couple of Sierra Designs "light weight" tents I have (a 2 person and a 1-1/2 person). The big difference is in the quality of workmanship, plus the Wind River has fiberglass poles vs Easton aluminum for the SDs. For the scout troop I used to be SM of, we really did like the Timberline tents (which had aluminum poles, though not Easton or DAC), although the boys were pretty hard on them (the low cost and Scout discount that Eureka offers/offered made them especially attractive).

5:12 a.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Let us know how the Eureka works for you in the future. Ya got a good tent. I have put both of mine thru hell. I am sure they will serve you well as previous posters have stated. Happy hiking.

2:07 p.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Rick, I have to ask you, I've seen the debate on seam sealing before initial use, some say it has to be done, some say it doesn't. Got any suggestions? My tent arrived today, and was going to plan a short hiking/camping trip with my son for tonight and tomorrow to test out the tent. If I need to seam seal it, not going to happen, but if not, will give it the test tonight.

2:16 p.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
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It all depends on what the manufacture recommends. Eureka is a very good company and they will tel it to you straight. You can call them here is there support info it includes email and phone contact info.

http://www.eurekatent.com/customer_support.aspx

You also may find your answer on the page for the specific tent you bought

http://www.eurekatent.com/p-170-mountain-pass-2xte.aspx

BTW this is a very good tent god choice.

4:31 p.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
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I actually spoke w/Eureka and they stated that the only area that needs seam sealed is an area on the floor of the main tent body in the corners.

I personally skipped this process. I have not had any issues with leakage f/these areas. The rest of the tent/fly is heat sealed directly f/the factory.

I do suggest the use of a ground cloth. A tarp f/your local hardware/dept store works fine and is inexpensive. Place it under the tent, take a sharpie marker and trace around the tent body and you can account for vestibule space as well. When ya cut make your cut for the body about an inch in f/the mark. This will take care of run-off in wet weather and will keep you from puddling under the tent. If ya really want to go all out you can purchase som webbing and a grommet kit(around$5-$10) and make a custom set-up that will also give the ability for a quick pitch(fly/footprint only) set up.

If you go this route I strongly suggest guying the tent out. It increases the tents stability dramatically.

Here is a video link on how to do this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RueJ7t2J6t0

5:10 p.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Tyvek works really good as a ground cloth as well and you can usually pick some up for free at a Home Depot or Lowes and or some construction sights. I would recommend washing it in the washer first this will make it not as stiff and easier to work with.

5:58 p.m. on June 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Funny you mention Tyvek. I ordered a footprint straight from Eureka, but they sent me the wrong size. I had asked a friend if I should bother sending it back, or just use it folded he suggested that I put it to the side and save it for a rainy day, but go and buy some tyvek and cut it to the dimensions I need. Is it really that durable and light?

12:47 a.m. on June 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Tyvek rocks. Wish they made it in OD color.

Oh yeah, +1 for the Eureka! tents. They've served me well.

2:21 a.m. on June 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Yes tyvek is definitely lighter that the custom fitted footprint by Eureka and it is just as or more durable as the Eureka footprint the.

Yes I like Eureka tents too they have served me well over the years.

Why do you need tyvek in OD its under the tent no one is going to see it, but if you like you can always get some camo spray paint and go to town.

1:23 p.m. on June 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Ya may want to watch the paint method on the tyvek, the chemicals in the paint may cause a substantial breakdown in the materials that make the floor of the tent. Not saying this will be the case, just a possibility.

4:02 p.m. on June 20, 2010 (EDT)
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I know lots of people recommend Tyvek as a "footprint", largely because you can usually get it for free at construction sites. However, I had found that moisture comes through the Tyvek when used as a ground cloth. During the construction of our new house, I had a discussion with our contractor and subcontractors about this and discovered the reason - Tyvek is intended as a water-resistant shield to be used under the siding or stucco, not in a location where there will be pressure put on it. It is also intended to go on vertical walls. If you put pressure on it (as in sitting on it or lying down on your sleeping pad), it is porous enough that moisture will migrate through.

I have been using plastic drop cloths for many years in a wide variety of conditions. A 9x12 sheet of 3 or 4 mil plastic costs a couple of bucks and will make a "footprint" for 2 two-person tents (or for one tent with a second one for replacement when the first wears out). Ok, it isn't "free" like Tyvek scraps from a construction site, but it is pretty cheap (especially compared to a custom-made footprint with the tent manufacturer's label on it). But I have found that even with the amount of camping I do, it will last most, if not all, of a year's camping, and it is truly waterproof, even under the pressure of prople sitting or lying on it.

And, as Rick says, most paints will do a real number on synthetic materials like Tyvek or nylon footprints.

3:12 a.m. on June 24, 2010 (EDT)
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So how did ya like the tent?

10:28 p.m. on June 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Alright, my opinion of the tent. First and foremost, I didn't seam seal the tent before my first use on a two day backpacking trip. Overall, the tent is a little heavier than my prior tent, but I found that it really wasn't that big of a deal, providing that I packed my bag light. With that said, I ended up using it in a hell of a thunderstorm. No leaks, and the fly held up great in the wind. The vestibule area got a little wet, but I do not yet have a footprint that is cut to fit the vestibule area. Now that I think about it, I could just use plastic garbage bags. All in all the tent was worth the money I spent. Thanks for the opinion on this tent Rick, it was very useful.

11:35 a.m. on June 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Good deal.

4:30 p.m. on June 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Just remember if you leave the door on the vestibule open roll up your ground cloth in the vestibule area just encase it does rain when your not there or sleeping.

2:41 a.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Good mention Mike. :)

10:50 a.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Glad you're out having fun in the Eureka. It's better to pull the trigger on gear that'll get you going rather than continue to agonize over which is best.

10:56 a.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I say that because of trial and error, I cut a ground cloth the extended to the main part of the vestibule. Then one warm & humid night I left vestibule door open then in my slumber it rained and the ground cloth caught the rain and it puddled up under the tent (very uncomfortable) Now I just cut the ground cloth to fit the tent and not extended in the visitable area.

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