Marmot Earlylight 2P
Price Paid: $159
I am an experienced camper, older in age, and with all experience in the U.S. This is a fine quality tent. The materials used in all parts and components as well as workmanship are above average.
I have several Kelty and Eureka tents of varying sizes. This Marmot ranks above these products. The clips on the tent beat sleeves and the poles are super light and sturdy. And the since the tent is not "square" in floor plan, the fly must be put on one way only. After the first time you pitch this tent, you will see the pattern on the fly that corresponds to the layout of the tent. this is no big deal. Other reviewers make a negative out of this.
The price is right for a 2P that will accommodate taller persons. Two doors and lots of room under fly for gear. The tent has high and low mesh for good vertical airflow, even with the fly on, since the fly has two vents in it.
Have pitched in the hot and raining. Good ventilation with fly open and no leaks when fly zipped closed. Even though other have comments on zippers, while smaller have no problem with zippers. Light weight and packs small size.
For the price this is a great tent.
Inner tent end walls sag and eat up space. Fly end walls also won't pitch tight. Don't take this tent in a sandy windy environment. Needs simple toggles and cords to hold open doors, has weird bungee/cordlock deals that aren't neat or simple. Zippers aren't readily usable one-handed.
Ease of Setup: no good in moderate to strong wind
Price Paid: £148
I live in the UK and bought this tent in June 2010. I have just returned from a few weeks in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and had to move into a simple hostel after just seven days because the tent was not stable/wind/rain proof.
It was pitched in an exposed position on a remote island because I wanted to test it out to the max. It was quite tricky to erect in a moderate wind and once up would not stay 'square'. When the wind increased, along with rain, the side of the fly pressed against the inner and the fly-vent lifted, allowing rain through to the inside - and onto my four-season down-filled sleeping bag!
Sorry, Marmot, but this is a lowland tent suitable only for low low wind conditions. I've had £40 Blacks/Millets tents much more weatherproof than this. If I'd known, I would have bought a more expensive/weatherproof tent -- but the dealers obviously aren't aware of this tent's limitations.
Design: 3 season freestanding dome
Ease of Setup: Fast, Simple
Price Paid: 140
The good news is that this tent is lightweight and well-ventilated..... the bad is that this tent is lightweight and ventilated.
So, it rolls up small, feels like a feather in your pack, and sets up in a flash. In warm weather you'll stay cool and dry. The sun makes this thing literally glow.
But as soon as the weather turns, things get less fun. The multitude of screens means that chilly breezes enter unimpeded. There are screens parallel to where your body is when prone, meaning the winter pours straight into your sleeping bag. If it rains, you'll find that even with all the lines staked down, the rain fly is about 2 inches short on both ends.
The plastic sunroof is a cool idea, but ultimately pointless and at times uncomfortable. There is no way to close the window, meaning that at any time, anyone can just walk over and look into your tent. If it's sunny, the tent is bright enough. At night, for star-gazing, the view is muddied by the screen and plastic - just go outside!
If you want something cheap and light but still high-quality, and you'll be camping in good weather, go for it.
Design: three season free standing
Ease of Setup: Easy to set up even in the rain.
Weight: Light enough for one to carry.
Price Paid: $189
I like Marmot products and I bought this tent so I didn't have to take my 4 season tent to North Dakota in September. It's a nice little weekend tent if you're near the car, or home but not for back country. I saved money and weight but that was the extent of it.
I spent 4 days on lake Sakakawea in central ND and it collapsed on me in a bad rainstorm. Additionally, the zippers are light and get stuck. Rule #1: It's OK to save weight but not money.
Design: Three season
Ease of Setup: Easy
Price Paid: $190
I really like this tent. I have used it for three seasons now and in at least three rain storms.
It held up very well for me in the Adirondacks in one storm. I never once had the impression that it was going to fold. During a stronger wind, it would make its way through the mesh, so using this tent when it is cold out would not be the best idea.
Overall, I have enjoyed spending many summer and fall nights in this tent.
Design: 3 season freestanding 2 person dome
Ease of Setup: very easy, except the rainfly takes a second to figure out what direction if goes
Weight: 5 pounds fully packed
Price Paid: $159
I was looking for a 2 person backpacking tent that wouldn't break the bank. I stumbled across the Earlylight and was impressed with the space/weight ratio. I'm 6'3" and fit comfortably in this tent. It has enough height a accommodate sitting up, and the dual vestibules are nice for my gear.
After a couple nights out in Florida on some cold nights, I was sold. I stayed 100% dry in this tent. Other friends of mine had some condensation built up in their tent, but the Earlylight stayed very, very dry. The 2 vents in the rainfly do a great job of ventilating the tent. It does well in wind also.
The one drawback I've found so far, is that the guylines are not reflective, which is kinda tricky in the dark when walking around the tent. Other than that though, I have no complaints.