User Review: Marmot Swallow 2P
Design: 3-4 season convertible
Ease of Setup: Simple
Weight: Estimated 7 pounds
Price Paid: $250 on sale
I purchased this tent because I needed a small, lighter tent for my kayak camping trips. I did not want a bivy sack so I went with a small 3+ season tent. I compared it with smaller tents from the following companies: TNF, Marmot (hoot), Mountain Hardware (light wedge), and Walrus (teramoto). I chose the Marmot tent because I liked the stablilty, ease of setup, light weight (compared to my Kelty Typhoon 4), its cool color and the convenience of the burrito sack.
The tent performed very well. I set it up in 2 minutes all by myself the very first time I used it. The fly on the tent needs improvement, however, since the seams do not line up with the poles (they are close but not perfect). The vents on the tent body and on the fly work as they are supposed to and when I woke up in the morning (hot muggy day) there was no condensation build up on the inside of the tent OR on the fly! I completely staked out the tent to improve the venting tho. I am used to my Kelty Typhoon 4, which has very thick, strong Easton aluminum poles. I liked the lighter weight of the Marmot's new DAC feather weight poles but I dont think they are as strong or could handle a snow load. I purchased the Marmot Swallow ground sheet and it works very well. It clips onto the bottom of the tent and fits the tent perfectly with no adjustments needed (alot nicer than custom cutting a tarp by yourself). The ground sheet also has its own clips to snap the tent body, rainfly and ground sheet into one solid unit. The color of the tent is mainly yellow with purple accents and 2 doors, the fly has 2 clear windows which are leak proof.
I really like this tent for lightweight weekend kayaking trips, however I do have a few gripes with it:
1. The fly needs work...The seams do not line up with the poles. For a tent at this price range the fly SHOULD fit considering it normally goes for over $300.
2. the tent body tends to sag a little on the bottom edges if the tent is not fully staked out. You really need to purchase 2 extra stakes to complete this. Without them the bottom of the tent tends to sag a little bit which *COULD* let rain settle in small pools along the bottom edge. (it has never happened to me yet fully staked out).
3. The tent is rated for 2 people. I can see two people sleeping in it with NO gear but since the vestibule is very small I consider this a one person tent with a little room for gear inside it (rather than in the vestibule). I am used to my Kelty Typhoon 4 which has enough room for 3 people and gear inside.
4. The door setup. The *NEW* Marmot swallow has a 3rd door built in on the opposite side of the tent. That will improve venting very well. My tent is the *OLDER* version and has only 2 doors on ONE side of the tent....so late night bathroom adventures involve climbing over the person next to you to exit the tent.
5. When the tent is set up without the fly its look reminds me of the old movie "The Fly" with 2 big bug eyes staring at you. The doors are also very small and require a great deal of bending over to enter/exit the tent.
The GOOD features are as follows:
1. The burrito sack is wonderful
2. Ease of setup / takedown
3. the tent rolls up very small
4. The 2 main doors have a VERY large 3rd door (built around the 2 smaller doors) which make it so you can unzip one whole side of the tent (the whole wall opens up) so it is VERY nice to sit in. That also helps dry the tent out if moisture gets inside. The *NEW* marmot swallow has this feature on the opposite side of the tent aswell making the tent open up completely on both sides like a tunnel or sun shelter.
5. The tent is NOT as light as a bivy but at around 7 pounds it is much lighter than my 13 pound Kelty Typhoon 4. It also rolls up small enough to fit in my kayak storage hatch.
6. The tent is long enough to fit my 6'2" long body, however, the width is not large enough for 2 people with gear.
7. The vents located inside the tent and on the fly work very well.
8. It has a lifetime warrantee and the customer service is TOP NOTCH. I called them and they sent me tons of free information and lots of tips. They are very friendly and I received their info in the mail within 3 days.
I hope this helps you in your choice of selecting a new tent. I would check out this tent...but also look at the Marmot Hoot...it is the same in a larger package so it will hold 2 people with gear. I think I will use the Marmot swallow for summer trips and keep my Kelty Typhoon for winter tripping with heavy snowloads. After using the Marmot tent many times I still like my Kelty Typhoon 4 much more. My next tent will definately be a Kelty Typhoon 2. The same as my typhoon 4 only smaller.
I think the Marmot swallow is perfect for a scout since it is light weight, sets up easy and is fun to be in.