Finding the right tent is like finding the right house or apartment, it’s important because your going to be spending a lot of time in it. If you have spent anytime backpacking or backcountry camping, you know that having space is important, but weight is equally as important if not more.
For the past few months I have been using the Marmot Aura 2P two person backpacking tent. It is relatively roomy for an ultralight class tent and features two spacious vestibules allowing for entrance on either side of the tent. This is great if you have to take care of business in the middle of the night and don’t want to disturb your tent mate.
Back in May I really got to put the rain fly through it’s paces on a trip to West Virginia’s New River Gorge. As Promised we got pummeled the first night by a torrent of wind and rain. I sat inside the tent reading a book as if nothing was going on. To my surprise the tent stayed perfectly dry inside and stood its ground against wind gusts that toppled many tents that day.
With the exception of a little lack of labeling on the secondary poles, this tent is a breeze to set up. The DAC pole system is a snap, and since all the poles are one unit bound by an elastic cord, there are no missing pole worries. The Pole system keeps the the tent tight and in proper form. The rain fly clips into side release buckles attached to the stake tape on the tent and can be adjusted to tighten up the fly. If you purchase the optional footprint, the side release buckles on that will clip into the fly instead, and Once staked out, the roomy vestibules offer plenty of room to remove wet clothing or store extra gear.
Another attractive feature of the tent is the almost vertical walls. This allows for a lot more overhead room in the tent. Look at the tent with the fly on, you wouldn’t think this was the case.
- Floor area: 30.5 square feet
- Packed weight: 5lb 1oz
- Dimensions: 40 x 50 x 88 inches
- Number of Poles: 1 (DAC NSL 9mm)
- Floor Material: 40d 100% ripstop nylon (3000mm)
- Fly Material: 40d 100% ripstop nylon (1800mm)
- Occupancy: 2 person
- For the amount of floor space this tent offers along with the ample storage space, this tent is light. All said, this tent packed weighs just over 5 pounds. Split the components between you and your partner and you have a super light sleeping solution.
- On each side of the interior there are mesh stash pockets which I find to be great for things like wallet, keys, etc.
- Several nylon loops for hanging items inside (center one works great for a light)
- Two entrances with their own vestibules
- Stands up to rain and wind well
- DAC green pole system
- Freestanding design
- The only real gripe I have with this tent is that for months I would always get the secondary poles crossed making for an awkward looking tent, but after a quick flip things were fine. I feel that if these were marked differently it would greatly help setup, especially for new owners of the tent. That said, it really isn’t anything more than an annoyance.
- My other complaint is that for a backpacking tent, it really does not pack down small at all. If you pack it into the provided bag it ends up being quite bulky. This isn’t an issue if you are sharing the tent with someone and can share some of the load, but if you are backpacking solo and this is your only tent, it really does involve some creative packing in smaller sized backpacks.
- Footprint had to be purchased separately at a steep price of $40
The Bottom Line
This is marketed as a backpacking tent, and works great for that purpose, but really I would recommend this for any camping situation, due to its quality and relative ease of setup. If you are looking for a great tent for two, or just want some extra room without a lot of extra weight, this is certainly one to consider. The tent sells for about $299 at most outdoor retailers and the footprint is sold separately for $40.
By Patrick Gensel