REI’s Passage and Trail Hut above aren’t the only good values on the market. At a budget-friendly price of $249, the recently updated Marmot Tungsten has a similar three-season build with durable fabrics and all the features that most weekend backpackers need. The tent has two doors and vestibules, weighs in at a respectable 5 pounds 4 ounces, and offers a roomy 32 square feet of floor space. We also like the mix of solid nylon and mesh on the tent body, which provides both good ventilation alongside privacy and weather protection. And whereas the Half Dome SL above has a 40-denier floor and 30-denier fly, the Tungsten ups the ante with 70- and 68-denier fabrics in the floor and fly, respectively.
All things considered, we like the Marmot Tungsten and it makes a nice hybrid backpacking and car camping option. One downside is the tent’s packed size, which is large enough to make it difficult to squeeze into a backpack (it’s much easier to divide up the load between two people). And although it’s more expensive at $329, the REI Half Dome SL 2+ weighs over 6 ounces less than the Tungsten yet offers considerably more floor area and vestibule space. But the Tungsten is nevertheless a solid option for penny pinchers, and we like that the newest version features solution-dyed fabric, which reduces energy and water waste during manufacturing. Marmot also offers the 2-person tent in a lightweight version (the Tungsten UL, for $379), which uses substantially thinner materials to trim away about 1.5 pounds from the standard model.