Marmot Aura 2P tent review

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The Marmot Aura 2P tent in Thunder ValleyThe orange Marmot Aura 2P tent in Thunder Valley, a remote cluster of twisted and tilted sedimentary rock in the Central Brooks Range. Note the boxier shape of the Aura 2P compared with our other tent.

Marmot Aura 2P interiorThe sunny orange color of the Marmot Aura 2P fly makes waking up in the Arctic feel almost tropical.

Paxson: "The Marmot Aura 2P is a lightweight two-person, three-season backpacking tent. I've taken this tent to Vancouver Island, the California coast, Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, the jungles of Kauai, the Chugach Mountains of Alaska, and, during expedition Arguk, through the Brooks Range for a week and, in our last push, to the edge of the Arctic Ocean. I've used this tent in scorching heat and bitter cold, in dusty deserts and wind-blown Arctic mountains. I've used it solo and with three people. This tent and I have gotten to know each other well, and by and large, we've definitely gotten along.

At 5lbs., the Aura 2P currently fits somewhere between the ultralight and lightweight categories. There are small two-person tents on the market today that weigh in closer to 3lbs., and a few eyeing the 2lb. mark, but the weight of the Aura 2P is put to excellent use. Compared with the tiny ultralight tents, the Aura 2P is very roomy, both in the floor plan and in the interior volume. With a floor area of 30.5 feet (excluding the vestibules), it easily sleeps two big guys over 6'0", plus a little gear inside the tent, plus two large backpacks under the spacious vestibules. The near-vertical lower poles give this tent a boxier shape than most 2-person tents, and a small group can easily sit upright in the tent to play cards during a storm. Aside from providing convenient gear storage, the vestibules can also act as overflow sleeping space for an additional person or two, providing as much protection as the shelters favored by super ultralight backpackers today.

Assembling the tent's DAC aluminum poles is fast and easy, and enough stakes are provided for every stake point plus two guylines. The rain fly is a bright, sunny orange, and causes the tent to fill with warm light in the mornings. Along with the reflective straps on the sides, the bright color also makes the tent visible in fog and from a distance. The main body of the tent is a fine mesh, which did a perfect job during Expedition Arguk keeping out the buzzing hordes of mosquitos, flies, gnats, and no-see-ums for which the Arctic is legendary. The inside of the rain fly will collect condensation, but it very rarely if ever makes it to the inside of the tent, since any drops that do fall off will sit on or slide off of the fine mesh. In theory, a mesh tent with a tall ceiling should sleep cooler than a solid-walled tent, but in practice the tent does a very good job conserving warmth, while the generous gap between the mesh and the fly allows plenty of circulation. With the fly off, the mesh tent basically becomes a breezy bug-free hanging during the day.

Because of the tent's high sides, it has the potential to act like a sail in high wind. While this has never been an issue even on windy beaches and exposed tundra, if there's a potential for strong wind, use the supplied guylines to guy out the tent. This will make it far more wind-resistent.

tl/dr: This is an awesome, borderline luxurious lightweight/ultralight 2-person, 3-season tent. It's performed very well in all conditions, from high heat to chattering Arctic cold, in rain and sun, and everything in between. In terms of comfort and spaciousness it knocks the down booties off many of the lighter 2P tents on the market today."