After a lot of searching we finally arrived at the Marmot Force 2P as our next shelter. This is, in some ways, an opposite direction in my search for a tent. In the past, anything over 22 ounces for a shelter wouldn’t even be a consideration. This time 48 ounces was my cut off point. I am going through a shift in what I am willing to carry based on the fact that the rest of my wondering days are going to be with Deborah. Adding another person changes the dynamics.
- Mesh. We wanted a shelter that was all mesh with a bathtub floor that was a good depth so we could look out the sides while laying down. A lot of star gazing tents have fabric sides that are too high and mesh only for the ceiling. We like to be able to sit in comfort away from mosquitos but still be able to see all around us.
- Free Standing. Not sure why this became an issue. None of our previous shelters are free standing and we have never been in a situation where that was an issue, even when pitching on solid rock. I’m thinking maybe it is only a convenience thing.
- Comfortable. This is always high on my list. The shelter has to fit two adults and an Australian Shepherd without being pressed against the sidewalls. Jessica, our Aussie, gets soaked if she has to lay against the sides. This was why we purchased the Tarptent Double Rainbow, to give her room. I will review the Double Rainbow sometime soon.
- No More Than Three Pounds. Since I was looking for an all mesh, free standing tent. My options were only going to be found in large commercial companies. Their idea of ultra-light is rather skewed and the term is used as a marketing gimmick. Much like the way generic terms of “Organic” or “Green” are used today. Three pounds was going to be my absolute limit for tent weight.
- Two Doors. One of our all time favorite tents was the Walrus Zoid which later became the MSR Zoid. Mostly because of the two side doors. A feature we like in our Tarptent Double Rainbow. This is an important feature for us.
- Quick And Easy Setup. Very few backpacking tents today are difficult to setup anymore. But it is an important consideration.
Getting The Negatives Out Of The Way
I am going to begin with what I would change and get the negatives out of the way first.
- Black Netting. I’m having trouble understanding why a tent designed specifically for visibility uses a material that gives the least amount of visibility. Marmot’s use of a silvery gray netting was a poor choice. A black netting does not reflect light and allows one to see outside with much more clarity especially when an outside light source is introduced.
- More Headroom. 38″ is not a decent standard for any tent and should never be considered on a shelter such as this. Especially when the main selling point is how much room the tent design has created. Everyone knows how annoying it is to move around and do things in a tent when your head is crushed against the ceiling. This tent should of had no less than 40″ of height (42″ would be awesome).
- Larger Vestibules. More of a convenience than a necessity. Having a 7-8 sq. ft. vestibule would be much more practical in use than the 6 sq. ft. it comes with.
- Double Stitching At Ridge Pole Clips. The clip that attaches to the ridge pole is sewn to a piece of material sewn to the netting. This is needed because of the huge amount of stress created to tension the tent. Only issue is, they only used one stitch instead of double stitching. It may not be a problem, I don’t know yet as time and use will be the only judge. But out of the bag the netting appears to be ripping already. I am told by Marmot that they tested the Force design for three years without an issue before it went into production.
- Color. I love green. It is my favorite color. And I really like the color of this tent. However, in my opinion, this is not good tent color. You couldn’t use it in some European countries where bright colors like this are not allowed.
Why We Chose The Marmot Force 2P
Just to be clear, I am very happy and satisfied with my purchase of the Force 2P shelter. I offered my negatives first only as constructive criticism. They were not so problematic that I wouldn’t recommend this tent to anyone for whom this tent is designed for.
- Field of View. The bathtub floor is the perfect height all the way around to allow an unobstructed 360° view, even laying down. It’s nice sleeping in the open air without being eaten by mosquitos.
- Tension. This tent does not feel claustrophobic. A perfectly tensioned tent handles moisture and ventilation better, allows more sleeping space, and withstands high winds. The Force is properly named and functions as such.
- Freestanding. Not sure why this was so important to me. The past 14 years I have been using either tarps or 12oz shelters that needed to be staked down. I’ve never been uncomfortable so I am still at a loss to understand why I felt switching to a commercial shelter like the Force felt important to me. I think it’s a “we” instead of a “me” decision now that my wife and I are changing lifestyles.
- Setup. Setting this tent up is so incredibly easy and predictable.
- Weight to Feature Ratio. After comparing nearly every tent in its class made and taking pluses and minuses into account, I have no doubt that at this moment the Force is the best tent made amongst its peers.
- Rainfly. The rainfly is properly tensioned, does not rest on the netting, and has full coverage. The vent high on the door and the nice air flow below the vestibules offer great ventilation.
- Two Doors. Much easier to enter/exit the tent with two doors. Not having to climb over someone is nice. Not only that it allows two vestibules for less clutter in front of the door.
- Bathtub Floor. I really like how Marmot did the bathtub floor on the Force. The seams stay off the ground, sides are high enough to be functional yet unobtrusive for viewing, and the two ends are the perfect height so gear doesn’t push on mesh.
- Door Zipper. The zippers work incredibly well. Especially one handed. I think most of this is due to the tension the Force has when pitched.
- Double Walled. The condensation of a single walled tent doesn’t bother me. What I like most about the double wall is that now Deborah and I can share the shelter weight.
Marmot Force 2P Manufacturer Specifications
Feature List: Two Doors / Two Vestibules, Seam Taped Full Coverage Fly with Vents, Free-Standing Design, Seam Taped Catenary Cut Floor, Interior Pockets for Small Gear Organization, Light-Reflective Points, Jingle-Free Nylon Zipper Pulls, Can Be Used with Bare Bones Setup
Tent Floor: Fabric40d 100% Nylon 2000mm W/R, F/R
Tent Canopy Fabric: 15d No-See-Um Mesh F/R
Tent Fly Fabric: 30d 100% Nylon Ripstop, Silicon/ PU 1800mm W/R, F/R
Tent Vestibule Area(s): 6.8 sq ft, 0.63 sq m | 3.5 sq ft, 0.33 sq m
Tent Floor Area: 29 sq ft, 2.7 sq m
Tent Dimensions: 38 x 52 x 86in, 97 x 132 x 218cm
Tent Pole: 4 / DAC NFL 8.7mm / DAC NFL 9.3mm
Tent Min Weight: (Poles, Body, Fly)2lbs 15oz (1332g)
Some Feature Photos