Marmot Earlylight 2P Minimalist Setup – Ultralight Backpacking Gear Methods and Review

The last several weeks I have spent an obnoxious amount of time reading about ultralight backpacking, and everything that falls under that umbrella. I have been slowly replacing gear that I have had for many years with new gear that is super light and compact. Here are my favorites that I have added so far. 
– Osprey Talon 44 Pack – Comes in at 2 pounds 7 ounces
– Thermarest NeoAir XLite – Regular Length – 12 ounces
– Mont Bell 800 Fill Super Spiral Down 30 Degree – 1 pound 6 ounces
Between the pack, pad and sleeping bag I shaved over 4 pounds off of my total weight by those three items. When making an ultralight setup, thats a huge amount to take away. I’ve spent several nights already in my Mont Bell bag and absolutely love that bag. I’ll be doing a review on that bag here pretty soon. I have only laid on my new pad for a few minutes in my house, but so far it seems like it will make sleeping in the backcountry way more comfortable than I ever have been. Lastly, I am beyond psyched to take the Talon 44 out in November for a four day trip i’ll be doing for one of my classes in school. 
But enough of the fluff, and lets get to what I want to talk about with my Marmot Earlylight 2P Tent. I have done a review of this tent as my first post on this blog. I absolutely love Marmot tents and love how functional they are. My goal tonight was to see if the included footprint of the Earlylight would allow the rainfly to be attached and poles setup to pitch the minimalist setup that you see sometimes in other tents. I had a Kelty at one point that the matching footprint had clips but did not fit the clips of the rain fly. So I decided to give it a shot on the Marmot and see how much weight it would shave off instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on a tarp kit. Turns out Marmot again has won me over. I clipped the rain fly into the clips of the footprint, staked it down, and pushed the poles into the fly, and voila, it went up without any problems. Some of you are probably thinking that I am crazy and should know that this was an option for the tent, but cut me some slack here. 
Turns out the tent body weighs about 1.2 pounds, so that makes the rest of the tent, with the poles and 10 stakes just over 4 pounds. This isn’t a huge reduction in weight, but I think it is enough to make a difference, especially if you are sharing the tent between two people. 
So, what are the pros and cons to doing this with this tent, or any other tent that allows a minimalist setup like that.
– Pros –
     – Saves weight to carry
     – Makes setup of the tent fast and simple (even though it was super simple to begin with)
     – Getting in to bed is simple and doesn’t require falling on your face when you have to run the zipper down to close the rainfly. We’ve all done it, and it’s a real pain. 
     – Lots of ventilation and extra roomy. It feels extra spacious and lots of room for storage.
     – Protection from the rain, and surprisingly strong.
– Cons – 
     – Tent footprint is slightly smaller than the tent body floor. Have to be careful that the ground you’re sleeping on is clear of anything that could puncture a pad. Also could get dirt or sand all over since         there is not tent body to kick shoes off before getting into. 
     – No protection from bugs and critters. This is my biggest frustration with tarps that are setup with trekking poles.
     – Does not shave as much weight as I hoped it would, but enough to make a difference. 
 Rain Fly and Footprint fully setup
 Rain fly open, showing my pad and sleeping bag laid out inside. Also Cooper The Wonder Dog

 Showing how much space with the vestibules there is
I have my reservations with going to extreme on ultralight, and I think that any time you are preparing for a backpacking trip that you make a proper trip plan and pack your bag accordingly. Of your essential items though, it is worth it to invest in nice gear and save your hips from getting bruised by a pack that weighs an outrageous poundage. 
So here is a list of the items that I regularly carry in my bag every time. 
– Osprey Talon 44
– Thermarest NeoAir XLite
– MontBell 800 Fill Super Spiral 30 Degree
– Rab Myriad Jacket
– Marmot Earlylight 2P Tent
– First Aid Kit
– GSI Pinnical Soloist or GSI Halulite Micro Dualist
– MSR Super Fly Stove
– Mont Bell 800 Fill Down Coat (Spring and Fall only, mostly)
– Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp
– MSR 2 Litre Dromadary
– MSR Microworks Water Filter
– Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Chair
Now I know that this list doesn’t really qualify for a super ultralight setup, and there are SO MANY other things that I could do to save weight and go true ultralight. But it is still under 30 pounds, and under 30 pounds for a several day trip is pretty dang light in my opinion. What do you have in your ultralight pack and what have you done to reduce weight in your setup?

Buy this tent from

Marmot Earlylight Tent with Footprint and Gear Loft: 2-Person 3-Season Pale Pumpkin/Terra Cotta, One Size Marmot Earlylight Tent with Footprint and Gear Loft: 2-Person 3-Season Pale Pumpkin/Terra Cotta, One Size
You venture into the wilderness in search of simplicity, and the three-season Marmot Earlylight 2-Person Tent provides you with an easy-to-use, effective shelter that can adapt to your various backpacking pursuits. The storm-proof fly and floor keep you and a partner sheltered from summer squalls. The included footprint becomes the tent floor when you go for the lightweight Bare Bones Setup.


4 thoughts on “Marmot Earlylight 2P Minimalist Setup – Ultralight Backpacking Gear Methods and Review

  1. I just packed for an over nighter on Timp, 15.3 pounds before food, water and fuel. Should be sub 20 after all that stuff. A few suggestions, go to chemical treatments and ditch the filter. Build an alcohol stove out of a cat food can. Stove plus container for fuel… 1.5 ounces. I built a tyvek tart setup and bivy, 2 man 3lbs with full storm protection. I have a commercial tarp that would cut an additional half pound off the tarp setup but I'm experimenting with tyvek.

  2. Matt,

    I am with you on the chemical treatment of water, its super easy and doesn't taste as bad as people say it does. I've never done anything for cooking besides an Isopro stove or white gas. I'll have to look into that.

    Where are you getting your tyvek? I think i've seen pictures of the tarp you made. I'd be interested to see it. Thanks friend!

  3. I bought a 150ft of it at lowes. I'm reworking the tarp right now. We should go out some weekend and I'll show you the tarp. I'm wanting to start sewing some Sil Nylon. Start making me own gear.

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