Review: Marmot Swallow [ 2-man, 4-season tent ]

Review: Marmot Swallow [ 2-man, 4-season tent ]
Product Description
Habitability: Unique pole sleeve and clip combo for: Optimal headroom ~ 3 Pole self-supporting structure with stake out vestibule ~ 2 way Vestibule converts to awning ~ 2 way D door for ease of access ~ Flow through venting w/ceiling vent ~ Zip open ceiling panels for ventilation and star gazing ~ Jingle-free nylon zipper pulls; promotes undisturbed sleep ~ Pleasing colors even on dreary days.

Retail: $399


Reviewed by: Jethro, a Car Camper from Ohio, Ohio us
Date Reviewed: 4/4/2002 7:31:06 PM
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Me first impresion of dis sheltor was that the holes in the fly added ventilation and the style. the hole in the floor let me piss with out even gettin out of da tent!!!
i replaced the zipers wit snap buttions bcause the zipers aer two complacated.
i dont not tink the long things should of been ducked taped togother.

Similar Products Tried:
wenzel, tarps, ozark trail, rain coats
 

 
  Reviewed by: Rod Martin, a Backpacker from Scotts Valley, Ca.
Date Reviewed: 6/1/2001 11:59:32 AM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Not only is it the best tent I've owned, it's the best I've ever been in! This tent has it all. Two entrances, HUGE main door, 3 skylights (two of which have an additional zippered access to vent the fly when hot. The fly is custom with great roll back options; I've even cooked in it! Once the snug fly is on, wind, rain and cold are no concern. Set up is a breeze and the fly clips easily (fly does require three stakes). The many venting options allow for comfort in wide ranging temperatures. My favorite option is you don't need the fly when temps are pleasant and winds are low; we've even made it through a desert rain storm without feeling a drop. Perhaps the most overlooked aspect is the soft, amber yellow glow that greets you in the morning...I hated the white glare of my previous tent.

Worth every penny, the Swallow was recommended to me, and I'm recommending it to you. And no, I don't work for Marmot. Oh yeah, GET THE FOOTPRINT...the things too perfect to skimp!
 

 
  Reviewed by: Tom , a Backpacker from Bethesda MD
Date Reviewed: 3/11/2001 5:51:25 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
This tent rocks it is bomb proof and it has never let me down. It is quick to pich but does have some weight to it. It also has tons of head room. If you want a tent that can go year round this one can.

Customer Service:
Never need them
 

 
  Reviewed by: ben, a Backpacker from seattle, wa, usa
Date Reviewed: 1/22/2001 11:23:24 AM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
After reading many reviews, felt Swallow was the best buy for the money. Have car-camped across the US happily. As most everybody mentions- very waterproof, ventilation is excellent as is the options for zipping up. Have used for snowshoeing and camping and have a couple of comments:
For me fairly heavy for a couple of days hike- need to split up between two people (or pack wisely and separate fly/tent/poles etc.). Don't like one entrance- climbing over friends is inconvenient. Vestibule isn't too user friendly in snow storm- tough to keep open or closed with the little peg-attachments. Definitely buy better stakes than come with the tent. Otherwise, great construction so far and well thought out mesh opening.
Oh- and if i were designing this tent I would have clips for all the poles & none of the mesh. Excellent tent for the money if you get it on sale!

Similar Products Tried:
Sierra Design Omega CD
Eureka
 

 
  Reviewed by: Tig and Tink, a Backpacker from San Diego
Date Reviewed: 11/26/2000 10:54:17 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
I've owned the Swallow for a short time only. I've owned and borrowed numerous other tents over the years and this one seemed to fit what I was looking for: a tent for wildly changing conditions. First, we've initiated the tent with a good soaking in the backyard, and it seemed to be pretty watertight. Next, I did a solo paddle out to the west side of Grand Coronado Island (yeah, I know, I neeeded a permit). And typical, the weather got wet and windy, but I spent two really comfy days out there, dry and stable. Kayak camping fits this tent perfectly, it's a bit on the heavy side. Also, it was plenty big for just me (yep, I was really roughing it out there, yakking with my wife via cell phone, scarfing on all sorts of munchies that I dragged inside out of the rain) Overall, it's a good tent...so far. This December we're off to New Zealand where the rain can be unbelievable. We'll report in when we get back on this tent. So, till then, a conservative 4.0 on performance, and 5.0 on value.

Customer Service:
Over the years Marmot has been terrific. In fact, for almost 20 years they've been terrific

Similar Products Tried:
The list is long:
Bibler (very good, light, but $$$$$$)
North Face (fair to terrible) except for the Mountain Tent, which was a steam bath in anything else then high altitude...
Moss (good, but heavy and small)
Sierra Design ( a clip tore out in high winds)
and a Trango...which leaked

 

 
  Reviewed by: Norbert Cyr, a Backpacker from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Date Reviewed: 7/24/2000 8:00:23 AM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
I have owned many tents over the past 25 years but the Marmot Swallow is the best to date.Last May we took it with us on a two-week trip to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks in Utah. We encountered just about every kind of weather short of a blizzard. The tent stood up very well even in extremely high winds. Unfortunately the tent did fly away with our gear in it during a severe wind storm which destroyed a number of tent trailers and other tents. The enclosed repair kit came in very handy. One piece of advice, if you intend to camp in areas exposed to high winds, you should replace the short tent pegs with some serious stakes and use every anchor available, including rocks, otherwise you could be surprised. This was not a defect due to the tent's construction, it was simply a case of poor soil and extreme winds.

STRONG POINTS:
Outstanding attention to detail and quality,
Easy to set up,
Lots of room for 2 people with gear,
Super ventilation,
7 storage pockets for gear,
Burrito bag is the coooest invention and it works extremely well, great for stowing gear out of the way when tent is set up,
Cheerful colour (helps when you're stuck in the rain for extended periods,
Windows in the fly,
Zip-up mesh panels can be closed off so sand doesn't get blown in, very handy in desert/sandy conditions.
Bulletproof construction.

Negative points:
Fly zippers snag on flap, often catch when opening from the inside.
Weight (a bit heavy but this is to be expected ewith a tent of this quality and robustness.

Overall comment: I am very picky and when it comes to tents, this is the best one I have ever owned. I would recommend it without hesitation. A second door would be nice but the current door design is still very convenient and preactical.

Customer Service:
We called customer service after our tent was blown away in a wind storm and when we asked about the cost to repair the fly they said we would have to contact Marmot Canada. They immediately responded to our request and next thing we knew it we had a new flysheet in the mail. That is outstanding service, way above the norm.

Similar Products Tried:
REI, EMS, Sierra Designs, North Face Walrus and Eureka. None matched the quality and features of the Marmot Swallow.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Tony Dugal, a Backpacker from Kalamazoo, Michigan
Date Reviewed: 5/23/2000 12:29:44 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:


After only three 40 degree nights in the Marmot Swallow, I¹m convinced it¹s one of the best 2-person, 3+ season shelters. I look forward to cold, hot, and wet conditions to test the tent¹s strengths.

The ³convertible² zippered vents give you all options for holding in the heat on cool/cold nights by closing most vents, while still allowing customized ventilation.

The vent in the rainfly is wonderful, and it should allow cross-ventilation in all but the worst storms, when it may need to be closed.

In my limited use so far, I¹ve managed to keep the inside tent walls dry by using the fly vent to keep airflow moving across the tent ceiling. With two sleepers on a cool night, the tent stayed bone-dry, while the underside of the fly was very wet, collecting sleepers¹ humid breaths, as there were no breezes and the vestibule was closed.

It¹s possible that if stuck inside for a day or two under wet conditions, some of this humidity from the fly will end-up on the tent walls. We¹ll see.

The vestibule is big, allowing ample storage on one side with entry thru the other half of the vestibule. Tent is almost free-standing, but you do need two stakes for the vestibule, as well as one for the fly at rear of tent, where the vent is. One line tied to both vent loop and bottom of fly will allow just one stake to do this job on the tent¹s backside.

If staked completely for the most room and ventilation, you¹ll need to buy another stake, as the 8 provided are one short for this task. I bought the fitted nylon ground sheet, which attaches to the tent poles & fly nicely. No ground cloth hanging outside to catch rains!

For light travel when the bugs are not an issue, the tent can be left home, and use just fly, ground sheet & poles for much weight savings. Set-up this way is a bit clumsy, as the three poles lock into the ground sheet¹s grommets, but have no support to stay up until you crawl under the fly and attach the many velcro tabs around poles. Once attached, this is a very tight and rain-proof shelter (but take the bug mesh headnet--just in case).

The tent comes with the new ferrule-free DAC poles, which are supposed to be lighter and stronger. I hope they stand-up as well as Eastons, used on previous models. The Swallow is well made, with many bells & whistles. It has 7 mesh pockets around the tent floor--plus the burrito sack, which can be neatly clipped to the tent wall for more storage. No need for a gear loft.

It¹s 40sf is very roomy for two, and could sleep three if necessary. I can stretch my 6-foot length, and my bag or pillow still don¹t touch the tent walls. There are lighter tents out there--if you can believe published weights! Swallow¹s listed ³packaged weight² is 7 lbs. 14 oz., but I weighed it out of shipping box (with included repair parts, 8 stakes) at 8 lbs. 6 oz.

After adding the 13 oz. ground sheet; another aluminum stake; some additional parachute cord on the fly tie-outs, and seam sealer I applied, actual weight of my tent at the postal scales is 9 lbs. 6 oz. If shared by two, not bad--for its capabilities.

The second door on many other tents appealed to me, but it came down to tent quality and features over the minor convenience of a second door. The ³burrito sack² is cool, allowing a wet fly and groundsheet to go in one pouch, the tent in the other pouch, and folding one into the other (burrito style) to keep the the tent somewhat dry. It comes with spare parts for repairs to the poles and fly buckles.


 

 
  Reviewed by: Dan Rooney, a Backpacker from Blue Island Il USA
Date Reviewed: 5/5/2000 5:40:43 AM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Bought this tent about two years ago. It has been used for backpacking and out of car camping. The weight distributes well with two people for backpacking. The poles do snag on the mesh so be careful. We have used it in snow, rain, and summer condition without any problems. We love it. Well ventilated and roomy. The one door is a bummer but we deal with it. It held up well under high wind and driving rain we didn't get wet.

Similar Products Tried:
We hand a Coleman Three person before this tent. It was a good starter tent for the price.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Chris, a Backpacker from San Francisco
Date Reviewed: 3/13/2000 2:10:31 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
This is a well made, high quality tent. It is the 3+ season version of the screech. I've only been able to use it once so far.

The tent sets up easily. You have to be careful sliding the poles into the mesh sleeves. There is some snagging.

Under extreme snow fall (1 1/2 feet in 4 hrs), the tent holds a good deal of the snow. Especially in the area above the door. Perhaps pulling the vestibule/fly tighter would help. However snow doesn't make the best anchoring material. Non sticky sierra cement snow would have helped too.

I had some ventilation problems during the night due to snow covering up the bottom part of the fly. Only after I tore the tent down did I realize that there is a little vent that can be propped open on the fly. This would have solved the near suffocation problem.

This is a 2+ person tent. I would not consider it a backpackers tent unless you have at least 1 other person to spread the weight around.

The vestibule fit my pack and my boots. I suppose you could get creative and fit another pack and boots in the vestibule. However you wouldn't be able to get out of the tent without moving the stuff in the vestibule around.

This tent does make an excellent car camping tent though (great alternative to a $$ hotel).

I paid $260 for mine (on sale).

Other tents I was looking at were:

Sierra Designs Omega CD. Pitched a little funny (big hump in the middle). Was lighter than the swallow, however less room. Very easy to set up except when you remove the ends of the cross pole. Trying to put the cross pole into the pole end pieces is very hard. Had me afraid of ripping the tent because the it was so taut.

Moutain Hardware SkyView 1.5. For some reason this didn't set up very tautly. The sides were very loose, and the tent was not very stable. Odd because the SkyView2/3 get good reviews.

Eureka Alpenlite 2XT. Didn't get a chance to set this up. Decided I wanted a general purpose tent with room for 2, and good ventilation.

Walrus Hurricane Hole. I wanted a free standing tent, this isn't. This tent is also a little heavy.

Similar Products Tried:
Sierra Designs Comet CD. Eureka Timberline 2. Various other Sierra Designs tents (so easy to set up!).
 

 
  Reviewed by: Andy Davis, a Backpacker from Boulder, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: 2/8/2000 2:35:48 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
This is one of the best all around tents I have seen. I have owned it for 3 years and it has been through everything from high desert winds to high alpine thunderstorms. It is a roomy 2 person tent that can hold 3 in a pinch. The convertible ceiling works well for regulating temperature inside, and the vestibule is large enough to keep all your gear dry.

Customer Service:
In one of my not so bright moments, I touched the fly with 100% deet on my hands. This is not a good thing to do. I sent my tent back to Marmot and they retaped the seam on the fly and it works great.

Similar Products Tried:
I have used Walrus, North Face, Sierra Designs and other Marmot tents. The Swallow is the most versatile of all of them.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Dean, a Backpacker from Atlanta, Ga., USA
Date Reviewed: 2/7/2000 8:56:38 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
I just got this tent and man must I say I am IMPRESSED! There are a great deal of neat little features that pleasantly surprise you as you set it up. The 8 pockets inside the tent to stow your gear are really nice to have, and they stay out of the way when you aren't using them. The venting on the side of the tent opposite the door, when the fly is up, is nice too and prevents a great deal of condensation from forming. The star gazing is nice when you have the fly off and the panels open, but beware of the midnight rain! Last thing you wanna do is get up in the middle of the night and pitch the fly! Heh Heh!! When it's in '3+' season mode, it really keeps you warm! I had an el cheapo tent (gift giving gone wrong) before this one, and man must I say it was worth every penny! The burrito sack is a nice touch and keeps some of your gear in easy reach. The vestibule could be a bit larger, but this tent is already heavy enough. Given the fact that it's basically a 4 season tent, the weight isn't too bad. The setup is easy and straight forward with equal length poles, making it really easy by flashlight. Could use a little more explaining in the literature about how to get it back in the sack though! This is by far one of the best affordable(

Similar Products Tried:
El Cheapo K-Mart tent(again, not my purchase :) )
 

 
  Reviewed by: Mac Dean, a Mountaineer from Bozeman,MT US
Date Reviewed: 1/28/2000 6:32:53 PM
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
The swallow has performed well in a variety of situations from mountaineering trips to jungles of central America.
The fabric and workmanship has held together very well considering the abuse I have given it. The one drawback is the entrance,you must climb over the person sleeping next to the door.This is not a huge problem,but it can be inwet conditions
 

 
  Reviewed by: Z., a Backpacker from Denton
Date Reviewed: 1/20/2000 9:10:05 AM
 
 

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ValueRating:

Summary:
I bought this tent about two years ago, and have had it in a variety of warm and cold conditions (no snow yet). I find the vestibule very spacious, and the construction excellent. I think a tent should have to earn a groundsheet, and so far this one is performing like a champ without one. I have managed to produce impressive amounts of condensation inside the tent--though this was due more to operator error than poor design (tips: don't leave the tent body completely zipped up EVEN when you're NOT in it--if the temp drops condensation will form even if no one is inside. Also, be generous with the amount of ventillation you leave open at night. Finally, leave the fly in the half-way up position in light to moderate rain storms.). One of the main selling points for me was the fact that the vestibule door can be configured into an awning. If you're going to use this function, it's really only going to keep one person dry--if they've got something to cover their legs with.

Similar Products Tried:
Mtn. Hdwe., Sierra Designs, & Kelty
 

 
  Reviewed by: Brent Kearney, a Backpacker from Vancouver, BC, Canada
Date Reviewed: 10/19/1999
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
I recently took this tent on a mountain hike up to glacier level. The conditions were very harsh, extremely high winds at night, and a hard downpour of rain and hail. The tent kept us warm and dry! We both had a great sleep. If you plan on high-altitude hiking or climbing, I highly recommend this tent.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Steve, a Backpacker from TN, US
Date Reviewed: 9/24/1999
 
 

Overall Rating:
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Summary:
An excellent 2 man backpacking tent which should also be fine for winter use also in light snow . I had no trouble with leaks even when caught in a constant downpour- I did seam seal it though. Offers many ventilation options, and pleny of storage pockets in the inside. My only complaints are that the vestibule could be bigger (which would add more weight), and 2 doors would be nice. This is not the lightest tent available, but is very well made. Marmot makes an identical tent to this but with a mesh roof if you'd like to save a little weight and can do without the zip open roof panels.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Joe, a Backpacker from Atlanta, GA USA
Date Reviewed: 7/20/1999
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
When I decided to take the plunge and purchase a quality tent, admitedly, I wanted it all -- a large tent with a cavernous vestibule, hurricane-proof construction, miniscule price and feather-like weight. Realizing that there was no such tent, I setled on the Swallow. It offers the best combination of feature, function and price for my backpacking needs. What I like best about this tent is its size. I'm not that tall, but I am wide; and my most frequent tent mate is 6 feet 5 inches tall. We both fit confortably in the swallow. Other pluses include its large vestiblue, inside pockets and season versatility. This tent is dry too! My biggest complaint is its weight. Coming it at around 8 pounds (once you count the ground sheet, stakes, etc) it is not suitable for ultra-light backpacking or smaller-framed people. Overall, I would highly recommend the Swallow.
 

 
  Reviewed by: Ilkka, a Climber from Finland
Date Reviewed: 5/3/1999
 
 

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ValueRating:

Summary:
The tent was sold to me as a four seasons tent (Globetrotter, Germany). It performs well also in cold and snow. Had it up in northern Norway in late February. The vestibule could be bigger and I have doubts about the construction in very high winds. Otherwise a very well designed tent. I especially like the venting.
 

 
  Reviewed by: G, a Backpacker from Denton
Date Reviewed: 4/15/1999
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
Excellent tent--roomy, large vestibule, bullet proof construction, & tons of bells & whistles. My favorite feature is the vestibule: it can be made into an awning for cooking on those rainy evenings & mornings. If you can only have ONE 2 person tent and you want to be able to do pretty much anything, this is your jobby. Weight? Yeah, you're basically carrying around a 4 season tent whenever you take this baby out (which may be Summertime)--and that sucks. BUT, I sure can't afford a four season AND a three season tent--can you?

Customer Service:
I e-mailed Marmot with a question about another product of theirs & they were very helpful.

Similar Products Tried:
Sierra Designs Sphinx II, Mountain Hardware Room W/ a view. (both excellent)
 

 
  Reviewed by: Michelle, a Backpacker from Pittsburgh, PA
Date Reviewed: 3/3/1999
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
The Swallow was my first tent buying experience. The price was more than I had intended to pay, but I figured that it was better to pay more money than be disappointed. The tent seemed to offer everything I needed. The ventilation is good with large mesh windows. All of the windows can be covered with the zippered nylon, which is nice. This allows you total climate control. It also has a covered zippered slit in the fly to allow ventilation even when it's raining. Every time I've used this tent, it's rained! But I've never had a problem with it. Once, I was at a campground in Dolly Sods, WV and it poured all night. The gravel camp area was full of mini rivers and lakes. There was standing water everywhere! But I stayed dry. A couple of times, I had used it in (what I thought) was very strong winds. And the tent held with just the ground stakes. The tent is actually considered a 3-4 season tent. It has 3 poles, two of which cross. So you can use it in winter conditions...but not in a severe snow storm. The burrito bag is a nice feature. It can be in the way if you have 2 people in the tent. But it's worth it. The tent has 8 side pockets. And you can purchase the gear loft. Even though I spent lots of $ hoping to have the perfect tent, I do have some complaints after I now have experience. 1. I would prefer 2 doors. It's not necessary, but it is a luxery that is nice to have...especially if 2 are using the tent. 2. I wish the vestibule was a little larger. It can hold my backpack and boots. However, I wouldn't trust 2 large packs to stay completely out of the weather there. 3. It is a bit heavy for backpacking. I don't mind it since I'm used to it. But if weight is a concern, you can probably find a tent that is just as good for at a few pounds less.
 

 
  Reviewed by: CamperVan, a Car Camper from San Francisco, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: 1/13/1999
 
 

Overall Rating:
ValueRating:

Summary:
I love this tent - it's not for the ultralight crew (I do a lot of car camping and walk in camping - no huge mileage stuff). It's a 3+ season convertible tent easily big enough for two people and a vestibule big enough for two packs and two pairs of boots. Advantages: - roominess - for a two person tent it's on the large side, with enough room to hole up in bad weather and read, sit up and chat, play cards and so on. - convertible - with the zip up panels closed and the fly guyed out I feel this tent would stand up to a lot of weather - slightly flat roof which may cause a problem for lots of heavy snow, but it would survive most anything else - mesh sleeve and clip combination, quick to set up but strong with plenty of ventilation too - versatility - as mentioned before, it'll handle winter weather, but you can also set it up with just the poles, fly and groundsheet to provide plenty of shelter from rain when bugs are not a problem. - 'niceties' - great vent in the fly improves ventilation, is formed such that it offers enough protection in all but the most horizontal rain storms; burrito stuff sack clips in to tent to form a very useful hanging pocket (is smaller but works better than gearloft as it doesn't reduce headroom); stake loops accept skis or large sticks for snow and are replaceable; reflective guy loops for finding tent; - good quality materials and nice workmanship - it looks great! Disadvantages: - it's pretty heavy for a two man, but if you can only afford one tent, this will take you year round; - expensive - there's a seam in the floor which I didn't expect on this quality level, but it's well seamed at the factory and hasn't caused any problems yet - does require a bit of seam sealing of the fly (only on velcro pieces though) to make it watertight All in all, it's a great tent - don't seem many around, I have the confidence to rely on this tent - it's a home away from home. If anyone else has experience of the tent (good or bad), drop me an email, CamperVan

Similar Products Tried:
El Cheapo 50 dollar tent - didn't leak once! TNF Cirrus (lost the poles - oops)


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