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Hands-on Gear Review
Marmot Limestone 6 Review
Cons: Few pockets, poor ventilation with doors and vestibules closed, small vestibules, lots of poles for simple design, fly snags on two small poles while trying to put it on.
Bottom line: A very well made tent, sturdy and dependable in a storm, but low on ventilation and vestibule space.
The Marmot Limestone 6 is an extremely well made tent that would have been more of a competitor in this review if not for some details: two top poles protrude, making it difficult to install the fly; there is little ventilation; and the vestibules are quite small. Otherwise, the manufacturing is admirable and the design strong and reliable in bad weather. This is a great tent for camping in cooler, temperamental climates. And it will long outlast many other tents on the market.
RELATED: Our complete review of camping tents
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Limestone 6 seems at first to be very similar to the Mountain Hardwear Optic 6 or the Eureka Midori, but there are a few notable differences.
The overall size and shape of the Limestone is very similar to the other dome style tents in this review: The Optic 6, the Midori 6, and the Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6. The specs on each of these may help you discern which one fits your needs, with the right combination of height, weatherproofness, and overall comfort.
This is not, however, a tent that we would want to be cooped up in for a long, rainy day – not because of any issues with weather resistance, but because it is very well sealed from the elements. This is great if you often camp in inclement weather – in fact, it reminded some of our testers of some much more rugged basecamp tents they had used on expeditions, where protection from the elements is a priority over comfort and user features.
A few issues we encountered: The vestibules are a little small; the vents in the fly are small, making it hot inside when the sun is shining. For a tent that will keep you much cooler in the hot sun, check out the Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6 or the Kodiak Canvas 6-Person Flex-Bow.
This is a strong and weatherproof shelter that is at home in the mountain environment. It seals tight against storms, and anchors strong with guy lines attached high on the fly. The vents prop open with Velcro which will stay open through strong winds but are small and carefully angled such that they will still keep you dry in sideways rain.
The full vestibule provides excellent coverage for inclement weather, and the sturdy, free-standing, dome-shaped pole design makes it an excellent blend of livability (tall and roomy inside) and streamlined wind-resistance.
On the opposite end of the weather spectrum, however, this tent was a relatively poor performer. The small vents and full vestibule coverage, while excellent for bad weather, amount to a pretty high cost for warm and sunny weather – this tent gets hot in the sun. Even with both vestibules unzipped, this tent suffered from a more significant greenhouse effect than several others in this review, most notably the Coleman Carlsbad Fast Pitch 6.
Overall, this is a very strong tent that will withstand some burly weekends in the great outdoors, but you'll be less psyched if you're headed to warm, sunny destinations.
Ease of Setup
The Limestone should be easier to set up for the relative simplicity of the dome design. It is basically a dome style tent, with two crossing poles of the same size, and two much shorter poles that slide through sleeves in the roof of the tent and fix into grommets sewn high on the tent. Figuring out when during the setup process it is easiest to attach these poles is a matter of personal opinion – or perhaps height – but it does not make the process smooth or fast.
The other problem with these poles is that you then have four points high on the tent (at eye-poking level, for some) which make it much more difficult to get the fly up and over (see photo series below), especially if you're setting it up solo; the fly tends to get caught up on those protruding poles. Overall, we are not sure the gain in stability from these two extra poles is worth the hassle created during setup.
It is also necessary to set this tent up ahead of time to sort out your preferred guy line setup. The the plastic tensioners are not pre-strung onto the guy line as with other tents in this review, so if you like to use those (and they can be awesome), you have to figure out how to string them, then fix the lines to the tent.
The vents on the fly have a handy and simple strut that Velcros to the fly and props the vent open. However, note that you cannot open these vents from inside the tent. This is another tradeoff for the high weather resistance of the Limestone 6.
The Limestone 6-person tent is a meticulously crafted, mountain-inspired tent – but which seems to have at least one pole too many. The dome design is similar to the Mountain Hardwear Optic 6, with two additional poles around the top, presumably for added stability. This, among other things, comes at a cost: the Limestone is more than two pounds heavier than the Optic 6.
The materials and details of this tent are no exception to Marmot's excellent track record for quality outdoor gear. Seams, clips, buckles, zippers, materials, directionally reinforced guy line attachments, etc. all inspire confidence that this tent will be long-lasting and strong-standing through most things the outdoors can throw your way. The dual vestibules, though both quite small, do allow for some user flexibility.
The one exception to quality is with the tent accessories; Marmot includes only the bare minimum number of stakes you would need to anchor each guy line and tent loop (so don't lose any if you're far from a camping store!), and the guy lines do not come pre-strung with the plastic tensioners, adding a step to your setup.
If this tent suits your camping needs, you will be very pleased with its high quality workmanship.
Marmot keeps with its mountain-inspired design from start to finish with the Limestone. It stuffs easily into the simple, tubular stuff sack, which then cinches closed with a drawstring. It's a little tight, but not difficult to stuff back into the bag – an appropriate blend of ease of packing and small and tidy package. It is one of the more tidy packed-up tents in this review, easy to toss in the trunk for your car camping trip.
With a handy carrying loop and reasonable weight (it's the third lightest in the review), it's also an easy tent to carry to your favorite walk-in campsite. As such, it is a pretty versatile camping tent overall.
This is a tent that will let you push the limits of your car camping experience, whether that means higher in the mountains or further into the shoulder seasons. Marmot calls it a 3-season tent, and it's not one we would take into the snowy backcountry, but we would call it more like 3-season-plus. That said, the Limestone is not your best option for warmer, sunnier destinations.
It is well suited to campers who want a blend of comfort and space without having to lug around a gigantic duffle-sized tent in their car or carry some massive, heavy tent several hundred feet to your favorite camp spot by the river.
The Limestone is another mid-priced tent at $450. It is very well built, and if it suits your needs, this tent will withstand years of use and abuse. A great value for a sturdy and dependable tent.
The Limestone 6 by Marmot is a solidly built tent with a few limitations in ventilation and vestibule space that take away from its overall versatility. This is a great tent for inclement weather, but it'll be on the warmer side in hot and sunny climates. The setup is more complicated than it needs to be but it will do well in winds.
Other Versions & Accessories
Limestone 6P Footprint, $60
— Lyra Pierotti
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 1, 2016
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