The Marmot Limestone 4P is a good step up from your basic, entry-level four-person tent (like the REI Camp Dome 4), but still not quite the top of the line (see the REI Half Dome 4 Plus for comparison). It's roomy, easy to set up, and has large, double-zippered doors to make taking things in and out of the tent a breeze. It's also worth noting that the Limestone 4P, is almost identical to its big brother, the Marmot Limestone 6P, just a little smaller. So if you're intrigued by the Limestone 6P, but there's only two or three of you venturing out into the wilderness, the 4P might be a reliable option. While the Limestone 4P might not pull in mountains of awards and accolades, it's certainly not going to let you down either.
Marmot Limestone 4 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Roomy, large vestibule, simple, classic design.
Cons: Not overly innovative, could use more storage.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Marmot Limestone 4P is the little brother to the Marmot Limestone 6P. Same design, same features, equal value, smaller package. For those who like the 6P, but don't have the extended family to fill it, the 4P is a great alternative. It's a stable and reliable intermediate level tent. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but a quality tent that will outshine cheaper, more basic models every time.
As a four-person tent, the Limestone 4P maximizes the space it gives you. With just under 60 square feet of floor space, the Limestone 4P leads all of the tents we tested in this metric (the REI Half Dome 4 Plus is close behind at almost 59 square feet). This initial floor space then benefits from walls that have been designed to pull out more vertically to the pole structure, meaning you won't feel like you're constantly hunching over inside the tent and the overall space feels even larger than it is. However, four people might still be a little snug, but two or three should find plenty of elbow room.
Storage pockets in the Limestone 4P are a little sparse. You've got four up top, in two different sizes, both of which are relatively small. At floor level, there are two pockets in opposite corners, as well as a pocket under each door, designed to be filled with the unzipped doors.
The door pockets are a nice feature, and we can see OCD neat-freaks everywhere rejoicing for them. They will keep an otherwise loose and free-range door from getting in your way, or worse yet, getting caught up on things (think about moving things in and out of the tent) when the door is open. Of course, those same door pockets can be utilized to hold your sunglasses, keys, wallet, or whatever else when the door is closed.
All in all, internal storage on the Limestone 4P is adequate.
The two doors on the Limestone 4P are impressively large, covering almost the entire front and back of the tent. This means you shouldn't have any issues getting your sleeping bags and pads in or out of the tent. Inflatable air mattresses can be inflated outside of the tent without any cramming or stretching to get them inside when fully inflated. One door is completely mesh, while the other is entirely polyester. The idea is that the mesh door lines up with the larger vestibule on the fly, while the more solid door gets the smaller, more shoes-only size vestibule at the back of the tent.
The sides of the Limestone 4P play into the mesh trending to fabric concept as well. Up front (near the mesh door) the solid fabric turns to mesh roughly 30% of the way up the tent. It then angles up as you go further back, and by the time you get to the full-polyester door, the only mesh you have is the ceiling. What we dig about this design is that it gives you some privacy at the back of the tent when you don't have the fly on, while still allowing for good airflow and venting.
For a four-person tent, the Limestone 4P has solid coverage with its rainfly. While it's a three-season tent, with the fly on, the Limestone 4P looks like it would fit right in at Everest base camp. The front of the tent gives you a large vestibule, easily enough room for shoes, backpacks, etc., while the back has a smaller but still usable vestibule as well. The sides of the fly go basically to the ground and pull off the main tent (though to be 100% effective, they do need to be staked), increasing the space between the elements outside, and your interior comfort. When heavy precipitation sets in, you're far less likely to have the now-wet-weighted fly sagging onto the main tent, making everything inside damp by proxy.
We felt like the vestibule on the larger, six-person Limestone was a little small, mostly given the sheer size of the larger tent. On the four-person version, however, the vestibule is plenty roomy. Again, this isn't a tent for your large, extended family. Smaller groups will find plenty of room in the front vestibule. While you might not be able to set up full-on camp furniture with the vestibule down, you've got an impressive storage area to keep things (especially wet, dirty, muddy things) out of the tent, freeing up more space inside. The front vestibule is somewhat one-dimensional. While some of the other tents we tested (including the larger Limestone 6P have increased the versatility of their vestibules, giving them multiple different looks (wind block, veranda, etc.), the Limestone 4P has a plain old vestibule. You can roll up the front and keep the corners still out of the elements, but it's still basically just a vestibule. That's not really a knock on the Limestone, just another place where instead of being on the cutting edge of new and innovative tent design, Marmot has chosen to stick to tried and true methods and to do them well.
As we went into earlier, the mesh upper on the tent starts massive at the front door, and then slants up to the back door, leaving only the ceiling mesh at the back. This is actually a great compromise, in that it allows good ventilation throughout the tent, without being wholly mesh, which can translate to colder evenings and less durability.
Ease of Setup
The Limestone 4P is something of a hybrid in its design. It's a little bit old school, a little bit new school. On the one hand, the two main poles criss-cross to opposite corners and even run through full sleeves at the apex of the tent, innovation circa 1970. On the other hand, the two accessory poles snap easily into place on each side of the tent, pulling the walls more vertical and clipping into place like more modern tents. It goes up quickly and for those who've been camping for a while it has a sense of familiarity, a real blast from the past.
Most modern tent makers have phased out pole sleeves because poles struggle to slide through them, making setup and take down more of a struggle. The partial sleeves on the Limestone 4P do add to the setup and take down work, but only minorly. Since the rest of the tent pulls out and clips to the poles (like most modern tents), it's only a small inconvenience. All told, our feeling is that the design tends to be the biggest factor in setting up a tent. Simple, intuitive designs, like the Limestone 4P, go up easier. More poles, odd angles, and convoluted designs require more thought and planning, making them more difficult to set up. The Limestone goes up quickly and can be easily configured by even the most novice of campers.
Like most other categories, the Limestone isn't going to inspire much emotion, positive or negative, as far as packing and storage are concerned. Nothing innovative, nothing utterly stupefying. When not in use, all of the four-man tents we tested live in long, tubular storage bags. They're not going to pack down to the size of your fist, but you won't have to put the back seats of your car down to fit them in either. The Limestone is roughly 28 inches long with a diameter of 10. You should have no problem carrying it from your car to wherever you set it up, even walk-in sites.
This is a quality tent. Both the tent floor and the fly (3000mm and 1500mm thickness respectively) are reassuringly thick, giving you confidence that the idle tree branch or small rock won't rip up your tent. Both the floor and fly are also fully seam-taped. The DA17 aluminum alloy poles are sturdy enough to resist the wonky bending that you see in cheaper tents after a few trips. While the Limestone 4P isn't a top-of-the-line tent, its craftsmanship far outpaces cheaper tents.
The Marmot Limestone 4P is a great intermediate tent. Campers looking to upgrade from a more entry-level tent will find the Limestone to be a big step up. Its enhanced features and durability make it a worthy investment for both avid and occasional campers. It's not the outright premier tent, but you're not paying the outright premier tent price either.
Those who ultimately prefer the Marmot tent, shouldn't balk at the more expensive price tag. We would always recommend getting your hands on a new tent before fully committing to a purchase. That means buying your tent (or any outdoor gear for that matter) from a dealer, online or otherwise, that has a good return policy so you can set it up and play with it a little at home and still have the option of trading it out if it doesn't quite live up to your expectations. The Limestone 4P is a high-quality tent, and not over-priced by any means.
The Marmot Limestone 4P is a good tent. It doesn't set the bar, but it's not far off.
— Wes Berkshire