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Marmot Limestone 4 Review

This is a high-quality tent with a simple design that will be familiar to experienced campers
Marmot Limestone 4
Photo: Marmot
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Price:  $370 List | $352.55 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Large vestibule, simple, classic design
Cons:  Low ceiling height, could use more interior storage
Manufacturer:   Marmot
By Rick Baraff ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 15, 2020
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Space and Comfort - 35% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7
  • Ease of Set-Up - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Packed Size - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The Marmot Limestone 4 is a solid step up from your basic, entry-level four-person tent, and the quality proves this. Despite having a low max height, it is otherwise roomy and easy to set up, with two large doors to make getting in and out a breeze. It's also worth noting that the Limestone 4, is almost identical to its big brother, the Limestone 6, just obviously a touch smaller. So if you're intrigued by the six-person option, but there's only two or three of you venturing out into the wilderness, this is a reliable option. While the Limestone series might not pull in mountains of awards and accolades, it's certainly not going to let you down either.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $352.55 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$499 List$449.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Large vestibule, simple, classic designTall and spacious, quonset hut-shaped, lots of pockets, adjustable room dividerFast set up, large built-in vestibule, tall ceiling heightSuper versatility, quality build, ease of packing/transportWell-crafted, family-friendly, good head room
Cons Low ceiling height, could use more interior storageOnly one vestibule, back door is more exposed to the elements, lots of polesCan't stand in vestibule, limited views when laying or sitting, poor duffel/stuff sackZipper design is funky, less head room, priceyZipper design, no vestibule on fly
Bottom Line For a simple, high-quality tent, this classic criss-cross design is recognizably comfortableFeel like royalty in this kingdom that offers space galoreIt's hard to imagine a better family camping tent and the price is fairMultiple configurations and quality make this an enviable piece of gearIt's all about family in this large, versatile tent
Rating Categories Marmot Limestone 4 REI Kingdom 6 The North Face Wawona 6 Big Agnes Bunk House 4 Big Agnes Big House 6
Space And Comfort (35%)
6
10
8
7
8
Weather Resistance (25%)
7
8
9
8
7
Ease Of Set Up (20%)
7
8
8
7
7
Durability (15%)
6
8
9
8
7
Packed Size (5%)
9
7
6
10
10
Specs Marmot Limestone 4 REI Kingdom 6 The North Face... Big Agnes Bunk... Big Agnes Big...
Weight 11.3 lbs 20.6 lbs 21.9 lbs 15.9 lbs 15.5 lbs
Max Inside Height 5' 1" 6' 3" 6' 6" 5' 10" 6' 9"
Floor Dimension 5'3" x 7' 10' x 8'4" 10' x 8'6" 7'8" x 7'8" 9'10" x 8'4"
Floor Area 36.75 sq ft 83.3 sq ft 85 sq ft 58.8 sq ft 81.9 sq ft
Seasons 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season 3-season
Windows 1 1 2 Mesh top Mesh top
Pockets 8 22 6 8 8
Number of Doors 2 2 3 2 2
Room Divider No Yes Yes No No
Vestibules 2 1 2 2 0 (optional to buy separate)
Vestibule Area 21 sq ft 29 sq ft 21 sq ft; 44.7 sq ft 33 sq ft N/A
Packed Size 27.5" x 10" 9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5" 9.5" x 16.5" x 25.5" 26.5" x 16" x 9.5" 25.5" x 17" x 10"
Floor Materials 150D Polyester Coated polyester oxford 75D polyester polyester w/ 1500mm waterproof PU coating polyester w/ 1500mm waterproof PU coating
Main Tent Materials 40D Polyester/mesh Nylon/mesh 150D polyester taffeta Polyester Polyester
Rainfly Materials 68D Polyester taffeta Coated polyester taffeta 68D polyester Polyester Polyester
Number of Poles 4 2 hubbed sets, 1 straight 4 4 3
Pole Material Aluminum 6061/7001 Aluminum 14 mm aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Pole Diameter 12 mm 14.5 / 11 mm 14 mm N/A N/A
Extras Hidden key/phone pouch on fly Very beefy metal stakes Internal dry lines, hang loops, Velcro lantern loop Fly can be deployed as self-standing portico/garage Fly can be deployed as self-standing portico/garage

Our Analysis and Test Results

Sometimes even camping is a game of inches. With a few more of these added to the interior height, the Limestone 4 could have moved up in our rating charts considerably. While it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, it's a quality tent that easily outshines cheaper models.

Performance Comparison


The well-styled yet simple Marmot Limestone 4.
The well-styled yet simple Marmot Limestone 4.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Space and Comfort


The Limestone 4 feels a bit small, mostly because the max interior height is barely over 5-feet. This doesn't even bode well for short adults who will need to do the hokey-pokey to shimmy in and out of clothes… or just turn themselves around. The Limestone otherwise maximizes the space it gives you. But with just about 60 square feet of nice floor space and poles specifically designed to help increase interior airspace (at least up to shoulder height), it's a wonder they couldn't just eek out a few more inches of height.

The family out for the day in the Marmot Limestone. Note the low max...
The family out for the day in the Marmot Limestone. Note the low max height.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Thus, this isn't a tent for your large extended family. Smaller groups that just need a place to rest their heads and view the stars and surroundings through the ample mesh will enjoy this tent. Or it will work great as a bug-proof respite for outings to the park or beach.

That said, you will find plenty of room in the rainfly's front and back vestibules. While you won't be able to set up camp furniture in them, the front one is large enough to keep all your wet, dirty, muddy things outside, and the one at the back is super handy for the folks bunking on that side. While some of the other tents we tested have increased the versatility of their vestibules (i.e. turning into a freestanding portico), the Limestone has a plain old vestibule that does what it should: offer extra space for your gear as well as protection from the elements when getting in/out.

The back door and vestibule on the Limestone 4.
The back door and vestibule on the Limestone 4.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Storage pockets inside are a little sparse. There are four up top and two down low in opposite corners, plus a small pocket under each door designed for quick-stashing the doors but which can be utilized for other small items when the doors are zipped. However! There is a nearly invisible secret keys/valuables pocket hidden on the fly by the front vestibule, a fun feature we really appreciated.

Secret stash pocket on the fly of the Marmot Limestone 4P.
Secret stash pocket on the fly of the Marmot Limestone 4P.
Photo: Rick Baraff

From the full mesh front door, the fabric on the sides starts to angle upwards as it heads towards the back so that by the time you're at the back door, it's completely opaque polyester. This gives you wide-open views out front and privacy towards the back; however you can't close off the mesh without putting the fly on. The ceiling is completely mesh lending to great ventilation and a copious view of the night sky or your kids climbing in the trees.

The open space of the Limestone 4
The open space of the Limestone 4
Photo: Rick Baraff

Weather Resistance


While it's billed as a three-season tent, with the fly on the Limestone 4 at least looks like it could fit in at Everest base camp. The rather bomber fly reaches the ground all the way around lending secure weather protection, especially with the overall dome shape to help deflect wind. There are some vents so it doesn't get too steamy when the main hatches are fully locked down.

Nicely bombproof fly on the Limestone.
Nicely bombproof fly on the Limestone.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Overall, this is an effective double-walled tent that will offer peace of mind for your interior comfort. When heavy precipitation sets in, you're not going to have a wet-weighted fly sagging onto the main tent.

Vents on the rainfly.
Vents on the rainfly.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Ease of Set-Up


The Limestone 4 is a little bit old school, a little bit new school. It has two long main structural poles that criss-cross to opposite corners through fabric sleeves near the apex, something that was an innovation circa 1970. Then there are the two curved accessory clip-in poles that snap easily into place on each side of the tent. Their only function is to pull the walls more taut, something from our modern era of design. Either way, the Limestone goes up quickly and will feel familiar to those who've been camping for a while.

Pretty spacious for a 4-person tent!
Pretty spacious for a 4-person tent!
Photo: Rick Baraff

Durability


While the Limestone 4 isn't a top-of-the-line tent, the craftsmanship certainly outpaces cheaper tents. Both the tent floor and the fly are fully seam-taped and reassuringly thick, giving you confidence that an idle tree branch or small rock won't rip up your tent. The DA17 aluminum alloy poles are sturdy enough to resist the bending that you see in cheaper tents after a few trips. The stakes, on the other hand, bend like a paper straw after its been sitting in your drink for an hour. That's unfortunate. While it's become a dismal trend across several brands we tested, we would expect more — just steel or heavier gauge aluminum — from Marmot.

One of Marmot's not-so-tough-but-pretty-orange stakes.
One of Marmot's not-so-tough-but-pretty-orange stakes.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Packed Size


The Limestone isn't going to inspire much emotion here either way. It comes in a rather classic tubular storage stuff sack akin to a sleeping bag sack, but of a much thicker denier that offers one measly carrying handle. That said, if you're not inclined to very carefully roll the tent and fly tight, you can just shove all the components towards the mouth and press them in with a balled fist and it'll work.

The classic-style stuff sack carry case of the Limestone 4. Jam on.
The classic-style stuff sack carry case of the Limestone 4. Jam on.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Stats-wise the stuffed Limestone 4 is roughly 28 inches long with a diameter of 10" and a super modest weight of around 11 lbs. You should have no problem carrying it from your car to wherever you set it up, even if it's a bit of a walk.

Value


Those who know the Marmot brand won't balk at the marginally more expensive price tag. The Limestone 4 is at the higher edge of cost, but with moderate use and good care, it should easily last more than several seasons.

Simple and straightforward, this is a great tent to consider for...
Simple and straightforward, this is a great tent to consider for your family.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Conclusion


The Marmot Limestone 4 is a great intermediate tent for campers looking to upgrade from a more entry-level one. Taken as a whole, it's a solid investment for both avid and occasional campers. It's not the outright premier tent in our review, but it has plenty of upsides as a small-sized family tent.

Handy, fast-stash "doorkeeper" pocket that can double as small-item...
Handy, fast-stash "doorkeeper" pocket that can double as small-item storage when the door is zipped up.
Photo: Rick Baraff

Rick Baraff