Marmot Limestone 4 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Large vestibule, simple, classic design
Cons: Low ceiling height, could use more interior storage
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Rick Baraff