If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best Marmot tent is, we recommend the Marmot Tungsten Tent.
When I first started camping, I thought Coleman tents were the best you could do. It’s what I grew up on (and what my parents grew up on), so I had always equated it with the gold standard for camping tents. Who could possibly compete with such an old, well-established brand?
And then I stumbled upon Marmot, and my whole perspective was flipped on its head. Marmot tents have seen me and my friends through hell and high water since then, and they managed to pass all the tests with flying colors. Here are just a few of our favorites, in case you’re looking for a new, high-quality shelter to last you for years to come.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following Marmot tents:
- Marmot Thor Tent – Best 4 season tent
- Marmot Limestone Tent
- Marmot Limelight Tent
- Marmot Catalyst Tent
- Marmot Tungsten Tent – Best Bang for Your Buck
- Marmot Halo Tent – Best Large Tent
- Marmot Fortress Tent
Ever heard of a marmot? It’s a type of rodent, a ground squirrel, that can typically be found in mountainous regions over the United States and Asia. They’re cute little critters that can be hard to spot… but we’re not here to talk about animal. We’re here to talk about the company.
Founded in the 1970s, Marmot started off as the Marmot Club, named after the ground squirrels because of their sociable nature. Eventually, they started Marmot Mountain Works, and got Clint Eastwood to wear one of their products in a movie. Now, about 50 years later, they’re one of the best-known outdoor gear brands because of their commitment to quality, and their wide selection of products for both men and women.
Needless to say, Marmot tents will last you a long time, and work tirelessly to keep you protected against harsh outdoor weather. But before we dive into their gear, let’s just do a quick review over some features worth looking out for:
Ease of Setup
Your tent may be lightweight, waterproof, and have tons of storage, but you’ll still resist pulling it out of the closet if it’s too much of a hassle to set up. Features like heavy poles, an excessive amount of canvas, and a confusing design are a pain to put together on a small tent, let alone something bigger – like a 6 person tent. While a reasonable amount of effort is unavoidable, there are plenty of larger shelters that take less energy to set up than you might expect, especially if you have someone else helping you. And if you’re in the market for a 3 person tent or smaller, you should be able to put it together by yourself.
Quite a few large tents can take close to half an hour (if not longer) to pitch, even with the help of a friend. Regardless of the quality of these tents, no one wants to take that much time out of their day just to make camp. And for shelters meant for one person, and perhaps a partner, taking longer than 8 minutes can feel like an eternity.
Finding a tent with the right amount of space can be tricky. Sometimes a 2 person tent is just too small, so you go up to a 4 person tent and find it’s too big (and probably too heavy). Anything larger than that is often a behemoth, which makes setting it up and tearing it down that much harder. Especially if you didn’t actually need all of that extra space to begin with! So, to help make this process easier, here are a few things to consider before making a purchase.
How many people are you trying to fit? It’s a fair question that often gets overlooked. Are you using it by yourself? Is your significant other or close friend coming with? Will you be bringing the kids or extended family for a weekend getaway? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then figure out what you’ll be doing the most of and accommodate the appropriate number of people. Sometimes this means purchasing more than one tent.
Are your companions large? In a tight-fitting space, it’s an unavoidable topic to bring up. If you come from a big boned family, fitting in a tent might be more of a squeeze than you thought, so you should consider getting a shelter with a larger capacity.
Is anyone claustrophobic? For new campers who aren’t used to the confines of a tent, double check to see if anyone in your group will have a problem lying so close to other party members.
Are you bringing a small child or dog? Children and animals tend to need more space than the average adult, so make sure things don’t get too cramped inside.
For the sake of example, if you have a party of 4 and answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider upgrading to a 6 person tent. However, if you don’t mind a tighter fit, and need a shelter that’s lighter and less bulky, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a 4 person tent.
It’s often the little things that are most appreciated, and when it comes to camping, adequate storage can be quite the luxury. Maybe you’re the type of person who likes to keep things organized. If you’re like me, you probably don’t enjoy having your gear thrown around haphazardly, simply because there’s no better place to put it. Fortunately, many tents have handy pockets just for this purpose, as well as a convenient loop on the ceiling for you to hang your lantern for a nice homey glow.
Good tent ventilation is one of the more important, yet often overlooked, features that you can find in a shelter. Having more windows and vents does exactly what you might expect, increasing the amount of air flowing into and out of the tent. While it’s nice to get a little fresh air into a stagnant tent, there’s another important reason for having good ventilation.
Without airflow, condensation will build up on your tent walls over time. The biggest culprit for this water buildup is your breath, and is especially bad if it happens to be a humid day. If you don’t have a method of removing this extra moisture, you’ll have water droplets falling on you sooner or later. Not to mention, your tent will get waterlogged and start to sag, making it harder for it to repel rain and other external moisture sources.
Best Marmot Tents
Considered one of the strongest Norse gods, Thor is a suitable name for this tent by Marmot. Because it’s a 4 season tent that will likely be exposed to heavy amounts of snow piling on top of it, strength is one of the most important things to look for. Along with insulation properties, that is.
If you take care of it, this shelter will continue to protect you against strong winds and heavy snow for many years to come. At 10 pounds, it is pretty heavy (for a 3 person tent), which is my biggest complaint overall. However, if you hand over the poles and stakes to a friend while you carry the rest, it’s not a problem at all. In addition, it’s got just about everything that you could hope for in a winter tent – fast setup, giant vestibules, superior ventilation – and the list could go on.
In general, I would say that this tent likes to stay about 20 degrees warmer on the inside than whatever the temperature is outside. So even in subzero weather, it’s possible to stay safe and comfortable, especially when you pair the shelter with a proper sleeping bag, liner, and pad.
The Thor comes in a 2 person and 3 person design. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a footprint, but you can buy it separately here (for the 2 person) and here (for the 3 person).
– It has otherworldly strength
– Keeps you pretty warm on the inside
– Large vestibules
– Though it’s a 4 season tent, it works well during the summer too
– Easy to set up
– Plenty of storage on the inside
– Very heavy
Need to house a lot of people, and want to find a shelter up for the task? As far as Marmot tents go, the Limestone 6 person tent is a product that has all of the features that you could want in a family sized shelter. The vertical walls are a lifesaver, simply because it opens up the space more and provides a lot more headroom. And when you’re packing so many folks into a tight space, you’ll be happy to have it, even if you don’t suffer from claustrophobia!
The sturdiness of this tent is something to be admired, since the taller walls can be something of a wind catcher. You might find that the poles will bend a little bit in strong, sustained wind, but it will take a lot before they break. Speaking of bad weather, you won’t need to be concerned about staying dry in heavy rainstorms either. It would be nice if the back panel had some mesh on it to increase ventilation, but there’s little to complain about aside from that.
– Vertical walls
– Sturdy design
– Sleeps 5 comfortably or 6 tightly
– Zippers don’t snag easily
– Ventilation is fairly poor
Apparently, Marmot likes to use the word “lime” in a lot of their products. I can hardly blame them, since I’m a big fan of citrus myself, and I’m just as fond of the Limelight 2 person tent (you can also find the 3 person version here).
Most tents this size are cramped and stuffy, especially when you try to shove 2 people inside to fill it to max capacity. However, the Limelight works to give you some extra breathing room by providing vertical walls for added headspace. Unfortunately, this means it’s going to be a little heavier, but 5 pounds for a 2 person tent still isn’t a bad deal.
Despite the taller height, durability and strength aren’t a concern in the least. Whether you’re facing heavy wind, or pouring rain that just doesn’t want to stop, you’ll be protected – as long as you stake it out properly! I’ve found that most issues with this tent can be associated with user error, instead of something being wrong with the tent itself. My biggest complaint with it is how bulky and heavy it is, specifically for those looking to go backpacking. It’s certainly not something I’d suggest if you want to be ultralight, but for shorter treks or car camping, it’s a comfortable tent that holds up beautifully.
– Lots of space
– Sturdy and durable
– Great ventilation
– Convenient doors and vestibules
– A little heavy and bulky
Want a 3 person tent that can actually fit 3 people comfortably? Unfortunately, it’s hard to come by, unless you’re just trying to shove a few kids under the same roof together. For those of us who are a bit bigger, though, you might as well kiss privacy goodbye and resign yourself to being a sardine for the night.
Well, unless you go with the Catalyst, that is. The width of this tent is 65 inches, which gives each person about 21 inches to spread out before they bump into their partner. Considering the average shoulder width for a man is 16 inches, and 14 inches for a woman, that gives each person several inches of extra breathing room on either side. When you’re crammed in a tent together, that’s a lot of room.
The Catalyst is listed under Marmot’s backpacking tents, which means weight needs to be considered as well. Coming in at about 6 pounds, it’s certainly not the lightest option, but splitting the parts between a couple people can easily solve this problem. Personally, I would use it for car camping or short treks, as opposed to something more rigorous. However, when it comes to ease of setup, durability, and weather resistance, it’s a top tier shelter that will see you through any storm that comes your way.
– Large door on each side
– Big vestibules for external storage
– Fast and easy to set up
– A little heavy
– The internal pockets are a little small
When it comes to Marmot tents, the Tungsten is one of the best sellers. The shelter that I’m talking about in this section is the 4 person variety, but you can also get it as a 3 person, 2 person, or 1 person tent as well. Aside from a difference in size and weight, the different Tungsten versions are pretty much the same.
Overall, I would say the most impressive feature of this tent is the walls. As opposed to the sloping walls commonly found in dome tents, these are vertical, giving you more space and headroom. Because of this, your shelter will feel larger than other tents of a similar size, while keeping weight to a minimum.
With color-coded clips and poles, setup is a breeze, and shouldn’t take you more than a handful of minutes. If rainstorms come calling, the Tungsten is a beast when it comes to weather resistance and durability. Whether you’re facing strong winds or torrential rain, you’ll be able to stay safe and protected inside. And with 2 large vestibules, your gear will be just as sheltered as you are, without cramping up the inside of the tent itself.
My biggest gripe is that ventilation could be better – and it’s a bit too bulky to carry by yourself – but it’s still a great car camping tent. Especially if you split the weight between you and a friend!
– Vertical walls for extra space
– Durable and strong against weather
– 2 large vestibules
– Weighs about 5 pounds
– Easy to put together
– Ventilation needs improvement
– Stakes are flimsy
There’s really only one word to describe this Marmot tent, and that would be massive. It’s hard to get a good sense of it from the picture alone, but the Halo is a 6 person tent with 97 square feet of interior space. That’s a pretty impressive amount of space for a dome tent, but it doesn’t end there. The vestibules also provide an additional 64 square feet of space for you to store your gear outside, while still keeping it protected from the elements.
Once you enter through the double doors in the front (or the D door on the side), you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a spacious room back home. The peak height is tall enough to let anyone shorter than Shaquille O’Neal stand straight and tall, making it the perfect place to change clothes, walk around, or just stretch out if you don’t feel like stepping outside.
Despite being so large, it’s ridiculously easy to put together, taking only a handful of minutes, once you’ve got the system down. You could even do the whole thing by yourself with minimal effort, which is a rarity when it comes to tents of this size. Ventilation also exceeds expectations, even when the rainfly is on. The only issue you’ll have with condensation will be outside on the vestibule, and even that is unlikely to happen too often.
– Very spacious
– Not too heavy at 20 pounds
– Lots of room for storage, inside and outside
– Massive double door entrance
– Tall peak height
– Sturdy as a tank in rough weather
– Carry bag is a little small
Tough weather calls for an even tougher tent, and the Marmot Fortress is just what you need. Oddly enough, it’s only marketed as a 3 season tent, even though it’s more than capable of withstanding mild to moderate winter conditions. The igloo design is perfect for withstanding harsh conditions, whether it’s of the liquid or frozen variety. And as far as waterproofing ability goes, you can’t really do much better than what the Fortress has to offer.
It’s not quite as well insulated as other 4 season tents, and it might be a stretch to say that it can comfortably fit 3 people. However, these factors contribute to why it only weighs 6 pounds, despite its sturdy and durable nature. If you’re looking to tamper in off season or alpine camping, without any interest in tackling severe winter conditions, this is a great tent for you to test the waters.
– Heavy duty
– Good for all seasons
– Can comfortably fit 2 people, and squeeze in 3
– Nice for alpine camping, especially if you can split the weight between you and a friend
– A bit heavy
– Footprint sold separately
So, what’s the best marmot tent? Ultimately, that’s not an easy (or fair) question to ask, simply because they all shine in different areas. Some are better for cold weather, while others work best in moderate climates with larger groups. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a shelter, but for us, our top pick would still have to be the Marmot Tungsten tent. Not only is it well made and easy to set up, but it’s also spacious with large vestibules and vertical walls. But what truly makes it the winner is the extensive size range, allowing you to purchase what you need – from a single person tent all the way up to a 4 person tent.