Marmot Fortress Review

Our Verdict

The Marmot Fortress is a great upgrade from your typical summer tent without the premium price tag. It improves on the standard Marmot design to add superior weather protection. Considered a “3-plus” season tent, it can withstand weather conditions beyond spring, summer, and fall.

The durable fabric all throughout the tent ensures protection from both hot and wet climates. It can even protect you from light snow in early winter. However, take note that you will need to upgrade to a four-season tent if you are planning on taking on a winter hiking adventure.

Nevertheless, the smart design ensures that the Marmot Fortress can withstand a stormy day. The full fabric canopy prevents any leaks, especially during a downpour. It also minimizes any condensation build-up in case you need to stay covered for extended periods of time.

The Fortress comes with added guy outs which improve its overall stability. That means, when pitched correctly, it can last through a rainstorm. However, the vestibule door can be unwieldy during particularly windy conditions. Overall, the Marmot Fortress is true to its name when it comes to providing excellent weather protection.

Specs

Marmot Fortress
Packed Weight5 lbs. 5.5 oz.
Floor Area32 square feet
Packed Size7 x 21 inches
Dimensions88 x 54 inches
Peak Height42 inches
Number of Doors 2
Number of Poles3
Rain Fly Material68d 100% Polyester Taffeta 1500mm F/R
Inner Tent Material40-denier polyester mesh/68-denier polyester taffeta
Price Range$$$
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Review

The Marmot Fortress sits at an interesting price point between a summer tent and premium grade gear. That means if you are looking to upgrade your sleeping gear, but your budget is not yet ready for high-end options, the Fortress will provide you with more than enough features without breaking the bank.

Unless you are expecting extreme weather conditions during your trip, the tent makes a great all-rounder that you can use during most months of the year. While it shows its strengths during rainy and stormy weather, the Fortress will also serve you well during hot and humid days.

Comfort

Aside from weather protection, the clever pole design maximizes the interior space of the Marmot Fortress. It provides 32 square feet of space, which is more than enough for two average-sized individuals. However, it could be cozy for taller people.

The pre-bent poles, along with the placement of pole clips, create close to vertical walls. The interior height clocks in at 42 inches, making it one of the roomier options compared to its counterparts. That means you and your companion can comfortably move around inside without bumping your head to the ceiling.

The full fabric walls also provide top-notch protection from the wilderness as well as privacy. The large D-shaped doors provide ample ventilation with their half mesh constructions. You can leave the two doors open during the summer months to fully enjoy the surroundings and the weather.

You can open multiple vents to improve the airflow and prevent the interior from getting too stuffy. The doors and the lower vents have a mesh that prevents the bugs away. Open them up at night to take advantage of the cool air without worrying about insects or rain.

Each door also comes with a vestibule that serves as storage for your bags and other dirty gear. The vestibules can be tucked away neatly or pitched to provide shade during extra sunny days.

There are several internal pockets where you can stash your valuables, such as keys, phones, and small gears. The ceiling pockets are made with translucent fabric, which effectively converts your headlamp beams into softer ambient lighting.

Ease of Setup

Setting up the Marmot Fortress is as simple as it gets. Assembling the pre-bent poles is quite fast and easy. Attaching it to a laid-out tent is an uncomplicated task as well.

Then, secure the pole at the corners, the clips to their corresponding points to the pole, and stake everything down. All these parts are color-coded as well, which means even a beginner can figure out the entire setup.

Similarly, the rain fly also features color-coded parts, so all you have to do is spread it over the tent. The velcro tabs and buckles are easy to attach and quite secure, too. After getting the rain fly taught and secure, as well as adjusting the vents, you are pretty much done with the entire setup.

Weather Resistance

Marmot positions the Fortress as a go-to tent for unexpected weather conditions. Unlike many of the tents in the market, the tent has a full-fabric canopy instead of a half-mesh and half-fabric variant.

This provides better protection against the elements, especially when it is too hot to add the rain fly. Similarly, the absence of the mesh on the walls means it provides and maintains warmth, especially during cold nights.

In case of downpours, the full coverage rainfly will effectively keep you dry. Along with the tent floor, the rain fly has taped seams that prevent any leakage and have a 1500mm Waterhead rating. The vents are also strategically located to allow enough airflow and prevent any moisture build-up.

Additionally, the Marmot Fortress also comes with extra gut out points. The extra stability is perfect for anchoring the tent, especially during windy conditions. Unfortunately, it does not come with a footprint, but you can purchase a custom-designed Marmot footprint for added protection against mud, sharp rocks, roots, and other debris.

Durability

The body of the Fortress is made of 40D Polyester No-See-Um Mesh and 68D Polyester Taffeta, which are a standard for many of Marmot’s tents. The fabrics are strong enough to survive the usual wear-and-tear during any summer or autumn trip.

Additionally, the floor is constructed using a stronger 68D Polyester Taffeta 190T 2000mm. This prevents any small debris from ripping through the tent, especially in relatively rough campgrounds. However, it is recommended that you purchase a footprint to extend the lifespan of the tent.

The fly is made using 68D Polyester Taffeta 1500mm, which allows water to easily slide off its surface. With the seam seals added, there’s no need to worry about any leaks, even during extended precipitation.

Weight and Packed Size

The Marmot Fortress is made for those ready to “graduate” from their beginner status to an intermediate camper. As such, it is not as light as those tents specifically made for backpacking trips.

At almost 6 pounds, the pack weight is relatively heavy compared to other tents in the market. Also, its pack size, 7 by 21 inches, may be a bit bulky, especially if you are on a long hike. However, you can easily divide up the tent, the rainfly, the poles, and other parts with your partner to make a lighter and manageable tent pack.

pros
What we liked

Pros

  • The Marmot Fortress provides decent features with a focus on weather protection which is perfect for any beginner or intermediate adventurers.
  • The full fabric canopy provides privacy and protection from most weather conditions.
  • The Zoned Pre-Bend construction and color-coded poles, fly, and clips make it easy to set up the tent even by one person.
  • Its seam-taped rain fly and catenary cut floor prevent any leakage even during heavy rains.
  • The Jingle-Free nylon zipper pulls are easy to operate even with one hand and do not snag the fabric.
cons
What we didn't like
  • It does not come with a footprint.
  • The combination of a dark gray canopy along with the rain fly makes a pretty dark interior.
  • Relatively heavy and bulky.