Time-outs and Tarptent Aeons

In recent times I’ve been back in Australia catching up with family and pottering around the rainforests of South East Queensland. A few weeks ago my personal and professional stars aligned, and a two to three week ambulatory window opened up in January. To cut a long story short, this will be my last post until next month. I’m going for a long walk.

Before I bid my cyber farewells, I should mention I’ll be taking along a new shelter on the upcoming journey. It’s the ultralight Tarptent Aeon Li, the latest creation of Henry Shires and the good folks at Tarptent. This will be the second prototype of Henry’s that I’ve taken for an extended spin in recent years. The first was the ProTrail, which I carried on the traverse of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca in 2014. I received the Aeon in the mail a little over a week ago, and so far I’ve only had an opportunity to set it up in the backyard and take it for a solitary overnighter in a nearby Eucalyptus forest.

Here are my initial impressions of the shelter:

  • Sets up quickly and easy to achieve a taut pitch. Less than two minutes on the second try.
  • There is a significant amount of extra usable interior space compared to the single person Mid-style shelters I have used. No issues at all with rubbing against the walls. See the bottom two photos; for reference I am 6’1″, sitting/lying on a Thermarest NeoAir, and the trekking pole height is set to 120 cm.
  • Depending on the conditions, the interior height can be adjusted between 110 and 125 cm.
  • Thumbs up on the bathtub floor and PitchLoc corners. The latter feature is very clever; the open corners provide a little extra ventilation, but can be sealed with adjustable storm flaps when the weather is coming in.
  • For all the features it offers (e.g. bathtub floor, netting, vestibule, lots of interior space), the Aeon is ridiculously light. On my scales it weighed in at 460 grams (1.01 lb). That’s including guylines, but not including the six stakes or DCF stuff sack that it comes with.

That’s all for now. The Aeon Li looks like a great tent, feels solid, the workmanship is excellent, and I’m looking forward to field testing it over the coming weeks. Catch you in February!


Time-outs and Tarptent Aeons — 18 Comments

  1. Whew, I first thought your blog ended with “this will be my last post” until reading on to “until next month.” Have a great trip, enjoy the new Tarptent, and we’ll look forward to your reports after your return. Happy New Year!

  2. Have a fun year. You are an important part of my cyber life. I just didn’t realize it until I saw this post and initially thought that it was your last post forever. I don’t trek much, but the few walks that I do are partially inspired by your adventures. Looking forwarded to your next post.

  3. Enjoy your trip it looks like a very nice tent.I am trying to plan my first thru- hike of the PCT .do you have any advice for me.

  4. Hey Cam, shelter question for you when you have a minute. I have the Gatewood Cape w/ the serenity net. I’ve seen a couple people using the Sea to Summit nano net tent with the Gatewood cape, polycryo, and sleeping mat (mine is a regular length xlite). Looks like a good set up. My question is, do you think that would work on the GDT? My guess is it would be very important to pick the right spot to camp, but it would probably work. Thoughts/concerns?

    • Hey Jeff,

      Yes, you should be fine with that set-up. I used the MLD Pro Poncho on the GDT back in 2011.

      As you mention, campsite selection is important, but with a bit of planning it isn’t too difficult to find relatively sheltered areas on the GDT when stormy weather is on the cards. In rain gear-mode, obviously ponchos aren’t the best option for overgrown sections, but once again, unless its pissing down when you happen to be negotiating those segments, there shouldn’t be too many issues. All the best on your hike!



      • Man, thx for the response, Cam. I really appreciate it a lot! This helps. If my GDT hike goes through (hoping!) I think I will go with that nano net. I’ll try it out on some trips this spring.

        Would you have a second to scan through my pack load out for the GDT to see if there are any glaring omissions or unnecessary items?


        • No worries. Your gear list for the GDT looks very good. You have obviously put a lot of thought into it, and have covered all the major bases. I’m not personally familiar with the EE Torrid Apex Jacket, but it seems like it gets positive reviews in the UL community. How have you found the new Thermarest Neoair Uberlite?

          • That’s great to hear, Cam – thx! I must say you have helped me a lot in thinking through what to bring. Good to know I’m on the right track.

            Both the Torrid Apex, and the Uberlite are things I would hope to be purchasing sometime this year. The Torrid Apex jacket for sure as it is toted as being warmer than the thermawrap and many other jackets, and weighing less. Darwin has had it for 3000 miles and even the 7d fabric option that he had has not torn – impressive. As for the Uberlite, I am still debating between sticking with my xlite or going for the uberlite because of the difference in R value. There is a Finnish guy who did a pretty thorough review of it where he was in the alpine and slept down to 0 degrees and was warm (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oXFCJi0TII&t=328s). He said he couldn’t vouch for it for sure in sub zero temps, but was surprised at how warm he stayed at 0. There is a chance even in summer on the GDT for it to drop lower than that. How low were temps when you were there do you figure? My thought is likely that would be rare, and with all my clothes/gloves/beanie on and in my katabatic flex 22 which I overstuffed 1 oz I would probably make it through those nights ok. So I lean towards the uberlite for the weight and space savings… That would help me swallow the Garmin’s 3.5 oz easier 😉 But that is a necessity with a lovely wife back at home 🙂

            Also, what are your go to dinners for no cook? Do you do the bean, seasoning, olive oil, fritos?

            • I finished my GDT hike in early September, 2011, and there were snow storms the last couple of days. Not sure how low the temps dropped, but I’d estimate mid, maybe low twenties F. You will definitely be fine with the Alsek, but as I mentioned, I can’t personally speak as to the EE jacket or Uberlite. The Finnish bloke you reference is Hendrik Morkel, who has been around a long time and knows his stuff. As for the Garmin inReach mini, I don’t think you can put a price (or in this case a weight) on your family’s peace of mind. Well worth the 3.5 oz.

              As for no-cook dinners, I’ve been eating beans with corn chips and olive oil regularly since the PCT in 2007. I got the idea from Scott Williamson and another Californian mate of mine, Mike “The Gambler” Towne.

              • Fantastic, Cam. Thx again. If this hike goes through i’d be finish my attempt late August. I agree about the inReach. Even just from a personal safety standpoint I don’t think it would wise for me to not have it. This is wild country, and I’ll mostly be hiking it alone.

                I may consider mailing myself another layer mid August, but I’ll see how warm the Torrid ends up being for me and test it out in the cold beforehand.

      • Also, the GDTA has created an alternate route over the flood plain to avoid that infamous brushy/blow down section in Section D of the GDT, so that fairs well for me for the Gatewood option as well.

  5. As someone who is also from SE Queensland and apparently the same age as you I sincerely ask for your advice. I sincerely would like to ask your opinion on snakes. I have hiked and traveled all over Northern Queensland (spent the first 10 years of my life up there) and the Northern Territory including as a kid in the late 70s. I know I like to hike all day and walk through different terrains and bush just to experience it. As a result no one I know will understandably hike with me. As a result I often hike solo in places including SE QLD. My question to you as someone who also hikes solo do Brown snakes and Red Belly Blacks Snakes warrant a electronic device because I am yet to use one. Should I ??? I know that a bloke died in half an hour from being bitten by a Brown Snake up north in his driveway.

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