Gear Review: Tarptent Aeon Li

Since receiving a prototype of the Tarptent Aeon Li in December, 2018, I’ve put about 550 miles (885 km) on the shelter. Most of these came on the Australian Alpine Walking Track (AAWT), but additionally I’ve also done some shorter hikes in southeast Queensland and Mexico’s Sierra Madre. What follows are my impressions of the Aeon Li, along with recommendations for future users.

Yours truly and the Aeon Li at sunrise | Kosciuszko National Park, Australian Alpine Walking Track.


Sleeps: 1 person.

“Could it fit two people in a squeeze?”  Even the most cuddly of sleepers would struggle to fit two people in the Aeon Li. The one person rating is spot on.

Dyneema® Material:

  • Fly – 0.51oz / yd 2.
  • Floor – 1 oz / yd 2

“Do I need a Polycro or Tyvek groundsheet?” In rocky, desert-like conditions I’d say it’s worth the one to two ounce weight penalty in order to prolong the life of your floor. Otherwise you should be fine without one.

Weight:  16.8 oz (477 grams) – as per my kitchen scale.

  • The above total includes the stuff sack (0.39 oz /11 grams), guy lines (0.92 oz / 26 gr) and struts, but does not include the optional apex guy line or Easton Aluminium tent stakes (6) that come with the shelter (1.69 oz / 48 gr).
  • The weight of the Aeon Li not including any guylines, stakes or the stuff sack is 440 gr / 0.97 lb.

Size (as per Tarptent website):

  • Interior Height: 47 in / 119 cm
  • Floor Width: 30 in / 76 cm
  • Floor Length: 88 in / 224 cm
  • Packed size: 14 in x 4 in / 36 cm x 10 cm

Price:  $535 (see Value for Money below)

The Aeon Li on Viking Saddle in the Barry Mountains | AAWT


The Aeon Li is a fully enclosed one person shelter with integrated fly and bathtub floor. It is single wall, made with Dyneema®, and uses one trekking pole in the set up.

  • Struts and Interior Space:  As a long-time user of Mid-style tents, one of the only real negatives I’ve found with this type of shelter is the reduced amount of usable interior space due to the low angles of the walls. This isn’t such a biggie if like myself you tend to sleep in the foetal position, but for taller folks that like stretching out, chances are there is going to be some rubbing of the noggin and/or the foot end of your sleeping bag on the tent walls. The Aeon Li goes a long way in addressing this issue by its use of struts along the back wall, along with another strut (or “structural awning”) situated at the tent’s apex. This was one of the first things I noticed when using the shelter. I’m 6’1″ and can stretch out and sit up with room to spare, even when using an inflatable mat such as the Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xlite or XTherm (see photos below).

Back struts and PitchLoc corners / Tent pitched at 108 cm / Above tree line in Kosciuszko national park on the Australian Alpine Walking Track.

This one is for the folks over at UL Reddit. Pictured is yours truly in a Katabatic Palisade quilt lying on a Thermarest Neoair sleeping mat (small). My feet are resting on an MLD Burn backpack. Note the space between my head and foot box and the walls. It took me five tries to get this photo using a 10 second timer on my phone!

Sitting up on a 2.5″ Thermarest NeoAir Xlite (small).

  • Ventilation and Condensation: Like all single wall shelters, condensation can be an issue with the Aeon Li in certain environments. This can be mitigated to a certain degree by savvy campsite selection, leaving the vestibule door/s open when conditions permit, and setting the height of your trekking pole as high as practical in order to increase ventilation under the sides of the tent. The Aeon Li also sports a top peak vent and PitchLoc corners, which can be left open when conditions are fine, or closed up via the adjustable storm flaps when the weather is coming in. While I think the corners can contribute to increased ventilation, practically speaking I’m not sure the small top peak vent makes too much of a difference.
  • Footprint: The comparatively small footprint of the Aeon Li – especially when pitched without the vestibule – comes in handy when you are hiking in areas where suitable camping space is at a premium (e.g. thick forest environs).
  • Bug netting and Floor –  For an ultralight shelter that tips the scales at around a pound, the Aeon Li sports a lot of great features. Among these attributes are a mesh entrance that doesn’t droop to the ground when unzipped (i.e. dirt and zippers don’t play well), and a bathtub floor that is easily tensioned. As someone who has literally spent hundreds of nights in the boonies using a tarp and bivy, I can attest that the extra space afforded by the built-in netting is worth its weight in gold when the bugs are out in force. As for the integrated floor, it’s nice to have when camping on boggy terrain is unavoidable. The fact that all of this comes in a compact 16 oz package (i.e. a similar weight to many DCF Tarp, UL Bivy and/or groundsheet combos), is the reason why the release of the Aeon Li has been greeted with such enthusiasm by the thru-hiking and ultralightweight backpacking communities.

Camped on a saddle close to Mount Magdala | AAWT.


With a little practice, the Aeon Li makes for a quick and easy sub-2 minute setup. It takes either five or six pegs, depending on whether or not you stake out the Apex guyline (recommended in windy and/or inclement weather). See the Aeon Li Quick Pitch video for a step-by-step guide.

Inclement Conditions: In regards to the height of the shelter, I pitch it as low as possible (108 cm approx.) with the foot end (narrow side) into the wind when stormy weather is on the cards. When calm conditions are prevalent, I’ll set it up as high as possible (128 cm approx.). If the forecast is clear, I’ll roll up the front doors and pitch the shelter sans vestibule for maximum views and ventilation.

Tent Stakes: The Aeon Li comes with half a dozen 6 in/15 cm Easton “Nail” Aluminium tent pegs. Over the years I’ve used this type of stakes quite a lot with both Tarptents and Mountain Laurel Designs shelters. In general I’ve found them to perform well, but on three separate occasions I’ve had the heads pop off them. If I was taking the Aeon Li into an area where I knew the chances of regular stormy weather and unavoidable exposed camping were high, I would swap out the Easton Nails for full-size MSR Groundhogs, along with two or three Ti Shepherd hooks just in case of uncooperative campsite terrain.

Creekside campsite on the AAWT.


While packing other Pyramid or Half Pyramid-style tents that I own, I tend not to use a stuff sack. However, in the case of the Aeon Li, due to its multiple struts I think it is well worth the 0.39 oz (11 gram) weight penalty (i.e. the weight of the Aeon Li stuff sack). The alternative is removing and refitting the struts every time I’m setting up or taking down the tent, which personally speaking seems like too much faffing about.

“Doesn’t this mean that you have to pack the tent vertically in your backpack?” Yes. Personally speaking I found this to be no big deal, as the tent is quite small when rolled up tightly in its stuff sack (see below). However, for folks that are adamant about packing their shelters horizontally or basically just stuffing them in sans sack wherever they might fit, removing the struts (and then putting them back in again) is the way to go.

Here’s how I packed the Aeon Li in four steps (see photos below):

  • Gather together the back struts and apex strut at one end.
  • Using their width as a reference point, lay out the rest of the tent in a rectangular fashion.
  • Place the stakes next to the struts, then roll the shelter up tightly around the struts and stakes.
  • Put the bundle in the stuff sack.

Struts and stakes ready to roll.

The Aeon Li in its original stuff sack beside a 600 ml water bottle.


Excellent. During the AAWT I camped above tree line in windy weather (gusts up to 45 km / 28 mi per hour) on a couple of occasions, and each time the Aeon Li proved to be rock solid. Additionally, I took the shelter out for two stormy overnighters in my home state of Queensland (heavy rains and gusts over 50 km / 31 mi) and it held up like a champ. To reiterate my comments above, in all of these instances I pitched the shelter as low as possible (108 cm) and with the foot end into the wind.

Value for Money

The Aeon Li (US$535) is made with Dyneema® so it’s going to be expensive. That said, its competitively priced compared to other similar-style Dyneema shelters on the market (e.g. MLD Solomids and Zpacks Plexamid), and when you take into account Tarptent’s well earned reputation for quality workmanship and the durability of its products, I think the Aeon Li represents good value for money (Note: As with all of Tarptents products it is made in the US).


The Tarptent Aeon Li is an excellent 3 season+ option for thru-hikers and weight-conscious backpackers. As you would expect with any shelter made by Tarptent, the materials, design and attention to detail are all top-notch. But what really struck me about the Aeon Li is that not only is it über light and stormworthy, it’s also very spacious and comfortable for something that weighs so little. And that triumvirate of features is what has earned it a high place in my backpacking shelter “quiver” – to borrow one of Pmags‘ favourite expressions – for the foreseeable future.

Sunrise over the Aeon Li | AAWT.

Disclosure: I was given a prototype of the Tarptent Aeon Li free of charge in exchange for feedback from the field. This was the second of Tarptents’ prototypes that I have taken for an extended spin, the first being the ProTrail during the Cordillera Blanca Traverse of 2014. On both occasions I was under no obligation to provide media coverage or write a review, and the opinions expressed are my own. Some (though not all) of the links in this post are affiliate links. 


46 Replies to “Gear Review: Tarptent Aeon Li”

  1. nice review Cam, thanks. How do you deal with condensation to avoid wetting out the floor of the tent ? Do you just swipe the ceiling with a bandana ?

  2. Nice summary of which im sure will be a very popular shelter for Tarptent. I know you are a fan of the MlD solomid XL. How do you feel these compare? Do you see some advantages to the strut and pitchloc system?

    1. As I mention in the article, the Aeon Li’s strut and pitch loc system provide more interior space. On the other hand, the SoloMid is a quicker pitch, and the simpler design means there is less that could potentially break or go wrong. That said, I think they are both excellent shelters, and it’s hard to go past either company when it comes to workmanship and attention to detail.

  3. Great review, maybe one day I’ll feel comfortable in a tent like this, so light l wish it was now lol. Looking at getting a 1p tent and l am tossing up between a copper spur and nemo hornet 🤔 still not sure which

  4. you mention a need for the stuff sack due to it having multiple struts – mind expanding on that a little when you have a chance? to avoid wear/tear inside pack / to other items? cheers

    1. I didn’t use the word “need”, rather I said that in my opinion it’s “well worth the 0.39 / 11 gram weight penalty.”

      The struts are like mini-tent poles or extra long stakes. From a wear and tear perspective, I think that if you regularly packed the Aeon Li loosely in your rucksack, then yes, there would be a greater likelihood that one of the struts would eventually come loose. Given enough prodding, shoving and pressing, this could potentially be problematic with the more delicate type items in your pack such as your quilt, down jacket, rain wear, etc.

  5. Thoughtful and thorough, a great review. Always curious how people cowboy camp with tents like this. Separate ground cloth or just on top of the whole tent. That seems like it’d be hard on the fly which wouldn’t be a good thing.


    1. Thanks for the kind words. If I’m going with a tent in an area where I’m likely to cowboy camp occasionally, I’ll take along a one to two ounce piece of Polycro or Tyvek to use as a groundsheet. I don’t think it’s worth the potential wear and tear on your tent.

  6. Hi Cam,

    Great review as always.

    I was wondering if I could plumb your extensive knowledge.

    If you were going to a wet and windy area e.g. Western Arthurs or Kosciusko, I was wondering what shelter you would use?

    There are two factors at play here. For high rain you want space to get away from the tent walls and for high wind you need a shelter that is stable.

    Would you personally take the Aeon Li, the Solomid XL or perhaps something else?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Petras,

      I think either the Aeon Li or the Solomid XL are suitable for the places you mention. I’ve used the Solomid extensively in Tassie over the years, and the Aeon Li performed well on my recent hike of the Australian Alpine Walking Track.



  7. Hi Cam,

    You have a great site, thanks for all the info.
    Curious what parts of AAWT you did, or did you do it all? Always thinking of doing some seeing its in my backyard.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the kind words. I did the whole trail except for the final 50 km, which I missed due to the bushfires.



      1. Thanks for response,
        Before I fire more question at you about your trip I will ask, are you going to do a write up of the walk?

  8. Thank you for the review. Can you disclose what mechanism keep the vestibule doors together (i.e. is it velcro, magnets, hooks etc)? I have used and loved my Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo LE for a while now but I do not like what the velcro does to the bug netting … and it will touch it eventually, no matter how carefully I close the velcros and pack the tent.

  9. Hi,

    thanks for the first view on the tent.
    Two questions:
    1) Do you have any video of the Aeon Li performing during strong wind?
    2) I do need to choose (this week) between the Aeon Li and the Duplex.
    It will be used on a 70 mile hike in northern Sweden (above treeline). I’am 187cm & will sleep on a TAR X Lite.
    What do you think? Which tent will handle the wind and the harsh weather in a better way?


    1. Hi Phil,

      Thanks for the message. In answer to your questions:

      1. No, I don’t have any videos of the Aeon in strong winds.
      2. Aeon Li Vs Duplex – A. Space – The Aeon Li is plenty big enough for someone 187cm; B. Winds/Weather – I’m sorry, but having never used the Duplex, I can’t personally speak to its performance in inclement weather. As I mentioned in the review, so far I’ve found that the Aeon Li holds up well in fairly strong winds and rain when pitched low, taut, and with the foot end into the wind.



      1. Hi Cam,

        thanks for the reply!
        One more question: so you won’t hesitate to take the Aeon Li to the Kungslegen (Nikkaloutka to Abisko – so the very north of Sweden)?

        1. Hey Phil,

          Funnily enough I actually hiked that section of the Kungsleden with a Tarpent ( the Squall – no longer made) back in 2009.

          Yes, I think you will be fine if you choose to go with the Aeon Li.



  10. Wondering just how fiddly it is to remove and insert the corner and peak poles, I suspect the peak pole would be the hardest ? Yes, it’s an extra step put if its just a simple sleeve with possibly a velcro tap (?) is it any different or harder than sleeving the poles on a traditional hoop tent for those that wanted to ?

  11. Great review as always Cam. Although those pitch loc corners improve the living space it still seems a little neat. Have you had any experience of, or seen close up, the Yama Cirreforms? They definitely look more livable for taller campers like me but I’m concerned about how high they pitch off the ground. I’m mostly camping in wet and windy Scotland….

    1. Hey Rob,

      Thanks for the kind words. As I get older, I think I appreciate the roominess element of the Aeon Li even more than I would have a few years ago.

      As for the Yama Cirriform, I’ve never used one myself, but a friend of mine by the name of Ryan Sylva (who’s 6’5″) has used one for years, and seems to love it. They are very similar to the Tarptent ProTrail, which I’ve occasionally used since 2014.



  12. Thanks for the wonderful review and frankly all of the information on your site! It has been invaluable for me as I prepared to do a SOBO PCT thru-hike this year. I was curious of your opinion on a particular situation related to this tent, though.

    I’m still heading SOBO and just leaving Oregon into California with the plan of completing the Sierra the first two weeks of October when the first winter storms are a possibility. As per your recommendations, I’ve been using an MLD ponchotarp and Katabatic Bristlecone Bivy as my shelter system on trail and they’ve worked great, even in a few thunderstorms!

    But I worry that they may not fair well if I get stuck in heavy snow for a day or two in the Sierra, so I have been considering swapping to something with slightly more protection, but still ultralight and small, since I’m carrying the MLD Burn and don’t have a ton of extra space. Given these circumstances, would you recommend the Aeon Li, or the MLD Solomid, or just stick with my existing setup and stop worrying? 🙂 Thanks for all of your help! For reference, I’m using the Katabatic Alsek 22F but swapping to Sawatch 15F for the cold weather in the Sierra.

    1. Thanks for the message. Try to go through as early as you can to improve weather odds. Poncho can work, just have to be more selective with site selection. Best of luck!

  13. Hi Cam,

    Thanks for the great review. I’m curious if you’ve ever used the TT Notch Li? I do most of my hiking in the mountain west, and like the fact that the notch has an inner net that could be used solo. Is there any reason you would advise going with the Aeon over the Notch (assuming the minor weight penalty on the Notch is not a concern)?

    Also – I was curious exactly how you pack the tent in your backpack (i.e., orientation relative to everything else in your pack)? Do you put it in right after the sleeping pad back-frame, or at the end before you put your quilt in?

    All the best mate and thanks again!


    1. Hey Kevin,

      Thanks for the message and the kind words. I’ve never used the Notch Li, but it seems like it gets rave reviews. The main reason I haven’t personally given it a try is that I don’t tend to use trekking poles when I hike, so it’s hard to justify carrying two poles just to set up my shelter.

      As for the second question, if I’m heading out for four days or more I’ll put my LokSak food bag directly against the sleeping pad framesheet, and place the Aeon Li in the outer sections along with the quilt and other lighter items. If I’m just out for the weekend, chances are I’ll place the shelter directly against the makeshift framesheet along with my smaller food bag.

      Not sure if you’ve seen it, but here’s a quick overview of how I generally pack my backpack:



  14. Hi Cam,

    Thanks for the follow-up. It sounds like you’ve heard nothing but positive feedback about the Notch Li. It makes sense that it isn’t practical as a 2-pole tent given that you don’t typically carry them.

    The detailed packing info is also much appreciated also. Thanks for laying that out for both scenarios scenarios.

    Just to clarify, in the 2nd scenario (less than 4 days food), do you use a standard-sized loksak? Also – do you put the loksak in your pack first (resting against sleeping-pad framesheet), then put the tent on top of the loksak (also resting against sleeping-pad framesheet)?

    Or, do you put the small food bag and tent side-by-side (resting against sleeping-pad framesheet)?

    Thanks for pointing me to the packing article as well. I’ve read the article you referenced, but think I think I’ll read it again as a refresher.

    Thanks again Cam.


    1. Hi Kevin,

      No worries.

      In regard to the Loksak model, yes, I always use the standard 20×12 size. If there are less than four days of food, chances are I’ll put the tent and food bag side-by-side.



      1. Hi Cam,

        Thank you for the follow-up and clarification. It is much appreciated.

        On the shelter note, I was curious if you would go for a tent or tarp/bivy if you were to do most of your hiking in the Sierra Mountains of California?

        I’ve been eying the notch and aeon, but also some bivy and tarp combos. My only hesitation for tarp/bivy is that the mosquitos can be pretty thick during the summer months out here.

        My goal is to get away with investing in a single shelter if at all possible (rather than buying multiple setups).

        Thank you again for all of the sage wisdom!


        1. Hi Kevin,

          That’s a tough one. If I was mostly backpacking in the High Sierra in June/July at the height of bug season, I’d probably go for a tent. On the other hand, if the majority of my Sierra hiking was done in August/September I’d opt for the tarp and bivy combo.

          I know you said you’d prefer to have just a single shelter, but another option might be Silnylon rather than DCF models. The former models are around 30% heavier, but they basically do the same job at around half the price.



  15. Hi Cam,

    Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate the insight and you’ve got me re-thinking this decision. It looks like I’ve got to go back to the drawing board and take another look the options!

    As always, the input is greatly appreciated.


  16. UPDATE: Tarptent has shifted all its Dyneema tent making to China. He feels the 2020 Dyneema tents have come up in quality and, having bought a 2020 Notch Li, Gen. 2 I have to agree.

    In fact I’ll go so far as to say these made-in-China Dyneema tents are up to Hilleberg standards and are the highest quality Dyneema tents made anywhere. And it’s not just better sewing but Henry Shires has put multiple reinforcements at all stress points and used the best hardware.
    Once again Tarptent raises the bar for backpacking tents.

  17. Hey Cam,

    Thanks for your review. I was wondering, of the Aeon and the Protrail, which form factor do you prefer? Since Tarptent released the Protrail in DCF, the price and weight difference between the two is now negligible. It seems that both are equally good choices, and all it really comes down to is personal preference. Any thoughts?

    1. Hey Leon,
      As you say it largely comes down to personal preference, but if I had to pick one I’d probably go with the Aeon Li (by a whisker). It’s roomier, slightly more stormworthy, and when the weather is fine, I like the fact that I can roll up the doors for maximum views.

  18. Hi, I have an Aeon li and can’t understand what you mean about the narrow end or the foot end when you write that it should be setup towards the wind.
    The floor is rectangular. Could you elaborate on this. I usually try to set the back side, the side without the door towards the wind. Thanks for the great review. I too like very much the Aon li

    1. Hi Roger,

      Yes, it’s rectangular, and I point one of the smaller sides (i.e. the foot end) into the wind on potentially stormy nights in order to reduce the shelter’s wind resistance profile.



  19. Hi Cam,

    I’ve grown to love pyramid style tents, my tent of choice is my trustworthy DuoMid XL (perfect for my needs, only downside is the truly MASSIVE footprint), I’m currently considering the AeonLi 2020 to compliment it on solo weekend hikes here in Norway and to take on the HRP next year.

    The Aeon seems to me on paper like the perfect tent, however I’m reading some conflicting reviews on this shelter wind resistance, can you comment on how well it behaves on confused gusty winds, I’m concerned about that vertical side wall and how the vestibule door always seem to stand 5 or 10cm clear off the ground on low pitch pictures I can find.

    Can you confirm that you can pitch both the body and the vestibule flush(…ish) to the ground to the ground and still maintain the bathtub shape?

    Other alternative I’m considering is the Notch Li. Less liveable space, requires extra trekking pole, larger footprint, can’t really figure out which one is better on strong cross winds.

    P.S. Wanderlust has a permanent spot on my living room table, always open on a random page. Fantastic work.

    1. Hi Pedro,

      Thanks for the kind words about Wanderlust.

      Regarding the Aeon Li, I’ve found it holds up well in most three-season conditions as long as it’s pitched correctly. That said if it’s truly stormy weather, I’ll be seeking out the most sheltered location possible in which to set up. Personally, I wouldn’t have any reservations about taking it on the HRP in the summer.

      Can you confirm that you can pitch both the body and the vestibule flush(…ish) to the ground to the ground and still maintain the bathtub shape?

      As indicated by the photos you reference, if the body is flush to the ground, I suspect the vestibule will always be slightly raised. When pitched low, I haven’t had any issues maintaining the shape of the bathtub floor.



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