Thu. Sep 19th, 2019

Tarptent Aeon Li Overview: One Pound, One Particular person

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The Tarptent Aeon Li (“lithium”) is a single-pound, single-pole, single-person, single-wall, half-pyramid shelter that’s terribly ultralight but nonetheless fairly spacious. We’ve been testing one for almost a yr to see the way it holds up after a variety of rigorous use. Right here’s the complete overview.

compose Logan Watts
time Sep 11, 2019
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For these unfamiliar, Tarptent is a rising outside model primarily based in Nevada Metropolis, CA. The corporate manufactures all of its merchandise in Seattle, WA, and just lately up to date a number of of its tents, together with the favored Double Rainbow that we wrote about in June. Additionally they designed a brand new line of tents for bikepackers and backpackers looking for exceptionally ultralight shelters which are nonetheless totally encapsulated to maintain out water and bugs. Named after the aspect Li, a gentle and silvery steel, this line of silvery Dyneema tents is known as the Lithium Venture. It began by creating ultralight Dyneema variations for 2 of Tarptent’s extra fashionable designs, ensuing within the Notch Li and Stratosphere Li. Later, the brand new Aeon Li was launched by itself and have become one of many smallest and lightest one-person tents available on the market. We’ve put a number of dozen nights on the Aeon Li since we acquired it final fall, on journeys within the southwestern US, Montana, and the Appalachian Mountains.

Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent

Tarptent is understood for its moderately advanced and eccentric design method, or “tent’gineering” as they’ve dubbed it. Impressed by attention-grabbing mathematical and geometrical ideas, equivalent to prismatic shapes and catenary curves, Tarptent’s shelters usually have comparatively unconventional contours. The Tarptent Aeon Li is a pleasant instance of a number of of Tarptent’s geometric mainstays. It makes use of a modified half-pyramid design and the crux of lots of Tarptent’s designs—Pitchloc buildings. These patented structural parts every include two carbon fiber tubes and three cords to create a pyramidal form. Pitchlocs are used to raise the place an angle terminates, in flip offering a brief wall perpendicular to the ground and enhancing the usable inside quantity. In accordance with Tarptent, additionally they improve the structural power and stability of the tent. Better of all, they every solely require a single stake.

The 2 again corners of the Aeon Li have Pitchloc buildings. Every options two 14” (36cm) carbon poles which are held in place utilizing small pockets which are stitched into the compression straps. When staked, the interior wall of the Pitchloc pyramid sits nearly perpendicular to the bottom. This appeared somewhat odd – even overly advanced at first – however as soon as I set it up it made excellent sense. Every of those buildings raises the sidewall to create extra inside space, which retains me and the sleeping bag away from the tent physique. That is one thing that’s fairly necessary with a single-wall Dyneema tent (see boxout under). Tarptent additionally claims that Pitchlocs improve storm power, and permit customers as much as 7′ tall to take a seat and sleep comfortably. I feel 7′ could be a beneficiant estimate, however being about 6’ even, I’ve loads of room, even sufficient to stash private objects and equipment on the ground above my head. There’s one extra carbon strut on the middle of the again wall that balances out the 2 corners.

On the entrance of the tent, the principle construction comes from a single pole. This generally is a climbing pole, however I used the 42” (107cm) Vertical Assist Pole that Tarptent sells individually for $16. It weighs four.2oz (119g) and breaks into three segments, permitting it to pack right down to about 18” (46cm). On one finish, the pole has a plastic blunt-end cap that merely rests on the bottom exterior the door. The opposite finish has a small steel nipple that matches right into a steel grommet on the Aeon Li’s peak. A brief, 13.5” (34cm) aluminum cross-brace suits in two pockets on the apex, forming a shallow peak and offering somewhat extra headroom. The cross-brace penetrates the inside and exterior of the tent by way of a small grommet with a perforated membrane to seal out bugs.

Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent
Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent

Aeon Li Setup

There are a pair choices for organising the Aeon Li. The standard configuration includes staking the entrance “peak” of the tent to type a five-sided construction. This secures the left-side entrance wall and creates a vestibule. The suitable-hand door can then both be rolled up or clipped on the backside of the height for a totally sealed vestibule. The second possibility is to go away the complete entrance open with each doorways rolled again. The structural awning fashioned by the crossed pole and brace creates a pleasant equilibrium with the staked entrance corners of the tent and eliminates the necessity for the ahead guyline. I attempted it this manner a time or two, however favor having the dew protecting vestibule in place. Which, I would add, is surprisingly roomy.

Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent

This brings to thoughts one in every of my favourite options on the Aeon Li: it has magnetic door-keepers. On either side, there’s a magnet sealed throughout the tent wall and a small Dyneema strap with one other embedded magnet. These join across the rolled-up door flap and work like a allure—a lot simpler than toggles or the hook and loop fixtures generally discovered on different tents. Be sure to take a look at the video under for a greater have a look at the Aeon Li’s form and dimension.

Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent
Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent

All informed, the Tarptent Aeon Li pitches surprisingly fast. I say surprisingly, as a result of after seeing and putting in the Pitchloc struts the primary time, I envisioned a cumbersome course of that I’d need to painstakingly undergo by way of every night after a protracted trip. Nevertheless, that wasn’t in any respect the case. In a nutshell, I discovered finest manner was to easily stake the 4 corners, then set up the assist polls and cross-brace. From there, the easy sliding locks on the yellow cords can simply be tweaked on the corners to get the stress proper for , taught pitch each time. That’s not at all times the case with double wall tents. In fact, it’s a “tarp” tent, so it’s removed from freestanding, so pitching on concrete or rock could be subsequent to unattainable.

The Single-wall/Dyneema Dilemma

There’s no questioning the burden good thing about a single-wall Dyneema tarp or tent. Most ultralight, non-Dyneema, double-wall tents related in dimension normally weigh almost a pound extra, give or take a number of ounces. For instance, the Massive Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Bikepack I reviewed just lately weighs 1.05 kg (2.three kilos). Your complete Aeon Li weighs about 668 grams (see under for particulars, and be aware that is with the PolePouch and heavy(ish) assist pole). Additionally be aware that the extra comparable “Crazylight” Fly Creek UL1 Platinum—one of many lightest, sil-nylon-based 1-person tents available on the market—has a claimed weight of 1lb 13oz (822 grams).

For a lot of, that is financial savings is value it. Nevertheless, it’s not all roses with a single wall tent. The most important subject most individuals complain about is the moisture and condensation. Whereas it could actually occur in any tent—some are higher than others—a single wall tent places the moisture proper subsequent to you. So, in case your sleeping bag touches the tent wall, it should get moist. Fortuitously, the Aeon Li has beneficiant floorspace and loads of inside room, so I didn’t have that downside usually.

Dyneema additionally appears to be slower to dry than sil-nylon. I’ve a private peeve about packing up a moist tent, which I’ve needed to throw to the wind and never fear about on many events with the Aeon Li. There may be one answer that I’ve heard people utilizing with Dyneema tents, nonetheless. Convey a dish sponge. This lets you sponge out the inside after a very dewy night, absorbing the moisture one go at a time. Then you definitely merely wring the sponge out within the vestibule a number of occasions and that hurries up the drying course of.

Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent

Air flow

The Tarptent Aeon Li does an okay job at air flow. It’s not nice, but it surely’s not too unhealthy, both. The easiest way to ensure good airflow is to go away the door open, exposing the mesh wall to the surface world, which I’ve finished on many events. The Aeon Li additionally has a number of in-built provisions to assist in air flow. Most notably, it has a flap/vent on the entrance of the highest peak. That is merely a gap that opens as much as the vestibule space and will be pressured open or squished down. There’s not likely a lot to it. The physique of the tent additionally has a mesh netting between the bath flooring and again and facet partitions. This doesn’t do an excessive amount of, however permits some airflow, and by design, the wall overlaps this mesh transition offering a spot for condensation to drip off into the netting and out of doors, as a substitute of on the ground. Moreover, each Pitchloc again corners have an non-obligatory sil-nylon fly that may be battened as much as forestall chilly air from coming by way of, or opened as much as help in air flow.

Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent
Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent

Tarptent Aeon Li Packed Up

The Tarptent Aeon Li features a set of six aluminum stakes in their very own Dyneema sack, 5 carbon Pitchloc struts, and a single aluminum cross-brace for the roof. All of this packs neatly into an included Dyneema stuff sack.

As a few of you could already know, although Dyneema is comparably lighter, it’s somewhat extra cumbersome than ultralight ripstop nylon. Made with zero.51 ozDyneema Composite Material, the Aeon Li appears to be a slight exception and packs up very small—about 15” x 5.5” (38 x 14cm)—related in pack dimension to a Fly Creek UL1 or different small ultralight tents. And also you save somewhat house with fewer poles, contemplating there’s just one (plus the cross-brace). One other limiter to its packed dimension is the set of 5 14” Pitchloc carbon struts. It might be fairly an endeavor to take away them and reinsert them throughout every teardown and pitch, so it’s finest to go away them in place and roll the tent up round them. This implies the Aeon Li is proscribed to a packed size of about 15” (38cm). This shouldn’t be an enormous deal until you’re focused on placing it in a slender or brief bag. It was somewhat tight moving into my BXB Teardrop, for instance. I might additionally see it being a problem to slot in small panniers.

My common choice for on-the-bike packing is to place my full sleep system on the handlebars. Just lately, that’s both been within the Revelate Pronghorn or the Porcelain Rocket Horton system. With each of those, I put the tent within the detachable drybag first, then stuff my quilt (currently, the Enlightened Gear Enigma) in round it, then the sleeping pad. This creates a cohesive, stable unit that’s good and steady on the bars. The pole and included aluminum cross-brace are packed into Tarptent’s personal $25 PolePouch, which straps to the entrance of the handlebar roll.

Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent
Tarptent Aeon Li Review, Dyneema tent

The Tarptent Aeon Li, stakes, and two stuff sacks weigh simply over a pound, 507 grams (17.9oz) on my scale. The added assist pole, aluminum cross-brace, and PolePouch weigh 161 grams (5.7oz). All informed, with stakes, poles, sacks, and tent, the system weighs 668 grams (23.6oz or 1.47 kilos). My whole sleep system within the Revelate Pronghorn stuff bag weighs 1730 grams (three.81 kilos). That is the place the Aeon Li shines. Shaving almost a pound off the handlebar weight was instantly noticeable and made an enormous distinction in additional technical singletrack driving.

Weight (tent/stakes) 507 grams (17.9oz or 1.1 pound)
Weight (poles/PolePouch) 161 grams (5.7oz)
Packed dimension 15 x 5.5″ (38 x 14cm)
Ground house 88 x 30″ (224 x 76cm)
Place of Manufacture Seattle, WA
Worth $535
Producer’s Particulars


Unbelievably light-weight
Pitchloc/half-pyramid design is completely spacious and comfy
Comparatively straightforward to arrange, when you get used to it
Dyneema building appears sturdy to date
Magnetic door-keepers are ingenious
Made within the USA


Considerably costly (and at present out of inventory)
Straightforward to lose carbon struts
Not freestanding

Wrap Up

This was my first expertise with Tarptent. On preliminary inspection, I assumed it appeared a bit too convoluted with its myriad of carbon struts, advanced Pitchloc straps, and assortment of pole pockets. There’s fairly a bit occurring. However after pitching it as soon as, its magnificence was revealed and I used to be hooked. The parts that I furrowed my forehead about at first—the Pitchlocs and mesh transition—turned the options I actually favored. As Cass described the model’s choices, “in typical Tarptent type, there are some distinctive eccentricities, however they at all times work collectively very properly.”

As talked about, single wall tents have some inherent challenges. When circumstances are muggy, or the dew level is good, you’ll have to take care to not brush up towards the tent’s sidewalls. However, the Aeon Li definitely addresses this with a lavish 88″ bathtub flooring size and properly elevated again wall by way of the 2 Pitchlocs. And, the mesh transition from flooring to wall offers escape level for dripping water.

General, I’m actually impressed by the Tarptent Aeon Li. It’s comparatively easy to pitch, has good and prolonged flooring space, loads of inside house, a large vestibule, and vents decently properly. I admittedly fear about its long-term sturdiness. In any case, it’s constructed out of moderately skinny zero.51 ozDyneema. Nevertheless, Tarptent appears to have paid shut consideration to the factors the place seams meet, and areas that susceptible to abrasion and stress. There are many welded layers at these junctions to stave off put on and tear. And, normally, Dyneema is fairly powerful stuff. After pitching and packing it a number of dozens of occasions, it’s somewhat sullied in locations, however not likely exhibiting any indicators of wear and tear to talk of.


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