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There are a few disadvantages to a tarp. One is the mosquito problem,
already mentioned. Second is for really bad weather where the ground is
really wet. I have had to set up my tent in snow, hail, and areas where the
ground was completely saturated and over an inch deep in water. The
waterproof bottom of my tent kept me a lot dryer that I would have been
under a tarp. During a heavy hail storm in the Sierras, I watched my
campsite flood and my gear go floating off as I sat under a tarp. Then
there is ease of set up. With a tarp, you have to find some trees in the
right places (or get very creative with your walking sticks). With a tent,
especially a free standing tent, you can set up on the top of a ridge and
not worry about whether or not there are any trees in appropriate positions.
If I am in a hurry, setting up in the rain for example, I don't want to be
creative, I just want to get inside fast. A tarp will weigh about 1 1/2
lbs. A light tent is about 3-4. To me, the advantages outweigh the
disadavantage of the extra weight.