Tarps have some advantages over tents such as: 1. You can't place a fire to keep you warm in front of a tent, but you can in front of your tarp. 2. lighter-- 1/10th the weight! 3. Cost less---1/10th the cost! 4. Based on the need/location, you can put up a unique layout... I often use a Tarp for wind/sun/rain protection and a Bug Bivey for insects.