I actually like sleeping in a bivy, all zipped up and "closed-in" feeling. No problems there. The bugs don't bother me (unless it's extreme mosquitos - but I don't encounter that often). My issue is with the tarp set up not being free-standing. If I am backpacking with someone else, which I usually am, I can't/don't want to continue hiking to find a place where I can stake a tarp down or use natural features. I hike in Southern Utah a lot, and half the terrain in straight sandstone. I can't pitch on that, but my friends/family can. I can't pitch on loose sand, despite my "sand stakes". I could spend a long time rigging something up, but I'd rather just put a tent up. In Utah, a water source often will dictate camp selection, and I can't have my cake (water) and eat it too (have nice ground or trees to stake to). Much of the time there is no such thing as a tree.
Well, there's my beef. From what I've read, it seems that all of the TarpTents are not free-standing. Is that correct? Do I have a lighter option for a free-standing tent - single or double?
As far as the "magic number 5", I realize it's arbitrary. I guess it just keeps me in line so my pack doesn't end up being 20lbs. If I constantly shoot for 5, I might end up at 6, or 7, etc, which is fine.