Seeing all of the comments in this thread has been interesting. I thought I'd summarize some thoughts, if only to clarify in my own mind. Here are my current thoughts (comments welcome):
* Reliable protection from bugs and weather comes first. I am looking for the lightest tent that can provide that.
* Freestanding -- Nicholas Sweeting's comment is consistent with other information I have seen. I recognize Matt Lutz' experience, and can only assume they were on different terrain. My plans are to be more in Nick's neighborhood.
(FWIW: note that I have always thought of freestanding as excess weight -- I still do not own a freestanding tent -- this one would be my first. It took a bit of thought to convince myself that one is required for this use. My other tents are a Gatewood Cape, an old NOLS fly, and a Stephenson)
* Staking out -- all tents, freestanding or not, will need additional guying for a serious storm. That seems like a wash -- pretty much the same, regardless of what kind of tent you have. The only differences are the actual needs of specific models.
* Strength -- Hilleberg uses two fabric weights -- after looking around a lot, reading this thread, and reading a lot of Hilleberg tent user reviews on trailspace.com, I believe that the lighter tents (Kerlon 1200) are adequate for this use and save a meaningful amount of weight.
* Vestibule -- after some thought, I want one. It is important for keeping bad weather out of the tent, and to cook in during high winds. I could live without one, but would much prefer one -- seems worth the weight.
* Hilleberg -- I have not thought much about them before, so I was surprised by how popular they are with people in this thread. That was confirmed by how glowing most reports on Hilleberg tents are on trailspace.com. I am becoming convinced. At first I thought they were heavy and expensive. Now I have taken a good look at the competition, they are not heavy, and their cost is in the (top end of) the ballpark. Still the most expensive, but not by as much as I thought.
* Models -- solo vs dual is not settled, so choose one of each for now. Based on all the above, the tents to beat look like the Hilleberg Allak (dual) and the Hilleberg Soulo (solo).
Rightly or wrongly, I did not really consider the cottage industry -- my concern is (lack of) a track record of proven strength in major storms. One of my considerations is that I may not be able to control where I pitch the tent, such as in very exposed places (because of group).
I looked at a lot of major manufacturers, including Big Agnes, Black Diamond, Eureka, Integral Designs, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, MSR, North Face, and Sierra Designs. None of them have a truly freestanding tent -- in all cases I found the vestibule needs to be pegged out. In some cases that is needed to support the tent; in other cases it is not.
All of the tents I found that were lighter than Allak were single-wall, except one -- Mountain Hardwear EV2. Unfortunately, that tent has some other problems, such as no way to open its door in nasty weather without getting wet inside.
Most of the choices were from Black Diamond and Integral Designs. Those were mostly variations on a 2-pole wedge tent, which seems sub-optimal for this use.
Comments on some suggestions earlier in this thread:
Kaitum -- very nice, but not freestanding. Weight about same as Allak.
Saivo -- self-supporting, not freestanding. Kerlon 1800 -- strong, but heavier. I think Kerlon 1200 is enough for my use.
Unna -- not as strong as Soulo, and I like Soulo's vestibule more than Unna's "virtual vestibule" (vestibule comment could be just ignorant, though).
Integral Designs Mk 1 or Mk 1 XL -- I am not convinced of the single-wall wedge shape for this use. As Tom notes, no vestibule, and I want one. (Actually, several of their models have an optional vestibule. Adding the vestibule makes them weigh more than Allak, though.)
Jannu -- made the short list. About same weight as Allak, and need to peg out the vestibule.
Akto -- nice tent, but not freestanding.
Hilleberg separating freestanding vs self-supporting -- yes that is good. I decided I prefer freestanding (for this use). All non-Hilleberg tents I looked at were at best self-supporting.
Scarp 1 -- in freestanding mode is 3# 8oz. That is only 4 oz less than the Soulo (and a lot cheaper), but I would need to be convinced it is as strong as the Soulo.
So there you have it -- the Hilleberg Allak (dual) and Soulo (solo) tents are looking pretty good to me. All comments are welcome.