I don't think the weight penalty for a freestanding tent is one lbs. Even the lightest 2 person trekking pole supported double wall shelters (SMD Haven, MLD DuoMid + Inner) aren't more than half a pound lighter than the lightest freestanding designs (ie. Big Sky Revolution) and the quasi-freestanding Big Agnes FC UL2 is pretty much the same weight as these trekking pole supported shelters.
I also don't agree that the point of a freestanding tent is so you don't have to stake it out. Nobody chooses a freestanding tent so they don't have to stake it down. There are many good reasons, as David has mentioned, to choose a freestanding tent. Here are some more:
- Site selection. I like to set up my inner tent, place it where the ground looks good and then lay down in it to make sure the slope is indeed as expected. If it's too much slope or whatever then I can slide the tent around until I find a good spot. Once I have the spot fine tuned I stake it down. This is minor, but nice.
- Cleaning. It's way easier to clean out a freestanding tent because you can pick it up and shake it out in the morning. This is very handy after a night camped on sand.
- Risk of Collapse. A freestanding shelter won't collapse if a stake pulls out in the night. I had troubles once with a non-freestanding tent when I was unexpectedly camping on sand with stakes not designed for it. The stakes were enough to hold the tent secure to the ground, but in the night when the winds picked up a stake pulled out and then I was out in the rain in the middle of the night trying to re-secure that corner.
Also, trekking pole shelters often have less interior room than a tent with a main arch pole, because the trekking pole shelters are just high in one point (ie. SMD Haven), whereas a curved arch pole keeps the roof of a tent higher over a longer portion of the tent. So it's usually not as simple as just saving half a pound by giving up freestanding.
Trekking pole supported shelters, freestanding shelters and everything in between have their place depending on the expected conditions, user skill and personal preference. In this case the OP is new to lightweight camping and looking for a shelter capable of handling high winds and possible snow loads. Coming from a 9 lbs tent, he's probably going to be happier with a 2.5-4 lbs tent with few compromises.
If cost is an issue, it's hard to beat the REI Quarterdome T2 which is a freestanding, double wall tent for 3.8lbs and cost ranges from $150 (eBay) to $260 (REI). Other sub 3.5 lbs double wall possibilities with netting inners are:
- MSR Carbon Reflex 2
- Mountain Hardware Skyledge 2.1
- Sierra Designs Lightning XT
- Big Sky International Revolution
- Six Moon Designs Haven (2 person) or Vamp (1 person)
- TarpTent Scarp 2
- Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2
- Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2