I'm trying to put together some touring equipment, mainly a tent, bag (40+ or 32+) and cookware. I'm also trying to go lightweight here and thanks to REI's return policy and the membership thing I have like $170 in store credit and there's that 20% off thing going on. So Basically I can get a 210 dollar item for free, which makes me want to buy one nice thing; either a bag or a tent and go cheap on the others.
I'm a student, so optimizing the cash to goodness ratio is important here.
I may be interested in making a tarp tent, but remain undecided.
As far as their rack and pannier selection, I'd rather support a local shop which cuts me deals now and again.
So what would you rather have, a nice light well vented tent or a nice light bag?