In response to the great question about tent weight (I love talking about gear) there are a number of options that would get the job done with less weight. That said, as weight goes down in outdoor gear the price goes up exponentially. If you wanted to get a small backpacking tent that weighed the same as a bug hut you are looking at the 300-400 dollar range. There are great options from MSR and Big Agnes as well as slightly less expensive (and slighly heavier) options from Kelty and REI. Our reasoning for recommending the ALPS tent was that it was about the same price as the Bug Hut and even though there was a weight penalty we feel that the ALPS tent might hold up long enough to be useful in some other part of your life, even if it is only to make a living room tent to watch Netflix in for an entire weekend once you get home.
We do not want you to buy gear for this trip that won’t serve you well (or at all) in the future and unfortunately the Bug Hut from REI is no longer one of those things. Please keep in mind that we love REI and totally support shopping there as they are a great CO-OP and a valuable place to get information about spending time out of doors.
It is also important to note that you will not need to pack and carry all of your things for 2/3 of the trip. The only time you will need to carry your tent will be in Isalo and potentially during x phase and you will have the option to leave a few things behind during the trek(s) to lighten your load.
We hope this helps but if you have further questions please ask asap. Thanks so much!
Micah, Sidonie, and Colin.