I did the western half of the Trans Am last summer with a hammock. Only found it necessary to go to the ground (using the hammock like a tent) two times. However, in the plains states where the wind always blows it was a problem when the tarp was needed(if it looked like rain). When the tarp is that high off the ground it really becomes a large sail and there is often no refuge from that wind. My suggestion would be to use the hammock in the mountain/forest areas that are more protected from wind and when you get down into the plains, consider shipping it home and having someone mail you a tent.