I started off w/ a Chinook, agree it's a good tarp for the price. I've since gotten one that suits my 3S needs better, but I plan on holding onto the Chinook for awhile as a backup and winter tarp. The 4 tie outs per side allow for easily closing off one or both ends, which comes in handy during the winter or bad storms.
What makes it a good starter tarp is that it's large, offers a lot of flexibility and has the aforementioned tie out options. From that point, it's easier to determine if you want something smaller, lighter, with a cat cut, without doors, fewer tie outs, etc. It's generally a good idea to go through this process to identify your true needs through first-hand experience (instead of trying to ascertain them from the internet) before you put more money down on more expensive one.
It is a very alert, active sheep, with a stylish, lively carriage.
I tour & bike camp with a Mark Nobilette built Protovelo, and ride a bunch of others. Have any bike questions?
Camping pics on Flickr