Cuben fiber; Dynaglide; carbon fiber; there are many fabrics and materials that are finding use in the outdoor industry simply to lighten your load. It is easy to buy the lightest gear and it is even easier to sell that gear to you. These developments lead to innovative ideas that make your backcountry experience or weekend rides more enjoyable. I am not complaining by any means. I am an owner of a cuben fiber tarp with Dynaglide triplines and use frameless packs to cut weight. But the reality of this is an endless merry-go-round of trying to own the lightest possible version of each piece of gear. Like I said I am just as guilty as you are, but occasionally we need to really evaluate where we are putting our effort and more importantly our money.
Before you go grab your gear chest and start weighing the savings with a lighter piece; stop and hear me out. I would be shocked to find any of my readers (myself included) that are... carrying a few extra ounces, maybe even pounds on our adventures. This is not a fat bashing post, relax. All I am saying is evaluate whether the extra $100 to save 7 ounces on that cuben tarp is worth it. What if you took that $100 bucks and bought a two month indoor rock gym membership? Or better yet used that money to fuel a couple of weekday evening hikes, post work? Odds are you would feel better physically. Probably even mentally. It sure as hell would advance your skill level when on your next trip.
There is obviously a time when gear should be replaced. If you are still lugging around the external frame pack you got second hand, it might be time to take advantage of the advancements in the last 40 years of the sport. Now if you are riding a two year old bike, but the retailer just came out with the newest model that weighs 1/2 pound less and you aren't racing for a living...pass it up and spend more time in the saddle, climbing hills. When you are certain that replacing your gear is in the cards, taking advantage of the lightest and most cost effective solution is almost always the best option. Buying a slightly heavier option only to be dissatisfied 6 months down the road is more expensive. Trust me I have made this mistake, sometimes I still do.
So right now lets make a silent pact. A pact that we aren't going to just buy our way to a lighter load. We won't be dazzled by unnoticeable lighter, newer models that claim to make us faster, stronger and let us go farther. Lets agree that our money is better invested in knowledge of our sport. Or the improvement in our own physical engine that powers us through the unique adventures we take on. Or even to get to those adventures, after all gas is not free. Get outside!