I'm loving the "get er done" drift of this thread. High end gear is a luxury, not a necessity. Plenty of durable stuff out there for less. I saw a group of high school kids several miles in up near timberline in the Olympics one time outfitted with mostly mil surplus. They were in misery with their ALICE frames, but having the time of their lives. There's a lesson in that. Lots of guys who are brand snobs are that way to reinforce their own sense of efficacy.
I have been guilty of that and probably still am. You can say that lightweight gear that costs more money does make you more efficient though. I like this line too from Calvin: "As far as gear goes.. The poorer (or cheaper) you are, the tougher you need to be."
I bought an old McHale pack for $20 a couple months ago. This pack is so bombproof and comfortable. The stays in it are worth 20 bucks. It is purple though so its getting some spray paint. Dan McHale advises people not to even bother buying his old "2 bolt" style exp. packs. I would not hesitate to pick one up and try it out if the price is right. See, I am not so elitist