> Perhaps what I should be advocating is a beginners
> friendly composite output that perhaps could be made by
> folks here, and somehow get high search rankings to people
> do not get overwhelmed into giving up (thinking they can't
> go out without [even as I had supposed] a $300 sleeping
> bag). Maybe I should put my efforts towards this.
A simple "solution" to this problem would be
- update of the BPL's backpacking 101 article
- Keep this article as part of the free content
- On BPL's entry page to always have a featured link to the intro article
I think this would be highly effective because the BPL.com site has very high google ranking for topics related to ultralight backpacking. People searching will come to the site and find a nice getting started guide. For people who stop there, life will be simple. Those wanting more in depth understanding can join the forums, get a subscription and read additional information, search the web endlessly, etc.
Personally, I think this is something that BPL should do. That said, I don't think this is really an "answer".
The core issue is that there is no one "right" or "best" set of items or approaches to backpacking. People's preferences vary which is why there are multiple companies making a wide variety of items. I can find countless articles on the web which give a simple recipe for light or ultralight backpacking... by which I mean a gear list with explanations why the items selected are "the best". Taking one of these lists and following is would certainly be simple and typically net a reasonable experience.
I think the "right answer" is to help people know what the issues are, and then let them figure out what will work well for them. I think the book Lighten Up! by Don Ladigin is the best single source for this sort of information.
My recommended light weight gear pages is a weak shadow of Don's book... but has a slight advantage (is it an advantage?) that I can list specific items / options because it's easy for me to update. If Don put specific products in his book it would become quickly dated.