Thanks for the comments, Nia.
I can't say how much reading this site has helped inform my thinking this last month. I loved the idea on the multi-use forum for using your water bladder as a pillow, which then allowed me to trim one more section off my z-lite.
I have a Platypus big zip 70 on my "to buy" list. The unbottle is exceptionally heavy and another thing bought before I started thinking light. The big zip seems nice because I could also leave behind the water bottle, which I bring because the Camelbak doesn't 'pour' easily for washing hands or filling a pot/mug. If I get a new pack with easy to access bottle holsters, I might go back to 25 oz water bottles. Though I'd lose my pillow.
- I've tried a cat can stove at home. It's okay, but my Snowpeak is narrow so I lose a lot of flame up the sides. It takes about 8 minutes to boil cold tap water in my windless, 65 degree apt. I'm looking for a better solution. So many designs out there.
- I like the idea of the ULA rain skirt a lot for "It probably won't rain, but I should bring rain gear just in case." Also on the "too buy" list. That plus the Zealot would be about 11 oz. Maybe a poncho would be better at that point if I'm spending the money? But you're right, if it's above 50 and the rain isn't supposed to be long-lasting, (so no hypothermia worries) I could probably just get a bit wet and dry out fairly quickly.
- I'll try packing the sleeping bag loose. Just keep it away from sharp stuff.
- The pack is an issue. Like I said, I blew my pack money on the tent. If I decide I have to have the Ohm, I'm stuck with the heavy pack for a few more months. (June, when I can pay it on the July bill w/my REI dividend) The thing I like about the SMD Comet is the option to go frameless if I get my weight to the point it's reasonable. I like the Osprey Exos because I've tried it on, and I can use my dividend right now. Choices, choices.