Yes, my Highgear has a compass on it. Haven't felt comfortable relying on it because of my considerable inexperience with navigation. I find the Brunton compass easier to sight on. The Highgear compass seems ok for knowing general trend of direction, but haven't felt that easy about actual sightings---plus, I've screwed up once or twice on the calibration of it, and it's entirely too easy to make it read in all sorts of screwy directions! Since my compass has a mirror on it, I've considered ditching the mirror for signaling, but a discussion here talked about how hard it was to aim a mirror to get a good beam. What I want to know is, here in the cloudy PNW, how useful is a mirror for signaling most of the time anyway?
Part of this list reflects my general lack of experience---I've only been backpacking for 2 years. Fortunately I found this list relatively early on, it was easier to accumulate nice gear as I went, and not have to wish that I'd made other choices, at least in the major stuff. Every body around me with any experience is of the old, heavy-duty, take-everything-with-you philosophy, so I get caught between the two quite often.
I guess I picked up on the kitchen sink from reading too many ideas about "Leave No Trace" and needing to wash stuff far away from the streams, including myself. With freezerbag cooking, that reduces the camp chores so dishes aren't really necessary. It was nice to have on the Wonderland Trail (I soaked my ankle with it in camp while I ate dinner), but you're right, for basic backpacking it's not really necessary. The pot caddy--this came as a set from Anti-Gravity Gear, and it's just to protect the pot cozy from abrasion. Not really necessary I suppose. When I was buying the set, I did call George at AGG and asked him, is it waterproof? Could it be used like a kitchen sink? He said, well I don't know, let me see. Next thing I heard over the line was SPLAT, and him hollering to someone else "Could you get me a mop?":-) Guess it's not waterproof. Now if they could make a waterproof caddy so it would serve 2 purposes, that would be more in keeping with the philosophy.
I'm a worry-wart, plan-for-everything kind of person, fighting against my instincts by trying to go lightweight. The first aid kit is lighter weight than it was--it was 14 ounces! I'm medically trained, so I want to have all the toys for every contingency. Not a lightweight philosophy at all, but I'm trying. I'd have gone with a lighter tent, too, except my hiking partner absolutely refuses to consider anything that's not free-standing.