I hear Ryan Jordan and Miguel D' Arboleda when they talk about durable, simple and yet innovative gear.
MY SIMPLE,RELIABLE STUFF:
MY BACKPACK> an older REI Cruise UL 60. True, NOT a cottage industry but REI has to build packs that hold up to teenagers and other careless hikers' misuse, thus my pack has held up well over the years. All I've done is change the belt buckle/webbing configuration to make it adjustable by pulling the belt ends to the center to make adjustment easier, as on newer waistbelts.
MY TENT> a TT Moment, ain't the lightest at 28 oz. but it has so many great design features and great build quality that I'm sticking with it for the forseeable future.
MY SLEEP SYSTEM>
BAG> WM Megalite (overfilled to be good to 20 F.) A fantastic bag. My only regret?
I wish it has Dri-Down technology.
MATTRESS> Thermarest ProLite reg. Still my fav. There's not a better lightweight
self-inflator on the market. Neo-Airs? Not fer me Bub, but STILL innovative.
STOVE(S)> Trail Designs ti sidewinder W/ wood-burning Inferno option
Brunton Crux canister stove which has a nice w-i-d-e flame ring
All in all I've found what works over the long haul yet is innovative as well. Like Miguel said, if gear LASTS you stick with it. Mostly cottage industry stuff except my pack & canister stove.
I agree with Ryan about QUALITY. My choices have that quality and even further they have design and manufacturing DETAILS.
As Goethe said, God made the universe with details, and so must good cottage manufacturers make their gear - QUALITY being the main detail.