"strapped to our little packs causing other hikers to shake their heads more then they do already."
I think you may have hit the point without realizing it here. The folks who hang out on BPL (and MOST online backpacking sites for that matter), and focus on "incredibly" light loads are a tiny minority of the backpacking community. The fact that you (and I) get comments like "wow, that's a really small pack" on a fairly frequent basis should make it clear that many of the folks out there are not concerned with saving weight the way we are.
I offer this thought because I work part-time in a "mainstream" outfitter, REI. I see the state of the overall backpacking community on a regular basis. And try as I might to get many folks to choose lighter gear, most often INSIST on the five-pound Kelty because it seems "more durable" than the 2-pound Granite Gear pack. Many days I feel like I am clubbing baby seals when they walk up and insist on heavier, more expensive gear. Then I have to remind myself that "Hike your own hike" should be the order of the day.
Every time I work with a customer, I have to feel out what their needs really are. For the customer who is taking a week-long trip and may never hike again, I recommend renting. For someone who hikes a couple of times a year, for short distances, and sets then sets up an isolated camp, heavier and more gear may mean a happier experience, since most of their time is spent in camp. For someone planning an AT through-hike, I really stress the importance of going as light as possible since most of a day is spent walking rather than camping, day after day after day. For these folks, who will actally listen, I actually give them info for gear REI doesn't carry like ULA or Six Moon Designs or Shire's Tarptents. But these folks are a tiny tiny minority of the folks who enter REI.
For me, the BP Gear Guide is an essential because for the next three months, every one who walks into the camping section of my store will want information about something they saw in the gear guide. I'm the one who has to let them know that the weights listed are often wrong because BP uses the manufacturers' weights in the huge tables they list. I have to let them know that as a smaller REI, we may not have the specific piece of gear they want. I have to be the one to decide if I'm wasting my breath if I tell them about the seedy underside of the backpacking community where purchases are online, where people make their own gear, and folks spend hours making spreadsheets instead of visiting a store to see if they like a piece of gear. For the great majority of backpackers, such tales would evoke thoughts of a special wing in an insane asylum where all those interred had "been in the hills too long" (a phrase which likely does apply to me).
But before you poopoo the rather boring details of the '07 Gear Guide, remember, it's a sign of how MOST of the hiking world is worshipping, and when we preach to them, we're as welcome as missionaries from a different faith trying to convert them.
P. S. Sorry, I'll get off my soap box now. Maybe this post should move the the Philosophy section.........