Thanks for your thoughts Bryan. I think you are spot on with what you said. However, my goal isn't to get an 8 lb base weight. As nice as that would be, it would take me a few years before I could afford the best, lightest gear in each category. I think the biggest factor controlling this is how much money someone can put down at the time. Sure, if you can wait, it's worth saving...but in my situation it really would take a few years to save the money for all of that gear. I'm happy to get down to a 12 or 13 lb. base weight.
But like I said, you are exactly right in terms of getting the most bang for your buck.
Thanks again for your thoughts.
-Bought a scale - 11 lbs. max, 1/10 oz. measurement.
-Shelter in progress
-Bivy complete! 8 oz.
-Heading down to my hometown (Wilmington, NC) in the coming weeks to take a short road trip to Southport, NC where I'll visit Matthew at Elemental Horizons to try on my pack...probably the Kalais.
-Waiting on my Enlightened Equipment 20* long/regular RevelationX to arrive (hopefully in the next week or two)
-Marmot wind jacket on it's way from STP for cheap! Specs say 5 oz.
-Got my trail shoes for cheap! Montrail Masochists (and Smartwoold PhD running socks)
-Bought an Exped Synmat UL 7 on the gear swap (and schnozzel pump bag from REI)
-JC Penny Down Puffy acquired! $15 and 10 oz!
-Bought an Optimus Crux Terra HE Weekend kit. I'll get a solo pot in the near future.
-Sawyer squeeze, once REI gives me my dividend check
-Platypus bladders (or Evernew)
-other small odds and ends
This isn't exhaustive. Once everything is acquired, I'll do a final weigh in.