Kudos, Ron. And may I put in a big plug for Ron's company. I hiked 9 days with his Starlite pack last year, and it was a most superb hike, and as advertised, it rides fantastic with a 35 pound load (my base load is 22 pounds but with water and food, it was 35 pounds).
I find the best gear to be from the small companies (tarptent, sixmoondesigns, luxurylight, ula, gossamergear, antigravitygear, ursack, wild-ideas to name those I've done business with). I do do business with the big companies too but the major gear pieces some to come from the small companies whose keenness to the needs of avid hikers is most sharp.