The careful, conservative accountant's guide to new gear purchasing:
(1) See announcement of new xxx on BPL.
(3) Look at the manufacturer's website and drool over the specifications.
(3) Try to ignore because my current xxx works just fine.
(4) Read more raves on BPL and even on The Lightweight Backpacker, whose members are far less apt to run out and buy the latest thing. Keep doing this for a year.
(5) Recheck the manufacturer's website; keep remembering that the new xxx is almost a pound lighter than my current xxx.
(6) Set up a spreadsheet to calculate dollar cost per ounce of weight saved if I buy the new xxx. Factor in probable selling price of the old one.
(7) Since I haven't quite died of sticker shock from that exercise, order the new xxx.
(8) Set up the new xxx in my living room as soon as received and spend the night in it (while I can still send it back). Decide I really like it so far.
(9) Decide to hang on to the old xxx for a while until I've thoroughly tested the new one in the field. Plan to decide after a season of backpacking with the new xxx which one I want to keep.
(10) While over-training for the following summer, develop severe plantar fasciitis which keeps me off the trails for almost 9 months--so no tent testing in the field.
(11) Over a year after purchasing the new xxx, I still own two xxx's and haven't yet had a chance for thorough testing of the newer one. The one good thing is that the old xxx has been discontinued and is in high demand in the WTB columns of BPL, so I can probably get a higher price for it if I decide to sell. In the meantime I still have two of the darn things sitting here and, thanks to family circumstances (most of them fun, but not backpacking-related), won't be able to do any serious backpacking until mid- July. Hopefully by next fall I can make the decision?
I might as well have ignored the spreadsheet step, but at least the accountant in me is satisfied!