I feel like I care more about my gear when I'm not using it. I think some times I educate myself about or by gear when I'm at work, as the bumper sticker reads "I'd Rather Be Fishing" or hiking, or skiing, the list goes on. When I am in the field, by a lake, or on a mountain, I generally care far more about the fish in the water, the mountains in view, or the sights and sounds of nature. I put up my tent, but I don't go in and out of it, or test its features. These things that matter so much when I'd rather be hiking, somehow become incidental, or beyond seconds to the tasks at hand.
In some ways I like Bob's ski girl. She loves skiing. she doesn't want to get burdened down with the nerdy side of weight, dimensions, or who uses what. She gets out and does it. I'm thinking renting all of your gear COULD be cheaper than the long and often circuitous paths like Newton's or mine. I've gone dome, small light TNF tents of many varieties, single wall tents, tarps, hybrid all-in-one designs, ponchos, etc. some have lasted a trip, some years. But my memories of my trips don't really include the bag or the shelter I used - of course freezing or soaking wet, I'm more likely to remember that, but that's still just nature.