Gear can be a very personal thing, and is obviously an area in which bigger bucks equals lighter load. This also an area in which I make some fairly large weight concessions for comfort.

If you are starting out and just at the beginning of your gear purchasing journey (I envy you, to be able to buy all that new gear again, so exciting!), there are several things I would fork out for, and several I wouldn’t bother. Personally, I think tent, sleeping bag, and pack are the big 3 to maximally research and maybe spend some extra dollars on. The first two are areas where significant weight savings can be made, and the 3rd can make or break your hiking experience. Others may include sleeping mat in this list, and definitely research before you buy here, but I don’t think you necessarily need to sink a lot of dollars into a mat to get something that works for you and your intended hikes. Have a look at the relevant sections and see what you think. Again, if anyone has any gear they love, or hate, please feel free to discuss or contact me!