I hike a lot with others in a club that are usually more fit and often younger. A lighter pack is a great equalizer. I love to get out on the trail (1200+ trail miles in last 3.5 years) and I just could not do it without a really light kit. One of my motivations for making the gear that I do is to have a few extra $ to purchase gear that I'm interested in. I've also adopted these rules: Make gear if you can; if you can't make it, buy it used; if you can't buy it used, buy it on sale; when all else fails, just buy it; and finally, if/when I find a lighter option that I like, I sell what it replaces.