I took Gershon's post as more of the list of "affordable gear I'd recommend to someone who has taken that first trip and decided to come back for more."

I agree that, for a first trip in smiling weather, you can take someone out with whatever you can scrounge. I've done that (and taken myself out that way), and it works fine - the key thing is choosing the weather and being ready to cancel if the forecast goes south. But then comes: "Hey, that 4th of July trip was really fun. How about we go again on Columbus Day?" At that point, I think you have to consider better gear. If the person is still a little tentative ("Yeah, I'm thinking I might like going out once or twice a year with you."), then renting gear is probably the most appropriate course of action. But what about the person who says, "I can see myself doing this half a dozen times a year, in colder weather, too." Now I think you're at the point where a decent, affordable (relative term) set of gear is realistic. That's what I felt Gershon's list was aimed at.

It's very, very close to the list I've given to several such people, with the understanding that they don't have to plunk the whole thing down at once: we'll share a stove and pots, and filter, and first aid kit, and I'll loan them a poncho, tent, and pad until they can afford one. But they'll need to go ahead and plunk down for a pack and sleeping bag. (Buying the pack first is not so much of an issue in this case, since I can let them use my loaner gear to pick out the pack.

It wasn't exactly the "cheap gear" list that the OP asked for, but I think it moved the conversation along into a valuable side channel.

Edited by Glenn (10/25/11 05:56 PM)
Edit Reason: additional thought