Originally Posted By GinAndClonic

These two decisions will set me back a few hundred more bucks if I choose to go light. Is it worth it? How much is that ~3 pounds difference going to effect my life on the trail?

Depends on you, GandC. I prefer to go lite on the basics so I can enjoy a few heavy things -mostly food. I have enjoyed multi-week treks with a 30lb pack, but also 9 days with a 70lb pack. Ultimately, I'd say your fitness and attitude will have a much bigger impact on your enjoyment than the weight of your pack - as I'd guess you already understand.