Myk, I'm one of the people who recommended buying used gear. My point to the OP is not to let the perceived cost of adequate gear keep him from starting out if he is on a budget. I agree that some cheap gear is better than others. I have a pack sold by Academy which is surprisingly well made and was only $40. It's big drawback is that it isn't as adjustable as I'd like but that is more of a design issue, not quality. A friend took it to India for several weeks and it held up just fine.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.