One note when it comes to clothes. In my opinion, nothing comes close to wool and you can still find the best wool pants from Mil. Surplus. One of my most favorite pair of pants cost me less than $10 and I bought them two years ago. They aren't camo but the dead animals didn't seem to mind!
My 1st matthews bow wasn't the top/best they offered at the time, which left me wanting a better bow or the latest/greatest.
So when I was ready for a new bow I bought Matthews' latest and greatest, which was the Drenalin, a great bow, still a great bow, which is 5 years old now? and their newest bows don't leave me wanting one really, I honestly could hunt forever with this bow and never need another bow IMO.
I'm sure I'll own another matthews one day, in no way does one need the latest bow each season.. plus I'd rather know my bow for 5 years or so vs. having to learn a new bow every year.
I assume say the Helim is better than my Drenalin, but by how much? I haven't really heard of any major break throughs since my bow, so is the helim 5% better? it's not like the bow shoots twice as fast, twice as quiet, half the weight etc...
If/when there is a major break through I'll probably want a new bow, for honestly I could easily see using my current bow for another 5-10years.
I'd be more likely to buy a new quiver/accessories for my bow than a new bow at his point.
I like my setup for the most part, great bow, great arrows, great release, great sight.
So essentially I'd get the latest and greatest when I need something new, if not I'd save my money for something I need. Once you have a great setup why change it when the benefit is very little.
Also my local bowshop will honestly tell me if there is any difference from a bow to another..., they'll straight up say your 2003 bow is almost no different from the new 2004/2005 bow... down the road they may say oh this has improved...in 2010... so sure you can get a new bow and it'll be better, but not much... or, oh the game has changed, this new model blows everything out of the water.
Having an honest pro who's been around the block to tell you straight up what's going on, is quite a nice luxury IMO. Especially when they're not getting rich off their lil business and they know you have the cash to buy a new bow and they still tell you don't bother...
I'm cheap, so I have a hard time spending more than $500 at a time on anything. I try to keep my hunting budget under $1500 per year, that includes tags, gear and fuel. With fuel being the biggest cost it doesn't leave much room for gear. My newest rifle is a 15 yr old Winchester that I paid $400 for, topped with a Leupold VXII 4X12 scope, my newest bow (which I bought last year) is a Bear package that was $499. Both have worked on elk just fine. I use under $100 dollar packs and have plenty of knives and other things to get the job done. That being said I never feel like I don't have what I need. I would like better gear, clothes and a light weight pack especially. But I have 3 girls ranging from 12 to 18 and a house payment that take priority right now. Maybe when they are on there own I can start upgrading, in the meantime I will use what I have.
My philosophy is to buy top of the line gear when I need it. To me, there's nothing worse than buying junk, having it break, and then having to buy the good stuff after already wasting your money on the crap. So, while I don't buy the latest and greatest, I do buy the best available, when I need it.
I am one of those people that usually studies things pretty hard before I buy anything.
Nothing worse than getting burned on an inferior product you paid too much for.
I like wool, I am so far pretty impressed with First Lite shirts, I haven't tried their pants yet. And haven't needed to try their long underwear yet.
For jackets I have a wide variety of pretty much the same thing. Softshell gore-tex laminate for when it's really cold and a fleece jacket for when it's not so cold.
For pants I generally split my time between cotton BDU type pants, regular Wrangler jeans, Schoeller fabric mountaineering pants from Switzerland, softshell gore-tex laminate pants, and a fleece windstopper pant. Between the four I am usually pretty happy. I also have a lot of German wool hunting pants.
For scopes I am splitting my time between my dial and kill em rig with a Trijicon 5-20x50, and 1 inch Ziess and Kahles rifle scopes.
My binoculars are a pair of 8x56 SLC Swarovskis that are too heavy for the mountains but perfect for the forest.
For tents I use a military gore-tex bivouac and sleep on the ground.
So far other than some schoeller fabric mountaineering pants and a couple knives I havne't bought anything this year. I haven't even bought a new rifle in 2012. Something I can't say since 1994. Haven't even bought a used rifle.
Damn near all of my hunting equipment is either handed down or bought in the bargain cave. I know one day when I have the money I will go crazy with the newest and best but it feels so good hunting with the guy with the brand new bino's and sitka gear and having to push him to walk further, glass longer, and show them where the animals are.
I hunt with what I have accumulated over the years.
I'm sometimes tempted by the newest and best on the market. Sometimes it really is better than what I have now, but not enough better to justify to me the added cost.
When something wears completely out, I replace it with the best I can afford.