Well, it's time to start camping with my 6 year old. I haven't been in a while, and I don't really have any gear to get started with. I'd like to get stuff that will last for a long time, but I don't want to spend more than I have to. For a home theater analogy, I'm looking for "Outlaw" type stuff (solid, good features, excellent value, but not all the bells and whistles) as opposed to "Realistic" (cheap, won't last) or "Theta" (extremely high quality, but $$$$$) My biggest investment will obviously be a tent and sleeping bags. I went to the local outdoors store, and just about had a heart attack looking at sleeping bag prices (>$250!). Then I saw the $30 "Eddie Baur" ones at Target. And obviously there are a bunch in between. On Ebay, I saw what looked like some great deals on used and new equipment as well. Even name brand stuff like REI and North Face. We're in Southern California, and will only camp from March-October, so I would probably need "3-season equipment". No snow or cold winter camping yet. If anyone has any recommendations on good values for sleeping bags, I would sure appreciate some direction. Especially if one kind is much easier to clean, or maintain. We probably won't be backpacking for another couple years, but that may be a consideration. Thanks.