WOw! This thread is a joy to read and quite informative. I feel like less of an outlier now.
It seems that sewing is in my future as well. The 4 oz. tent bag that has served as a backpack needs repair. The ends of the bag were damaged when trekking poles were foolishly placed in the bag for air transport. The pack should not have been used as luggage.
In place of dedicated pads on the shoulder straps, spare socks are used. A string serves as a chest strap. In place of a waist belt, webbing is placed around the lower half of the pack and around my stomach. That may not be comfortable for some people, but the strap is tolerable for me. A garbage disposal bag keeps everything in the pack dry.
Some concessions are needed for temperatures of 10 degrees and lower. The Z-lite is replaced by an Expedition DownMat. The DownMat is not at all light and it provides no frame for the pack. But careful arrangement of items in the pack provides compression zones around which to place the waist belt webbing. Should the DownMat ever fail on a cold weather outing, then the mat will be draped over other gear that is strategically place to leave void spaces for mat expansion pockets. Maybe that will work. Also, a Western Mountaineering Versalite regular sleeping bag is light and toasty warm. It will be difficult for me to replace the Versalite with a quilt. Full confession: I have never actually slept in the Versalight with it zipped up. It is just too hot.
A Eureka Solitaire is used as a four season one man tent. The fiberglass poles have been replaced with lightweight Spitfire aluminum poles, resized to fit. An extra hoop (poles) is set at an angle to the other poles for added strength. Aluminum gutter nails are used as anchors. The corners of the tent are placed below ground level and rocks cover the anchors in windy environs. The tent handles 50 m.p.h. winds with aplomb.
A tip for folks who are unable to find good fuel: my Pocket Rocket with regular propane/butane works above 16,000 ft elevation. It is good to keep the fuel warm to ensure adequate vapor pressure. I sleep with the fuel between my legs. Whatever works, I guess.