In my previous post, "What to look for..." I talked about what I always look for in a piece of gear. Something I didn't mention was brand names. I'm not against them, but when it comes to gear, I find you can pay a lot of money for something with a fancy name that doesn't actually function well in the wilderness.
There are some great brands in the outdoor industry, for sure (and I do have my favorites). But it seems the companies that "make it big" and cross into the mainstream culture often lose focus and begin adding features (and weight) that don't matter in the outdoors.
Also, when shopping for gear, don't write off store brands too quickly. EMS and REI both make some great gear. If you look at the tags and compare apples to apples, they make some sleeping bags that are right up there with brands like Marmot and Mountain Hardwear, but they cost significantly less.
Do I believe you get what you pay for? Sometimes. But by really knowing what you're looking for, you'll be sure you have the right gear - with or without the fancy name brand.