money spent

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So if you were to spend the most money on one backpacking item what would it be? Pack, shoes, tent, stove or something else?

a pack is a critical purchase. You need it to both be comfortable and practical. I know a ton of people who have a bitter relationship with their pack. I shelled out for mine and I love it. It has never been made me uncomfortable and it has always been convienient no matter how much stuff I try to cram in there.
The question is a bit odd. Sometimes you can get great equipment without big bucks. So, I'll answer a different question. How would you prioritize the list from most important to least? Shoes, socks, head covering (I'm bald), wicking layer, outer layer, sleeping bag, pack, stove and tent. Just an opinion of course.
Though all your equiptment is important I think that I would spend the most amount of money or either a pack or your boots. It is important that both of these items are very comfortable or you will have a miserable time. As a general rule that I have found the more money you spend in these areas the better the product, $200 range for boots will get you a great pair (I have Vasque sundowners about $160-180 and they are awesome) and $200-400 for a really good pack.
I would spend my money on a good pair of boots. You'll be putting a lot of miles on, and you want to make sure they will not only hold up, but feel good after a full day's hike. I unfortunately have dealt with a pair that killed my feet. Thankfully now, I have a great pair, and I'm once again a happy hiker.
I would probably spend my money on getting a good sleeping bag. There's nothing quicker that can spoil a trip than a cold, cold night with a bad sleeping bag!