Equipment should be suitable for its purpose, lightweight, strong, reliable, maintained in good condition and of as high a quality as is affordable. In practice, the final choice on any major item of equipment is likely to be a compromise between most of these ideals. As new equipment is expensive, you might suggest the order in which items should be acquired when asked for advice on selecting equipment. A waterproof jacket is probably the highest priority, followed by suitable boots, pack, sleeping bag and tent. Trying equipment before purchase can often be helpful. This can be done by borrowing from friends or hiring from clubs or shops. The best source of information is other group members. It is important that new walkers and ski tourers inspect as much of the gear as possible that others are carrying and ask about experiences with that gear.
Outdoor magazines have regular equipment surveys and there are many specialist shops displaying a wide range of equipment. Warn new walkers and ski tourers that homework needs to be done before going shopping, as salespeople do not always have experience in using each item available. Suggest that they also try more than one shop, as prices, even on similar items, can often vary significantly between shops, and some shops carry a limited range of brands.
There are some secondhand gear shops in most major cities and these are often a source of cheaper and partly broken-in gear, or a solution to wrongly selected gear which you no longer want to keep. Some clubs arrange preloved gear nights which can be helpful. They are worth considering.