Just how detailed do you get when your filling them out? Over the years I think we’ve went from almost empty to complete overkill and I still do not know which is better.
In the beginning and for quick games your lucky if we had more than the characters first name, stats, skills and their weapons/armour/magic items. It was always just assumed that someone in the group would have a tent or a spare 50′ of rope if it was needed.
Then one day our DM had us in a situation where we needed a pole and a length of rope. As usual we assumed someone would have it and started planning how to get through the problem. As we explained our plan he took our character sheets and checked our inventories and happily proclaimed that as no one had a written either of those items down we didn’t have them. The next town we came to the provisioners and the ironmongers were completely bought out of stock I think!
On the flip side of the coin we’ve had games where we even detailed exactly in what order we packed our travel bags in case we needed them in a hurry. We recorded where we carried our weapons in case they could be used as armour in certain situations or whether concealed weapons would get found or not. The number of times my dagger in my ‘concealed’ wrist sheath saved my arm from being smashed in a fight is hilariously high. We always drew the line at clothes unless they were a special item or something very specific to the character but other than that if you didn’t have it written down you didn’t have it.
My preference has always been for the later as I love the detail but it does make a quick game almost impossible. In some of our AD&D 2ed games it got to the stage where we would just put ‘standard equipment list for x character class’ to save on the writting and we’d have one copy that sat in the rule books with a note of what was in each classes list. It still meant we could get caught out by not having a bit of rope or a whilst but at the same time made it a hell of a lot easier on the time taken to draw up a room full of characters for a game.