I live in the Bay Area too. I've used a double on a Cross Check for several years, either a 48/36 or a 46/34 with an 11-34 cassette. It's all I need for normal commuting/riding, but I also use it for occasional short tours. I managed ok with the double, but the loaded climbs really had me thinking about a triple. I finally made the conversion just recently. I certainly miss the relative simplicity of the double for normal riding, but that's the tradeoff for easier climbing during tours/bike camping.
In my fleet of doubles, with crossover gearing, and triples set up as single-step or half-step plus granny, I find the triples less complicated to shift, as I use the granny very rarely (but it sure is great to have it when you need it!).
I use a single 36 ring in front (11 to 32 in back). I never feel like I'm out of gears. I don't do it for weight-- I do it because it makes cleaning and maintenance so much easier.