It wasn't that noticeable at the start of the game, but over time equipment has become one of my major frustrations with the game.
Equipment in Valheim wants to simultaneously be expendable and permanent character progression, which makes it a serious pain.
What do I mean? It's expendable because like games like Minecraft, Breath of the Wild, etc, your equipment is temporary. It wears out over time, and when you die you lose it. This is a fine way to do equipment in games because it forces you to stay resourceful, save your good equipment for when you really need it, and always be gathering. It makes for meaningful decisions and fun gameplay loops.
But because you can repair it, equipment is also permanent and tied to character progression like an RPG. You can't use Wolf Armor until you beat the right bosses, unlock silver mining and put the effort into gathering all the right materials, and once you finish, you have unlocked a +42% bonus to your armor. Your iron armor is done, just like when in an RPG you get to a new town and they're selling +40 mythril armor you no longer need your +30 steel armor and you sell it. This is also great in games where you want meaningful character progression that makes you feel like you're becoming stronger.
The problem is that because equipment are permanent upgrades, you really have to work for them. In a temporary equipment game like Minecraft or BotW you find iron swords everywhere you go, or an iron sword can be crafted in about 2-3 minutes of effort from nothing. But in a permanent upgrade game, equipment takes a ton of grinding to afford it. Finding Titanite in Dark Souls takes a lot of time and every time you use one is a deep choice.
In Valheim this means an Iron Sword takes 20 Iron to make and 80 Iron total to max out. That's several hours of effort and 960kg of iron to make a SINGLE .8 kg sword. Much less the rest of your equpiment. You need an axe for chopping the next level of tree and a mace because everything in the swamp is weak to blunt damage, and a pickaxe to start mining silver, and armor to survive in the new more deadly environment.
And then, after spending 30 hours gathering all the materials you need to make this next level of equipment, you die. Now your equipment is in the middle of an extremely dangerous location and you have NOTHING. You must throw naked viking bodies to the whims of the mob spawner in vain hopes to recover your lost items. And good luck if you died on a mountain peak where you're taking cold damage, or deep in the plains surrounded by 20 goblins. And while your equipment might never despawn, meaning you can always find it later, spending literal days trying to just get back what you lost isn't fun at all. In pure expendable equipment games it's fine if you die and lose everything because you can replace all your equipment in about 5 minutes, meaning you're just as powerful on the recovery mission as you were when you died. And in truly permanent games you get to keep all your stuff. Valheim chooses the worst of both worlds.
TLDR: Because Valheim has permanent equipment that you lose on death, it forces the crafting cost to be a huge effort like permanent upgrades, which makes it so that when you inevitably do lose it it's incredibility hard for your character to recover. If there was no repairing, items could take 2-3 metal to make instead of 40-80