I never worried about hurting my gear too much. I am not saying that I beat it up on purpose or was careless with any of it. I treat it with respect. That being said I am going to give you some advice on making better pictures as well as a case to use you biggest piece of crap camera to do it.
I was prompted to post this after listening to a recent Lenswork podcast about this topic - the speaker regrets not taking some pictures as recently as yesterday for fear of breaking his camera. I agree with his philosophy to stop thinking that way - I disagree that he has any good ideas on how to stop thinking that way considering he obviously reacts to favor camera protection over images when actually in the situation.
I am not trying to come off as someone that does not care about his gear - I do. If I lost a camera or dropped it into the ocean before actually taking a picture I would go berserk but I have never broken a camera due to environmental conditions actually taking pictures. I used to worry about this, even subconsciously but I have gotten over it. How did I do it? Well first off I have always gravitated toward the pro end of the camera line in whatever I was shooting - usually not for "features" more for other reasons. I have kept most of my gear even after I upgrade. So after a couple of upgrade cycles I had what I considered "beater" cameras. Guess what - Every beater camera that I have ever owned still functions like new - they still even look good and these were my cameras that I put in harms way on PURPOSE. So after a while I stopped being shy at all with my new cameras of the same calibre - it just happened without putting much thought into it.
So here is what you should try on purpose - even if you don't expect to run into lousy conditions. Take your beater camera out with you. See if it breaks - be more brazen. Subject it to just about any circumstance that you will subject yourself to - try to break it. I don't mean be destructive like throwing it down on the sidewalk or anything. Just go shoot - if it don't break you it's not likely to break the camera. I bet you will make more interesting pictures and gain some unexpected psychological freedom in the process. You may find you even like your beater camera because of the freedom better than your main squeeze. Reminds me of an old Range Rover that my family owned - my brother and I loved that beast.
My current beaters are my Nikon D2Hs and my Nikon D200's. I don't think I could kill these things if I did try. The D2Hs have over 100K exposures on them. Amazing. I don't worry too much about the D3 either. The shot at the top was taken immediately after myself and my camera getting deluged while rafting over to a nearby island. Just wanted to make sure that it was working for images I wanted to take later in the day.