I do backups via shell (see Grep and Friends for some commands and examples). File and database backup runs within seconds even on larger sites and stuff is easy to restore. No need to worry about backups and upgrade crashes at all.
In a perfect world all plugins and themes would have been already tested with the new WP version before I upgrade, well, but that's not always the case. So I just do always the backup. It's easy, it's fast and it's save. Let the upgrade crashes come, I don't fear them.
You just have a problem with upgrade crashes if you don't backup. That easy it is.
If you dislike making back-ups, don't upgrade. Instead backport security fixes to your old version. That doesn't mean you need to take care for everything on your own, you can go with the debian package for example.
The wordpress project itself does not offer a long-term-support version, not even support for the pre-lastest version, only support for the latest version. A bit pushy on upgrades so.
So if you want a more relaxed journey, don't jump on the first release. Skip the .0. Wait until the .1 is out. That's a good rule of thumb since years with Wordpress.