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[at-l] gear list in order of priority

Robert wrote:

>Taking all of this into account, what would you suggest purchasing first? Basically, I'm trying to figure out where I should begin. My thoughts are leaning towards boots and clothing, but only nudging out the "kitchen" by a tad. 
I'd suggest you prioritize your list by moving what you will want on a 
day hike to the top.  My suggestions are aimed at things I find 
important that might not first occur to you.

You say you are recovering from a car accident.  How about starting with 
a good set of poles.  I found they took some time to get used to, but 
help extend the day, save the knees, and help balance a heavy pack.  It 
might be best to get used to them without a pack at first, so you can 
tell the difference between sore sholders from poles and a misadjusted 

Get yourself a nice pair of convertible pants.  Nylon--dries easily.  
Its the pants you need when you only have one.  I have a North Face 
pair, but many manufactures have equal quality  I like the numerous and 
voluminous pockets (one securly zipped). 

A lot of the best places to hike are really sunny.  A brimmed hat (I 
prefer a floppy one), and sunglasses are standard gear.  When the 
weather is changeable (warm/cool) carry a stocking cap to moderate body 
temperature, realizing that much of the heat you lose is through your head.

I had a lot of trouble finding a pair of hiking boots that didn't give 
me blisters.  Buy them for fit, not for looks.  Get good socks.  Include 
liners.  Break your boots in.  Don't hike far in new boots until you 
trust them.  Sneakers will work on many day hikes.

Hydration on the trail is something you can work out on a day hike.  I 
carry 2 quart Nalgene bottles.  You may prefer something like a 
camel-back.  I disinfect with Aqua Mira.  But you will hear a lot of 
people on this list say they don't.  You will have to work out your 
comfort level on this issue before you sleep over.

A first aid kit is not a bad idea.

The advice you are getting about getting the pack last is probably given 
by people who have a closet full of packs.  I see a pack as an 
existential thing.  You are going to need a pack to put the things you 
have in until you hike enough to figure out for yourself what you need 
to have with you.  If you start with day hikes: get a "roomy" slack pack 
now.  Don't spend a lot on it, but get it especially for hiking.  You'll 
like having something better than a "school pack", to carry when you 
don't need a back pack.  Day hiking is a nice thing to do with friends 
and family that are not ready to live in this wilderness.

You can enjoy a lot of day hiking before you get serious with sleep over 
gear.  Learn more about what you like to eat on the trail that doesn't 
need cooking before you get serious about stoves. 

You can easily spend $1000 on the big 3: pack, bag, and tent.  So, 
putting these off for a while is not a bad policy.  One couple I met on 
the trail said they don't camp, but have done 1700 miles.  Hiking and 
camping are really different things.  You're big ticket items are for