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This may be an old-hat topic, so you may wish to contact me directly 
rather than post replies.  I was a rabid backpacker until about 1981, 
when I pretty much stopped to make room for my cosmopolitan fiancee (now 
wife), who had no interest in hiking.  The last pack I owned was a Kelty 
external frame pack I bought in 1966.  Now the bug has bitten me again 
and I'm entertaining the outrageous notion of thru-walking the PCT in 
1999 or 2000.  I've started training and I'm reading everything I can 
get my hands on, as well as wallowing in the "gear" phase.  Which brings 
me to my questions.

What reflections can any of you share regarding a pack?  I'm 5'7", very 
light (122 lbs.)and I'm near 60.  I read reviews that say that, like the 
Dana Terraplane is so terrific its additional heft is offset by how 
comfortable it is.  Ray Jardine's advice makes a lot of sense (I recall 
the work of carrying a 75-pound pack in a NOLS course, years ago, so 
this is a new tack for me), but I wonder if there are commercially 
available packs that are in harmony with his advice. I read conflicting 
reports re the Mountainlite 5200 and 4000; the 4000 seems to come 
closest to his criteria, but I wonder about the design and the lack of 
external pockets; the 5200 looks like a good compromise.

Are these fabric hiking shoes an improvement over running shoes?  How 
viable are they for the PCT?

Any thoughts on a very light bag?  And tent?  

I'll get over the gear insanity soon, but I'd appreciate it if, in the 
meantime, those of you with experience and insight would indulge me!

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