There is one thing about equipment, buy the best you can afford. In 1973 I bought most of the essential equipment that I needed for backpacking. I took care of it, cleaning after each trip or when things became dirty. I still use the sleeping bag, I just retired the pack and the tent is still in good condition, but I've worn the waterproofing off the bottom. Here are some of my picks for equipment for the type of trip we do. Judge wisely...
Backpacks: EXTERNAL FRAME, these packs are cooler than the internal frame packs. Althought he internal are getting better. The external has ready access to the contents of the pack without having to dig down through everything.
Jansport Carson 90 External Frame Pack
Outdoor Products Saturn External Frame Pack
Kelty Large Yukon External Frame Pack
Kelty Large Yukon
MANY MORE PACKS
These are important items at night. Without a good night's sleep,
you will not function well during the day. I think a 20 degree bag
will handle most of the nights around here. If you want to sleep
in colder weather, you can always bring some thermal underwear.
Here are some Campmor bags that are pretty good.
Slumberjack Latitude 20°F Mummy Sleeping Bag - Long
Slumberjack Latitude 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag - Long
MANY MORE BAGS
See more at Campmor.
REI has very good equipment, too. There is a store in Nashville. You can go there to look and touch all these items. They have many items that aren't on the web page.