If you want a great tent, REI half dome FTW! I know a ton of people that have it and love it!
As for the pack, load yours up with 45 pounds, hike 5 miles at 9,000 feet, wait a week and I'll let you do the same with mine, end of story. I have used many packs from cheap Big-5 $50 HiTech stuff to $500 Arcterix and there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE!
Some good deals on wool at sierratradingpost, I got a 100% wool hoodie on ebay for $23 shipped so I'm pretty happy with that.
As for boots, I hate gortex and so on, Norwegian welt stitched leather is the only way to go, my boots could do the AT twice where as you'd need 4 pairs of anything else. Sometimes you can't beat a flawless design, in this case, or at least when I bought them, Meindl was making those boots in Germany on the same lasts they had been using for hundreds of years. I don't care what price tag you toss on a boot, made in China is made in China.