1. Don't skimp on the boots. All leather - no Goretex. Waterproof them. I like Vasque myself, but they fit my long skinny feet.2. Hiking poles. You want a pair each. Get a set that breaks down into a shorter length. Three section poles are good. http://www.rei.com/product/831553/komperdell-compact-titanal...3. Good rain gear. Coat and pants, plus one for your pack. Ponchos are OK for a one off, but not for serious weather.4. Water purification filter5. Start hiking now for conditioning3. Have a great time.