I was asked about my favorite boots. I’m like the 70-80% of backpackers that hike in either trail shoes or trail runners.
If you really want boots I’d suggest mid-tops over low-tops—they do help keep stuff out of your shoes at least.
I really liked the Hoka One One brand (especially ATRs in a wide) but the PCT surface tears them up.
I’m back to being positive on Moab 3, the new version fixes the quality control issues that crept into the final year’s production of the Moab 2. I wear a 40.5 wide (European sizing).
I’m planning to hike the PCT in Ultra Raptors which are more protected than the La Sportiva Wildcats, come in a wide and have less of a drop (but the same last). Very similar to the Moab, just better and more expensive. I wear a 41.5 wide from La Sportiva.
That said, shoe fit is very individual and personal. What works for me might not work for you. And what works for a couple months may not work long term. I really liked Altras but they threw my knees out.
On the other hand, my wife loves hers and the Olympia is like a Hoka but with zero drop and cuts a boot track in snow better. Altras are a huge favorite of long distance backpackers (to were it is the punch line of a joke. Some people will answer just about any question suggesting Altras and a hammock).
I don’t do much bush crafting. Boy Scouts used to be all about that until population density increased. Now it is anathema in so many places—being replaced with LNT (Leave no trace—shorthand for sustainable outdoors use).
As a result I generally don’t carry a knife and my wife carries one that weighs less than an ounce and is very simple. My wife and I both own Petzel Spatha knives—they just aren’t allowed on airplanes.
Many carry the smallest Swiss Army knife available.
My favorite essential is an alpha direct fleece hoody and a lightheart gear rain coat. Very light. Very warm.
And a polyester baseball cap.
Finally, pack liners are good. Essential even. Everything from Dyneema to garbage sacks.
Five dollars, high tech and is a scent barrier. The current best lightweight bag liner.
https://www.amazon.com/Flexfit-Athletic-Baseball-Fitted-Black/dp/B073DTZ6KZ/. No need to spend a lot of money. Keeps rain and sun out of your eyes.
https://lightheartgear.com/products/rain-jackets-polyester. So much less expensive and so much more waterproof than many.
https://timmermade.com/product/polartec-alpha-direct-4004-hoodie/. Warm. Light.
https://thetrek.co/the-best-hiking-shoes-for-thru-hiking-of-2023/. Not a bad discussion in spite of being affiliate marketing.
https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/the-top-footwear-on-the-appalachian-trail-2022-thru-hiker-survey/. What real hikers wear.
https://www.amazon.com/Derma-Safe-Folding-Utility-10-pack-Survival/dp/B00YAORKRI/. Tiny. Inexpensive. Perfect for long trails.
https://www.amazon.com/Petzl-SPATHA-Carabiner-Climbers-Yellow/dp/B00GCI8V0A a nice knife, a lot cheaper than many alternatives but like all knives you can’t carry it on an airplane. Comes in blue, yellow and gray.