I'm very excited to be going on my first REI adventure in July, I'm not really sure what I should carry on the plane and what I should check...my plan was to have the backpack already packed and check it, any advice would be appreciated?
Hey, I would make sure you wear or at least have packed with you, in your carry on, one set of clothes for your adventure as well as rain gear and other seasonally appropriate outerwear/boots. The reason for this is just in case your baggage under neither the plane get separated from you, you at least have one pair of clothes and some other essentials. I would do this for other essentials too...maps, chargers, and whatever else you think you will absolutely NEED.
When I travel with my backpack I stuff it in a duffel bag, any one will do as long as its big enough. I slide my hiking poles, with rubber caps or duct tape over the ends, in next to my pack on the frame side to keep them from being broken. I keep the tent rolled and in its stuff bag so as to protect the poles from breakage as well. When I get to my destination, the stuff bag goes in the duffel bag for use on the return trip. I usually don't have my pack packed when I transport it, for me its just easier to make everything fit and pad/protect anything I don't want banged up like stove, water filter etc.
For carry on, I usually only carry on with me something to read, my meds, and a snack. I wear my hiking boots on the plane.
The one thing you have to pick up at your destination is stove fuel, and if its warranted, bear spray. You can pack your stove in your duffel along with any knife you carry, but fuel and bear spray cannot go on the airplane even in your duffel.