@lnl555 Good question about the backpack! I'll make the same comment for the pack and the tent. I made the mistake of going cheap on my first pack (sub $100 and 45+10L) and my first tent (~$150 and 6lbs). Although both of these purchases allowed me to get into the backcountry game, I ended up spending a lot more money on UL gear as I became more experienced. If you think you're going to be dedicated to this hobby for several years, I would suggest making the investment earlier rather than later.
For the Backpack:
I still use my original "cheap" pack for small trips, but hindsight 20/20, I would've definitely splurged in the first place on purchasing a 65-75L pack of a named brand that REI sales. There are several options to purchase these used on REI as long as you're not picky about the brand or color. You can save ~$100 by doing this. Personally, I'd recommend one of these two options. Both offer awesome weight distribution and an abundance of usage options for zipper access on multiple layers throughout the pack.
For the Tent:
My preference is to have a tent with the rain fly attached so that I can assemble both the internal and external very quickly in inclement weather. I also really enjoy having a free standing tent so that I don't have to rely on stakes to make the tent secure. Personally, I own a Tarptent Moment DW, and I have really enjoyed using it. HOWEVER, just as the backpack mentioned above, I wish I would've splurgedan extra ~$100 on a different tent. I JUST posted a Conversation to see if REI has something similar to the Zpacks Altaplex, but I don't think that's an option. The benefits of the Altaplex is the water resistant material (cuben fiber) that the tent is made of, and it doesn't require poles. It simply requires 1 trekking pole and a few guylines. IF I were focused on purchasing through REI, I'd be interested in the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 or the REI Co-Op Flash Air 1 tent.
If you're really crunched on cost for this entry trip:
Eureka! is a brand that offers some fairly decent gear at a low cost. I'd look into them for entry level gear to see if this is something you'd be interested in investing your time and money into.
Hope this helps!
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.