I agree, boots, bed, and body are most important. If your boots/socks don't work for you then you will not enjoy the journey and if you don't sleep well, then you won't have the energy to enjoy or even make the journey. Part of taking care of your body is having a backpack that fits and is comfortable to wear. I just returned a backpack today that I oh so much wanted to love as it was two pounds lighter than my current backpack, but it just wouldn't ride well and left me sore, so I will be carrying/wearing my current heavier backpack on our adventure next week as I know that it rides effortlessly. Sometimes you have to play the pros and cons to get a system that works for you as you have to take care of your body first and foremost.
One resource for gear reviews and some other tips or ideas I've found is Backpacker Magazine. It doesn't hit all the brands and has some weird stuff in it, but what it does review, it does a pretty thorough job of reviewing.
Enjoy the journey off the beaten path!
Found Myself Outside