In this post I will try to summarize general information and resources I use to plan for my hiking trips. This is applicable for United states ans may not work for other countries.
1- Gather information about destination and requirement.
For information about national parks, wilderness areas, protected areas and printable maps this site has a lot of information:
Information about trails in every state:
Plan your trip with Amtrak:
and Greyhound ( I recommend you rent a car):
Free GPS maps:
and I also use Google Earth and Google maps.
National Geographic has a lot of detailed topographic maps for hiking. Here you can check them on map:
If you want to know about free camping ( In case you couldn’t use disperse camping):
And if you want to reserve a campground use :
Please note that sometimes you should reserve your camp few month before you go there.
2- Manage your gears:
After you finished planning you may need to shop for few items or check them.
Rei has unique collection and great customer service. Quality is very good but personally I prefer to avoid products from China. I have tested a lot of them and usually they failed me in very bad conditions. I prefer to wait and save and pay more for higher quality. Even other countries in east Asia have better quality in my experience.
Vargo has awesome tools and all made in USA:
For old school tarp check: http://bushcraftoutfitters.com/
And bushcraft items in : https://www.selfrelianceoutfitters.com/
Trangia has very cheap and high quality cooking systems: http://trangia.se/en/
For stove check Sierra stoves. They are amazing and I prefer them to biolite. I never liked rechargable items.
I have also seen a lot of good reviews on solo stove:
For ultralight tarps and tents Six moon designs is one of the best: https://www.sixmoondesigns.com/
For bear canister check bare-box : www.bareboxer.com/products.htm
and Backpacker cache : http://www.backpackerscache.com/