Whale [Southern for "Well"] ... I ended up getting an REI Flash 45 Pack ... it only comes in 'Men's size' ... MEDIUM. And I bought the Therm-a-Rest Z-Rest Lite SOL sleeping pad [R value 2.6], a Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner, six MSR Mini Ground Hog Stakes and a 96 fluid ounce Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene.
Remeasured my back after the "medium" pack fit so well ... I'm not 15" after all. I'm 17" which was a surprise because I've 'always' been told I was 15". Been measured at Mountain Crossings and told I was 15". [Not to disparage Mountain Crossings Outfitter at all, but just to suggest that you "measure twice, buy once."] [I suddenly thought I was in that Prego commercial where the actress says "I wonder what other questionable choices I made."] I tried on other packs, but the only one that 'felt' right with 25 pounds in it was the REI Flash Men's Pack. It weighs in at 2 pounds. I will be able to cut off some of the excess webbing and bring the weight down a few ounces. The padding doesn't press hard against my spine or push against the muscles on either side of my spine. It's configured in a way that doesn't cause my back to spasm. All the 'flat' packs with the HDPE sheet cause excruciating pain. And the mesh backpads equal pain.
So now all I need is my shoes, which will be the hardest to find with my needing an obscenely wide forefoot [3 3/4"], square toe-box and high volume shoe. Tried on a men's size 7 and it squeezed my forefoot.
I still need a sleeping bag. Gonna get the GoLite Women's Z10 unless someone has a suggestion. The other options I like are the REI Women's Flash or Women's Joule. Flash sleeping bag is probably not going to be warm enough and I'm not planning on buying two sleeping bags.
OH, I did get a $20 gift coupon for spending "$100 or more." Going to use it and my Dividend and the 20% off coupon which will come with the Dividend on a Thule car top carrier for the kayaks.