1-Raingear - we both need new rain pants and hubby needs new jacket, too. Any recommended brands?
As mentioned previously, DriDucks are light and cheap (but not very durable). Coated membrane gear like Marmot Precip is pretty good. Jackets run in the 12oz range and can be found on sale for $60-$70. Do absolutely buy rain gear that has ventilation-- pit zips, venting pockets, etc.
2-first aid kit - we have a mammoth one that we could pare down, but would love a recommended lightweight content list
The Adventure Medical Kit 0.3 or 0.5 kits are pretty good for off-the-shelf light kits. Compare the contents if you want to pick from your existing kit. Waterproof bags like Aloksaks can help get the weight down.
3-food, of course. We are quite prepared for breakfasts, but would appreciate some recommended ideas to keep weight down for lunches and dinners. We usually eat PB and J for lunch, with some trail mix/gorp, string cheese, and/or jerky, and some powdered juice. For supper we usually have a mountain house dish with some fry bread and dessert. We ALWAYS overpack food - for example, we always bring one bottle of wine )this year we may leave the wine at home). And we always have tons of stuff left over.
Platypus does make a bladder for storing wine if you must. Dehydrated is the way to go with food. There is a food/nutrition forum here that is great. I eat mainly what you have listed.
4 - Clothing. Any recommended brands of pants, warm tops, etc...that can keep the weight down? Anyone have a good clothing list?
IMHO, clothing is one of the most variable and troublesome areas for UL travel (and expensive). As others have said, cut down on multiples and don't overdo it.
There are many opinions on clothing systems, which we like to argue over endlessly here. Layering is the constant and you want to find a selection of clothing that works together. Avoid "monolithic" garments that incorporate your only shell and insulation together-- you want to be able to use any of you choices together.
My typical 3-season layering system is like this:
Silkweight tee and breifs
Merino wool socks
Zip off nylon pants
For cooler weather, I would add long johns
Power Stretch hoody
(many don't use this layer)
Primaloft jacket or vest (many use down)
You will see two basic categories for jackets: thinner models like the MontBell Thermawrap at about 10oz and thicker, heavier ones like the Patagonia Micropuff or Mountain Hardwear Compressor that are 16-19oz. There are down equivalents to both ranges. For really cold weather or cold-blooded hikers, there are the big puffies with 800 down fill and the like.
Windshirts are great UL hiking gear. You can buy ones that are 3oz. They are what we used to know as a wind breaker, giving protection from wind and light rain. The Patagonia Houdini is a good example. Read the reviews as some are sweaty-- you want good breathability. Rain protection is provided by the outer coating, "DWR" (durable water repellent).
DWR is important in your breathable rain gear too. It is what makes the water bead up on the surface rather than soak in. Some are renewed in drying in a dryer, and they will need to be re-coated over time. There are sprays and some wash-in products, depending on the garment type.
Breathable jacket and pants
Hat, gloves and bandana. Hats and gloves really add comfort and the *perception* of being cold.
So, on the trail you might find me with the basics plus a windshirt, adding the mid layer and/or jacket/vest for cold rest stops and camp. The silkweight long johns under rain pants work well, especially in cold rain, where the long johns aid moisture control and keep the cold rain shell off your skin. You can sleep with some of the insulation on too, extending the range for you sleeping bag. Power Stretch is great for sleeping.
You don't need a lot of insulation when on the trail-- you are working and you have the pack on. You do need it when you stop. If you feel a little cool at the start, you won't three switchbacks up the hill :)