i'm almost exactly the same size as you are. here is my 5 cents:
"On the gear list, honestly, (call me a wimp) but I don't think I am ready to sleep in the contrail based on photos of it! "
Ok, having slept in tarptent Rainbow i don't think i'd ever sleep in any other shelter again. For the same exact comfort, you get such a weight reduction. tarptent products are top notch. If you don't like the contrail and the sticks, get a Moment, or a rainbow. Hopefully, you can still return your tent. Think about long term, don't just buy gear for one trip. Your legs would thank you for every ounce you save, and the big 3 are the pieces of gear where the savings are the greatest. Use this opportunity to get the most effective gear from the begging! I've only carried close to 30 pounds once, and there is a night and day difference between carrying 15 and 30. 15 I enjoy, 30 - i'm just waiting until i'm done with the walk.
Also think that you spend most of your time walking and enjoying the outdoors, not sitting in the tent/sleeping bag.
I have an Osprey Talon for a backpack, and love it. Granted, you need to take minimal gear to make it all fit it. Osprey exos is another pack I recommended to my friends (they are similar, but exos is roomier), and they love it. I really like the fit, and the air circulation in the back. And yes, it does have a frame. I also have a frameless backpack (golite), but find it a little less comfortable to carry.
Do not bother with the rain cover. Just use a heavy duty trash bag, put it in the backpack, and then all your gear in it. Tie up on the top with the rubber band. Your gear won't ever get wet that way, I swam floating on my pack in the river and everything was dry inside.