Hi, I'm new to touring and have spent the last week or two reading up on the advice on the forums, and was hoping you guys could shoot some my way. I was hoping to start doing some 2-3 day mini tours in my area and eventually some week long tours. I was thinking about buying a bike, but a buddy gave me an old Trek 830 MTB he had lying around. The bike is in great condition except the tires are dry rotted, so it seemed a good idea to convert it. I searched the forums and found a few who had done the conversion on an 830 and it has gotten me pretty excited about it.
The problem is I have very little experience with anything other than MTBs and BMX bikes. I know I will need a back and possibly front rack, some fenders, new bars, tires, brakes, shifters, and possibly gearing. I was hoping for opinions on brands for some of these and if the stock gearing is good or should it be replaced. I'll also be using it as a daily rider for going to work, store, and gym. I destroyed two "el cheapo" MTBs in the past year just riding them on the road, because of that I'm not worried about spending money on it as long as it will hold up (learned my lesson about cheap components after packing a not-so-light bike 3 miles). The 2 bike stores I have close at hand specialize in BMX and road bikes, so they are not much help for touring equipment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.