Re: Boots - The Scarpa's sound good, I will definitely check them out. I'm really looking for a boot that will handle lots of abuse and keep my feet dry. In your experience, when they do get wet do they dry quickly?
I don't want to sound obtuse, but it really depends on how wet they get.
A pair of good, leather hiking boots will be wholecuts, with only two stitched seams in the whole boot - one seam around the tongue and a vertical seam at the back. The seam around the tongue should be double-stitched, and the seam at the back should be covered by a double-stitched, additional piece of leather. I'm sorry if that's not a good description, but you'll see what I mean the moment that you look at a pair of Scarpa or Vasque boots.
This lack of seams means that, as long as you slather on the SnoSeal (or similar, usually beeswax-based, waterproofing compound and let it penetrate the leather), the boot is almost impermeable. The only way water will get in is if you submerge the boot and water can therefore enter around your ankle. Of course, if you are hiking in rain or snow all day, the leather will finally start to get damp, but you won't really feel it.
If you do end up walking through a creek or across a river ford, and the inside of the boots gets wet, it's usually not too uncomfortable. Sure, it feels a bit squelchy at first, but as long as the boot fits well and you are wearing good socks, your foot will still be well contained. It will, however, be wrinkled like a prune at the end of the day. If you take out the inner sole/footbed and let the boots sit in the vestibule of your tent overnight, they'll usually be pretty dry in the morning (although, if they are still a bit damp and if the weather is cold, it won't be much fun putting them on at first!).
I know that it's an obvious thing to say, but it's a really good idea to try on quite a few different boots and talk to people at camping stores about what boot they like, and why. Typically, they won't mind if you tramp around the store a bit and run up and down some stairs to see how the boots fit. When I first bought my Scarpas, I got a half-size too large, as I was worried that they would pinch too much if I bought the smaller size (as your feet swell a bit whilst hiking). However, after getting the boots home and wearing them around inside for a while, I realised that (unless I wore a couple of pairs of thick hiking socks all the time) they would be too big. Thankfully, I was able to take them back and exchange them for the half-size down. The moral is that you shouldn't buy boots over the internet, unless you've had a good opportunity to try them on at a bricks-and-mortar store (and even then, you might get it wrong at first).
Another reason to try on boots before you buy is that you might find certain boots to be too heavy. I like the feel of my Scarpas, but one of my friends only wore his a few times before deciding that they were too heavy to hike in, and he went out and bought a pair of light, fabric-and-suede hiking boots instead.
Hope that this helps, and that it makes sense.