this gave me a 1:1 (34:34) first gear and was amost identical to the triple gearing of the Trek 520 with less confusion.
I've never understood the aversion to triple cranks some riders seem to have. What's so "confusing" about them? An 11x34 cassette, even a 9-speed has huge gaps between the gears and a 48x34 compact crank does too.
If a 27 gear-inch (1:1) low gear is low enough, a triple crank with 24x38x48 chainrings and a 12x25 9-speed cassette provides the same useful gear range (BTW, do you really need a 48x11 or 118 gear-inch high gear on a touring bike?) with many more useful intermediate gears. If you want a somewhat lower low gear a 12x27 cassette gives the same middle cogs and only changes the two largest cogs.