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Gear Checklist: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From the deep wooded hollows to the lofty Appalachian summits prepare for rain (Clingmans Dome, the park's high point, averages 85 inches each year), humidity, rapidly varying weather conditions, and lots of creek crossings. Here's what you'll need.

by: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

Great Smokies Mountains (NC Tourism/Bill Russ)
Photo by Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smokies Mountains (NC Tourism/Bill Russ)

DAYHIKING
Clothing:

1 synthetic baselayer T-shirt (dries faster than wool in the soggy Smokies)
1 pair synthetic hiking shorts (pants in colder weather)
1 synthetic, breathable midlayer shirt
1 synthetic puffy jacket or sweater
1 bombproof rainshell (don’t forget, or you’ll be sorry)
1 bombproof pair of rainpants
1 pair waterproof gaiters
1 rain hat
Wool socks
Undies of choice
Sturdy hiking boots that can handle steep, rocky trails
Sturdy sandals for creek crossings
Shades and sun hat—but only if you’re heading to the high ridges
Gloves/mittens and a hat if it’s cold

Gear:

Backpack
Map and compass or GPS
Snacks
Water
First-aid kit (make sure it has blister dressings)
Trekking poles
Emergency gear (space blanket, firestarters, lighter, headlamp)
Camera
Field guide (with the thousands of plant, animal, and insect species, you’ll need it)

BACKPACK
Add the following to the dayhiking list:

Clothing:

1 baselayer top for sleeping
1 baselayer bottom for sleeping
1 pair extra socks
Camp shoes (I like waterproof Chacos because they double as creek-crossing shoes)

Gear:

Backpack
Tent (make sure it’s rainworthy and breathable for humid nights)
Synthetic sleeping bag (15 to 30 degrees for three-season use)
Inflatable sleeping pad
Bandanna or camp towel for mopping up any rain puddles
Stove and fuel
Cookset
Lighter and waterproof matches
Bowl, spoon, mug
Headlamp
Water bottles/reservoir with treatment method of choice (there’s water everywhere!)
Multitool
Extra carabiner and stuffsacks for hanging a bear bag (many sites have cables)
Zip-top bags
Lip balm
TP, trowel, and hand sanitizer



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READERS COMMENTS

Smoky Mountains National Park
Jun 08, 2010

Ride through Cades Cove on a misty summer morning for a truly memorable way to experience the park. Escape into the Smokies wilderness for a backpacking adventure or opt for a tamer excursion in one of the park's developed campgrounds.

http://www.wildlifeworld360.com/great-smoky-mountains-national-park.html

Deuce
Sep 13, 2009

Most of the year you can forget the sweater/jacket on a day hike, replace the shorts and rain pants for a good pair of pants with zip-off legs, leave the mid layer shirt at home. If you have a good rain shell with a hood, you can also do without the rain hat. I would add to the list bug spray and gold bond - don't leave for the Smokies without them.

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