View Full Version : Do I have the right for the Smokies next weekend?

11-06-2016, 22:47
Going next weekend, 2 night trip, Smokies, Le Conte and Charlies Bunion. Im not sure I have all the needed clothes for cold weather, mostly in doubt about my pants, hat/cap, and sleep wear. This is what I have in my closet to work with (but Im ok going to REI or whatever before trip for additional key pieces of needed). Would appreciate your suggestions etc.
Columbia Silveridge Convertibles (summer thin)
650 Fill REI down jacket, no hoodie
Fleece cap
Merino Wool Icebreaker Long sleeve with zip
REI Lightweight underpants
REI Lightweight fleece zip pull over
Columbia non technical but warm and fat fleece zip jacket
Rain pants
Rain jacket
2 pairs of light weight Darn Tough socks
Skiing type gloves
Spandex sports workout type long sleeve with zip
Comfy cotton sweatpants
Work out nylon sweatpants
Walmart long johns
Vasque boots

11-08-2016, 07:47
I'd say you have enough, possibly overkill - but I suppose that depends on how hot or cold natured you are. Remember, there's a burn ban going on, so no campfires.

If the temperature drops into the teens (which is possible, but not likely) you may still be cold standing around camp - so when this happened to me (with similar clothing) last March, I just crawled into my sleeping bag.

I think most people agree that cotton has no place in a backpacking trip. There are lighter and warmer things to have (fleece). If cotton gets wet, it stays wet a long time.

11-08-2016, 09:36
What are expected high and low temperatures?

What I would carry down to 32F, maybe a few degrees cooler... top down

nylon baseball cap, fleece beanie
Outdoor Research Echo t-shirt and OR Echo 1/2-zip long sleeve
100-wt fleece jacket
light puffy jacket (Montbell ex-lite)
EITHER (not both!) hooded wind shirt (Montbell Dynamo) or hooded rain jacket (Montbell Versalite) depending upon weather forecast. If the forecast is solid for no rain, the windshirt is taken.
100 or 150wt fleece gloves, and MLD rain mitts (which are also wind shells and warm up the hands dramatically with very little weight added)
Rei boxer briefs and silk-weight long bottoms
Prana Zion pants
Montbell Dynamo wind pants or Montane Pertex rain pants, again depending upon the possibility of rain
Wright socks, 2 pair (one worn)
Brooks Cascadia 9 trail runners
OR Sparkplug gaiters or Zpacks gaiters

Definitely wouldn't take those cotton sweat pants and the spandex and the nylon sweat pants

11-08-2016, 09:56
Thanks Def not taking nylon and cotton sweat pants. Got some merino wool Icebreaker underpants on clearance at REI yesterday.

11-08-2016, 14:31
Here's what I take for a typical cold weather hiking trip in the Smokies (i.e. night time lows close to freezing):

Basic Layer:
1. Quick drying Shorts (and underwear)
2. Short sleeve shirt
3. two pairs of wool socks (with liners).
Even in cold weather, I find that I'll start sweating climbing hills even in shorts. Generally, the Smokies are so damp that nothing dries unless you wear it and let body heat dry it, or set it out in the sun. I've found it very difficult to attempt to use a fire to dry anything.

Rain Layer:
4. Rain pants
5. rain jacket
Even when rain isn't in the forecast, rain gear doubles as a wind breaker. The jacket is a great 1st warm layer. I always keep it handy stuffed in some outside pocket of the back pack. That way it's easy to get to if it starts raining, or just a little something to put on while pausing for a few minutes break to avoid getting cold.

Warm Layer
6. TWO beanie style hats
7. down jacket
8. fleece pants
9. gloves
Because you loose a large amount of heat thru your head (relative to its size) a hat has a large warmth to weight ratio. As a side and stomach sleeper, I can't sinch the sleeping bag around my head, so the 2nd hat also makes up for that deficiency.

Sleep Layer
10. Light weight short sleeve shirt
11. wool socks
I like to try to keep my sleeping bag clean, so rather than ever getting into it with a shirt that might still be a little damp from sweat, I'll take the damp shirt off and put on this clean dry shirt as a protection layer. Same thing with the socks. When I take my boots off, my socks are ALWAYS at least a little damp. So again, rather than sleeping in damp clothing, I'll change it out for something clean and warm.
Obviously this is a 'personal choice' layer that many (especially if going light weight as possible) won't do.

Extra warmth Layer
12. Ice Breaker wool long pants
13. Ice Breaker wool long shirt
I don't like sleeping in my "warm" layer, so if shorts and short sleeve are not enough to stay warm in my sleeping bag, I'll add these layers. They are also beneficial before bed when temperatures are just a little too cold before getting into your sleeping bag.

I'll sometimes mix these up depending upon the forecast. For example, if temps are not going to be too cold, I'll leave the fleece pants at home and count on the wool pants and rain pants to be enough to keep my legs warm before crawling into my sleeping bag.

Here is how I would categorize what you have as a comparison (items marked 'X.' I see as extra):
1. Columbia Silveridge Convertibles (summer thin)
7. 650 Fill REI down jacket, no hoodie
6a. Fleece cap
13. Merino Wool Icebreaker Long sleeve with zip
12. REI Lightweight underpants
X. REI Lightweight fleece zip pull over
X. Columbia non technical but warm and fat fleece zip jacket
4. Rain pants
5. Rain jacket
1. Underwear
3. 2 pairs of light weight Darn Tough socks
9. Skiing type gloves
13. Spandex sports workout type long sleeve with zip
8. Comfy cotton sweatpants
X. Work out nylon sweatpants
X. Walmart long johns

2. Basic Shirt
6b. 2nd Hat (optional)
10. Sleep shirt (optional)
11. Sleep socks (optional)

So over all, I would say that the only major thing I see missing is some sort of basic quick trying short sleeve shirt. You generally seem to have a bit too much in the way of extra warm layers... but an extra piece here or there is never a bad idea if you don't mind the extra weight... and an little extra is always nicer than being just a little too chilled at night (relearned that lesson a few weeks ago when I left fleece pants at home and took my 32 sleeping bag for a Smokies fall hike at lower elevations, but the 1st night temps took a significant drop and I found myself just a touch too cool that 1st night to sleep comfortably).

I know I hear cotton is such a bad idea in the back country. But if you are using it as a warm layer the same you would for a down jacket, then I don't see a big deal about using it... because just like with down, you just have to make sure to keep cotton dry. So I see the cotton sweat pants as an OK (but bulky) option for warm layer pants.

Tipi Walter
11-08-2016, 14:43
I took my full winter kit on my last trip (this October) and in late October when we usually have our sleetstorms and Halloween snowstorms it was 90F in Maryville TN. Broke some heat records on this trip and hated it cuz I had my winter geese and parka and down bag etc. Now the whole place is on fire anyway so what the heck.

Tennessee Viking
11-08-2016, 14:53
Next weekend here in Morganton the highs will be the 50s-low60s; the lows will be high 30s.

So Smokies I will expect below freezing temps to 50 highs

11-08-2016, 15:23
What are your Walmart long underwear made of? Moisture management looks like your biggest obstacle. Don't wear things that are going to trap moisture in, then freeze as night rolls in.

11-08-2016, 18:56
Next weekend here in Morganton the highs will be the 50s-low60s; the lows will be high 30s.

So Smokies I will expect below freezing temps to 50 highs
Mountain Forecast claims the top of LeConte will have a low just below freezing this Friday night, Saturday looks to stay in the 30's all day long, and then things will warm for Sunday staying in the 40's all day and night.

11-08-2016, 19:01
Check with the rangers on the water situation before you go. A lot of the sources had dried up when i hiked thru them mid October and it has only gotten worse.

11-08-2016, 19:27

I was there last weekend and it was so smoky from the forest fires in NC that I bailed out early. Be sure to call the backcountry office and get an update. Walking around in thick smoke isn't very fun. I spent my last night near Gregory Bald and have been airing out my gear since then; it all reeks of smoke.

11-11-2016, 13:49
thank you all!