Smokies E Equipment and Outfitting for backpacking
Importance of Equipment • The need for proper equip. isn’t based on extremes in climate. Rather, the smokies are an area of extreme changeability in both precipitation and temperature. It can be 70 today and 20 tomorrow night. Snow can fall as early as Oct. or as late as May. Elevation gain adds to this fact. Also, the humidity is always high.
Raingear • Rainsuits are a must and should be breathable. They also make an excellent outer layer for cold and wind. Red Ledge is reported to be an excellent brand.
Footwear/Boots • Hiking boots are rated by load capacity and support. A light pair is made for dayhikes/light loading. A midweight is a good overall pack boot. Heavyweights are for extreme support or loads. Reputable brands include saloman, merrell, scarpa, asolo, and raichle.
Clothing-less is more • Clothing should be layered and NEVER cotton( not even underwear). Coolmax is preferred for briefs, liner socks, and T-shirts. Trail pants and shirt are excellent. A light layer of fleece and/or thin longjohns are also good.
Socks and accessories • Socks are of paramount importance. A minimum of 3 pairs will include liners, hikers, and an insulated pair (boots are rarely insulated). Extra items such as hat and gloves can be necessary. Compression stuff sacks are great for packing bulky clothing.
Backpacks • Packs can be external frame or internal frame (preferred). They are measured in cubic inches (3,800+) & by torso length. There are various features including hydration bladders. Look for capacity, comfort, & cost. Some brands are Kelty, Mountainsmith, Jansport, and Gregory.
Sleeping • Lightweight bags can be down or synthetic (preferred) & are rated by temperature (20). Brands are Kelty, Slumberjack, Marmot, Coleman, North Face, REI, & Campmor. A thermarest mattress adds comfort & insulation. Also a pillow or a sack stuffed with clothes.
Tents/Shelter • Tents are rated on season, either 3 or 4. The best are aluminum framed, double walled, and free standing. Attributes include strength, weight, and room (a tent can be 2 not 3). Other features include vestibule size, # of doors, set up, & cost. Brands include Kelty, Eureka, Sierra Designs, North Face, MSR, & Big Agnes. Sized by person & sq. feet.
Stoves • Stove features are cost, ease of use, compactness, fuel, & simmering. Some have an external tank. Always take extra fuel because “fuel is life”. Some brands are Coleman, Snowpeak, & MSR.
Cookware • Your cookware can be simple with the addition of 1 “large” teapot/kettle. There are cooking utensils & eating utensils. An insulated mug is great.
Lights • There are 2 types of headlights with an LED being advantageous in regards to size, battery life, & less interference with night vision. A candle lantern is a good idea.
Water • Purification is best done with a filter. Look at speed, cost, filter life, & ease of operation. Use nalgene bottles(2), cantenes, or a bladder to store water. Boiling & tablets are alternatives. Brands are Katadyn & MSR.
Miscellaneous • 1st Aid, Matches, Personals, Trowel, TP, Soap, Toothbrush, Trekking poles, Watch, Compass, Map, Fire starter, Knife, Sunglasses, insect repellant, sunscreen,?
Food • MRE, Dehydrated Backpackers Gourmet, One pot noodle/rice meals with packaged meat, oatmeal, trail mix, smoked sausage, jerky, cheese, pita bread, chips, etc.. Look at cost, bulk, & palatability.
Other Manufacturers • REI-tents, clothes, packs • Boots-Hi-tec, Vasque, Columbia • Packs/clothes-Lowe Alpine
Retailers • REI.com, Campmor.com, mountainsports.com, sierratradingpost.com, others