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Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...

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Cape Coral, FL
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Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...

We'll be going up next week (yay!) and I just started thinking about if we should be buying something like a Camelbak to bring water with us when we go hiking. We do have just a regular backpack that we could put some bottles of water, but they'd get pretty warm quick depending on how the weather is.

Do you think it's necessary for our little mini-hikes (2-3 hours)? What else should we be thinking about bringing?

Cape Coral, FL
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1. Re: Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...

Also, I'm a little worried with all the 'bear' stories lately. On the trails are they usually pretty busy with other hikers or are you alone by yourself mostly? If we see a group hiking I'd probably try and stick with them for number power. :P

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2. Re: Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...

I wouldn't worry about bears. Just keep an eye out for them and give them their space. If you have a frig where you are staying freeze the water bottles the night before. It works great.

Knoxville, Tennessee
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for Pigeon Forge
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3. Re: Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...

I do a good deal of hiking here and I would suggest you keep the regular backpack you already have unless you just want to spend the dollars to upgrade.

In addition to several bottles of water I also suggest you bring a few chewable snack bars, park trail map(s), a small first aid kit if you have the room with mainly bandages, a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer, a small bottle or quantity of plain BAYER childrens 81 mg chewable aspirin and a small set of binoculars.

The aspirins are always a good idea to have around when exerting oneself. Even if you don't have a problem you may run into someone on the trail who is exhibiting symtoms of a heart attack. Any doctor will tell you that immdiately taking a bayer aspirin of this type at the onset of a heart attack can be critical to someones chance of surviving particularly when medical help is some distance/time away.

If you are hiking to a place such as a waterfall or ourcropping where there is a nice view pack a couple sandwiches and some chips for a most enjoyable picnic.

A hiking stick is always a good idea. It helps maintain your balance on uneven ground, it might be at least minimal defense tool in the very unlikely event of an attack by a bear or something else and it also works great at clearing away spider webs or other obstacles on the trail.

That's all that comes to mind for a few hours on the trail.

Have fun,


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4. Re: Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...


Freezing water bottles is a great idea, however, I wouldn't fill them to the top or the expanding ice could crack your bottle. Fill them about half-way - or 2/3 max. Then, before your hike, top them off with water. Also, you should use one bottle with 100% tap water to start off with, because it might take awhile for the ice to melt and become drinkable.

Wthout knowing which trails your hiking, generally speaking, the most popular trails will probably have quite a few people on them. Generally speaking, if you're in a group of 3 or more bears will leave you alone. When you're hiking alone it's much easier to "sneak" up on one because you're not making enough noise.

Check the GSMNP page for current list of trails with bear warnings:


Also, for a good starting point on what to bring, here's a good checklist for day hikers:



Wyandotte, Michigan
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5. Re: Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...

If you are going to freeze some water, choose a few to wrap in aluminum foil to keep the bottle insulated to prevent melting. I did this when I went to camp for a week and a few bottles were still ice cold at the end of the week. This would be helpful if you wrapped only a bottle or two per person because the ice will not melt right away for you to drink. Someone said before to fill them 2/3s and freeze then top with water, this would work with this method.

6. Re: Hiking in the Smokys? What to bring...

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