Safety experts while hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains

Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – As more people band together and head outdoors, many of them will head to the Great Smoky Mountains to experience the leaves and fall colors. However, with the beauty of the mountains comes the need to practice safety.

According to experts, without safety measures in place, a good trip can quickly deteriorate. When it comes to common mistakes, The revival of outdoor equipment saw it all.

“They go out and do trails that go beyond their physical limits,” Alejandro Guanaga of Outdoor Gear Revival told WATE. “They don’t plan properly. They don’t check the weather. They are not aware of road closures, they are not aware of trail closures. They don’t know the water levels when crossing a stream.

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These reasons explain why Outdoor Gear Revival sells safety.

“You still need sunscreen even in winter,” Guanaga said. “You still need a flashlight or headlamp even if you’re hiking in the daytime. You must have water filtration. Food and snacks. Things you can eat without having to cook them.

However, these are only material things. To take full advantage of the changing seasons, experts say it’s also important to be SMART

“It’s an acronym to help you remember how to stay safe in the smokies,” said Park Ranger interpreter Sheree Varnes. “‘S’ would represent, ‘Stay hydrated.’ [‘M’ would represent] ‘Map of your hike.’ “A” would mean: “Always wear good shoes and layers suitable for changing weather. ‘R’ would represent, ‘Remember your flashlight’ and ‘T’ represents, ‘Go back when conditions change.’

Varnes also suggests telling someone, who isn’t hiking, about your whereabouts and plans. This way, in the event of an emergency, first responders will know where to start looking.

Below are other products that Outdoor Gear Revival suggests considering before hitting the trails:

  • Water filter
  • Headlamp
  • Emergency blankets
  • Thick/puffy coats
  • hand warmers
  • emergency whistle
  • Repair tape
  • Lighter
  • Fire starter
  • Snacks
  • Bottle of water

For more information on hiking safety, visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park “Hiking Safety” page.

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