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  1. #1
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    Default Expected Temps in GSMNP in Late September/Early October

    I and a friend are planning a 3-5 day hike in the GSMNP in late September or early October. Does anyone have experience with what temps we should expect around this time frame?

    I'm asking specifically to figure out what sleeping bag I'll need to bring/buy for the hike. I currently have a 40 degree down bag and I'm hoping that with my bivy, bag liner, and base layer(s) that I'll be able to avoid shelling out the bucks for a warmer bag.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Nights could be down to 30s, or 50s

    Personally, at higher elevations, id have 30 F bag or 20 F quilt.
    At end of day im sweat soaked and chill fast.

    You can probably make a decent 40 work, if its a real 40, and not like a cheap overrated one. .

    A few yrs ago, hurricane sandy dumped several feet of snow in october....

    So, its kinda hard to say...

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    As long as no big storm is pending you will be OK. At altitude the trees will be showing good colors and overnight lows should be about 40. A few years ago hurricane Sandy came ashore far North of here but the backlash for the Smokeys was 3 feet of snow and a near death experience for one hiker.

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    A few years ago hurricane Sandy came ashore far North of here but the backlash for the Smokeys was 3 feet of snow and a near death experience for one hiker.



    on the AT two days after it hit the park---snow was up to 5 feet in some places...

    i had reservations for ice water shelter that weekend and figured it would be a good way to avoid the crowds...

    the good news was that the temperatures were warm and it was melting quick...

    one spot melted about a foot overnight...

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    As for the OPs question ----depends upon what elevation one is at.....

    and if it was ne---I would feel alright with what you are packing...

  6. #6
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    Here's the GSMNP climate page. They give a seasonal description and average hi/lo temps for Gatlinburg and Clingman's Dome.

    Most of the last 20 years, I've been going to LeConte Lodge the 2nd half of Sept. typical temps are 40s at night and 50s during the day. But in recent years I've experienced temperatures ranging from right about freezing to 60s at night.

    Many years, I've taken camping trips in early to mid Oct. It's not uncommon for those trips to be to Gregory Bald (5,000'). Night time lows are typically in the 40s.


    If you look at the seasonal data, it is typical for temperatures to be +/-10 from the average. +/-15 to 20 is possible, but outside the norm. Snow is also outside the norm even at upper elevations until later in November.

    Beyond that, the best advice is to check weather forecasts closer to the time of your trip. The Mountain Weather Forecast page is a great resource to see expected temps on many of the specific mountains in GSMNP (some available mountains are listed under the Great Smoky Mountains list, others under the Blue Ridge Mountains list).

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    Standard lapes rate for temperature is 3.5 f / 2.0 c decrease per thousand feet. Using historical weather data from a nearby city you can get a ballpoint idea. So in your case, let's take Gatlinburg vs the higher elevations in the park. Roughly 5300' higher and 18.55 degrees cooler. With that said, the atmosphere is almost never standard, so neither is the temperature lapes rate. I plan conservatively.

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    Thanks for all of the info! I have a quality Mountain Hardwear bag so it should be as close to a true 40 degree bag as they come.

    Sounds like as long as we don't get any unusually bad weather that we'll be okay with what we have.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-J320A using Tapatalk

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    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

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    Sounds like as long as we don't get any unusually bad weather that we'll be okay with what we have.



    yeah..................thats how i see it...

    just keep an eye on the weather the week before to see what is happening just to be safe...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jundar View Post
    I currently have a 40 degree down bag and I'm hoping that with my bivy, bag liner, and base layer(s) that I'll be able to avoid shelling out the bucks for a warmer bag.
    Make sure you include a pair caps for your head and at least one additional basic layer you can wear over the base layer and I think you'll be ok.

    I've got a 32 and a 15 Mountain Hardware Ultralamina.

    If I go into the upper elevations of GSMNP in October, I carry my 15 bag... but that's because I don't like sleeping in layers. I prefer only a single layer of socks, shorts, shirt, and cap (actually, I'll wear two caps).

    But I do recall being at LeConte Shelter last October in what I would call typical October conditions. From what I recall, temps were not expected to dip below 40, so I only took the 32 bag. But to stay comfortable, I had to pair that with an Ice Breaker 200 base layer (long shirt, long pants) and still needed an additional layer on top of that.


    So as long as you're ready to layer up and an unusual cold spell doesn't come thru, I'd say you can afford to wait to get a warmer bag.

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