KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As more people bundle up and head outdoors, many of them will travel to the Great Smoky Mountains to check out the leaves and fall colors. However, with the beauty of the mountains, comes the need to practice safety.

According to experts, without safety precautions in place, a great trip can quickly take a turn for the worse. When it comes to common mistakes, Outdoor Gear Revival has seen it all.

“They go out and do trails that exceed their physical limitation,” Outdoor Gear Revival’s Alejandro Guanaga told WATE. “They don’t plan properly. They don’t check the weather. They don’t know of road closures, they don’t know of trail closures. They don’t know water levels when they creek cross.”

WATE Photo

Those reasons are why Outdoor Gear Revival sells safety.

“You always need sunscreen even in winter,” Guanaga said. “You always need a flashlight or headlamp even if you’re hiking in the day. You have to have water filtration. Food and snacks. Things you’ll be able to eat without having to cook them.”

However, those are just the material things. To fully enjoy the changing seasons, experts say it’s also important to be S.M.A.R.T.

“That’s an acronym to help you remember how to stay safe in the smokies,” Interpretive Park Ranger Sheree Varnes said. “‘S’ would represent, ‘Staying hydrated.’ [‘M’ would represent] ‘Map your hike.’ ‘A’ would represent, ‘Always wear good footwear and layers for changing weather.’ ‘R’ would represent, ‘Remember your flashlight’ and ‘T’ represents, ‘Turn back when conditions change.'”

Varnes also suggests notifying a person, who is not on the hike, about your whereabouts and plans. That way, in case of an emergency, first responders will know where to start looking.

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

  • Water filter
  • Headlamp
  • Emergency blankets
  • Thick/puffy coats
  • Handwarmers
  • Emergency whistle
  • Repair tape
  • Lighter
  • Firestarter
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle

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