Charles--Welcome, and as someone whose heart has always belonged to the Smokies I can certainly understand your affinity for this magical place. If you haven't done so already, make a visit in person to the folks at Little River Outfitters. You won't regret it (other than possibly coming away appreciably lighter in the billfold thanks to having purchased various types of gear).
There's a lot of wisdom and first-hand experience among the folks on this forum, not to mention a wide range of opinions, some of them strongly held. Don't hesitate to ask questions. You'll get answers--sometimes more than you know what to do with, but a surfeit of information is never a bad thing.