@AndrewRigby November is typically a good time to visit the Smoky Mountains! Temperatures will likely be much cooler than you're accustomed to in Southern California, so we're glad you've asked for suggestions! There's a ton of information we'd love to share in response but we don't want to post too much all at once, so we'll start with a few thoughts and resources:
- Boots/shoes - a recommendation here is much more dependent on your feet than the place you're going (although some features will matter based on location). If possible, we'd highly recommend either visiting your local REI store or setting up a Virtual Outfitting appointment to help pick boots/shoes specific to your feet! For where you're headed and when, we'd likely advise selecting a waterproof boot/shoe; we like this Expert Advice article on choosing between boots and trail runners!
- Jacket - layering will be essential, including a good rain layer and a good mid-layer (fleece or insulation) - also, make sure the layer against your skin is wicking and quick-drying. We carry a lot of great options in all of these categories - if you'd like some specific suggestions, feel free to reply back and tell us a little more about you!
- Pants - there's a lot of personal preference when it comes to hiking pants - different brands fit different body types and there are some features (like zip-off) that folks are strongly for/against! For your trip, we'd definitely recommend a synthetic pant as there's a chance you'll encounter rain on one of your days of hiking and these will dry much more quickly than anything with cotton.
We hope this gets you started, noting that we are happy to provide more specific suggestions in each of the categories, if you're willing/able to provide a little more info about you!