I am interested in solo hiking the Foothills Trail in South Carolina, US this summer -- maybe not all of it, but ideally multiple days worth.

Unfortunately, I'm not really experienced enough to camp out every night; although I've been long distance walking before, the trail alternated between wilderness and towns and I was never truly roughing it. Also, after gaining weight and getting too little exercise during the pandemic lockdown, carrying a heavy pack all day feels unwise.

So, I'd like to stay in inns or lodges or AirBNBs each night and shuttle as needed. From what I can tell.... this isn't really possible and my plans are unreasonable.

Is this assessment correct, or is there some creative way to do what I'm trying to do? Alternatively, is there some alternative in the Southeastern US where a version of my plan is workable?


1 Answer 1


It'd be easier if you had included a scale in your map. Depending on what the distances are you might be able to walk and sleep at a different location each day.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Rosman,+NC,+USA/@35.111419,-82.9341445,13.15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8859a8d2b8ac0163:0xc0f480356f0102b8!8m2!3d35.143721!4d-82.8212432 shows relatively small distances between cities (and some motels!).

Check the trail's suggested hiking durations, by segment. 6 hrs/day, depending on your fitness, is doable.

I've done this before, cycling, where I plan on stopping at a given town each evening. In your case, you could also taxi/Uber to a closer starting point on longer segments.

If you only need to pack clothing and toiletries you can probably hike with a 10kg/20# backpack (check your scale) and if the segments are 20km/12mi (or less, depending on terrain), you might be able to do it.

You could always start at a point where the segments are the shortest and easiest and get a feel for it.

Do check what the motels are up to, they might be closed in our 2021 context.

Oh, and since solo, consider carrying a 406 MHz PLB.

  • A 20 pound pack for a day hike in the summer seems extremely high. I can't imagine why they would need more than 5 pounds.
    – user2169
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 1:55
  • multi day hike. if they go from motel to motel, that's all their belongings for a say a week. I cycled with about 20-30# as I recall and I honestly dont get the urgency to downgrade from 20# to 10# if you are walking around, neither is anywhere close to camping backpack weight. Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 2:07
  • I don't get it. Here's my standard list of what I would take on this type of trip: one change of clothes, lunch, sweater, map, water bottles, first-aid kit, sun hat, bandanna, compass, pen and paper, Swiss army knife, moleskin, toilet paper, lighter, soap (1 oz), headlamp, rain poncho. The total weight is probably 4-5 pounds. I can't imagine how this could balloon to as much as 10 pounds, let alone 20.
    – user2169
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 11:14
  • 1
    @BenCrowell unless water supplies are very frequent, somewhere hot I'd probably be carrying 2 litres of water. That's roughly the difference between your 5lbs and the 10lbs estimate; you must be carrying very little water. You also implicitly assume that: lunch is all the food you need (even in emergencies) and that you can resupply as fully as necessary every day. IME neither is true, in particular lodgings can be more common than shops on many trails, and while some offer (expensive) lunches not all do.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 20:27
  • excellent, so you'd wear the same clothes for a week? we all have different habits. personally, I optimize to not having any pack at all whenever I can. if I do carry a bag then i dont much care if it's 20# or 5#, it's pretty much the same to me either way. Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 20:40

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