Packing my Gear for the Foothills Trail

Next week, my buddy Craig & I will be attempting to hike the 77 mile long Foothills Trail from one end to the other, in 2 nights & 3 days.

The Foothills Trail is located along the Blue Ridge Escarpment in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina. The landscape is diverse, ranging from high rocky outcrops with views to the distant horizon, to quiet forests in deep valleys carved by bold mountain streams. Elevations along the trail range from 1,120 feet at Table Rock State Park to 3,560 feet atop Sassafras Mountain.

This will be the first time that I have stepped foot on this trail, however, Craig has hiked some small sections of it in the past. Looking at the weather forecast for Table Rock State Park, it looks like we will have cloudy, overcast days, with a possibility of rain, and temperatures between mid 60’s to mid 80’s. We have a couple of different itineraries planned (which will be decided as we are hiking along), however, none of them have us at high elevations for the night, so I am assuming temperatures near this, but have planned to be able to go a little lower if need be. And of course, we will continue to check the weather forecast until our departure gets a bit closer (since we all know that weather forecasts can change drastically from one day to the next)…

Being that this hike will primarily consist of more hours hiking (after all, it is 77 miles in 3 days) than time spent (awake) in camp, I have decided to forfeit some of my luxury items (such as my Kindle) and instead opted for a lighter (“ultralight” to be correct) pack weight, filled only with items I need. However, I did not skimp on items that will keep me comfortable, or safe. For those interested, HERE is my entire gear list on a Google Doc spreadsheet. For those that would just rather see some basic numbers, this is what those looks like:

  • BPW: 6.68 lbs (106.8 oz)
  • Big 3 Consumables: 7.93 lbs (126.81 oz)
  • Multipack: 0.79 lbs (12.6 oz)
  • Carried Items: 0.71 lbs (11.3 oz)
  • Worn Items: 3.24 lbs (51.8 oz)

This gives me a total skin-out weight of 19.33 lbs, or 309.31 oz. Also worth noting is the way the weights listed above will be split up in different areas once I actually pack it all up. (Mainly, my food will be split up.) I have opted to carry the food I plan to eat each day while hiking inside my Multipack, rather than inside my pack with the rest of my food. This means the total weight of my pack cannot be figured simply by adding my BPW + the big 3 consumables. As well, my Multipack weight will be a bit more than what is listed above since some of my food will also be inside the Multipack. This is what the actual total weights (measured on my scale) look like at the beginning of my hike, with the food divided up…

  • Total Pack Weight: 13.89 lbs (222.3 oz)
  • Multipack Weight: 1.66 lbs (26.5 oz)

Of course, my carried weight (which consists of items such as my wallet, trekking poles, whistle & light) will remain the same (0.71 lbs/11.3 oz). As well, my worn items weight will also remain the same (3.24 lbs/51.8 oz).

Other than sorting through my gear, I have also been studying up on the trail and its conditions by visiting different internet sites, as well as watching other’s YouTube videos. Also, both Craig and I have spoken with others that have already hiked the trail. As well, I have both the map and the guide-book that I purchased from the FTC site (linked above), and have been looking them over. (On the trip though, I will be carrying the map, and Craig will be carrying the guide-book.)

As far as physical shape, I have been walking at my local park both on a paved trail, as well as a “cross-country” trail, just trying to get my knees (and my lungs) ready for the hike.

So, at this point, I feel like I am well prepared for the hike, and I’m looking forward to getting some trail time! Until then… thanks for stopping by!

~Stick~

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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23 Responses to Packing my Gear for the Foothills Trail

  1. colcamp says:

    Hey Stick – what do you call that orange thing on your MLD mug?

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  2. cenazwalker says:

    I think that is pretty impressive miles for two days. Sounds like a good time.

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  3. cenazwalker says:

    Have a good trip, those are gonna be some high mileage days.I like that carrot quilt, what’s the weight on that?

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    • Stick says:

      Well, we actually didn’t do those miles. The first day we pulled off just under 26, then the second day was 23. Still not bad though… at least IMO. As far as my carrot quilt, it weight 11.5 oz. It is a great quilt. Love it.

      ~Stick~

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  4. Brian says:

    I’ve been on several sections of the Foothills Trail over the last couple of weeks. The trail is in pretty good shape. I’ve been from Bad Creek to Sloan Bridge and from Bad Creek to Hilliard Falls and don’t remember any blow down that I had to go around. The leaves are out so the trail will be green instead of that dismal winter brown. It should be a great hike.

    I walked from Sassafras Mountain to Pinnacle Mountain (and back) today and it was really pleasant. I didn’t see a single hiker (which isn’t really surprising since it’s Wednesday).

    I’ll look forward to your trip report.

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    • Stick says:

      Brian,

      We came across 2 blow downs between Oconee and Toxaway. One was pretty big, but we managed our way over it. Anyway, it is definitely a beautiful area. I loved the Chattooga River section the most I think. And yeah, we hardly saw anyone the whole time…

      ~Stick~

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  5. Bobby says:

    Chad i looked up Permethrin on the internet and most is for pets.. Can you tell me what you use.. Thanks Bobby

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  6. Richard moran says:

    What’s best way to treat with permithin for ticks. Spray all clothing and shoes?

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    • Stick says:

      Richard,

      It can be applied as either a spray or a soak (and I believe maybe even as a powder?). However, I have read that the soaks are better since it actually coats the entire article of clothing, unlike a spray that may only stick to the outside. It can be bought as either though. Just be sure to read up on it before using it. It is a chemical, and like all chemicals, it has lots of “warnings” and is even lethal to cats. Check out the Sawyer brands for more information.

      ~Stick~

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  7. Richard moran says:

    Chad
    Currently I only have a marmot helium 15 deg bag. I haven’t used it in warmer weather but assume it would be a sweat box in anything over 40-50. Thinking about a quilt for summer trips on the AT. What rating would you go with with this in mind?

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    • Stick says:

      Richard,

      I would definitely sweat a great deal if using my Helium in our summers. However, if need be, just unzip it, and drape it over you as needed. Try to fluff all the down to one side and use the underfilled side to layer over you.

      In our summers, I carry the EE “carrot” quilt as seen in the video in this post. It uses a single layer of 2.5 oz Climashield Apex as the insulation and has an estimated rating at around 50 F. However, for much of the summer, this is way overkill. Last summer, I couldn’t even stand to pull this over me… I am thinking about getting either a twin size cotton sheet to try this summer, or maybe a silk sheet. When the temperatures are still 80+ F at night time, there just isn’t much that is needed… other than an air conditioner! 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  8. JERMM says:

    hey Stick, I’ve hiked the FHT twice, you’re in for a real treat. Beautiful trail end-to-end. If you get a chance eat at Aunt Susan’s, located on Hwy 11 north of the TableRock SP entrance, good eats and big portions and ice cream too.

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  9. Patrick says:

    It’s a great trail; be sure to allow yourself some time to swim in the waters..

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    • Stick says:

      Patrick,

      That sounds great, however, I feel like the waters will still be a little cool for my taste… especially if they are coming out of the mountains! 🙂

      But I am sure I will stick my toe in it…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  10. Matthew Wilson says:

    Great trail. You guys will love it. There’s a good chance you’ll see some interesting wildlife out there. I’ve seen Bald Eagles, Black Bear, Deer, Fox, Badgers, and a slew of other creatures on the Foothills Trail. Have a great time and let us know how it turns out when you get back.

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  11. Bobby says:

    I could not make out what you said about what you treat your clothes with.. Great video’.. Bobby

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  12. Ron Jameson says:

    I like reading your blog. Will be on FH Trail 17-19th. Starting at Bad Creek and going to Canebrake/Toxaway and out to Frozen Creek. Hope to see y’all along the way.
    Ron

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