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Information redundancy using erasure coding is an efficient way to increase the reliability of data transmission in communication systems. In Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), erasure encoding and decoding are performed on the source node and sink node, respectively, and a large amount of redundant data is generated according to the quality of the whole path and transmitted through multiple hops. In this paper, we propose a reliable data transfer scheme, RDTS, where erasure coding is performed in a hop-by-hop manner, which means that each intermediate node is able to perform erasure coding and adaptively calculates the number of redundant packets for the next hop. Usually, only a small amount of redundant data is needed for reliable transmission over a single hop. Therefore, using RDTS, the network load caused by redundant data is significantly reduced and also well balanced, leading to a longer network lifetime. In addition, hop-by-hop coding has also the advantage of low coding overhead. We further reduce the coding time by proposing a partial coding scheme. Our experimental results show that RDTS achieves up to 69.7% less network load and 153.8% longer lifetime, and meanwhile, the coding overhead is reduced by up to 78.1%, compared with a state-of-the-art erasure-coding based approach.