outdoor gear The Differences Between Hiking And Trekking Key Contrast (2023)
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The Differences Between Hiking And Trekking: Key Contrast (2023)

You may have heard people describe hiking vs. trekking, but aren't they the same? Hiking and trekking have their similarities, but they aren't the same thing. If you don't understand the difference between hiking and trekking, you may be confused about which option is better for you. However, both are great opportunities to explore nature and find yourself an adventure, even close to home.

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Hiking vs. Trekking

The modern world moves so fast that it is sometimes hard to slow down and take in the great natural beauty the world has to offer. Going on long walks can be the perfect way to enjoy time outdoors, and hiking has become a very popular way for people to enjoy nature.

You may have heard people describe hiking vs. trekking, but aren't they the same? Hiking and trekking have their similarities, but they aren't the same thing. If you don't understand the difference between hiking and trekking, you may be confused about which option is better for you. However, both are great opportunities to explore nature and find yourself an adventure, even close to home.

Tie up your

hiking boots. Tighten upyour Chacos. Let’s start exploring.

The Difference Between Hiking and Trekking

Hiking usually takes place during a single day on one trail, while trekking usually takes multiple days and happens in more difficult environments. You might take your kids hiking, but you aren’t likely to take your kids trekking.


How Do You Define Hiking?

Hiking involves traveling along a trail to reach another location. People hike on various terrain, including fields, forests, and mountains. Hiking paths may naturally form as people walk through them, or people may purposely develop trails for others to enjoy.

Many people make hiking a special excursion. Your area most likely has multiple hiking trails for people to enjoy near the city. Some may even have signs along the hike to offer you more information about the area, animals, and other interesting facts. Park rangers often maintain trails like these.

Hiking Trails Vary In Difficulty

Hikes tend to vary in difficulty. Luckily, a general difficulty scale will tell you how much effort hiking each trail will take. This ranking organizes trails by introductory, intermediate, and difficult. They also have a number rating to tell you where the trail falls compared to others in the same category.

For example, if you come across an intro trail with a difficulty of three, then you know most people can handle the path. However, some routes may go up to 10 in difficulty, indicating they take effort and experience to hike without getting lost or exhausted.


Short Day Hikes Are Not As Strenuous As Trekking

Since hiking takes only a short period, it won’t tire you out as much as trekking. Usually, people will finish a long, vigorous hike in one or two days, but treks occur over longer periods as a group travels long distances.

While hiking takes effort to complete, longer time spent on the same trail can cause more strain on the body. You will need to travel long distances, so your body will feel sore when you sleep. You may also experience aches and pains throughout the trek, making it more strenuous.

A high-difficulty hike that only lasts a few hours can cause fatigue, but extended periods of trekking through the wilderness is difficult for even experienced hikers. Therefore, people view treks as more strenuous despite that point since they last longer.

Even Overnight Hikes Are Not the Same as Trekking

Some people enjoy overnight hiking, but this is also not the same as trekking. You may bring sleeping bags, tents, and food for overnight hikes. Then, you can sleep during the evening and enjoy the rest of the hike the following day.

Unlike hiking, treks don’t occur in a single night. Instead, they span over multiple days, with some lasting weeks at a time. They also focus more on going through unique areas than guided paths.

However, don’t allow the differences to prevent you from enjoying an overnight hike. You can always plan to go hiking over a few days with some friends to spend time together in natural environments.


What is trekking?

Trekking refers to a multi-day hike people take through challenging environments. Usually, they travel through different terrain away from most regular trails. They also involve finding places to camp in the wild to rest whenever the evening arrives.

While most people know about hiking, some don’t understand what exactly trekking involves.

Is Trekking A Version of Hiking?

Trekking and hiking have some similarities, so you could consider trekking a version of hiking. For example, both involve walking in a natural setting for exercise, usually with others. Trekking requires more stamina and dedication, however, which is why it may be too strenuous for those just getting into hiking.

There is an even more difficult version of trekking called thru-hiking, which involves hiking well-known and difficult trails, such as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.


Trekking Involves Leaving Common Trails

You don’t travel along preset paths or trails when you go on a trek. Instead, you go to an unusual area and enjoy a journey. So while people will plan where they want to go for a trek, they don’t have a preset trail they must follow.

Most adventurers seek a way to enjoy the area, feel separated from society, and explore natural environments. First, however, you need a way to keep track of your location to avoid getting lost while you enjoy the trek.

Some people will identify landmarks ahead of time to ensure they head in the right direction. The whole point of treks is to allow people to feel more adventurous, be spontaneous, and have fun as they experience an environment most people don’t get to witness.

Trekking Occurs in a Wild Natural Environment

You tend to go through wild natural environments when you trek. For example, you may walk through fields, lands, or even forests that take you away from common areas.

Typically, hiking includes an easy way to get back to civilization. Trekking, however, is more of an adventure, but it can pose more danger if you get injured or need to leave the outdoors for whatever reason.


A Trekking Trip Often Lasts Several Days

While some hikes may last more than one day, most treks are more than a couple. For example, some people may go on a five-day trek while others may try to go on a two-week trek. The lengths vary, and some people are willing to trek for months, though doing so requires preparation.

Keep in mind that the length of your trip will vary depending on how far you plan to travel and your pace. For example, a trek may take longer than expected if you don’t keep up a steady pace. On the other hand, you can finish a few days early if you pick up the speed.

Terminology Around the World

There are different names for types of hiking in different countries, and some names mean different things.


Backpacking is a very long trek, which usually lasts multiple weeks.



Bushwacking, or bushwalking, is a term from Australia and New Zealand which refers to hiking through dense vegetation.


Meaning "people's march," volksmarching is a type of hike that is usually 10km long and organized by local clubs. This is a long, energetic walk that takes place on marked trails determined by the organization. You can collect stamps and medals to show how many volksmarches you have completed.


In geocaching, people use a GPS device to locate checkpoints that have been left by other hikers, often with a small trinket or treasure at that location.



For a pleasant day hike, some simple gear is necessary.

Hiking Equipment

Hiking boots will protect your feet on rough terrain, and walking poles can help you keep your balance and continue moving forward.

Trekking Equipment

During long treks, you will need to bring specific trekking equipment. A sleeping bag, tents, tarps, cooking equipment, and other camping gear are all necessary if you're planning to set up a base camp. Depending on water availability, you may need to bring a water filtration system along as well.

On top of that, you need to bring some food and water with you to meet your physical needs. Ensure you get more food and water than you expect so you don’t get dehydrated or hungry during a multi-day journey.

People will often bring additional supplies to keep themselves safe, such as multiple pairs of clothing, a first aid kit, and a way to transport their belongings.

Sleeping Bag

It's also a good idea to know what the weather conditions will be during your trip, so you can plan accordingly. If you are going somewhere cold, an insulated sleeping bag is vital to keep from freezing. If you're hiking in a more tropical region, a lightweight bag will keep you from overheating during the night.


What are the Health Benefits of Hiking and Trekking?

Both hiking and trekking are outdoor activities with great health benefits. Being outdoors exposes people to all the Vitamin D from the sun. Combining fresh air and exercise is good for your body, and spending time in a natural environment is good for mental health. Many people hike to lose weight, prevent heart disease, lower their blood pressure, and develop their core strength and lower leg muscles.

However, these both have risks involved as well as health benefits, so make sure that you can complete your planned outdoor activity safely before you get going.


Hiking vs. Trekking: What's The Difference?

Ultimately, hiking involves sticking with pre-defined trails, while trekking has people go through lands they don’t usually go through. While they both include walking through different terrain and allow you to enjoy nature, they have their differences for you to consider.

When hiking, you may not need to bring much food or water with you. This is especially true if your hike only takes an hour or two. Of course, we recommend you have water regardless of how far you are going, but making sure that you have vital nourishment, including food and water, is absolutely essential for trekking.

You could also think of it this way: You might take your dog hiking, but you wouldn't take your dog trekking unless you are very experienced and your dog is highly trained. Even then, you won't likely want to carry the dog gear because it would take up space and weigh you down for your trek.

Whether you plan to roam the Carolinas or take a more serious adventure along the entiriety of the Appalachian Trail, make sure you stay prepared.

Make sure you remember the differences and know what to expect if anyone invites you on a hike or trek. You can prepare for them accordingly to ensure you remain safe and comfortable during your outdoor activity. Pick out a pair of good hiking shoes and get out on the trail!

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