Hiking vs Trekking

By March 9, 2020 No Comments

What Is The Difference Between Hiking And Trekking?

This is a common question that most people face when thinking of trekking and hiking, since they sound almost the same.

For many, these activities involve walking long distances in the natural wild. However, there are clear differences between the two, although it’s a thin line. Whether you are contemplating hiking and trekking for their health and fitness merits or simply want to explore something new, it is essential to distinguish them as two separate missions.

Here is a brief overview of the two, including tips on where to begin:

Hiking vs Trekking Definition

You have probably heard about hiking or even participated in a couple of hikes. Hiking is very common among nature enthusiasts and it is relatively easier to plan and execute. By definition, hiking is a leisure-like activity where participants walk long distances, usually in the woods or across a country. Hiking involves walking on pre-made trails or roads, so you can plan to hike the day off. Trekking, on the other hand, involves walking long distances by foot, usually with a mission to test your strength and sanity. Trekking is a more rigorous journey that requires several days, months, or even years of planning.

Difference Between Hiking and Trekking?

Now that you know the definitions of hiking and trekking let’s go back to the original question. What is the difference between hiking and trekking? Technically, there are two main distinctions you should know. These are:

a) Different missions

Hiking is generally done for leisure where hikers plan a one-day activity involving exploring the wild and mother nature. Hikers usually have one goal in mind and that is to have the best time ever or at least witness something special. When hikers head to the trails, it is to reconnect with nature and calm their minds.

Trekking, on the other hand, is also done for fun and leisure activities. However, trekkers usually have a specific destination and must persist through the milestones they face. It is common for pilgrimages to trek in pursuit of moral and spiritual significance, which distinguishes trekking as an activity with a predetermined destination and outcome.

b) Different paths and distances

Hikers follow established hiking trails, roads and footpaths to catch the best moments. As such, planning a hike is much faster. All you need to do is choose the hiking trails to pursue. A hike can be completed during the day or overnight, so it includes trails 2.5 – 30 miles (4 – 50 kilometres).

Trekking can be done off hiking trails, cross-country roads, muddy footpaths, or complete wilderness in places with no roads. Trekking requires comprehensive preparation to ensure you have what is needed to complete the journey and its mission. Treks require at least two days to complete or as long as is required. It usually involves trails 30 – 15,000 miles (50 – 24,000 kilometres).

What To Bring To A Hike?

difference between hiking and trekkingHiking is a physically demanding activity that requires a few supplies and essentials. Although it involves walking long distances, not all hikes are the same. It boils down to the unique experience you seek. If you are planning for day hikes, for instance, a light pack that contains clean drinking water, lunch, socks and first aid kit will suffice. For overnight hikes, you might need extra cloths to change, more food and water, a sleeping bag and a flashlight. It is also essential to bring your hiking shoes, gear and other amenities depending on your accommodation.

What To Bring To A Trek?

what is the difference between hiking and trekkingTrekking is more rigorous than hiking and involves not only walking longer distances for extended hours but also navigating rugged lands with no trails. If you are a solo trekker, a 50L or 60L backpack can hold what you need to complete a short two-day distance. You will need a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, cookware, food, medication and compass. Depending on the trek, it may take you several days before you arrive at a supply station to restock your items. You should also bring sturdy hiking boots that feature ankle support.

Where To Start?

If you are thinking about hiking or trekking, it is vital to have a starting point. Investing in a backpack, sleeping bag, tent and hiking boots is always recommendable. You can also spend time comparing top hiking trails and treks. Nonetheless, once the research is over, it is time for action. Here are some tips to give you a smooth start:

  • Start with day hikes

If you have never participated in these physical activities, you should start with short day hikes. Visit the closest forest or park for a morning or afternoon hike to begin building your strength and endurance. You can extend the duration and distance you hike as you get more comfortable with the routine. Once you are comfortable with day hikes, you can push a step further by exploring overnight hiking trails. Bring a friend along and try to hike for at least 5 hours


  • Find a local hiking community to join

Hiking solo can be very inspiring, especially if you seek solace and spirituality. Other than that, it can be less motivating to go on long hikes alone. It is recommendable to join your local hiking community and find like-minded hikers that can keep you going when you feel like giving up.

  • Invest in the best gear

Hiking and trekking can both improve your mental and physical health. However, to have the best experiences, you need proper hiking and trekking gear. This includes everything from sleeping bags, tents and stoves to sun protectors, water filters, dark-tape, bladder, fire starter and more. You should find a comprehensive checklist to make sure you pack all the necessary items.


Both hiking and trekking involve walking for several hours. With hiking, you should be able to walk for up to five hours. Trekking, in contrast, involves walking at least seven hours a day for several days in a row. As such, it is essential to be mentally and physically prepared for both activities. Make sure you complete your research and identify everything you need to facilitate the experience before embarking or hike or trek. With that said, “what is the difference between hiking and trekking”? is now answered