Hiking and trekking are two words we’ve all heard, especially if you’re involved in the outdoor world. If we were to be asked what they mean, most of us would at least know that they relate to walking outside and maybe throw in a couple more characteristics regarding the two. However, apart from that, what do they really mean? What makes them different or similar?
I’ve been hiking for about 3 years now, and it wasn’t until I started an Instagram to document my hikes that I really began to think about those two words and what they meant. I see them being used often in posts and usernames, but I never really think much of their differences. But, since I’m actively involved in posting my own thoughts and experiences on the outdoor world, I think it’s time to really learn the difference.
While hiking and trekking sound like they could mean the same thing, they’re actually used to describe two different activities. Both relate to walking outside, however, there are specific things that make them different from each other. They can be compared by their length, location, difficulty, and more.
Hiking is most often defined as a walk in nature for pleasure or exercise. Most people hike to enjoy the natural beauty around them, so hiking usually takes place on marked, manmade trails that can be found in places like national or state parks. This kind of activity is something that can be done in a day’s time, since a hike can be anywhere from 1 mile to 20 miles. It just depends on the person’s experience level. Hiking doesn’t require too much equipment, but some people will choose to bring a backpack with some snacks, water, and various other items in it for their safety.
Trekking is walking a long distance or embarking on a long journey in mountainous areas. Usually trekking is done on unmarked, rarely used trails where transportation is not available. Those who decide to trek plan to be out for many days at a time. In this case, they have to have lots of equipment since they will basically be living on the trail for however long they choose to be out there. They will pack food, tents, sleeping bags, water, and whatever else is needed to keep them safe and alive. Trekking is not for the faint of heart. It is difficult and requires training to be able to take on all of those miles every day, as well as the knowledge to remain safe.
The biggest difference between hiking and trekking is their length and difficulty. A hike is more for recreational fun for a day or weekend trip, since you can hike overnight too. However, trekking is a lot more than that. It’s planning, packing, and preparing for days out on a trail. In my opinion, both are perfect ways to explore nature’s beauty.