Man trekking in mountains

Hiking vs. trekking – differences explained

I hear this question a lot: What’s the difference between hiking and trekking? Is it any difference after all?

It turns out that each person has his own understanding of the two terms, and often they are used in conversations as if they have the same meaning.

So, curious by nature, I wanted to answer this also for my own knowledge on the subject. First, I reached out to the dictionary definitions. So, according to the Oxford Dictionary, here are their meaning:

Hiking – “the activity of going for long walks in the country for pleasure”

Trekking – “to make a long or difficult journey, especially on foot” and “to spend time walking, especially in the mountains and for pleasure and interest.”

It seems that the two terms have some things in common, that is, walking on foot for pleasure and enjoying the great outdoor. The difference seems to be the difficulty and duration of the journey. Trekking usually refers to long and challenging multi-day journeys, especially in the mountains.

What are hikes all about?

Hikes can last from a few hours until 1 or several days. They are a form of spending your holiday in beautiful natural surroundings, and they are prevalent in Europe.

Often hiking is leaving from point A in the morning and going back to point A in the evening. The same principle is applied for multi-day hikes. People usually go hiking on marked trails.

The equipment that you carry with you is light and there is not much planning needed. However, it is best not to prepare yourself only by having in mind the names “hike” or “trek” when choosing your adventure. Read about the trails, search for as much information as you possibly can, and then decide what you will need to take with you.

trekking in the mountains

What is different about trekking?

Treks usually last a few days, weeks, or even months. You can go trekking in beautiful natural areas as well, but it is not necessarily so. Often, trekking involves going from point A to point B in one day, and then the next day going from point B to point C and so on until you reach your destination.

The equipment you will need is more complex and heavy when you think about going on a trek. You will need more food and supplies, and make sure you have all you need to keep healthy and protect yourself from injuries or wild animals.

We need to do more serious planning in trekking because we might need to go on trails that are not marked and walk longer distances. It is essential to correctly estimate the resources that we will need along the way and know the locations we want to reach.

Considering all these aspects, hiking is more suitable for beginners, while trekking is already a step further, needing more advanced physical and mental abilities.

Either way, both ways of exploring and enjoying the great outdoors have the same benefits:

  • Improving our physical condition and health
  • Spending time in nature also improves our mental health.
  • Disconnecting from city life can boost your creativity.

Photo credit : Unsplash


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