Hiking vs. Trekking

Are you confused about whether to go on a hiking or trekking? It is important to know the difference between two so that you can choose the right adventure for you! Hiking and trekking they may sound like the same thing, but in reality, there are tons of differences between them. The main difference between hiking and trekking is the duration, type of terrain, and the equipment required.
The term “hiking” means long hours of walking that usually lasts less than a day while “trekking” is generally longer than hiking that can last anywhere between a few days, weeks, or even months.

Hiking trails are usually in the midst of forests, mountains, hills, or any natural environments that you wish to visit! These trails are usually marked out for hikers to follow.

Trekking trails change during the course itself. From the mountains to roads, to the forest and even the beach sometimes! Trekking brings individuals to explore nature by foot, giving them first-hand experiences of scenic locations that may not be accessible to many. Trekkers hold the power of where they wish to trek to and which trails they seek to explore, giving them more liberty than hikers!

Comparison Chart

Hiking Trekking
Challenging Hiking comparatively is one of the easiest outdoor recreational activities. Any person can do it regardless of sex, age, and fitness level Trekking is usually a challenging and physically more demanding and intense activity that test your physical or even mental endurance
Equipment Hikers carry everything they need for their trip on their backs. For example, plenty of warm, breathable layers, medical supplies, survival kit, ample food and water If you are planning for a trekking it is crucial that you must have the correct survival kit, well-fitted sturdy boots, poles, first aid supplies, a roll of trusty duct tape for your blisters, all the essential gear you need to set up camp, and plenty of breathable layers with ample food and water
Duration People usually go on hiking for typically half to full day A trek can last anywhere between a few days, weeks, or even months
Sign Post There are several man-made signposts in the hiking routes. It’s like going from a start point to an endpoint There are few to no signposts
Cost Less expensive More expensive
Level of experience Hiking is great for beginners Trekking is more challenging and difficult hence require more experience and strong navigation skills
Other names Hiking is more commonly known as bush walking in Australia, tramping in New Zealand, backpacking in North America, and hill walking in the United Kingdom Trekking is also known as backpacking in various countries

What is Hiking?

“Hiking is a recreational activity of walking on man-made and well-marked trails or roads.”

A hike can be anywhere from 0.01 miles away from your home to the hundreds of miles in the mountains. It is a natural exercise to improve your physical fitness and get in shape. It is a leisure activity to explore the beauty of nature by walking along designated paths and following trails through scenic spots.

A hike can last a couple of hours to a whole day, depending on your selected terrain.  The best part about hiking is you do not need a lot of preparation like trekking. All you need is a backpack with some layers to cover yourself, some food, water, first aid kit, and map.

Benefits of Hiking

Unlike trekking, there is no physical strain in hiking unless you walk among hills or mountains! However, going on a regular hike improves your health. Below are the multiple health benefits of hiking:

  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Lowers risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Lowers risk of high blood pressure
  • Lowers risk of high cholesterol
  • Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers risk of cancer
  • Increase bone density
  • Helps in weight loss
  • Strengthens your core which improves posture and balance
  • Provided sufficient dose of vitamin D

Besides these health benefits, if you hike with your family and friends, it also offers an opportunity to bond, make memories, and grow strong as a family.

Hiking is a great way to get close to nature and immerse yourself in the natural world around you!

What is Trekking?

The word “trek” is derived from Afrikaans that means “a leg or a stage of the journey.”

A word trekking, on the other hand, is used to describe a rigorous, multi-day trip across varied terrain, which is not normally accessible by other means of transport and which often does not have any man-made or well-defined signposts.

Trekking is way more physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging than hiking. There are many most beautiful and exciting places in the world to visit, but the only route to visit them is by foot.

Reasons to Go On a Trek

  • For some people exploring nature and seeing animals and plants in their natural habitats is priceless.
  • Trekking is a mean to interact with the people of mountains where you can learn about the lifestyle, tradition, culture, and uniqueness of the place by interacting with the locals.
  • As in trekking you usually spend nights at lodges, you will have the chance to make new friends along the way.
  • If you are looking for disconnection from everyone, you know you are most likely to go on trekking as most treks take you far away from cell towers and civilization.
  • Away from the strict routine of daily life, trekking helps in boosting your physical and mental health.

Trekking Equipment

  • Backpack
  • Hiking boots
  • Base layer shirts
  • Fleece jacket
  • Thermal gloves
  • Sunglasses (UV protected)
  • Woolen hat
  • Headlamp (spare batteries and bulb)
  • Fire-starter
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Sleeping bag
  • Small towel
  • Toiletries
  • Map and compass
  • Food
  • Backpacking stove

Key Differences

  1. The foremost difference between hiking and trekking is the duration. A hike usually lasts half-day to full-day while a trek can last up to some months.
  2. Another most important difference between them is the intensity. Hiking is the most comfortable leisure activity that can be considered as a personal hobby, while trekking is a strenuous and more intense recreational activity.
  3. There are several man-made signposts seen in the hiking route while there are no signposts in the trekking route.
  4. For hiking, there are only fewer necessities needed to bring along, while for trekking, there is a big list of necessary materials needed for survival.
  5. Hiking is usually a one-day activity that is economical while trekking is a multi-day trip and is more expensive than hiking.
  6. There is no such mental and physical fitness needed for hiking, while trekking requires intense physical training and good mental health for being away from the comfort of home for an extended period.
  7. For hiking, there are man-made roads and trails while for trekking, there are a variety of terrains where there is no other mode of transportation available.
  8. Hiking is excellent for beginners to for relaxing and enjoying numerous health benefits, while trekking requires more strenuous physical training to explore the beauty of nature.
  9. You can carry your backpack with ample food and water for hiking while for trekking, you need to arrange a porter and book lodges for stay.

Comparison Video


Hiking or trekking, it depends on your physical fitness and the duration of the vacation. If you are a beginner to these recreational activities, go for a one day-hike however, if you are an expert nature explorer, you can choose trekking!

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