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Hiking vs Trekking – Know the difference

Although in the rules of physical movement there is no difference between hiking and trekking, but these activities do differ rather significantly in other ways. Both are activities in which one walks or hikes through the woods, but hiking is done more for leisure on man-made roads or trails, while trekking is done over a variety of terrain as a means of transportation, adventure, or challenge to the body and mind.

Intensity and duration

The main difference between these two activities is probably the intensity. Hiking is generally easy paced and hikers usually stick to established trails, trekking however takes place through undeveloped terrain.

People usually go hiking in places of natural beauty. Hiking trails usually guide people through these areas which may be signposted so people do not lose their way. Whereas while trekking, the path is usually not marked and may not be previously charted. Trekking can take place in areas of great natural beauty but unlike hiking, not exclusively so. Trekking can also be a means of necessity in places where there is no vehicular transport.

The difference between these activities is also in the duration of the walk. Hiking normally takes about a day to finish, while trekking takes a few days from start to finish.


Equipment needed for hiking and trekking will vary according to activity and the individual need of a person. Trekkers usually travel with durable equipment and are usually trained with skills of finding or building a shelter. Essential gear for trekkers is also a survival kit, camping gear and a compass. Some trek adventures often feature people specifically hired to carry equipment, cook meals, set up tents, in this case trekker does not have to carry his or her own gear, and the activity is much less strenuous on the trekker.

Hikers rely most on a sturdy backpack and its physical fitness to travel the distances they have planned out beforehand. The gear of a hiker depends mostly on the weather and the time. Most used gear is probably a compass, appropriate clothing and hiking poles.

Environment and location

Hiking is a popular holiday experience especially in Europe, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica and Hawaii. Trekking is popular is the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, Bhutan and India and in the Andes in South America.

Even though there are some differences between hiking and trekking, there is one common feature when it comes to environment. Both follow a Leave no trace policy to reduce the impact on the natural environment.

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