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What are the differences between hiking and trekking?

You are here Home » Blog Post » What are the differences between hiking and trekking?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Trekkers on the Everest Base Camp
Trekkers on the Everest Base Camp

What are the differences between hiking and trekking? It sounds to be similar. Thus, people use these two words as synonyms. As a result, many people get confused with the word hiking or trekking. For example – you are going to the hillside or mountain with your backpack, what would you say to your family or friends? Would you say, “I’m going hiking? Or trekking?”.

Nevertheless, there are some differences between the two words – hiking and trekking.

According to Oxford language – hiking means the activity of going for long walks, especially across the country. And trekking means – going on a long, arduous journey, typically on foot. Similarly, according to Cambridge Dictionary – hiking means the activity of going for long walks in the countryside. So, for example- we’re going hiking in the Sierra Nevada. Likewise, trekking means “the activity of walking long distances on foot for pleasure: For example- we want to go trekking in the Himalayas”.

More definition on hiking Vs Trekking

Both Hiking and Trekking mean long walks of activities in the countryside, mountains zone or Himalayan region. Looking at these two activities’ definitions of hiking and trekking, you can see little to differentiate between them. They both mean a long walk; however, hiking is easy, whereas trekking is a journey with a strenuous walk. For hiking, you don’t need more time to be prepared, but with trekking, you need more time and better preparedness with a well-managed pre-plan. 

Let’s dig out more on the differences between hiking and trekking

Hiking on the foothill of Annapurna
Hiking on the foothill of Annapurna

1: Based on Duration

Based on the Duration, there are some of the most notable differences between these two activities. Hiking is shorter in duration in comparison to trekking. When you go hiking, that is, in most cases, a couple of hours of day hiking, full day hiking or even it can also be an overnight stay in the countryside, hillside or mountain. On the other hand, trekking usually goes for at least 2 days or normally longer days. For example- I go to Everest Base Camp Trekking – it means trekking for longer days. If you say – Everest Base Camp Hiking, it means day hiking starting from a particular place and returning to the place by the same day evening. A few examples are hiking to Everest Base Camp and returning to Gorak Shep, hiking to Kalapathar and returning to the same place you started your hiking. People normally use the word “hiking”, not “trekking”.

2: Based on Geography

Another difference between hiking and trekking is the topography. Hiking trails are normally marked with signage and map boards. It lets hikers know how to go and where to go through hills, forests, mountains, rivers, etc. On the other hand, trekking trails are not always marked with signage and map boards. And geographically, it is more adventurous and strenuous.

3: Based on Difficulty

Based on difficulty, hiking is an easy-going walking activity. There is no need for a previous hiking experience; physically, it is not much demanding. In contrast, trekking needs more preparedness physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s also an adventurous journey. And trekkers normally can’t trek without the support of local guides. 

4: Based on Equipment

On hiking- basically comfortable, good shoes or boots and a small day backpack are enough to keep your personal belongings. However, taking more or less equipment with smaller or bigger bags may vary depending on where you go hiking. Unlike hiking, you may need more equipment, including multi-purpose items of clothing, windproof/waterproof jackets, walking poles, sleeping bags, woollen hats and more on trekking.

Conclusion

Hiking is shorter duration, whereas trekking is longer duration. In addition, hiking is easy walking, whereas trekking involves physically demanding.

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