Trekking vs Hiking: What Sets Them Apart?
If you have ever wondered, “What is trekking?.” you’re not alone. Trekking is about getting outdoors and breathing in that fresh mountain air, listening to the sound of the water pouring over the rocks, and imagining the view from where the birds fly and sing. Spending time outdoors really is magical.
There are so many exciting outdoor activities that can be combined with trekking, including camping, rock climbing, swimming, hiking, and more. But what is the difference between trekking and hiking?
While they are very similar, there are a few slight differences- the differences even seem to change, including who you ask.
Continue reading to get our take on it.
Table of Contents
What Is Trekking?
Trekking is walking, jogging, or running outdoors through, typically, somewhat difficult terrain. It is a sport that can be done alone, with a partner, or group. It can also be done just about anywhere and at any time.
A trekking excursion can last anywhere from eight hours to various months, years, etc.
What Is the Difference Between Trekking and Hiking?
Like I said before, the answer to this question differs from country to country, culture to culture, and person to person. The two outdoor sports are very similar.
Generally, hiking is more relaxing and easier than trekking. Hiking can be done in one day without any expected issues or complications, and it can even be done on flat ground. You can think of a hike as an hour and a half walk to a beautiful waterfall, walking through the hills near your home for a few hours, climbing a small mountain to see the beautiful view from the top, etcetera.
When hiking, a few of the necessary items, you will need include a good pair of hiking boots, breathable clothing, insect repellant, sunscreen or a hat, water, a backpack, and maps or a compass. Of course, depending on the length of your adventure, you may need more or extra supplies.
Trekking is typically more arduous, demanding and takes the roads less traveled. It is often a longer journey with many ascents and descents, river crossings, and complex terrains that lead to difficult-to-reach locations. A few examples of treks include an extended period of time on the Pacific Crest Trail, a deep exploration through Machu Picchu, or tackling Kilimanjaro, etcetera.
When trekking, you will need a bit more gear. Typical trekking gear includes lightweight clothing, a lightweight tent and sleeping bag, a light source, food, water, comfortable hiking boots, sun protection, insect repellant, a multitool, maps and a compass, snow crampons, and perhaps even a portable cooking stove.
Again, depending on the length and intensity of your trek, you may need more or less of these items.
How Is Trekking Different From Mountaineering?
We have already determined that trekking is more intense than hiking, but mountaineering is even more intense than trekking. Mountaineering requires serious skill, preparedness, and physical fitness. Mountaineering expeditions are typically weeks long, maybe more.
When you go mountaineering, your main objective is to reach the summit of your chosen mountain. Because of the elevation changes you will encounter, a lot more gear and technical skills are required. You should be prepared for colder temperatures, scrambling rocks, possible rock climbing with an ice pick, and often, snow.
What Are the Precautions for Trekking?
As with any sport, there are a few things to consider before setting out on a trek.
- The weather from day to night will change- bring versatile clothing
- You will need a safe and comfortable place to sleep – invest in a sturdy lightweight tent
- Critters are unavoidable- bring bug repellant
- Accidents happen- bring a first aid kit
- Know where you are going- bring printed maps
- Check-in as often as possible – tell someone your planned route
- Stay hydrated and prepared- bring enough food and water
- How fit are you- don’t push your limits on a multi-day trek without proper conditioning
What Is Trekking All About?
There isn’t just one answer for everyone here. For some people, it’s all about clearing their minds, forgetting about the stress of life, and relaxing. For others, adrenaline and exercise is the best part of trekking.
For other people, it’s a form of transportation—a way to travel from one city to the next.
Now that the big question of “What is trekking?,” has been answered, it’s time to get out there. Explore the rest of our site to find our opinions on the best gear for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering.
One thing that’s for sure is that no matter how easy, short, difficult, or long your excursion is, nothing beats getting outside and enjoying the natural beauty of our world.
Whether hiking, trekking, rock climbing, swimming, or simply sitting in your backyard, we are lucky to call this beautiful Earth our home.