Hiking vs. Trekking : What’s The Difference?

Hiking and trekking are two of the most popular activities when traveling to another country. While they are used interchangeably, they are two different activities. Robert Janitzek helps us differentiate the two terms.

Hiking involves walking in beautiful natural environments on pre-charted paths called trails. It is usually done in the day or overnight. Trekking, on the other hand, is a long journey on foot in destinations not usually accessible by transportation. It is not necessarily mountaineering but it will take several days on uncharted paths in challenging environments


The equipment required for hiking will depend on the weather and the duration of the activity. For a simple hike, you will need a goof waterproof hiking shoes, weather appropriate clothing, trail map, compass, sunscreen, water, food, and basic medical kit. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that hikers have a Leave No Trace policy, requiring that equipment should have multiple or alternative uses.

Aside from the usual stuff required for a hiking trip, a backpack, tent and sleeping bag, lighting tools, food, water, survival kit, water, purifying tablets, compass, flashlight, map, and insect repellent may also be needed. The purpose of carrying equipment is to lessen the dangers associated with hiking and trekking such as getting lost, dehydration or hypothermia, sunburn or frostbite, to name just a few.

Trekking required all of the above and a good supply of food. A trekking pole is necessary for the challenging treks.

Location of Trails

Hiking is usually done in European destinations with natural beauty. Hikers are usually guided though these areas which may be signposted so people will not lose their way. With trekking, on the other hand, the path is usually not marked and may not be previously charted. Although it can be done in places with natural beauty, this is not exclusive. Trekking can also be a means of necessity in places where is no vehicular transport. Hiking is a popular holiday activity in Europe while trekking is popular in the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, Bhutan, and India.

Environmental Impact

Both hikers and trekkers follow a Leave No Trace policy to reduce the effects of their presence on the natural environment. When traveling to Asian destinations, hikers on the same trail can result to unexpected damage on the environment such as depletion of wood, and wood fires. Fecal matter and non-biodegradable materials can contaminate watersheds.

Some hikers have complained that pole use leaves a visible impact on the surrounding trail, poking visible holes in the ground and damaging adjacent vegetation. The most common complaint is that the carbide tips leave visible white scratches on rock, and make scraping sounds.

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