Hiking vs. Trekking: What Gear Do You Need?


Thrill-seekers often find the call of the great outdoors hard to resist, so many adventurers are surely planning for another trip off the beaten path. Exploring mountaintops and verdant landscapes are often the go-to choice, but people often mistake hiking for trekking or vice-versa. 

Both activities are nature-driven, but the intensity can vary to the extremes, so it’s crucial to know the difference between hiking versus trekking since it will also impact the right gear you should pack with you. Your essentials should always match what you need, so here’s a basic guide on the differences between these two go-to adventures: 

The Basics of Hiking Gear Essentials 

Hiking involves taking a long, relaxing walk why the footpaths are surrounded by rolling hills, mountaintops, and lush landscapes. It’s a favorite among many who want to go soul searching and calm the mind, especially since the activity is rather chill since you’ll only need to follow the trail ahead. 

Seeing as you can complete a hiking experience overnight, you’ll likely need to bring the following:

  • Hiking backpack
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • Hiking boots appropriate for the conditions — stiffer for longer days and steeper ground with mountain crampons during winter seasons
  • Food to last for the trip and a bit of extra
  • Plenty of water
  • Navigation tools such as a map, compass, and a GPS tracker if possible
  • First-aid kit
  • Multi-tool and a knife
  • Sun protection
  • Sleeping bag
  • Firestarters
  • Toiletries

The Basics of Trekking Gear Essentials 

On the other hand, trekking is a lot more labor-intensive than hiking since it involves cross-country trails, dirt roads, and vigorous conditions in the open wilderness. While hiking can be done overnight, trekking can take days and range from 50 km to a staggering 24,000 km for seasoned trekkers!

Hikers can make do with a light day pack with all the basic essentials, but you’ll need a 50 to 60L backpack for solo trekkers since you’ll need to bring the following equipment: 

  • Clothing (long and short-sleeved t-shirts, sweaters, and fleeces regardless of the destination)
  • Hat, scarf, or buff
  • High or medium-cut trekking boots 
  • Hiking sandals
  • UV protection sunglasses
  • High-factor sunblock
  • Plenty of water
  • Trekking poles
  • Binoculars
  • Navigation tools 
  • First-aid kit
  • Firestarters
  • Plenty of food
  • Toiletries
  • Sleeping bag

The Bottom Line: Choosing the Right Outdoor Gear Appropriate For Your Trip 

Hiking and trekking are both wonderful ways to explore what Mother Nature has to offer, but the two couldn’t be more different from each other in many ways. Understanding the differences is critical to ensuring a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable trip, so the guide above should brush on the basics between trekking and hiking. 

Why Shop With Us? 

Are you on the hunt for the best outdoor essentials? We’re a specialty sporting retailer in St. Louis, USA, that offers a wide selection of apparel, gear, and equipment for hiking, hunting, camping, and everything in between. 

We take pride in helping you achieve a smooth-sailing adventure, equipping you with the edge you need to enjoy the great outdoors. With multiple choices from reputable brands under our wing, shop with us and see how we can gear you up from head-to-toe for your next escapade.