What is the Difference Between Trekking and Hiking?

hiker and backpacker

Many people enjoy outdoor hobbies and spend their weekends or holidays running, exploring, or camping on the trail. For the uninitiated, there is no meaningful difference between hiking vs. trekking. Non-sporty types assume that these two activities are interchangeable. 

For the most part, they’re correct. However, there are subtle differences between the two activities. Whether you’re a curious newbie who has no idea what either of these entails or you’ve experienced one and would like to try the other, here are things to know about these outdoor pastimes.

What are the differences between hiking and trekking?

According to the dictionary, hiking means “the activity of going for long walks, especially across country.” Meanwhile, it lists trekking as having “to go on a long, arduous journey, typically on foot.” While there does not seem to be much of a difference between these, it does imply that trekking is a slightly more demanding version of hiking.

Since the definition of hiking has the word ‘walk,’ it connotes something pleasant, slow, and straightforward. Meanwhile, trekking’s definition includes the word ‘journey,’ which is on a whole other level. Journeys are physically challenging and need more than one day to complete.

This difference explains why adventure tourism companies use ‘day hiking’ to refer to events you could complete within a few hours, and why they reserve the word ‘trekking’ for multi-day hikes on challenging terrain. It also implies that hikes and treks require different types of equipment.

What do you need to prepare when hiking vs. trekking?

Both hiking and trekking involve the great outdoors and getting off the beaten path. For both, you would need to bring everything necessary for a trip into nature. From your gear to your accessories, you must carefully select the items to make you a more efficient hiker.

For instance, if you’re going on a trek, you could bring your camping gear in a bag like the Lewis N Clark Day Pack, which is water-resistant, has fully adjustable hardware, and has padded, breathable back and shoulder straps. Meanwhile, a day trip like a hike means you need to be mindful of the time, making the Magellan Echo Fit Sports Watch an essential.

When you’re trekking, you’ll be out on the trail longer, which means you’ll also need camping and survival gear. It also helps to have a few pieces of anti-smelling, multi-use clothing, especially for treks that would take more than a week. You will also need specialty items that would address all types of weather conditions and fulfill your physical needs.

Take note, though, that you shouldn’t base the items you will bring solely on whether you’re taking something marketed as a ‘trek’ versus a ‘hike.’ Researching the itinerary and the trail is always proper.


Whether a trip is called a trek or a hike, what matters is that you come prepared. Don’t be cavalier about outdoor events like these; you never know what kind of survival situation you might encounter on the trail. Preparing the right equipment can help you complete your course.

Both newbies and regulars on the trail will surely find something for them at Outfitters Megashop. We are the largest camping gear and specialty sporting goods store, with hundreds of products in a range of categories. Browse our store today, or get in touch with us to learn more!