Have you ever wondered what is the difference between hiking and trekking? In this guide, we answer the question of what is trekking, as well as what and who it’s good for!
We love the great outdoors. I know that some people will quibble that statement saying that they prefer cities or there is nothing to do in rural places, that just doesn’t sound right.
When the weather is nice, everyone tries to get to the beach or the park or even a little woodland for a picnic or a swim or just a gentle walk, as such it feels wrong to say that you don’t like the outdoors when we all enjoy it so much.
One of the best things to do in an outdoorsy environment is to explore it, and there is no better way to explore it than by doing a long trek.
It gives you the chance to see all sorts of environments as they exist while challenging yourself and your fitness, albeit in a less intense way than contact sports.
However, this leads us to a problem, as we can hear some of you scratching your head in confusion as you say: ‘Don’t you mean a hike?’
No, is the answer to that question, we mean a trek. So, what is trekking? Do you mean like Star Trek? In one way, yes, and in all other possible ways, no. In this article, we will explore trekking and why it is good for your mind and soul.
What Is Trekking?
So first and foremost, let’s discuss trekking and what it means. If we take the dictionary definition of the term, then trekking means to make a slow and arduous journey, which is technically correct, but it does not paint trekking in the best light and does not give credence to the different aspects of trekking.
For example, we wouldn’t watch Star Trek if it was called Star Slow and Arduous Journey, would we? Much like Star Trek, normally trekking is more about exploring and enjoying the environment you are in.
When we refer to trekking in the sense of the modern-day, it is a multi-day or a multi-week walk where you are completely or partially self-sufficient.
Therefore, when you are walking on a trek you need to carry everything you need with you, rather than constantly restocking.
Originally, this had a lot to do with the terrain that trekkers went into as it was a lot of inaccessible areas that required you to bring what you’d need, but now it has become more traditional and self-empowerment to continue being self-sufficient.
The essence of trekking is the idea of drinking it all in. When you set up camp at night on a mountainside and can see the valley for miles with no human habitation or watch the sunrise over a forest-covered beach, nothing quite feels like these moments, and they make everything seem that much better.
Trekking And Hiking Difference
These two activities often get confused with one another, and it’s not hard to see why. In truth, they are both just kinds of walking, but the difference lies in their scope. Generally, there is a consensus of 4 differences between hiking and trekking.
The first is the length of time it takes. Hikes are normally completed within one day or so, most of the time making up a loop that lasts 3 to 4 hours on average (or longer for more difficult hikes), whereas treks can take days or weeks to complete and are more arduous and difficult to do.
Hikers also tend to follow a set trail that has been broken in by numerous hikers before them. This is not quite the same as trekking, as even though there are set trails you can follow, you can literally trek anywhere.
So, if you get bored by a hiking route and see a road into a valley, there is no reason to not take that road.
Since hikers take set trails, the environment and route are managed and cared for, allowing almost anyone to do it. It may have waypoints, rest stops, and emergency phones or equipment along the route.
Not so with trekking, as you can go anywhere, meaning that there is less chance of having any of these.
Another trekking vs hiking difference is that a hiker can get by, by bringing only a few things with them without having problems, but a trekker must bring everything they need otherwise, they will face challenges on their journey.
A trekker needs to be at least a bit self-sufficient on these journeys, otherwise, they will struggle.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of difference between the two, but if you needed to explain it in simpler terms, it would be a hike is a hike and a trek is a very long and difficult hike.
What Is Trekking Good For?
Before we start saying what trekking is good for, let us just say this. If you are not confident in your physical ability or mental fortitude, don’t jump into a trek haphazardly, do a few hikes first.
Trekking is challenging, long, and can be quite lonely for those unprepared. But for those who know what they are getting in for, it is something they never regret.
Trekking tests the limits of your physical and mental capabilities. You need to be confident in every action you take and every decision you make, while also being wise to what you can and can’t do. It is a wonderful way to explore and be one with nature for an extended period of time.
Trekking is also one of the few ways to explore the truly wild places of the world without the invasion of humanity or technology. Every trial, failure, success, and obstacle overcome will be something you remember forever, even if it seems trivial at the time.
Who Is Trekking Good For?
Trekking is good for those who are prepared, is the best way to put it. You may be the most mentally tough person on the planet, but it means nothing if you can’t go for two hours without collapsing.
Conversely, you could be the fittest person in existence, but if you can’t hack it on your own with no company, then again you will struggle.
Therefore, trekking should be seen as a step that we can choose to take, but there is no shame in not taking it. If you love hiking but find the prospect of trekking for days exhausting or scary, then don’t do it. You have nothing to prove.
If, however, your sense of adventure is more powerful than all these other worries or fears, then I say prepare yourself and then go trekking. You may only do it once and decide that’s enough, or you may want to go multiple times, but you will always regret it if you don’t try it once.
Final Thoughts – What is Trekking
Trekking is the intense older sibling of hiking. It’s difficult, long, and extreme in some senses, but that doesn’t mean bad. Trekking can lead to some of the most wonderful, awe-inspiring, and amazing experiences that you will ever have. It’s just that you need to prepare for one first.