Although they have a lot in common, hiking and trekking are not the same. What they have in common is that they are both activities in nature that involve walking, but differ in the intensity of hiking, duration, equipment, and ultimately the difficulty of the challenges in nature.
What is hiking?
Hiking is a mild-intensive walk in nature on marked or ordinary hiking trails, which usually lasts only one day, possibly part of the night, or sometimes, all night. If you go hiking, it means that you will have a relaxed activity in nature on well-trodden paths and / or roads, which does not require special physical fitness, and requires fitness to walk up to 5h (range 2h-8h). Hiking also includes getting to know the nature around you. This refers to plants, rock structure, geographical and historical facts. Hiking trails are easy or moderately difficult.
What is trekking?
By definition, trekking involves long, demanding hiking, usually lasting several days. Trekking trails are usually unmarked or lesser known. In addition to walking, trekking also means finding, orienting and surviving in nature. It is more challenging than hiking and requires greater physical and mental strength: you need to be willing to walk 6-8h a day. It is often the shortest way to go from point A to point B, as straight as possible.
Then what is the difference?
The difference is in the intensity and duration of the walk itself. While hiking is a light walk of moderate intensity on pre-marked trails with guides, which lasts one day and requires average physical fitness, trekking is an intense walk on unmarked terrain, which usually lasts several days and requires good physical and mental fitness. And another big difference is: the moment you use the tent, it’s no longer hiking - it becomes trekking.
The history of hiking / trekking
Texts about walks in nature, which helped rehabilitation and relaxation, can be found in many literary works from the beginning of the 19th century, so we can link the specific use of hiking in terms of planned nature walks to that time. However, it is believed that the history of hiking is much longer. And it reaches ancient times ..
Trekking is a South African (or Dutch) word, and means to draw. Namely, the Dutch settlers used the word to mark the day of the journey in a carriage pulled by oxen. So the beginning of using the term ‘trekking’ can be linked to the seventeenth century.
Hiking and trekking equipment
For hiking you need a pair of comfortable sneakers and a backpack (30l is quite enough). You should have some water, food, spare clothes and, if possible, a waterproof jacket and pants in your backpack. Of course, a good mood for a pleasant walk in nature is a must.
For trekking, you should pack hiking boots, a 50-60l backpack containing: a tent, a sleeping bag, spare clothes, a gas bottle, fire equipment, food and medicine for at least 7 days. Also a map or GPS navigator are required as well as a knife. According to this, trekking is often called BACKPACKING in English.
Hiking and trekking benefits:
- Strengthen the heart and regulate blood pressure. Reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke to a minimum.
- Prevent atherosclerosis, accumulation of plaque on the inner walls of arteries.
- Improve mood ( brain releases catecholamines: dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline as well as endorphins).
- Weight loss (one hour of hiking and trekking burns 440-550 calories).
- Improve general condition of the organism.
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes associated with obesity as a risk factor.
- Bones are stronger, and the posture itself improves.
- By being outdoors, organism, under the action of ultraviolet sun rays, converts inactive vitamin D into active.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hiking
Can hiking help you lose weight?
The short and quick answer is: YES. The best combination is fast and slow walking, where you burn a lot of calories at fast intervals, and rest your body at slow intervals. It is important not to force fast intervals, because then the body will not burn calories effectively. What is good about hiking is that it can never be just a low-intensity walk, because the structure of the terrain in nature is never flat, and it usually requires this combination of slightly increased walking intensity. That is why you will often get advice from your doctor to increase your physical activity and start walking in nature.
Can hiking help regulate blood pressure?
Large scientific studies unequivocally show that hiking can regulate blood pressure by up to 10%. Muscle strength needed to overcome slight uphills and obstacles during hiking improves fitness and general health. During rehabilitation of heart patients in spa centers, a light morning hike is a mandatory activity.
Is hiking beneficial for mental health?
Research by the world's major scientific institutes has shown that hiking has a positive effect on all symptoms of stress and anxiety. Staying in nature is integrated into our DNA. Although in modern times we tend to forget it, a saying "let me just run away to the countryside for a few days " tells us exactly how much we all enjoy being in nature.
Are hiking poles useful?
There are many benefits to hiking-trekking poles. They provide much greater balance when hiking. In addition, the hands are much closer to the heart level, which further improves blood pressure. They are also very useful for feeling the terrain around you, and as well as if you believe there is an obstacle or a small animal. Working with your hands increases energy and calorie consumption.
Safety on trekking routes
Safety comes first when a trekking tour is organised. In addition to the fully equipped backpack we listed above, you need to do research and have a detailed plan to prepare for the expedition to eliminate any potential situation that would endanger the safety of trekking participants. Inform all team members about your route so that they can quickly navigate it by themselves, and tell someone you trust and who isn't going on an expedition with you about your detailed plans for the entire trekking adventure.
World famous hiking and trekking routes
Our geographical location and the Dinara mountain range is an unavoidable top destination with hiking and trekking routes of all world magazines. In addition, Europe abounds in beautiful countless hiking trails. It is best to explore the country where you want to hiking, and you will undoubtedly discover your destination quickly. But, world-famous destinations are unavoidable: Base Camp on Everest, Peru and Machu Picchu, the Himalayas in India, the Southern Alps in New Zealand ...