Asian man fixing his hat in the woods.

Thinking of going on an outdoor adventure? and trekking are fun options. With a little research, you’re bound to find an activity that suits your physicality and skill level. You could even bring the whole family or your not-so-sporty group of friends. But before you start planning, here’s a quick guide on hiking vs. trekking. Scroll down for essential information before you go.

Hiking vs. Trekking: What’s the Difference?

You’ve probably heard more about hiking than trekking and there’s a reason for that. Hiking is a more popular activity because it’s usually more beginner-friendly. You don’t need much to hike – just a knowledge of the trail and minimal equipment. Meanwhile, trekking offers a more off-the-beaten-path experience, literally. If you want something more intense and immersive, trekking is the way to go. Here are their essential differences in more detail.

Hiking is a shorter, more defined activity.

Hiking is the perfect adventure for committed to an active lifestyle. It’s usually a short trip, so you don’t even have to go on leave or miss dinner on Sunday night. It’s easier than trekking and involves marked trails, loops, and viewpoints for a good photo-op. You don’t have to worry about getting lost even with a terrible sense of direction – the throngs will guide you to your destination.

On the contrary, trekking involves a longer journey that may involve navigating unknown terrain, river crossings, and the general wilderness for days. It’s a more rigorous activity that should be planned months in advance, with plenty of factors to consider, such as your route, pit stops, camping areas, general safety, and the weather, among others.

Trekking involves outdoor skills and training.

Since trekking is an exercise in strength and endurance, proper training is crucial. You want to be in your best physical shape to avoid exhaustion and injury. Ideally, training should begin two to three months before your trek, especially if you’re a .

Try going on long walks to start off, eventually moving on to an inclined treadmill or step climbs. Step exercises like the high-knee march and low step-ups will improve your agility. You could also try to exercise different leg muscles. It also improves your balance, knee mobility, and cardiovascular fitness – useful on uneven terrain.

Since it involves , you’ll also need to learn the basics, such as tying knots, starting a fire, and setting up a tent. Knowledge of first aid is essential for both activities. And don’t forget, the moment you feel a hot spot (the start of a blister), deal with it. Don’t wait until you’re bleeding through your socks.

They require different equipment.

Speaking of socks, did you know there’s a specific sock for ? You want one that’s mid-length (also known as a crew sock) to protect your feet and legs from friction against your shoes. They also need to be soft and thick with a snug fit. 

Aside from socks, you’ll need a (a daypack for hiking and a full pack for trekking), ideally with holsters for your walking sticks. Your pack should also give you easy access to your water, map, flashlight, and other essentials. One with a waist strap should keep you more stable and relieve your shoulders of too much weight.

Of course, you’ll need additional equipment for trekking, since you’ll be camping out. Aside from a durable tent, you’ll also need a mini stove and cooking utensils, a bigger water filter, emergency blankets, spare clothing, and layers in case it gets cold at night. Be prepared for erratic weather conditions, which is not uncommon at high altitudes.

Finally, you’ll need a grooming kit. Always bring your own tissues and carry sealable bags for trash. If your campsite has a shower area (lucky you!), don’t miss out on the chance to clean yourself! Wash your hair with CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men to keep your scalp fresh and dandruff-free. Wash your face with POND'S Men Facial Wash Energy Charge to rejuvenate your skin and remove dirt, oil, and sweat after a long day. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen and bug spray on exposed skin.

Hiking vs. Trekking: Which One Is for You?

It all depends on your goals, physical abilities, and, let’s face it, tolerance of the outdoors. Not everyone is built for survival and that’s okay. List the pros and cons of hiking vs. trekking and consider all factors. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew and choose an activity that best suits you based on the information above. Just be sure to prepare and train as much as you can so you can stay safe and happy on the trail.