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What’s the Difference Between Hiking and Backpacking?

man with backpack in front of body of water

Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

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Hiking and backpacking are both very popular activities that people enjoy worldwide. However, these activities aren’t quite the same. What’s the difference between hiking and backpacking? Read on to find out more.

The Basics of Hiking

Hiking is a physical activity that involves walking long distances on a path or trail. A hike can take place on any trail, but it is mostly associated with mountains, hills, and countrysides. People will also generally hike somewhere out in nature that is further away from urban and suburban areas.

The duration of a typical hike can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. You can hike in groups with other hikers, or you can go solo and enjoy a trail to yourself. Hiking is an activity that people participate in worldwide to get exercise and experience the beauty of the great outdoors.

The Basics of Backpacking

Backpacking, on the other hand, is a recreational activity that involves carrying gear, usually in a backpack, and trekking for more than one day at a time. Backpackers will often go for extended journeys that can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the individual. There are several famous trails all over the world that backpackers will travel far and wide to complete.

Backpacking also usually involves camping. Backpackers carry gear, including food, water, clothing, camping equipment, and other general safety or survival supplies. Backpacking is most popular in Europe, and people will travel from all over to enjoy European backpacking trails. Some of these European trails are included in the world’s ten most beautiful backpacking destinations.

The Main Differences

There are many similarities between hiking and backpacking. For example, they are both physical activities that involve walking on natural trails. However, there are some key differences that set the two activities apart from each other.

Hiking does not necessarily involve the use of any gear and generally only lasts for a few hours. In contrast, backpacking is a bit more strenuous because it requires that you walk with a backpack on, and you are also likely to be trekking for several days at a time, sometimes even weeks or months. Backpacking also involves some camping skills, while hiking does not.

Now that you know the main differences between backpacking and hiking, you can try both of these activities out for yourself to see which you enjoy more. Make sure to pack all the essentials with you if you are going backpacking so you can prepare for anything.

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