What Is Difference in Hiking and Backpacking?

By Michael Ferguson

Hiking and backpacking are both outdoor activities that involve traversing rough terrain, but the two are not the same. Hiking is generally a shorter journey on a specific trail, while backpacking involves trekking with camping gear for an extended period of time.

When it comes to hiking, the goal is usually to reach a certain destination in a short period of time. Hikers usually carry just enough supplies for a single day’s journey, and they often focus on reaching their end point by nightfall. Hikers typically stick to trails that have been previously established and marked, so they don’t have to worry about getting lost or navigating difficult terrain.

Backpacking, on the other hand, requires more preparation and supplies.

Backpackers carry everything they need for their entire journey along with them in their packs. This includes tents and sleeping bags for camping overnight as well as food and water for sustenance during their trek. Backpackers usually stick to less established trails or even create their own path as they go along. This means that they will have to navigate more challenging terrain than hikers due to the lack of well-marked paths.

In addition to being more physically demanding than hiking, backpacking also requires greater mental preparedness due to the extended length of time spent outdoors in unknown locations. Backpackers must be prepared for any unexpected obstacles or dangers they may encounter along the way.


In summary, what separates hiking from backpacking is mainly the duration of each activity and the amount of preparation required beforehand. Both activities involve traversing different types of terrain but hikers usually take shorter trips on well-marked trails while backpackers carry all necessary supplies with them as they explore less-established paths over an extended period of time.