Backpacking Vs Hiking: Can You Tell Apart These Two?
Backpacking Vs Hiking: Can You Tell Apart These Two?

Backpacking Vs Hiking: Can You Tell Apart These Two?

In general, backpacking and hiking are kinds of outdoor walking. These are two activities that make people confused and hard to distinguish. Although they may sound like the same thing took place outside, there is a difference between hiking and backpacking. To help you have a clear understanding, we’ll explain in detail about backpacking vs hiking activities. 

What is backpacking?

Backpacking involves carrying everything you need for your outdoor journey on your back, including clothes, food, and camping gear. Backpackers can try irregular or strange pathways to explore and create new backpacking experiences because there is no set route for backpacking.

The best thing about going on a hiking trip is being able to wander alone into remote areas, sense the wilderness, and find your inner peace. A backpacker frequently travels long distances through forests or mountainous terrain before setting up camp for the night.

backpacking vs hiking

There are two common types of backpacking:

  • Ultralight: Ultralight backpacking is the cheapest type of hiking, focusing on ultralight and foldable gear to save money. 
  • Flashpacking: Flashpacking, on the other hand, is a more expensive form of backpacking. Rather than delving into unfamiliar territory, it favors tourist attractions and local residents. 

What is hiking?

Hiking, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is a lengthy trail or distance walked. It is a physical activity that involves walking in the woods on well-defined or unknown terrain, requiring a certain level of fitness and fortitude. Hiking is beneficial to people’s health, as well as a wonderful method to lose weight and enjoy peace and quiet.

Hiking terrains are diverse ranging from the countryside, forests, to coastline areas. Hiking is divided into 4 different types:

backpacking vs hiking
  • Day hiking: In day hiking, hikers stroll outdoors for a day, making it ideal for beginners who don’t want to bring a lot of belongings.
  • Base camping: This type of hiking requires hikers to set up camp to stay for up to 10 days at different locations during hiking trip 
  • Section camping: For section camping, hikers plan an intended trail or route over a long period of time, then slowly walk over it. It offers participants a connection to nature and peaceful moments.
  • Thru-hiking: It is the most challenging hiking type, which is appropriate for experienced hikers. Hikers have to prepare for 12-month trips to an intended location, usually across the country. 

The difference between hiking and backpacking

What is the difference between hiking and walking? It is undeniable that backpacking vs hiking shares some similarities, but they are not the same. Keep reading and find out the difference between backpacking and hiking. 

The length of a trip

A hiking journey can last anywhere from an hour to many days. It depends on the type of terrain and hikers’ physical abilities. Meanwhile, most backpacking trips endure at least three days. Backpacking isn’t something you can do in a day or two.

Necessary gear

Depending on your hiking plan, pack enough gear to get the most out of your trip. Here are some essentials for a hiking trip:

  • Plenty of water and food
  • Sturdy and waterproof shoes
  • Neat snack
  • Map, compass, and GPS device
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent, and first aid kit
backpacking vs hiking

If you’re going hiking alone, make sure your phone has enough battery to keep in touch with family and friends. During your trip, let them know your location and time. In some emergency situations, it is critical.

As previously stated, backpacking trips take a longer amount of time, therefore backpacking gear has more items than a hiker’s checklist. After all, it’s a long and dangerous adventure that requires you to camp in various spots at night and stop at other sites. To assist you better understanding, we’ve compiled a list of required equipment:

  • Camping gear: sleeping bag, tent, and sleeping bag
  • Cooking set: pots, utensil, dishes, and bowl
  • Clothing, gloves, and headwear
  • First-aid kit, survival tools, and other tools


The difficulty of the terrain is the most important aspect to consider when choosing a hike. Because the objective of hiking trails is for people to relax and exercise, there are terrains that correspond to various types of physical activity. Advanced terrain is not for you if you are a beginner. So, do your research to avoid any unwanted situations.

While for backpackers, the amenity of location ranks first position. Because most backpackers prefer to travel alone, make sure your preferred place is both safe and accessible. It’s a good idea to research the culture, traditions, and people of the area before you go, in case you need assistance from locals.

backpacking vs hiking

Backpacking vs hiking is a fun activity to stay fit and unwind after long working hours. They’re a terrific way to get away from your electronic devices and into a more serene and natural setting. Choose one that is right for you and come in touch with nature.

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