Hikers, trekkers, and backpackers all must cover great distances of non-technical terrain while carrying a pack. Carried gear for day hikes ranges from water and a snack (less than 10 pounds) for easy hikes (< 5 miles) to map, compass, change of clothes, headlamp, additional water and snacks, and other essentials (15-20 pounds) for more advanced hikes (up to 30 miles in a day).

Trekking consist of a series of day hikes linked together with overnight stays in huts, inns, or local bed and breakfasts. They range from beginner multi-day desert tours or daily hikes to advanced multi-week high-altitude treks. Gear carried daily is limited to lunch, snacks, camera, water, and clothing for the day’s weather. Trekking is generally more taxing than hiking, requiring repeat endurance efforts with minimal recovery.

Backpacking also involves overnight stays, but you carry everything you need for the length of your trip rather than having pack animals or Sherpas to assist. Backpacking can range from an overnight trip close to civilization to several weeks in remote backcountry, to months-long trips such as segment- or thru-hikes along the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide, or the Appalachian Trail.

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