Hiking and backpacking may sound all the same but these are not the same and are different in their own way. When we talk about both, we also need to understand the differences between backpacking vs hiking.
Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails, in or near the countryside. Hiking is usually a day trip, where you only carry the least essentials with you.
Hikers are usually light treks. On the other hand, backpacking means carrying everything in your back which includes: clothes, food and all camping equipment, etc. Backpacking is usually long trips which include one or several nights’ stays.Alex Raynold
Backpacking may include hiking as you will be going on a camp and from where you might want to go for hiking.
Backpacking vs Hiking: Core Differences
According to dictionaries, hiking means walking or walking tour. After seeing this meaning, people would think hiking is a very slow, relaxed and easy tour, but in reality, it is just the opposite.
Additionally, backpacking means traveling or hiking with all the essentials packed inside a pack. This definition can make people think that hiking and backpacking are the same.
The Difference in Inner Meaning
Hiking is usually done on previously made trails or on hiking spots, whereas backpackers even go for places where there nobody has stayed earlier.
People go hiking on weekends with family, friends, or loved ones. Hikers go hiking to enjoy nature; it is like a hideout from country life. Loves going hiking to spend some alone and quality time together.
In contrast, backpackers usually go alone to places. It is not mandatory to go on backpacking in the forests or unknown places, but backpackers usually go for those to enjoy nature and to find peace.
There is also some backpackers’ community; they also go backpacking together with different sizes of bags like 30l, 60l, or 40-liter backpacks or different choices. Moreover, they mostly go for night stay and even for 2 or several days backpacking tours. They set up campsite; from there they sometimes go for hiking as well.
The Difference in Carrying Essentials
Backpackers carry a lot of essentials as they go for longer trips. They take a big pack which contains clothes according to the season, thermal cloth, water bag, cooking essentials, foods, sleeping bag or mat, etc. on the other hand, for hiking you barely need to take anything as the timespan is usually very short.
From my perspective no matter how short the timespan is you should take some essentials like first aid kit, some emergency foods, a torch, hiking pole, hiking boots or shoes, etc.
Now backpackers mostly do not go barefooted whereas there are many hikers out there who go for hiking tours bare-footed, they are called barefoot hikers.
Backpacking vs Hiking Boots: See Differences
As like other differences, there are also differences in hiking boots and backpacking boots. The difference between a hiking boot and a backpacking boot is like the same differences between a street tire and a truck tire.
Hiking boots are usually pretty light because the most important thing about hiking is comfort. Also, you do not carry a lot of things with you while hiking, you would probably want to carry a water bottle, hiking pole, and maybe a camera. So you do not need a lot of stiffness or grip in your shoes.
Backpacking boots are usually heavier than hiking boots. Backpacking boots are made in such a way which will provide you with a lot of support and will help to stick to the ground, it will also help you keep warm. As you will be carrying a lot of weight with you, for that reason this type of boots is manufactured this way.
Benefits of Hiking
Hiking has a lot of benefits. It helps to lower your stress level, helps to improve your mood, and enhances your mental wellbeing. Hiking can also reduce the risk of heart disease. Research shows that hiking lowers blood pressures and cholesterol levels.
You can get control over healthy weight; you can lower your body fat. It improves bone density and improves osteoarthritis outcomes. If you hike on a regular basis it can lower your blood sugar level and diabetes, and even can help you prevent it.
Hiking with gears, proper clothing, equipment in your hiking belts, the backpack will let you manage all things together. It gives your muscles a workout, which moves glucose from your bloodstream for energy.
Some research shows that hiking has some physical benefits which can prevent heart diseases and can help you maintain your cardiovascular health.
A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that long distance hiking trips may improve the anti-oxidative capacity, which helps fight off disease, in the blood of oncological patients.
Another study showed that breast cancer survivors who exercise regularly in the form of hiking can also recover fast.
A regular weekend meet-up or planned long-distance hiking can help you forge bonds while you shape up. Moreover, if you interact with larger hiking communities, they can help you or motivate you to add a workout in your daily routine, and which can help you to be young.
Benefits of Backpacking
Science has determined that backpackers are generally happier and healthier than people who spend most of their time at home. Backpacking is exhausting and incredible exercise to trudge uphill for a few miles.
Many people love to roam in nature just to take the pleasure of its beauty and the elements within nature. That outing or the journey can make you stress-free and happy and can also motivate you to love nature more.
When you are outside enjoying nature, it helps you to breathe fresh air, also gives you the liberty to see the wild animals and plants. These can change your perception towards the world and can let you sense the bliss and serenity. This journey can also make you self-motivated, confident and can make you young, calm and fresh from inside.