Hiking Vs. Trekking Vs. Mountaineering: Comparison Table. Which Activity Should You Choose?

Want to train yourself but don’t know what to choose between hiking vs. trekking vs. mountaineering? Let’s check this guide, and you can name the best!

#1. Hiking Vs. Trekking Vs. Mountaineering: Comparison Table

Hiking, trekking, and mountaineering are walking activities. However, they differ in many terms. This comparison table will tell you what they are.




  • A long walk in the wilderness or countryside 
  • A multiple-day adventure in a remote region 
  • A multiple-day adventure of climbing on the mountain 
  • Hours or overnight 
  • Multiple days
  • Multiple days, sometimes up to months 
Difficulty levels
  • 3/5
  • 4/5
  • 5/5
  • Trails, deserts, or hills 
  • Trails in varying terrain conditions 
  • Icy and rocky conditions 
  • Food, water, and equipment for weather changes
  • Food, water, safety gear, and sleeping equipment 
  • Food, water, safety gear, sleeping gear, and climbing gear
  • Quick preparation
  • Short trips
  • Low requirements for skills and ability
  • Suitable for all ages 
  • Interesting experiences to walk and sleep outdoors
  • Chances to explore the wild 
  • Strength and endurance challenges 
  • The highest level of strength training
  • More knowledge acquired from the trips
  • Most rewarding achievement 
  • Lack of new experiences 
  • Skills (in trekking and living outdoors) required 
  • Not suitable for all people
  • Most weather- and terrain-related risks 
Best For 
  • Beginners who want to take simple exercises in nature 
  • Hikers and trekkers who want to discover new places in several days 
  • Experienced hikers, trekkers, and climbers 

#2. What Is The Difference Between Hiking Vs. Trekking Vs. Mountaineering?

Now, let’s zoom into each difference between the activities, and you can tell the most suitable option for you.


Hiking takes the least time. For example, you can have a half-day or full-day trip. Overnight hikes can also be a good idea.

Often, hikers start and complete their adventure in the same location. They like looping around and returning to the same path on the next hike.

On the other hand, a mountaineering trip lasts for several days. The length of your adventure depends on which mountain you intend to climb.

The longest trip is trekking, which lasts from ten days to an entire month. As a result, you should prepare carefully for your meals and sleep.

Unlike a hike, the trekking trip starts and ends at different places. The distance can be up to hundreds of kilometers.

Difficulty levels

Since you don’t have to pack any specialized equipment, hiking is considerably simpler than the other two activities.

Hiking is ideal for those who have only recently become interested in adventure sports because it is both the simplest and most thrilling.

Meanwhile, trekking is more challenging than hiking. It takes a lot of time; for trekking journeys, a half-day is not enough.

There will be extra difficulties because of the rocky, mountainous terrain. A trek is more difficult to finish due to its length and the challenges in food and sleep.

Mountaineering is undoubtedly the most strenuous activity. It entails climbs to the summit, exposure to extreme weather, defeating all obstacles, etc.

To undertake this kind of travel, you must have a strong heart and a passion for adventure. You must be strong enough to tolerate hours of ascending and descending with low oxygen levels. These obstacles push your body to its limits.

Even though there are dangers around every corner, mountaineers from all over the world still love this challenging activity.


Hikers typically walk through hills, mountains, and other natural areas. They want to stroll on designated routes.

Contrarily, trekking adventures cover new natural landscapes like mountains, roads, beaches, and forests.

The terrain of a mountaineering adventure is the harshest. Mountaineers must cross places with ice, rock, or both on the climb to the summit.

Another challenge arises from the altitude. Acclimatization is essential to a successful effort at a climb of more than 4,000 meters.


Do not go into the wild without careful packing. Remember that you will access remote places where there isn’t any store to buy things.

If you plan for a hike, your package will be minimal. Here are some things you need to carry for the short trip:

  1. Daypack
  2. Water
  3. Sunglasses
  4. Compass/Map
  5. Headlamp
  6. Utility knife
  7. First aid kit
  8. Water filter
  9. Raincoat

The trek may last up to months, requiring you to pack more stuff.

You have to expect all cases, such as getting lost or injured. Requirements are different from trekker to trekker, but the essential tools for all are:

  1. Backpack
  2. Hiking Shoes
  3. First aid kit
  4. Fire-starter
  5. Water filter
  6. Backpacking tent
  7. Food
  8. Insulated water bottle
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Headlamp
  11. Emergency thermal blankets
  12. Multi-tool
  13. Duct tape
  14. Sleeping pad
  15. Sleeping bag
  16. Compass/Map
  17. Stove
  18. Food and drinks

How about the mountaineering trip? Even though your adventure isn’t as long as the trek, you must be prepared for the harsh conditions.

We recommend these things to include in your package:

  1. Rope
  2. Camping backpack
  3. Mountaineering tent
  4. Harness
  5. Helmet
  6. Ice axes
  7. Crampons
  8. Belay device
  9. Carabiners
  10. Ice screw
  11. Snow protection gear
  12. Headlamp
  13. Probe
  14. Camming devices
  15. Map/Compass
  16. The battery pack or a solar panel
  17. Mountain kitchen tools
  18. Food and drinks
  19. First-aid kit

Please check this video and learn more packing tips for a mountaineering trip:

#3. Hiking Vs. Trekking Vs. Mountaineering: Which Is Best For You?

The differences between the three activities are clear. It comes down to your preferences and physical ability to determine which is the best for you.

When to go hiking?

If you’re a beginner traveler or a hiker, the ideal option is to go hiking.

You can start off with short hikes and work your way up to longer trips as your body gets used to heights, extended walks, and rough terrain.

When to go trekking?

If you are familiar with hikes, improve your skills with the treks. Although the long walk tests your physical endurance, it gives more exciting experiences.

When to go mountaineering?

Experienced trekkers can go mountaineering. This journey takes months of endurance training to prepare.

Moreover, you must be comfortable with multiple technical climbs, varying altitudes, and harsh mountainous conditions.

#4. FAQs

Below here is common questions and answers related to Hiking Vs. Trekking Vs. Mountaineering.

Is trekking more difficult than hiking?

Yes. Trekking is more arduous than hiking in these aspects:

  • A trek is longer than a hike.
  • You will walk through rough terrain and unknown places while trekking. Meanwhile, your trails on a hike are smoother.
  • Hikers can walk for hours or sometimes overnight. Meanwhile, trekkers will definitely sleep outdoors for days.

What are the types of mountaineering?

There are two types of mountaineering: Alpine and Expedition.

  • Alpine: You will pack light and climb quickly to reach the summit. Mountains for this activity are often medium-sized.
  • Expedition: There will be heavier packages, and you will move more slowly on larger mountains. A trip like this lasts for weeks to months.

Are trekking and hiking just the same mountaineering activities?

No. Although the three activities involve walking, they differ in terrain, necessary equipment, duration, and difficulty levels.

What are the benefits of trekking?

This activity brings many benefits, such as:

  • Regular trekking can strengthen the heart by pushing it to work harder to supply the body with the oxygen it requires.
  • You can develop close bonds with other trekkers while out together, supporting and motivating one another to go through tough situations.
  • Creating fitness goals, arranging your schedule, setting goals, and learning how to adjust to hardships may all come up as you prepare for your trek.

What are the disadvantages of trekking?

Please expect these drawbacks of trekking:

  • Traveling to a new place can be dangerous.
  • You will get exhausted soon.
  • This activity is not suitable for kids.
  • Your fear of heights is a big problem.
  • You have to prepare a lot of stuff for the long trip.
  • There will be more garbage in nature as trekkers eat and sleep outside.

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