Types of Hiking – Day Hikes and Backpacking

There are numerous styles of hiking — day hikes, backpacking with one or more nights of camping, and thru-hikes. Whatever style of hiking, you’re comfortable with, you will experience the wonders of the outdoors. Just being outside makes you calm and relax without the stress and worry of life. I encourage anyone to get outside and do some hiking and walking — think of it as a unique form of meditation. Anyway, let me explain in more detail about the different types of hiking….

Day Hiking

Day hiking is easy to do and you can get back to civilization at the end of the day. Some of the best scenic views are not far from the trailhead. So, it’s fairly easy to experience — maybe 3 miles in and 3 miles back out. When you go on a day hike, be sure to carry a daypack or a simple backpack.

A school backpack will work, but a daypack made for hiking, will be better — as they are more durable and will have many compartments. A simple day of walking outdoors is not too difficult. You won’t be carrying tons of gear and your backpack or daypack should be fairly light.

types of hiking

Be sure to bring water and some snacks as you may be out hiking for half the day. Always bring a flashlight, simple med-kit, jacket, and a lightweight rain jacket. It’s just in case, something happens. Most likely, it won’t happen, but always be prepared for the worst. If you do that, you will have loads of fun.

Backpacking – Overnight Camping

I love backpacking, I try to get out there every so often. You really get to experience camping under the stars — how awesome is that? You can see more scenic views and more of the outdoors. You will never know what you will experience next. That’s the beauty of backpacking. What is atop that hill? You may encounter a bear or deer. Don’t worry, bears are more afraid of us, then we are of them.

You will most likely be carrying a heavier amount of gear — shelter, food, water, med-kit, cooking pot, fire starters, flashlight, and so forth. It’s important to know what you can carry — from ultralight to very heavy. I carry 50–58 liters of gear. Ultralight is around 40–50 liters. Heavy loads are around 75–100 liters. I’m more ultralight, but with a little more weight.

Camp Fire

It’s also important to carry all the essential gear — shelter, sleep system, water filter, water, food, cooking pot, etc. It’s a must, because you’re outdoors. You will be hiking for several days and camping one or more nights. So, be prepared and enjoy the hike.

Thru Hiking – Longer Trip

Thru hiking is much more of a challenge. You have to be ready for the long trip. This kind of hiking can take anywhere from a week to several months to complete. Thru hiking involves hiking point A to B. It’s a one way trip. The best example is the Appalachian Trail — it’s nearly 2,200 miles. You have to be prepared for a thru-hike, it’s not for everyone. It’s a longer form of backpacking.

So all the important gear to carry is much more required. You will be carrying a much heavier load. I don’t think I will experience this form of hiking, it’s just not for me. I like a simple backpacking trip, that is relaxing. Thru hiking will be more challenging. I’m just not prepared for that, yet?


What’s Your Style?

As you have read, there are many ways to experience the outdoors. Whether you prefer day hiking, backpacking, or thru hiking — they are all great. Day hiking is easy to do and you can get back to civilization at the end of the day. Backpacking is more adventurous and you get to camp under the stars. How cool is that?

Thru hiking is much more of a challenge. You have to be ready for the long trip. But whatever style of hiking you prefer, the stress of life, seems to disappear temporarily. It’s always great to connect with nature and take it all in. Life is too short, to ignore it.


Now you know the Types of Hiking — Learn more about Backpacking

What Kind of Hiker Are You?
Are you a day hiker, a backpacker, or a thru-hiker? Maybe, you enjoy all three. I would love to hear your experience and thoughts. If you have any other questions or comments about this article, please leave them in the comments below. I will be more than happy to respond.



I enjoy backpacking in the backcountry and experiencing the outdoors — even more so in complete solitude. I write reviews for backpacking gear and blog about my hiking adventures, as often as I can. If you want me to write a review for any particular backpacking gear, let me know in the comments below. Start your own backpacking adventure and embrace the outdoors!

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