Trekking - or long-distance hiking - consists of walking for several days or several weeks and being entirely or partially self-sufficient.
Originally, the sport was mainly practised in mountains, often in famously inaccessible locations; however, today the term extends to other types of terrain and itineraries for all levels.
The spirit of trekking is all about setting up your bivouac at dusk, taking the time to look at the stars and discovering new landscapes every day. You decide on the setting: the vastness of the desert, the town or countryside, the beauty of the mountains etc.
- The duration : hikes are normally completed in one day while treks can take several days or even several weeks.
- The route : hikers follow a loop: they set off from their base camp and return there in the evening to sleep. Trekkers take a bivouac with them and every evening get to enjoy new surroundings.
- The terrain : trekkers sometimes venture off marked hiking trails but, only if local regulations allow them to do so, and always adopt an environmentally responsible approach.
- The equipment : as the trekker needs to be entirely or partially self-sufficient, and is away for several days at a time, his backpack contains "his entire home", whereas the hiker only needs to carry the essentials for the day. A trekker's lifeline is his equipment: which means it needs to be reliable and hard-wearing!
It's the same as the difference between mountaineering and climbing a peak: you can go trekking (the sport) or do a trek (a particular route).