Depending on the weather and if the hike is for a day, a few hours or overnight, the equipment one carries varies. For a simple hike, good hiking shoes (preferably water proof), weather-appropriate clothing (hat, sunscreen, waterproof jacket), a trail map, compass, sunscreen, water, food and basic medical kit can be carried. The weight and bulk limit the amount of equipment that one can carry. The Leave No Trace policy also requires that equipment have multiple or alternative uses. Apart from what one would take on a day hike, overnight hikes and treks require a backpack, tent and sleeping bag for camping, fire lighting tools either flint or matches, food, water, survival kit, water purifying tablets, a compass, flashlight, map, insect repellent, A trekking pole or hiking pole which look like ski poles can be used in challenging treks can also be used. Equipment carried is to mitigate the dangers associated with hiking and trekking such as getting lost, dehydration or hypothermia, sunburn or frostbite, animal attacks, internal injuries like ankle sprains.
Trekking requires all of the above and a good supply of food.
Location of Trails
People usually go hiking in places of natural beauty. Hiking trails usually guide people through these areas which may be signposted so people do not lose their way. Whereas while trekking, the path is usually not marked and may not be previously charted. Trekking can take place in areas of great natural beauty but unlike hiking, not exclusively so. Trekking can also be a means of necessity in places where there is no vehicular transport. Hiking is a popular holiday experience especially in Europe, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica and Hawaii. Trekking is popular is the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, Bhutan and India and in the Andes in South America.
Hikers and trekkers follow a Leave No Trace policy to reduce the impact of their presence on the natural environment. A number of hikers over years on the same trail can cause unexpected damage on the environment such as wood depletion, wood fires. Fecal matter and non-biodegradable materials can contaminate the watershed. Some hikers have complained that pole use leaves a visible impact on the surrounding trail, poking visible holes in the ground and damaging adjacent vegetation. The most common complaint is that the carbide tips leave visible white scratches on rock, and make scraping sounds.
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