What is the difference between a hiking backpack and a trekking backpack?

hiking and trekking backpack

If you look at the different types of backpacks, you may be wondering what the difference is between a hiking backpack and a trekking backpack.

In a nutshell:

The most obvious difference is the size.

While a hiking backpack has a volume of around 20 to 50 liters, a trekking backpack has a volume of around 40 to 100 liters.

A hiking backpack is therefore smaller than a trekking backpack.

Examples of a hiking and a trekking backpack

So that you can also get a visual impression of such backpacks, you will find an example of a hiking backpack and an example of a trekking backpack below:


The differences between hiking and trekking

Why a hiking backpack has less volume than a trekking backpack becomes clear when you look at the difference between hiking and trekking.


Whoever talks about hiking usually means walking through nature for several hours. There are many marked hiking trails available, which are often particularly attractive and lead to interesting destinations.

However, hiking is also possible off the beaten track. 

On multi-day hikes, guest houses, huts or guesthouses are usually headed for for the night.

Therefore, no equipment for overnight stays, such as a tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag, has to be taken with you in a hiking backpack. The volume is sufficient for a day trip.

Here you can find out which backpack size you need for a day hike .


One speaks of trekking when hiking for several days, during which one usually spends the night in a tent. Therefore, trekking backpacks are also larger than hiking backpacks, since significantly more equipment has to be taken with you.

When trekking, you usually do not move on fixed hiking trails, but on less densely populated and often lonely areas. 

Trekking is much more demanding than hiking and not only requires more equipment, but also more knowledge about how to navigate the rough nature.

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