I was quite bemused when doing the research for earthikes to find out that there are various terms used to define the act of walking long distances. I call it a trek. I have never really used the word hike, or tramping or bushwalking, but these words are all used in certain areas of the world. I thought that we had a little issue here as how could we sell something which was referred to differently around the world? Good old Google came in handy here as for the purposes of the website we had to use the most popular word, and globally, a long walk is most commonly referred to as a ‘trek’.
Still, curiosity got the better of me so here’s a little exposé on the terms!
Walking is used when you are walking on relatively short distance footpaths, and is generally used in urban settings. All English speakers know the verb and most of us practise it daily.
Hiking is a term preferred in Canada and the United States…mention trekking there, and you will probably end up with a blank stare. Mind you, the UK also has its fans of the word.
Rambling is a term which would bring nods of approval from the Brits. It is an old-fashioned term which can still be heard in the UK.
Tramping is what you might come across in New Zealand. It means either a hike or a very energetic walk, but all in natural areas.
Bushwalking is from the land of the cork hats. There, you could go on a hike or you could go bushwalking. Hikes are generally softer and more gentle on the sole and soul, whereas bushwalking tends to be more intense…and requires cork hats.
Oxford Dictionary defines them as:
Hiking is to go on a long walk or walking tour
Trekking is to go on a long arduous journey, especially one made on foot
Rambling is a walk for pleasure in the countryside (how nice)
Bushwalking is a recreational hike into wild or uncultivated country
Tramping is the recreational activity of going for long-distance walks in rough country
At earthikes, we deal with long journeys, not necessarily arduous, but definitely full of adventure and excitement. We just prefer the term ‘trekking’, but rest assured that there will be something for lovers of a good long walk, whether they call it hiking, rambling, bushwalking or tramping – we have their next expedition covered!
If you would like to know more about what we are doing, and more about sustainable trekking, please contact us.