Trekking for beginners; pros, cons and contraindications

Active hiking

Mountains beckon lovers of outdoor activities with irresistible force. And now we are packing up our backpack, taking our friends and going on a hiking trip. Or hiking? Or trekking? "What's the difference? Don't confuse us, it's the same thing." - you say. Borrowed words such as hiking, trekking, backpacking are becoming increasingly common, and many use them as synonyms for hiking. Yes, the essence is similar, but there are some differences and peculiarities between these terms. Let's talk about them in the article to avoid confusion.

For us, as for all CIS countries, the word "hike" is more familiar and understandable, which we call any outings to nature, be it the simplest for 1-2 days, or technically complex expeditions to month and a half. For Europeans and Americans, where mountain culture has been developing for a long time, the concept of hiking is more expanded, and depending on the duration, conditions of the trail, food and accommodation, they distinguish between trekking, hiking and backpacking.

What is a hiking trip?

Tourist hike. When we hear these words, our imagination draws rocky mountains, winding paths along their slopes, tents in a dense forest, an evening by the fire and tourists with large backpacks. This is partly due to the Soviet past, when hiking was considered the best way to rest, reboot and keep fit. The hikes were massive and popular. Even those who were born and raised after the collapse of the Soviet Union have heard a lot of travel stories from their older friends. A long hike with tents and backpacks is, one might say, our historical and native.

For us, a tourist trip is a hiking trip with a backpack along a certain route in a mountainous area, with overnight stays in tents and self-cooking over a fire or gas (in the absence of firewood). A distinctive feature from overseas tours is the ability to set up a camp in almost any convenient place and full (or partial) autonomy, when all the necessary products are taken immediately for the entire trip. Only on some routes is it possible to replenish food supplies in one of the mountain villages or make a transfer if the trail intersects. No wonder there is a fair saying “The main goal of tourism is to take more food, take it away and eat everything there”. But this is probably the beauty of it.

Of the Western interpretations, the word "backpacking" (from the English ackpack - a backpack) is most suitable for our understanding of hiking, when you take a backpack, put in it the essentials for all occasions and go on a journey. It can be either a hike along a planned route with a group, or an independent journey without a definite plan, for example, as in the movie "Wild".

Among the wide variety of tourist trips, the following main subspecies are distinguished:

  • Weekend hike (PVH) - a hike with tents for 2-3 days, usually not far from the place of residence, or in areas where you can quickly reach without spending extra days on the road ... It can be both in mountainous areas and in small nature reserves or parks. For example, a hike to the Aktovsky canyon or Podolskie Tovtry.

Upcoming dates for weekend hikes from Couloir

  • Hiking (non-categorical) - hiking in the mountains, usually from 3 days to two weeks, which allows you to walk a distance of about 30-100 km. Often, the goal of such a route is not one point, but a whole mountain range, or a combination of mountain, flat, seascapes to make the trip more intense and picturesque. At the wishes of the group, deviations from the schedule and changes in the trip plan are possible. This category includes hiking in the Carpathians, Georgia, Turkey, Cyprus, the Caucasus, the Pyrenees, Fan and Tien Shan. The difficulty of such routes is low or medium, which allows beginners and people with average physical fitness to go hiking.
  • A categorical or sports hike is a difficult and long hike that requires previous experience, training and special technical training. There are from the first (you have to sweat) and up to the sixth (complete tin) categories. Category hikes are registered in the appropriate MCC (route qualification commission), after passing they are protected, the participants are assigned categories. For the first experience of a sports hike, we recommend to go hiking in Georgia 1 class. - Svaneti and Lake Toba.

Hiking - what is it, features

Hiking (from English hiking) is a foreign variant of a weekend hike. If our tourists prefer to go to wild places, away from people, in order to get a little rest from civilization in two days, then in Western countries, 1-2-day hiking trips near settlements are very popular.

Hiking often involves hiking in the mountains along marked trails, with well-developed trails, observation platforms, hydration points and comfortable overnight stays in cabins or campsites with all the amenities. The hiking route can be either linear, with overnight stays at different points, or with an overnight stay at the base with radial exits. This is mainly due to a more careful attitude to nature, numerous reserved and protected areas where it is forbidden to make fires, put up tents in the wrong place, and even walk past the trodden path.

Hiking, trekking, hiking - what is it and what is the difference

Trekking was invented by ancient people when they were exploring new territories. Yes, this sport is thousands of years old. In those days, he was unkempt and unkempt, everyone was indiscriminately engaged in it. Moreover, people did not even realize that they were preaching trekking - that is how they were.

We're talking about hiking. You wake up, dress and put on your shoes for the sake of decency and set off on a journey. Everything is very simple. Trekking is subject to everyone who has legs and who is able to move them. A simpler type of tourism, perhaps, cannot be found.

What is trekking

In terms of democracy, trekking is similar to football. In both cases, no special equipment or equipment is required. However, if you go on a long trip, you will have to take care of comfort and safety. So after all, professional footballers do not play barefoot.

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Hiking welcomes everyone, indiscriminately. The main thing is that you can walk and not complain about your health. There are difficult routes, running through mountains or deserts, which only a physically tough person can master.

Usually during the tour the traveler walks about 40-50 kilometers. Of course, a lot depends on the weather and the road. In the heat you get tired faster, in the fierce cold you think about how to get warm as soon as possible, during a strong wind you don't go, but barely crawl.

Trekkers usually choose routes with already paved paths. They collect as much information as possible about them in order to take the necessary equipment with them. One of the tasks of hiking is acquaintance with nature, terrain, customs and life of other peoples. These are such educational walks.

In general, tourists say that walking, first of all, helps a person to know himself, and only then the world around him. Imagine: you are walking along the road, relying in fact only on yourself and the people who are walking next to you. You don't have any transport. Rescue services can only contact you with walkie-talkies, but when they arrive. Think about it: whether you trust yourself or not, whether you are ready to walk hundreds of kilometers or is it better to stay at home in front of the TV.

Hiking in the mountains is a great option for a weekend, vacation or holiday. The mountains are open to everyone, from inexperienced beginners to advanced climbers and climbers. When going on a backpacking trip, especially the first one, you should understand the difference between hiking, trekking and hiking. At first glance, it may seem that they are all the same, just borrowed names from different languages. In fact, this is so, but there are still small differences that will be useful for you to know.

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Perhaps one of the most exciting types of hiking is trekking. Trekking is a hike along a pre-planned route that takes place in mountainous or rugged terrain. It can also be sporty if it includes climbing a mountain with elements of mountaineering. The routes are usually accessible to any healthy person and have no age restrictions. You can even take children on such trips - this will benefit not only their health, but also their general development. As a rule, they go on trekking in groups, but experienced tourists go together or even alone.

Trekking mode and movement features

The hike can last for 4-6 hours. At this time, stops for rest and inspection of the area, attractions are included. Each day starts with an early rise and ends with an early end of the day. It will be difficult at first, but after a couple of days, such a regime begins to produce a healing effect.

Porters are in front of everyone - they are specially hired workers who are responsible for the things of the participants of the trekking, the guide-leader follows them, and then tourists follow. Everyone moves at the speed that is comfortable for him. There is another guide at the end of the chain. Every morning before the hike, the participants discuss common places for gathering (rest or snack).

Pros and cons of trekking

The advantage of trekking is that it is useful in the first place. The routes are checked, safe and comfortable, the participants of the hike are constantly in the air. There is always the possibility of choosing the path that is within the power of a certain person. During the trip, you can see a lot of interesting and beautiful things, take stunning photos, meet new people and have a great time.

There are practically no negative sides to this type of recreation. These can only be attributed to the increased danger of routes, because the hikes are carried out in mountainous terrain. People who are not adapted and not accustomed to such a relief can be injured, and also cannot withstand the reduced air density. But all this is discussed and decided when choosing a route.


There are a number of medical indications for which it is not recommended to go hiking. You can not participate in trekking if a person suffers:

  • any disease in an acute form. Even if you just have a runny nose, it is better to refrain from the hike, transfer it to a more suitable day when your health returns to normal;
  • cardiovascular diseases - arrhythmia, hypertension, coronary heart disease;
  • vascular disease - thrombosis and thrombophlebitis;
  • dysfunction of the endocrine glands;
  • kidney disease.

Also, you shouldn't go on a trip if the tourist has:

  • malignant tumors, and even with severe pain;
  • mental disorders;
  • problems with the respiratory system;
  • liver disease.

Trekking clothing and footwear

We have sorted the routes for tracking from easy to difficult:

Stay alone with Cape Lizard

Where: Cape Lizard, Cornwall, UK Difficulty: 1/5 Length: 11 km, highest point 80 meters Travel time: 2.5 hours When to go: May – September

High rugged coastline, black rocks, piercing cries of birds - this is what you expect from the southernmost point of Great Britain. It is good to wander along Cape Lizard alone or by the hand with a loved one, gaze into the foggy horizon and guess how many ships are left at these shores on the way across the Atlantic. Don't worry about your fate: walking along the trail takes 2.5 hours and does not require any special skills. Grab only a thermos of hot tea and Cornish meat pies for a romantic dinner in the most secluded place.

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If you are tired of gloomy everyday life - you have no strength, run away from them into a fairy tale. Moreover, finding it is as easy as shelling pears: this is the Cinque Terre in Italy. On the spectacular Mediterranean coastline amid forests, flowers and vineyards lie colorful toy villages. All this beauty is included in the UNESCO list, and to get a better look, go for a walk along the Blue Trail, which connects all five villages. However, the section from Riomaggiore to Corniglia is temporarily closed. But even half the way is enough to fill the entire memory of the camera and overflow with impressions yourself. When you walk up, wash away the fatigue in the turquoise coves. And in a restaurant, without worrying about your figure, order pasta with pesto and focaccia - you deserve it.

Walk to the edge of Preikestolen cliff

Where: Norway Difficulty: 1/5 Length: 7.6 km round trip, highest point - 604 meters Travel time: 4 hours round trip When to go: May – September

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