If you talk to other people about long-distance hiking, the response is often: “I’d like to do that too, but I don’t dare because…”.
But what actually are the requirements for a trekking tour? When are you ready and what should really matter when taking the decision?
At first glance, a long-distance hike is like a normal day hike, only over a much longer distance. In both types of hiking, you walk between 20 and 30 kilometers a day. The difference is simple: trekking does not end after one day. The body therefore has less time to regenerate and is not always rested as in shorter hikes.
In addition, the backpack is usually much heavier than for day hikes. Depending on the type of long-distance hike, you may need to take a tent, backpack, sleeping mattress, food, clothing and some other equipment. Eight to 12 kg of backpack weight is nothing unusual here. This requires strength and endurance!
However, long-distance hikes are sometimes a challenge not only physically, but also mentally. You enter a completely different world for several days/weeks, far away from your usual environment. The daily shower is often omitted and a quick wash at the next stream must be enough. Toilets are unnecessarily far away at the necessary time 🙂
Also, you have to expect that the sun does not always shine. Driving rain with light squalls at 8°C can be quite annoying 🙂
From our point of view, however, this is exactly what makes a trekking tour so appealing. The step into the unknown, into the wild, that’s the step that makes the difference between a day hike in the Bavarian Pre-Alps with full board and a long-distance hike. Therefore, such a hike is always a give and take. You forego comfort and in exchange experience things that
Now, it must also be mentioned that very many trekking tours have lower altitude differences than, for example, hikes in the Alps. So you go further, with more weight, but the path is often flatter. This helps to save energy.
The art of a long-distance hike is therefore to assess one’s own physical and mental capabilities well and then to find the perfect trail for it. And this one perfect trail definitely exists and there is one for everyone. There are several thousand long-distance hikes around the world. For starters, a shorter and easier variant is often advisable, possibly even in a guided group. Once you have gained some experience and self-confidence, you can take on the medium-length (100 to 300 km) routes. Of course, if you can afford it in terms of time, you can try your hand at the really long treks, such as the European long-distance trails or the three long trails of the United States (Appalachian Trail, Continent Divide Trail and Pacific Crest Trail). All of them are several thousand kilometers long and it takes not only months to walk them completely, but also an extreme amount of preparation.
Long story short: If you can handle walking 20 km every day with a slightly heavier backpack, you’re ready for your first long-distance hike. You just have to find your perfect trail that fits your needs and requirements. You can find a selection of long-distance trails with some search options in our trail search: