Difference Between Thru-Hiking vs. Section Hiking

Hiking is a great form of workout with a lower impact. It is an outdoor activity in which you enjoy scenic views and Mother Nature. Hiking is a fun cardio activity in which you explore your surroundings and woods.

One might think that hikers are only those seen with huge backpacks that climb mountains. Hiking basically refers to walking outdoors on trails. You select your trail, it can be an off-trail too. Hiking is also termed as walking, backpacking, tramping, hillwalking, or trekking in different parts of the world. According to different researches, this popular outdoor activity has some amazing numerous health benefits.

This activity is available most of the year. Winters are not preferred as it gets dangerous for the hikers. It is more suitable to hike on the mountains in the warmer months where ski sports are practiced during winters. Good hiking is planned properly. The itineraries must consider breaks and pauses according to the hiker’s physical possibilities and capabilities.

Hiking lets you mingle with different people and different cultures. It lets you experience the culture of the locals of the area and taste their unique cuisines. Hikers not only experience cultural change but as well as nature change. In other words, hiking lets the hiker meet new people, areas, mountains, and diverse cultures.

Moving forward with hiking, there is a topic, which usually comes up and confuses many of the beginners. I would like to talk about the difference between Thru-hiking and Section Hiking. New hikers must have heard these two terms thru- and section-hiking when it comes to long trails and journeys. Opinions on both, are provided in this article, along with the pros and cons are also provided below so that you are able to choose the best type after having a better understanding of both.


Also termed as through-hiking is to hike on a long-distance trail. It dates back to the time when long foot traveling as a means of transportation. Thru-hiking can also be referred to as end-to-end hiking or end-to-ending hiking. It is defined as hiking that is completed within a period of twelve months.

Thru-hikers hike the whole season in one go. Hikers in thru-hiking carry lightweight gear. They tend to opt for minimalistic gears for the long period journey. It truly is a chance to see the power of your body.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Thru-Hiking

When a hiker chooses Thru-hiking, he is willing to opt for the opportunity to experience a big accomplishment. They become a part of the people along the trail they encounter, who know and understand what they are up to.

Thru-hikers learn to live a simple life. Because they have such a long journey to travel, they carry the most innovative and smart gears that are sufficient for their trail. Ultra-light and lightweight gears are quite popular among thru-hikers. They are far away from all the worldly possessions. Their families also accept the fact of their absences on major family holidays and throughout the year long.

Hikers sometimes develop scenery fatigue and all the excitement turns in to boredom. Thru-hikers face many challenges be it mentally or physically. One starts to feel lonely. Once the hiker embarks on a thru-hiking trail, there are a lot of obstacles he needs to tackle. Be it mental, physical, or financial. Hikers need to be prepared for some major injuries and altitude sickness. First aid course is recommended if you decide to hike in remote areas or in high altitudes. Thru-hiking requires true patience and endurance. It is not similar to take a stroll in the woods.

You will be without a paycheck for almost half a year-long, hikers’ major expense is on gears and food.

Section Hiking

Section Hikers are those who also travel for long distances but as the name says it is done in sections. They take a vacation during their hiking journey. They do it in stages. It is not necessary for the hikers to complete the trail in order. People who cannot take a year-long off from their jobs and wish to go on hiking opt for section hiking. Section Hiking lets you stay present and enjoy every detail of the trail.

Hikers cover a long trail in different phases. They don’t like to do it in one go. Section-hikers enjoy the trail in bite-sized chunks. They plan their trip according to their ease.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Section Hiking

In section hiking, you choose your adventure according to your own flexibility. This results in the hiking to last in stages and not in one complete go. You choose your own mileage. Hikers can easily spend some time with their family and friends and fulfill all life commitments.

If you are a section hiker, you don’t need to worry about losing your job. Section hiking can be done at weekends or on your yearly paid leave.

Public transportation can be a problem at the end of the trip. If you are hiking the countryside, transportation can be a major issue as all the bus stations and airports will be miles away.

Which one is right for you?

This decision is very personal as to choose which to opt on a long trail. First, sort out your goals before starting it. Both types come with their own advantages and disadvantages. As you have looked into the key differences jotted down for you to guide you to the right trail with the right journey that helps you in accomplishing your goals.