Hiking, rambling, tramping – which is it? The lingo doesn’t just change based on what country you’re in, but the type of terrain as well (at least in our experience!). Travel the world through words with us as we explore the different meanings of our favorite outdoor activity.
Hiking – United States and Canada
Whether it’s on the Appalachian Trail or a gravel path through your local nature reserve, ‘hiking’ is the ubiquitous term for long walks through the countryside. Though there are all-levels of difficulty when it comes to a hike, it’s generally more strenuous than walking on pavement. We tend to differentiate ‘hiking’ and ‘walking’ as two different types of activities where other countries – like the United Kingdom – do not.
Walking or Rambling – United Kingdom and Ireland
In our opinion, ‘rambling’ is a fantastic alternative to ‘hiking!’ It elicits such lovely visions of long strolls over rolling hills and dales. It is, however, less commonly used than ‘walking,’ which refers to a stroll around the neighborhood or a multi-day walk through the Cairngorms. If you’re visiting and looking for a good ‘walk,’ you’re just as likely to find a pleasant country lane as a rocky trail.
Bushwalking – Australia
Blackheath Australia, photo courtesy of Jenny Mealing
‘Bushwalking.’ It’s a good term for hiking in a country where even the cutest animals (kangaroos!) can kill you. ‘The Bush’ is essentially an Australian term for anything that isn’t a major metropolitan area. (Oddly, Australia’s neighbor New Zealand uses the word ‘bush’ to refer to native forest!)
Tramping – New Zealand
Tramping up Waiau Pass in New Zealand, photo courtesy of New Zealand On Foot
On the surface, ‘tramping’ and ‘hiking’ are one in the same. Once you’ve spent some time on a true tramping track, however, you might find it more akin to ‘bushwhacking’ than ‘hiking.’ Tramping can at times border on mountaineering, so if you’re headed down to New Zealand, be sure to research your trails well!