You will hear many terms that hikers use to describe the type of hike they are about to pursue. The list below is not meant to list every single type, but rather the most common types you may hear.
So what are they?
Just as the name suggests, you set out for a day of hiking a trail, usually with a backpack of water, snacks, and first aid supplies. This is a hike that can be completed in a single day. A day hike can also be used to describe a short hike during the day where the hiker only wears a small pack (usually a CamelBak with water and maybe a couple of snacks).
Again as the name suggests, you start hiking one day, spend the night out on the trails that night and return the next day.
A section hike is when a hiker hikes a section of long distance trail, typically a section that a thru hiker would hike, such as the Appalachian trail. A section hiker will only hike a portion of the trail instead of the entire length of the trail all at once.
Depending on the length of the trail a section hike could take a couple of days or a month (or longer).
A thru hike is when a hiker starts at the beginning of a long distance trail and hikes all the way through non-stop to the end of the trail. Depending on the length of the trail, this could take several weeks to several months.
For example, the average thru hiker on the Appalachian trail takes about 5-7 months to complete it; as to where a thru hike on the Lone Star Hiking Trail (which is 129 miles long) only takes about 1-2 weeks.