Hiking has long been used as an exercise in military training programs but hiking has also become a popular recreational activity, both for itself and as a means to enjoy such other wilderness activities as camping and canoeing. In the US the National Scenic Trail Act of 1968, which made large tracts of land available to the public for recreational use, contributed greatly to the growth of hiking as a pastime. The act helped to set up a system of hiking trails that runs throughout the country.
Short hikes over mild terrain are easily accomplished; longer hikes through the wilderness require special equipment. Hiking boots of sturdy leather-and-rubber construction are essential. Clothing made from such durable materials as denim and wool is also favored by hikers. Sleeping bags, tents, and other equipment are needed for a hike that lasts more than a day. That is where the term "Backpacking" was developed. Backpackers require camps stoves, cameras, fishing poles, and other useful items necessary for a "camping trip" that you must carry in while hiking.
Where the original idea of backpacking originated from is lost in the mists of time. Perhaps the cave man or other prehistoric creature decided to walk along with a "pack" on their backs containing their food and other necessary items.