Thrill Seeker's Guide to Unforgettable Adventures
Most people wouldn't dream of gliding down an active volcano or walking on a piece of string above an endless abyss. Others live for these kinds of adventures. We can't wait to feel the adrenaline rush; that sense of thrill and excitement that comes with flying in the face of danger.
Here's the ultimate guide to an unforgettable adventure from one daredevil to another.
1. Free Soloing
How do you feel about rock climbing? Looks fun, doesn't it?
Well, get ready to meet this sport's deadly cousin, free soloing. Remove all the ropes and harnesses - in short, all the safety equipment - from rock climbing, and rely only on the strength of your body not to fall off. Just one wrong move could be fatal. It's exactly this risk, the possibility of tumbling into the void, that draws free soloists to the sport.
If you think you would feel comfortable staring at the face of death, one of the legendary free soloing routes is The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Once considered unclimbable, The Nose is now one of the most popular free soloing routes.
Before you head to the Yosemite, or any other free soloing spot, pack all the necessary gear in a handy and comfortable backpack like the Herschel Little America.
The most famous free climber in the world, Alex Honnold, holds a record for climbing The Nose in 2 hours and 23 minutes. This real-life Spiderman is addicted to free soloing and has successfully climbed almost impossible summits using only his hands and feet. People believe he knows no fear of death. He claims he's just like everyone else, except he chooses to push his limits despite the risk.
2. Zip Lining
Not all extreme adventures need to be potentially deadly. Zip lining is just enough to get your blood pumping without actually risking your life. Sliding down a mountain at a breakneck speed will surely be a thrill ride you will never forget.
Zip lining used to be a means of transport in the remote, inaccessible areas. The Himalayan people used it to navigate the mountain, while the Chinese zip-lined across the rivers, using the ropes as bridges. Today it's a popular source of entertainment. You can find the most insane zip-line experience in Nepal. Zipflyer Nepal near the city of Pokhara is the tallest, steepest and fastest zip line in the world: 600 metres high and 1.8 kilometres long, at the speed of 140 km/h.
Everyone knows about climbing Mt. Everest, but this zip line gives you a completely different view of the majestic Himalayas. As you slide through the air above the Machapuchare mountain and the Annapurna range, you will feast your eyes on the dramatic vistas of the dense forest and the awe-inspiring Seti River.
Whitewater rafting is for adventurers, whitewater kayaking for thrill-seekers, and creeking for adrenaline junkies. Only the bravest dare to try this daring sport, due to the obvious dangers it carries.
Picture kayaking through steep whitewater, manoeuvring narrow rapids and descending waterfalls - now that's creeking. As far as extreme sports go, this one requires you to 100% know what you're doing. If not, the unforgiving waters will surely get the better of you – you might end up falling off your vessel, crashing into the rocks, or being dragged under the surface.
If you think you can handle this dangerous sport, we suggest checking out Futaleufú River in Chile with its 22.5-kilometre stretch of wild rapids. Be warned, newbies should steer clear of this destination. Rapids' names like Gates of Inferno and The Perfect Storm perfectly illustrate the level of difficulty you will encounter on this creeking adventure.
Creeking trips usually last for a few days and involve camping, so come prepared and pack a waterproof jacket such as this North Face Men's Venture Jacket.
Compared to some other extreme sports on our list, skydiving seems a little mainstream. "But what kind of adventurer doesn't have it on their bucket list?" And trust us, after you've tried it once, you will want to do it again.
What makes skydiving so popular is the powerful feeling of tearing through the clouds completely free, only to defy gravity at the last minute. But there's another cool factor here, and that's the view once you start floating down. First timers are often too freaked out to pay attention to anything going on around them. Don't make that rookie mistake, and open your eyes wide.
One of these spectacular skydiving destinations is Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. You will be flying over the man-made archipelago, Palm Jumeirah, and get a breathtaking view of the whole Dubai and the Persian Gulf. "But, maybe you want to cross something else off your bucket list first, because Palm Jumeirah will make you wait at least two months for your jump, due to its popularity."
5. Volcano Boarding
All of us who loved sledding as kids find volcano boarding extremely fascinating. That still doesn't mean we're eager to try it, because this extreme sport involves sliding down the side of a volcano - often an active one.
Unlike navigating the snow slopes on the mountains, volcano boarding carries plenty of real dangers with it. Sharp volcanic ash and rocks are excruciating to land on, deadly poisonous gasses often fill the air, and those surfing down an active volcano may even have to evade molten lava.
Still want to give it a go? The most popular volcano boarding spot in the world is Cerro Negro in Nicaragua, but probably the most extreme spot is Mount Yasur in Vanatu, a small country in the South Pacific Ocean. While Cerro Negro hasn't erupted since 1999, Mount Yasur erupts almost every day. Now imagine how cool it would be to slide down a volcano shooting out ash and lava bombs hundreds of meters into the air every few minutes.
6. Tow-In Surfing
Surfing is one of the favourite sports among the thrill-seekers around the world. But, as it usually happens, people wanted to find a way to push their limits, to conquer even the biggest waves, and take this sport to extremes. That's how tow-in surfing was born.
Before surfers came up with the extreme version of the sport, there was a limit to the size of wave that human could physically paddle into. The bigger the wave, the faster it’s moving and big wave surfers needed some extra thrust to get into a huge, fast moving wave. With tow-in surfing, a surfer is towed into a breaking wave with the help of a personal watercraft.
Surfing a wave as tall as a skyscraper will surely earn you some bragging rights, but it can also be really dangerous, especially without proper training. Surfers can get hit by the powerful waves, smash against the rocks, or be dragged underwater in a wipeout. Manufacturers have responded with great protection options like this awesome Patagonia Impact Suit.
One of the most challenging tow-in surf spots is Jaws in Maui. Only the most experienced big-wave surfers dare to conquer the waves at Jaws that sometimes reach 18 metres.
Think that tow-in surfing is just the thrill you seek? Don't leave anything to chance and stay prepared for any situation with a reliable Channel Islands Surfboards Essential 42L Surf Backpack.
Have you ever seen those barefoot people trying to balance along a suspended rope or wire in the park? The rope is usually anchored between two trees, a metre or so above the ground. Well, that's called slacklining.
Now imagine the same scene, only the rope is placed high up in the air, usually between two towering cliffs, above a menacing abyss. We present to you - highlining.
Although the athletes are strapped to a protective harness, there are no safety nets, and the wire is not stabilized. The boldest highligners ditch the protective harness altogether; making one wrong move could mean falling off into a gruesome death.
Yosemite Park is one of the most popular highlining spots on the planet. The vast wilderness, mesmerizing waterfalls, relaxing meadows, and sinister-looking cliffs are reason enough for highliners from all around the world to put their lives on the line - literally. Just don't get distracted by the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you, and never look down.
8. BASE Jumping
In case skydiving wasn't challenging enough for you, you can always try BASE jumping. Jumping off fixed surfaces means your starting point is much closer to the ground, which makes this sport completely insane in our book.
BASE stands for the categories of surfaces to jump from - buildings, antennas, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs).
BASE jumps are performed from much lower altitudes that skydiving jumps, giving the jumpers only a few seconds to open their parachutes and save their necks. In fact, this is one of the most dangerous hobbies in the world often ending in accidents and even deaths. In fact, one in every 60 BASE jumpers dies.
We definitely don't recommend trying this sport, but even despite the risk the thrill is just phenomenal. Enthusiastic jumpers still keep finding more and more extreme places for their jumps.
One of the highest and most famous BASE jumping spots is the Troll Wall in Norway. After a number of fatalities, BASE jumping off this spot has been entirely banned. However, there are numerous other exciting places for BASE jumping such as the Angel Falls in Venezuela, and even the Eiffel Tower.
9. Dirt Biking
It's pretty clear why this sport is nicknamed dirt biking; choose this as your extreme hobby and you will be riding through some pretty rough terrains. Still, this is maybe one of the best options if you crave adventure but don't dare try any of the other sports on our list.
Dirt biking is an awesome activity because you can adjust it to your level of skill and experience. Beginners can easily find less challenging race circuits, while the professional bikers ride through deserts and mountains, sometimes exposing themselves to great risk of injuries. On a less extreme level, dirt biking is actually pretty healthy and stimulating for the whole body.
If you decide to give dirt biking a go, make sure to stay safe and well hydrated on the road with an insulated S'Well Bottle that easily fits inside any backpack.
There are some amazing "less travelled" trails around the world that all curious bikers need to check out. Rugged wilderness in Romania makes it one of the most visited spots by the dirt bikers, especially during the Red Bull Romaniacs Race. The Race lets you explore the mountains, hills, rocky road and valleys around the historical Transylvanian city of Sibiu. Here you can see some of the stars of the sport showcase their skills, since it's one of the toughest rallies on earth.
From walking on air and plummeting through the sky, to tackling shark-like waves and escaping molten lava - these have been some of the most outrageous hobbies on the planet.
So, did you get discouraged yet? Or did all the talk of risk and danger make you want to try these extreme sports even more? Let us know in the comments, and share your experience if you've already tried one of these hair-raising sports.