Bungee Jumping vs Skydiving: My Own Comparison
But which is better? Which is scarier? Which is more fun?
For me and many others, bungee jumping is the scarier of the two. Because you’re jumping from a low height, your brain knows what’s going on (and is terrified!). Skydiving is less scary because you’re so high up. It also tends to be more fun and a fuller experience.
That’s the short answer, anyway. The quick bungee jump answer rather than the full skydive.
If you’d like to learn the full comparison, I’ve compared skydiving and bungee jumping on just about every aspect below. With my own experience in both included at the end.
Ready? Then let’s dive in.
Skydiving vs Bungee Jumping: A Detailed Comparison
The best way to compare just about anything is to do it aspect by aspect. So here we go!
Bungee jumping feels like the biggest normal jump or dive you’ve ever done, times 100. It’s a fast, super-intense rush. You get the massive feeling of butterflies in your stomach as you jump, and it builds and builds until the rope finally catches you. It’s a crazy ‘rush’ and your brain just about flips out as to why you’ve just thrown yourself off a bridge or building!
Introducing the air-plank. I was lucky enough to get this snapped while going off backwards!
On the other hand, skydiving feels more free. You don’t get the butterfly feeling in your stomach. Instead, it’s more like you’re flying. The biggest feeling is the air rushing past you at 120mph (like sticking your head out of the window on the highway). Most people find it more enjoyable – almost relaxing – than the RUSH of a bungee jump.
The Fear Factor
I’m often asked which is scarier between bungee jumping and skydiving.
Almost everyone reports that bungee jumping is much scarier than skydiving – even if the idea of skydiving is the more intimidating one.
I believe bungee jumping is scarier because our brain understands what’s happening. It knows you’re standing on top of a tall objects. It’s apprehensive about what the hell you’re doing there. And it goes crazy when you actually jump off!
Since bungee jumping is essentially a massive dive, we can recognize the experience and be appropriately terrified about it.
On the other hand, while still scary, skydiving doesn’t induce such a natural panic. It’s more of a bizarre feeling. By the time you’re thousands of feet in the sky, you’re too high for your brain to understand what’s going on.
With any extreme sport, safety is always the first consideration – and the most asked about.
The short answer is that both skydiving and bungee jumping are extremely safe. They wouldn’t be so popular if they weren’t!
Bungee jumping in particular is extremely safe – especially in a country with regulations. The fatality rate for bungee jumping is around 1 in 500,000, which are most likely freak accidents. The equipment is so over-engineered that you’re in no danger. Just make sure you’re clipped in and you’ll be fine!
Skydiving is also extremely safe. However, since people can be more silly with it than bungee jumping, there are more fatalities reports. The fatality statistics for skydiving are around 1 in 100,000, and it’s getting lower every year:
Solo jumper fatality statistics from the USPA
The thing with skydiving is that many fatalities come from people pushing the edge of the sport, or just taking silly risks. When it comes to tandem skydiving, there hasn’t been a single death report in over 750,000 tandem jumps since the year 2000, in the UK. (Data available at the bottom of the page here).
The Cost (Time, Money)
As you might imagine, bungee jumping is a fair bit cheaper than skydiving. Costing anywhere between $40-$80, it’s not dirt cheap but it’s a small price for a wild experience!
Skydiving starts off as more expensive. Especially for a tandem jumper, you’re looking at hundreds of dollars for a jump. That said, you are getting so much more for your money.
Similarly, the training costs of learning to skydive solo aren’t cheap. A static line course costs similar to a tandem jump, and AFF has a real price tag attached to it.
HOWEVER – and yes that’s a big however – skydiving does get affordable once you’re licensed, insured, and have your own kit. You can find yourself hurtling through the sky from as little as $40!
I alluded to this above, but there’s a real difference in the experience you get with these two sports.
Bungee jumping is a fantastic morning or afternoon out. You turn up, get a quick briefing, and before you know it you’re diving off a bridge. The drop lasts 3-6 seconds, followed by some joyful springing up and down. Then you’ve gotta awkwardly hang there until they can send down another rope to reel you back in!
Bungee jumping is short and sweet, though you can easily do multiple jumps and it’s not weather dependant.
Skydiving, on the other hand, is a whole different beast. I’d say the experience starts days in advance, when the nerves set in, you start planning – maybe even reading cool blogs like this one! – and getting mentally prepared.
The day itself depends on your jump, but it’s a full day out. While you wait around you can kick back and watch the experienced jumpers dive through the sky and swoop around under their parachutes.
Your skydive itself has so many incredible aspects to it. You get to fly in a cool plane, freefall for way longer, experience terminal velocity, glide under a parachute, and see some of the best views of your life.
If you do some training to jump solo, you also tend to make friends at the airfield, learn how parachutes are packed, and begin your journey to become a licensed skydiver (aka an absolute legend).
While it’s more expensive (initially), skydiving offers a much fuller experience.
By accessibility I don’t mean wheelchair access (though I believe this is possible in both sports!). I mean ease of access.
For example, bungee jumping is great when travelling. There’s some really scenic locations out there, and it’s easy to book in to get a jump. It doesn’t need much forward planning.
Skydiving – especially for beginners – is more rare, and tandems need booked well in advance. That being said, a skydive is an incredible way to see a country from a very unique view.
If you get a skydiving licence, suddenly travelling becomes one of the best aspects. You can turn up to almost any airfield and jump there, meaning you unlock what’s called a ‘Skydiving Holiday’. Travelling to go and jump in different places around the world.
Skydiving also has much more depth than bungee jumping. Once you’ve mastered basic jumps, a whole world opens up. Freestyle skydiving, wingsuits, jumping with friends, competitions – there’s so many areas to explore.
The last thing I want to touch on in skydiving vs bungee jumping is the communities.
A skydiving drop zone is full of people who have one thing in common. That’s right – they’re all a bit crazy! While there’s always some big ego jumpers, most skydivers are incredibly friendly, welcoming, and want everyone to have a good time.
An airfield on a clear day has everyone buzzing with emotions. There’s first time jumpers fearing for their lives, their friends and family watching on, instructors looking after them, and of course the experienced jumpers just having fun. With such high emotions and energy, you often get the best side of people. A drop zone really is a community where you can easily connect with anyone there.
On the other hand, bungee jumping centers are more of a business. It’s typically run by a crew who – while they love their job – are simply briefing people then helping them jump as a full-time job. It tends to be more of a business, where the staff are helping you through a great experience, rather than being there with you.
My Own Recommendations
At the time of writing, I’ve bungee jumped 3 times and skydived a few dozen.
It’s safe to say I can absolutely recommend both! Bungee jumping was a fantastic day out both times I went, and it was great excuse to raise some money for charity. It’s more of a quick fun rush, which is a lot of fun to do with friends and share the experience.
On the other hand, skydiving is something I’m practically in love with. While I wish I could go more, it’s a very deep and full experience. Not only does it have all the big and crazy aspects of jumping from a plane, but equally it’s quite serene. There’s something amazing about flying through the air, gazing at the most incredible views beneath you.
Nothing beats relaxing alone in the sky, taking in the views. Source: Skydive Carolina
Personally, you can’t beat the stillness of the moment after your parachute opens, you’ve just flown through the air, and you’re now sitting the sky and it’s perfectly quiet. Only the light sound of your parachute floating in the wind.
That’s just my take, though. I know other skydivers love the adrenaline rush, and an open parachute to them just means a chance to do some wild turns!
To touch on other people’s opinions – most skydivers I know have bungee jumped, and share the same views I do. It’s great for a quick day out, but we’d take skydiving over it any day!
Bungee jumping and skydiving are both incredible popular, and for good reason.
If you’re weighing up between these two options, I hope this quick comparison has helped make things a bit more clear for you!
My recommendation is, of course, to try and do both ?
If this guide’s helped you, please consider checking out the related articles below.
Which is Safer – Bungee Jumping or Skydiving?
If you’re thinking about going skydiving, you’ve probably also considered several other high-adrenaline activities at some point in your life. We get it! And as people who also love the excitement of extreme hobbies, we know safety is of top concern when picking your thrill of choice. A common comparison to make is skydiving vs bungee jumping, so we’re here to answer the question: which is safer, bungee jumping or skydiving?
While both skydiving and bungee jumping involve the leap of a lifetime, that’s about the only part of the process the two have in common. In bungee jumping, you step off of a platform and fall for a precalculated number of seconds before the bungee cord catches you and slows you down.
Skydiving, on the other hand, is more like flying – but with your body! A skydive is made from a much higher altitude, and you fall for enough time that you reach terminal velocity. This means that you can use your body to move in the air, and the experience feels much more interactive. The extra altitude also allows solo skydivers and tandem pairs more time to deal with anything that may happen during the jump and results in a much smoother, more controlled experience.
The gear involved in each activity is also very different. Skydiving gear is equipped with many safety backups, and what you wear on the jump is specifically designed to protect you. The parachute system has a backup parachute (that makes two, total!), and an Automated Activation Device that automatically deploys the parachute in the event of an emergency. Your body is also protected by what you wear – including goggles and a jumpsuit – and an altimeter keeps track of your altitude.
In bungee jumping, you are relying on a single bungee cord and a series of calculations. If either of those things malfunction, you are looking at an awfully hard landing, likely on your head. Through decades of research and innovation, the leading skydiving manufacturers have developed a system that is tailored toward making every jump as safe as possible, including multiple backups just in case something goes wrong.
Both experiences require a certain level of learning and preparation. After all, no one would expect you to jump into thin air without learning how to do it first! With tandem skydiving, though, your instructor is much more involved in the entire process than is even possible with bungee jumping. Because the act of bungee jumping is relatively simple, most of the focus is on gear and calculations. You will get a super quick overview of how to make the jump, and off the ledge you go!
When you go tandem skydiving, your instructor, who has A LOT of skydiving experience, comes with you on the jump. They will also spend a good amount of time going over what to expect from the jump before you even get in the plane, and actually practice your body position with you during your training. You will be able to talk to your instructor during the entire ride to altitude in the plane, and also for the whole ride under canopy.
During freefall, your instructor can touch your arms and legs or give you hand signals to guide you through the experience. Additionally, because your instructor comes with you on the jump, you can get close-up photos and videos so you can relive the experience over and over again!
Skydiving culture is also more involved and organized than the bungee scene, and presents a plethora of opportunities for growth and progression. As a skydiver, you never stop learning.
When you go bungee jumping, though, your experience ends when you step foot on the ground. You can bungee jump again at different locations, of course, but there is nothing more to learn and no real community to join.
Skydiving is the complete opposite. Every time you go skydiving, you’ll learn new skills and improve on old ones. You can even progress to the point of earning your own license, and beyond! There are several different disciplines in the sport that you can specialize in, and the skills are always evolving and creating new opportunities. The skydiving community is also like a family, and you can form lifelong bonds with people you meet all over the world. Skydiving is much more than just a fall – it truly is a lifestyle of flight!
Here’s the big question: how dangerous is bungee jumping when compared to skydiving? As far as the safety statistics go, they are about the same.
According to the United States Parachute Association (USPA), which gathers data on all skydives made within the US, there has been about 1 fatality for every 500,000 tandem jumps made in the past decade. Interestingly, bungee jumping fatality rates are the same: 1 in 500,000. This means that a person is more likely to be struck by lightning than to die in either of these thrill-seeking activities.
Even though the bungee vs tandem statistics on safety are even, we think it’s clear that the overall experience of skydiving has a lot more to offer when it comes to risk vs reward!
Ready to give skydiving a try? Come jump with us! Have questions before you book? Reach out – we’re here to help. Blue skies!
Skydiving Vs Bungee Jumping: Which is Safer?
When seeking out a thrilling experience, many people look to compare skydiving and bungee jumping to see which one is the best. This might be a surprise, but it can be hard to compare the two as they are actually very different! Both require the jumper to face their fears and make the conscious decision to step off the edge, but that is where the similarities end.
While you get to experience adrenaline with both, there are some questions you should consider when deciding which is better for you.
Do you go higher with skydiving or bungee jumping?
One of the most exciting parts of a skydive is how high up you get to go! Typical skydives are between 10,000 and 14,000 feet above the ground, but you can get even higher here at Oklahoma Skydiving Center, with an 18,000 ft tandem dive ! Bungee jumps are usually only just a few hundred feet, which can still be a thrilling experience, but you just won’t get the same feeling of flying thousands of feet through the air!
Something that might be a little shocking is that many people who fear heights feel more comfortable skydiving than they do bungee jumping! Because you are so high when you take the initial jump for a skydive, you can’t see anything below you in detail. When bungee jumping, you can see the detailed rocks below which can create visuals of where you’d land if something were to go wrong (yikes!)! Depending on how your fear of heights manifests, skydiving might be the less scary option!
Do you spend more time skydiving or bungee jumping?
There is a huge difference in time when it comes to comparing the two experiences. When you bungee jump, it typically only lasts a few seconds, but with a skydive you can be in the air for more than 5 minutes!
Plus, you get different types of thrills when you skydive! First, you get the experience of climbing to altitude in the plane, which can take up to 15 minutes where you get to prepare for your jump with the adrenaline rushing through your veins. Then the initial freefall, which lasts about 45 seconds and is a feeling like none other! And then you get the time when the parachute has been deployed and you are floating down through the air. When bungee jumping you experience only the initial thrill of the jump and fall without any additional time to spend in the air, flying.
Is skydiving or bungee jumping safer?
It might be hard to believe due to the differences in altitude, but many people feel considerably safer skydiving than they do bungee jumping. When you bungee jump, you are held on by a single cord and if it were to snap there is no backup… and death is likely.
When you skydive there are multiple backups in case of a midair emergency. These include a reserve parachute, an automatic activation device to deploy the reserve should the skydiver not do it themselves, a reserve static line, and even a MARD system. Plus, the additional altitude gives the skydiver more time to sort any emergencies out, whereas with bungee jumping this time isn’t there.
Is skydiving or bungee jumping more fun?
This is totally objective and depends on the experience you are looking for! Both skydiving and bungee jumping are thrilling and fun, but you should take into account what you like. If your ultimate goal is to feel scared by your thrill, bungee jumping might be just what you’re looking for!
But honestly, nothing beats skydiving! The adrenaline you get from the altitude and the length of time you spend in the air, but still knowing that you’re safe if anything might happen, is incomparable! Besides, who doesn’t want to feel like they’re flying?!
If you have any more questions about the skydiving experience, check out our FAQ page! Ready to experience a skydive? Book with us!