The Most Difficult Hobby: A Challenging Pursuit for the Dedicated

Choose the hobby you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Mar 2, 2024 05:38
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinions truly matter! We've cooked up an exciting new ranking that's all about pushing the limits - "What is the most difficult hobby?". From mastering the art of chess to scaling the highest peaks, we know hobbies can be both fun and challenging. But which one takes the cake for being the toughest of them all? That's where you come in! Dive into our extensive list of adrenaline-pumping, brain-churning, and patience-testing hobbies, cast your vote, or even suggest a missing option. It's time for you to weigh in and help us crown the ultimate king of challenging hobbies. So, are you ready to embark on this journey of skill, determination, and sheer willpower? Let the battle begin!

What Is the Most Difficult Hobby?

  1. 1
    Mountaineering involves climbing mountains, which can be physically and mentally challenging. It requires a lot of strength, endurance, and technical skills. Additionally, mountaineering can be dangerous and requires a lot of planning and preparation.
    Mountaineering is a challenging hobby that involves climbing mountains and reaching high-altitude peaks. It combines various skills such as hiking, rock climbing, glacier travel, and camping in extreme environments. Mountaineering requires physical fitness, technical knowledge, and mental resilience to overcome dangerous terrain, unpredictable weather conditions, and altitude-related risks.
    • Routes: Various routes with different levels of difficulty and technical requirements
    • Physical Demands: High
    • Technical Skills: Advanced
    • Equipment: Ropes, crampons, ice axes, harnesses, helmets, etc.
    • Safety: Critical, involves risk management and knowledge of rescue techniques
  2. 2
    Scuba Diving
    Soljaguar · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Scuba Diving

    Jacques Cousteau
    Scuba diving requires a lot of physical and mental preparation. It involves diving into deep waters, which can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Additionally, scuba diving requires a lot of technical knowledge and training.
    Scuba diving is an underwater diving activity that allows individuals to explore the depths of oceans, seas, lakes, or other bodies of water. It involves using a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) to breathe independently while underwater, providing divers with greater freedom to move and stay submerged for longer periods of time.
    • Breathing Apparatus: Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba)
    • Depth: Varies based on certification and equipment, typically up to 40 meters (130 ft)
    • Visibility: Varies based on location, can range from a few meters to over 40 meters (130 ft)
    • Water Temperature: Depends on location, can range from tropical temperatures to cold water
    • Skills: Requires completion of scuba diving certification and training
    Scuba Diving in other rankings
  3. 3
    Skydiving is a high-risk sport that requires a lot of courage and mental strength. It involves jumping out of an airplane at a high altitude and freefalling before deploying a parachute. Skydiving can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken, and requires a lot of training and preparation.
    Skydiving is an extreme sport that involves jumping out of an aircraft at a high altitude and free-falling through the air before deploying a parachute to slow down the descent and safely land on the ground. It is an exhilarating activity that provides a unique adrenaline rush and an incredible sense of freedom and thrill.
    • Altitude: Typically done at altitudes of 10,000 to 15,000 feet (3,000 to 4,600 meters)
    • Freefall Speed: Reach speeds of up to 120 miles per hour (193 kilometers per hour)
    • Parachute Deployment: Usually done at around 5,000 feet (1,500 meters)
    • Time in Freefall: Lasts for about 60 seconds on average
    • Training: Requires proper training before attempting a solo jump
  4. 4
    Rock Climbing
    Chris · CC BY 2.0
    Rock climbing is a physically demanding sport that requires a lot of strength and endurance. It involves climbing steep cliffs and rock faces using only your hands and feet. Additionally, rock climbing can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken, and requires a lot of technical knowledge and training.
    Rock climbing is a challenging and adrenaline-pumping hobby that involves scaling natural or artificial rock formations using specialized equipment and techniques. Climbers use their physical strength, mental focus, and problem-solving skills to navigate the obstacles and reach the summit or endpoint of a climbing route.
    • Physical Fitness: Requires high levels of strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance.
    • Mental Agility: Demands concentration, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
    • Technical Gear: Utilizes specialized equipment like harnesses, helmets, ropes, carabiners, and climbing shoes.
    • Grades: Routes are graded on difficulty, ranging from easy (5.0) to extremely challenging (5.15).
    • Types of Climbing: Includes bouldering, sport climbing, traditional climbing, and alpine climbing.
    Rock Climbing in other rankings
  5. 5
    Surfing is a physically demanding sport that requires a lot of strength and coordination. It involves riding waves on a surfboard, which can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Additionally, surfing requires a lot of training and technical knowledge.
    Surfing is a water sport where individuals ride on the face of a breaking wave towards the shore. Surfers use a surfboard, typically made of foam or fiberglass, to navigate the waves. It is considered one of the most exciting activities as it provides an exhilarating experience and a close connection with the power of the ocean.
    • Surfboard: A specialized board used for surfing, typically made of foam or fiberglass.
    • Breaking Waves: Surfers ride on the face of breaking waves, which provide the necessary energy and momentum.
    • Balance and Coordination: Surfing requires a good sense of balance and coordination to maintain control and stability on the board while riding the waves.
    • Paddling: Surfers use their arms and hands to paddle and catch the waves, helping them gain speed and positioning.
    • Takeoff: The process of transitioning from paddling to actually riding the wave, requiring precise timing and positioning.
  6. 6
    Parkour is a physically demanding sport that involves running, jumping, and climbing over obstacles in an urban environment. It requires a lot of strength, coordination, and mental focus. Additionally, parkour can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken, and requires a lot of training and practice.
    Parkour is a physical discipline that involves moving from one point to another in the fastest and most efficient way using only the abilities of the human body. It incorporates elements of running, jumping, climbing, swinging, and rolling. The focus of Parkour is to navigate through obstacles and urban environments with fluidity, creativity, and precision.
    • Physical Demands: Requires high levels of physical strength, agility, speed, balance, and coordination
    • Mental Discipline: Requires mental focus, quick thinking, and problem-solving skills
    • Obstacle Negotiation: Involves overcoming various obstacles such as walls, railings, gaps, and other urban structures
    • Precision Movements: Emphasizes precise and efficient movements to achieve optimal positioning
    • Creativity: Encourages participants to explore and discover their own unique movement style
  7. 7
    Free Solo Climbing
    Heinz Zak · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Free solo climbing is a type of rock climbing that involves climbing without any safety equipment, such as ropes or harnesses. It is an extremely dangerous sport that requires a lot of physical and mental strength, as well as technical knowledge and experience.
    Free Solo Climbing is a type of rock climbing that involves ascending cliffs or rock walls without the use of any ropes or other protective gear. It is considered one of the most difficult and dangerous forms of climbing due to the high levels of skill, strength, and concentration required to complete a climb without falling or any safety measures.
    • Height of Cliffs: Often involves scaling cliffs that can range from a few meters to several hundred meters in height.
    • Difficulty Ratings: Routes are typically rated according to various systems, including the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). Free solo climbs are usually rated in the higher difficulty ranges (5.10 and above).
    • Risk of Injury: Due to the lack of safety equipment, falls during Free Solo Climbing can result in severe injuries or even death.
    • Mental Focus: The climber must maintain intense concentration throughout the entire ascent to minimize any mistakes or errors that could lead to a fall.
    • Technical Skill: Free Solo Climbers must possess exceptional technical climbing skills, including precise footwork, handholds, balance, and route-finding abilities.
    Free Solo Climbing in other rankings
  8. 8
    BASE Jumping
    Xof711 · CC BY-SA 3.0

    BASE Jumping

    Carl Boenish
    BASE jumping is a high-risk sport that involves jumping off tall structures, such as buildings or cliffs, and freefalling before deploying a parachute. It is an extremely dangerous sport that requires a lot of courage, mental strength, and technical knowledge.
    BASE jumping is an extreme adventure activity that involves parachuting or wingsuit flying from fixed objects such as buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs). It is considered to be one of the most difficult and dangerous hobbies due to the high level of risk involved.
    • Altitude: Usually, jumps have an altitude between 100-300 meters (330-980 feet).
    • Equipment: Jumpers use specialized parachutes, harnesses, and helmets.
    • Speed: Terminal velocity during a jump can reach up to 200 km/h (120 mph).
    • Object Types: BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth, which represent different types of objects from which jumps can be performed.
    • Experience Level: BASE jumping requires advanced skydiving skills and considerable experience, typically requiring at least 200 skydives before attempting.
    BASE Jumping in other rankings
  9. 9

    Big Wave Surfing

    Laird Hamilton
    Big wave surfing is a physically demanding sport that involves riding waves that can be over 20 feet tall. It requires a lot of strength, endurance, and mental focus. Additionally, big wave surfing can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken, and requires a lot of training and technical knowledge.
    Big Wave Surfing is an extreme water sport that involves riding enormous waves, typically with a height of 20 feet or higher. Surfers brave these massive waves, which are found in a few select locations around the world, to experience an adrenaline-pumping and awe-inspiring ride.
    • Wave height: 20 feet or higher
    • Surfboard size: 9 to 10 feet long
    • Location: Mavericks, Jaws, Nazaré, Teahupo'o, etc.
    • Hazards: Rip currents, rocks, reefs, and extreme water forces
    • Physical demands: Requires exceptional strength, endurance, and technical skill
    Big Wave Surfing in other rankings
  10. 10
    Bull riding is a physically demanding sport that involves riding a bucking bull for as long as possible. It requires a lot of strength, balance, and mental focus. Additionally, bull riding can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken, and requires a lot of training and experience.
    Bull Riding is a rodeo sport that involves a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the bull tries to buck them off. It is considered one of the most difficult hobbies due to the physical and mental challenges it presents.
    • Rider's Grip: The rider must hold onto a flat braided rope, called a bull rope, with one hand.
    • Time Limit: The rider must stay on the bull for eight seconds to record a successful ride.
    • Scoring: Judges assign points to both the rider and the bull based on their performance, with a perfect ride scoring 100 points.
    • Rider Safety Gear: Riders must wear protective gear such as a helmet, vest, padded gloves, and mouthguard.
    • Weight and Strength: Bulls used in bull riding typically weigh around 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, requiring significant strength and balance from the rider.
    Bull Riding in other rankings

Missing your favorite hobby?


Ranking factors for difficult hobby

  1. Skill level required
    The level of skill and expertise needed to master the hobby and the steepness of the learning curve.
  2. Time commitment
    The amount of time that needs to be devoted to practicing and mastering the hobby, as well as the frequency and duration of practice sessions.
  3. Cost
    The financial investment required for equipment, training, or other materials and resources needed to pursue the hobby.
  4. Physical demands
    The level of physical fitness, strength, flexibility, or stamina that is required to participate in the hobby.
  5. Access to resources
    The availability of proper training facilities, expert guidance, and equipment or materials needed to pursue the hobby.
  6. Mental demands
    The cognitive skills, focus, and determination required to succeed in the hobby.
  7. Social aspects
    The degree to which the hobby promotes social interaction and collaboration, or requires a level of comfort in performing in front of others.
  8. Competitive nature
    The presence of competitions or rankings within the hobby, which may increase the level of difficulty due to added pressure.
  9. Level of customization
    The extent to which the hobby can be tailored to individual preferences, skill levels, and goals.
  10. Personal interest and passion
    The level of enjoyment, motivation, and intrinsic value derived from the hobby, which can greatly influence the perceived level of difficulty.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult hobby. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or hobby is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 242 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each hobby once every 24 hours. The rank of each hobby is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult hobby

Hobbies are a great way to pass the time and indulge in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment. However, not all hobbies are created equal, and some can be incredibly challenging to master. From physical activities like rock climbing and parkour to mental pursuits like solving Rubik's cubes and mastering chess, there is no shortage of hobbies that require dedication, skill, and patience. But what makes a hobby truly difficult? Is it the sheer amount of time and effort required to master it? Or is it the mental and physical stamina required to push through the challenging moments? In this article, we'll explore some of the most difficult hobbies out there and what makes them so challenging to pursue.

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