Skydiving vs Bungee Jumping – The Ultimate Comparison

A split image comparing skydiving and bungee jumping. On the left, a skydiving tandem pair is jumping from a white and red airplane against a clear blue sky. On the right, a person is bungee jumping off a cliff platform with mountains in the background and other people left on the platform perhaps assisting the jump or awaiting their turns.
The Ultimate Comparison Between Skydiving and Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping and skydiving are action items that many people have on their bucket lists. Both activities are known for their thrill and perceived dangers, but what are the differences between bungee jumping and skydiving?

  1. Bungee jumping is scarier than skydiving
  2. Skydiving is more intense than bungee jumping
  3. Bungee jumping is safer than skydiving
  4. Skydiving is better for the body than bungee jumping
  5. Skydiving feels like flying whereas bungee jumping feels like falling
  6. Skydiving is usually more expensive than bungee jumping
  7. Bungee jumping is physically less demanding than skydiving
  8. You fall faster during skydiving than during bungee jumping
  9. You are jumping alone during bungee jumping and in tandem during skydiving
  10. Skydiving takes longer than bungee jumping
  11. You are going higher in skydiving than in bungee jumping
  12. The skydiving community is bigger than the bungee jumping community

To determine which of these two should take precedence on your bucket list, let’s thoroughly examine their distinctions. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to grasp about both sports and is sure to inspire you to secure a booking for one of these experiences soon.

Button Showing the Tandem Skydiving Newbie's Guide

What Is Scarier Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?

As a general rule, bungee jumping is scarier than skydiving, particularly for people with a fear of heights. Reasons for this include the diminished sense of height in skydiving, the head-first descent and ground proximity in bungee jumping, and the solo experience in bungee jumping.

We can look at each of the factors in more detail to truly understand why bungee jumping is scarier than skydiving:

  • Diminished Height Perception in Skydiving: In skydiving, the overwhelming altitude and lack of fixed reference points can make the sensation of height fade away, creating a sense that the perceived danger is farther removed. The world looks so small at 10,000ft (3,050m).
  • Head-First Descent in Bungee Jumping: Bungee jumping’s head-first falling position is inherently more alarming than the belly-to-earth posture in skydiving, further amplified by the unnaturalness of plunging head-first. If you were to hit the ground, you would do it with your head first, which is counterintuitive for most people.
  • Ground Proximity in Bungee Jumping: Bungee jumpers experience the rapid approach of the ground due to its close proximity, whereas skydivers encounter a relatively uniform landscape whether at 10,000ft or 4,000ft (3,050m or 1,220m). The parachute deployment at 4,000ft (1,220m) in skydiving leads to a gentler descent once you start realizing the heights and the objects on the ground.
  • Solo Experience in Bungee Jumping: Bungee jumping is typically a solo endeavor without an instructor’s reassuring presence, potentially enhancing feelings of isolation and apprehension. In contrast, tandem skydiving involves an instructor who will calm you down if needed. In addition, in bungee jumping you need to initiate the jump, thereby actively overcoming your fear. In contrast, in skydiving the jump is initiated by the instructor, offering a more controlled introduction. You, therefore, only need to passively overcome your fears.

Now you might think that you do not need to perform a tandem skydiving jump but can opt for a solo skydiving jump. The solo skydive would be much scarier than the tandem skydive. You can find out, if that is really possible, in my article answering the question of whether it is possible to jump alone on your first skydive.

How Do You Bungee Jump When Being Scared?

There are several ways to overcome your fears during bungee jumping. Common strategies include understanding and accepting your fears, reframing the emotion of fear to an emotion of excitement, visualizing your success, calming your breathing, and using safety statistics to rationalize your fears.

If you want to learn how to skydive when scared of extreme heights, make sure to read my article about the seven reasons to skydive when being scared of heights. It includes practical tips to overcome your fears and helps you master the jump!

What Is More Intense Bungee Jumping or Skydiving?

As a whole, skydiving is more intense than bungee jumping because it is more dangerous, invokes a sensory overload, and is a unique experience that is unlike any other. While bungee jumping is also intense, people are often more familiar with the feeling of falling from other activities.

The sensation of falling, as encountered in bungee jumping, is something people can relate to more readily due to its similarity to everyday experiences. Instances like slipping or descending downstairs evoke a sense of falling, making it a sensation people encounter fairly frequently. For that reason, falling during bungee jumping is familiar to people – even though not in intensity. However, it is something that people know and understand.

On the contrary, the sensation of flying, which is prominent in skydiving, is far less common in daily life. Unlike the sensation of falling, flying is not an experience people encounter naturally unless they are involved in activities like aviation or skydiving itself. This makes the feeling of soaring through the air in skydiving a novel and unique encounter for most individuals – and increases the intensity.

If you want to learn more about the intensity of skydiving, make sure to read my article “Sensory Overload: The 7 True Feelings of Skydiving“. Afterward, you can imagine how it feels to skydive!

Does It Hurt When You Bungee Jump?

In general, bungee jumping does not cause significant pain. When properly executed with the right equipment, the bungee cord and harness absorb the force of the fall and prevent abrupt jolts. However, it’s possible to face some discomfort due to the initial shock of the jump or harness snugness.

That being said, the initial shock of the jump can be higher, if you also jump from greater altitudes. In other words, bungee jumping is more likely to hurt when you jump from 100ft (30m) than from 50ft (15m). In theory, the equipment should be adjusted accordingly (and most of the time the equipment is adjusted) but there are limits to the absorption capacity of the equipment.

So why does bungee jumping sometimes hurt? The vertebrae of your spine, which safeguard the delicate spinal cord, are susceptible to force during the breaking part, invoking a feeling of pain. The more you increase the force on vertebrae (e.g., by increasing the jumping height), the higher the pain will be.

That being said, in 95% of the cases you will not feel any pain. Only if the jump is not conducted safely or the equipment isn’t properly set up, there is a potential risk for injury, but in properly organized and executed bungee jumps, severe pain should not be expected.

Other potential pains might include slipping at the exit plaza or hitting your head during jump preparation. Due to this, it is important to wear a helmet in bungee jumping. If you want to know if the same applies to skydiving, make sure to read my article about whether it is necessary to wear a helmet during skydiving. The answer will surprise you!

Is Bungee Jumping Safer Than Skydiving?

Bungee jumping is safer than solo skydiving and equally safe as tandem skydiving. Tandem skydiving and bungee jumping have a fatality rate of one in every 500,000 jumps (0.0002%). Solo skydiving carries greater risk at 0.049%, resulting in one fatality per 220,000 jumps, making it 2.3 times riskier.

You might actually read in other blogs that skydiving is more dangerous than bungee jumping, which is only partially true. The misconception often comes because people mix up solo skydiving with tandem skydiving and then compare it to bungee jumping.

However, if you are interested in comparing the sport and deciding which one you will cross off your bucket list, you face the decision of whether to do a tandem skydive or a bungee jump – both of which feature the same risk of dying. In order to clarify this for once and all, find the ultimate risk comparison below.

Solo SkydivingTandem SkydiveBungee Jumping
Fatality rate, in %0.00045%0.00020%0.00020%
# of Successful Jumps for Every Fatality220,301500,000500,000
Injury rate, in % 0.049%0.052%0.00400%
# of Successful Jumps for Every Injury2,0571,92525,000
Comparison With Bungee Jumping
Fatality Rate2.3x more likelySame likelihood Same likelihood
Injury Rate12.2x more likely 13.0 x more likely Same likelihood
Comparison of the Dangers Between Solo Skydiving, Tandem Skydiving, and Bungee Jumping

While the risk of dying in tandem skydiving and bungee jumping is the same, the risk of injuries is not. This is one reason why it can be generally said that skydiving is more dangerous than bungee jumping.

That being said, bungee jumping and skydiving are both relatively safe activities, and you are more likely to die during normal daily activities.

Surprising Daily Scenarios That Are Riskier Than Skydiving
Skydiving Is Not as Risky as You Might Believe – Specifically When Compared to Other Daily Risks.

If you are curious about the underlying reasons why tandem skydiving is safer than solo skydiving, make sure to check out my post “Is Tandem Skydiving Safer Than Solo Skydiving?“.

Does Bungee Jumping or Skydiving Have More Accidents?

In total, skydiving has more accidents than bungee jumping, both in terms of absolute numbers and relative comparison. The injury rate for bungee jumping is around 0.004% (one injury per 25,000 jumps), making it 12 times safer than solo skydiving and 13 times safer than tandem skydiving.

When considering the absolute figures, there are approximately 10 bungee jumping accidents annually in the US. This contrasts significantly with the 134 accidents related to tandem skydiving and the 1,550 accidents tied to solo skydiving.

This notable discrepancy is primarily due to the higher injury rates associated with skydiving, along with the considerably greater number of jumps (around 3.4 million jumps) in skydiving compared to bungee jumps (approximately 240,000 jumps).

That being said, again skydiving is also extremely safe. If you are curious about the actual risks of skydiving, make sure to check out my article about the true risks of skydiving. It will give you a mind-blowing, new perspective on the sport!

Is Skydiving or Bungee Jumping Better for the Body?

Skydiving is considered better for the body than bungee jumping due to its positive health effects, including muscle strengthening, improved blood circulation, and the cultivation of mental resilience. While bungee jumping also offers benefits, there is an increased risk of spine and neck injuries.

To learn more, check out my article about the 11 incredible effects of skydiving on your body. I am sure that you want to go skydiving afterward!

Is Bungee Jumping Bad for Your Brain?

There is no scientific evidence that bungee jumping is bad for the brain. In fact, studies have shown positive short-term effects on the brain such as increased brain activity, enhanced arousal, and improved sharpness. Negative effects could occur in cases of neck, head, and spine injuries.

Does Skydiving Feel the Same as Bungee Jumping?

The feelings of skydiving and bungee jumping are different. Bungee jumping gives the sensation of falling as the ground gets closer and your speed increases. Skydiving, in contrast, feels like flying due to the absence of acceleration and the distant ground, making changes in distance hard to perceive.

To elaborate further, skydiving feels like flying, particularly when terminal velocity is reached, due to a combination of factors. Terminal velocity is the point at which the force of gravity pulling you downward is balanced by air resistance pushing against you.

As you fall, you accelerate, but as your speed increases, the air resistance also increases until it becomes equal to gravity’s pull, resulting in a steady falling speed. This equilibrium creates a sensation of gliding or floating through the air rather than experiencing a free fall.

The feeling of weightlessness combined with the air’s gentle support makes the experience akin to flying rather than dropping. This contrast to the intense acceleration and visual cues of proximity to the ground in bungee jumping contributes to the perception of skydiving as a more controlled and tranquil aerial experience, more akin to soaring than plummeting.

In addition, during bungee jumping, the initial drop can lead to a stomach-dropping sensation because you start from a state of zero speed. As you leap, gravity instantly accelerates you downwards, causing that sudden feeling in your stomach.

In contrast, during skydiving, you’re typically exiting an airplane that’s already in motion, so you begin with some forward speed. This initial momentum might contribute to a different physical sensation compared to the immediate acceleration in bungee jumping. To learn more about the underlying mechanics, check out my article about the truth about stomach drops in skydiving.

Is Skydiving or Bungee Jumping More Fun?

There is no objective answer to the question of whether skydiving or bungee jumping is more fun.

As a general rule, bungee jumping is for people who want to have a quick burst of adrenaline and want to challenge themselves with a scary jump. Skydiving is also for thrill seekers but includes potentially life-changing aspects such as the beautiful canopy flight and the free-falling experience.

In other words, if you want to go for a quick refreshing activity, that helps you escape your daily routine, go for bungee jumping. If you’re aiming for a more profound and transformative adventure – something that could potentially alter your perspective on life itself – a tandem skydive might be the better fit.

Do You Throw Up in Bungee Jumping?

In general, it is rare that people throw up during a bungee jump. However, there is a possibility of feeling nauseous, especially for people prone to motion sickness. They might experience a sensation of needing to vomit after the bungee jump due to the intense and rapid motion involved.

The following tips can help to fight your motion sickness and complete your bungee jump without throwing up.

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drinking enough water before the jump helps maintain proper hydration levels. Dehydration can exacerbate feelings of nausea, so make sure you’re adequately hydrated leading up to the activity.
  2. Avoid Heavy Meals: Opt for light and easily digestible meals before bungee jumping or do not eat at all. Heavy or greasy foods can slow down digestion and increase the likelihood of stomach discomfort or nausea during the jump.
  3. Choose the Right Time: Select a time for the jump when you’re feeling your best. If you’re already experiencing any stomach-related issues or discomfort, it’s better to postpone the jump to a time when you’re in better health.
  4. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can contribute to feelings of queasiness, especially during high-intensity activities. It’s advisable to steer clear of these substances before the jump to prevent worsening any potential nausea.
  5. Take Deep Breaths: Slow and deep breathing techniques can help calm your nerves and reduce anxiety, which can contribute to motion sickness. Focusing on your breathing can distract you from any feelings of nausea and promote a sense of relaxation.
  6. Stay Upright After Landing: Once you’ve completed the jump, give your body some time to adjust to the new position. Standing upright or sitting rather than immediately lying down can help prevent or alleviate any lingering sensations of nausea. Allow your body to regain its equilibrium gradually before resuming normal activities.

Is Skydiving or Bungee Jumping More Expensive?

Skydiving is usually more expensive than bungee jumping in the US, depending on the package. The standard tandem skydive costs between $200 and $300 while a bungee jump costs between $110 and $250. However, bungee jumping can cost up to $500 when jumping at special locations and increased heights.

That being said, the cost of tandem skydiving also goes up, if you choose extra videos, jump at special locations, or exceed the weight limit for tandem skydives.

What Are the Requirements for Bungee Jumping and Skydiving?

Solo skydiving entails greater physical requirements compared to bungee jumping. Gaining a valid skydiving license requires a fitness evaluation by an aviation medical examiner. In contrast, tandem skydiving has lower fitness demands as the instructor shoulders the responsibilities of the jump.

You can find an overview of the different requirements below.

SoloTandemBungee Jumping
18 – None18 – NoneNone
(Parental Consent Below 18 Years)
None – 240 lbs (109 kg)None – 220 lbs
(100 kg)
75 – 300 lbs
(35 – 136kg)
5′ 2″ – 6’11”
(157 – 210 cm)
5′ – 6’11”
(152 – 210 cm)
Physical RequirmentsMedical Certificate RequiredAbility to Lift the LegsAverage Fitness
Comparison of Skydiving and Bungee Jumping Requirements

If you want to learn more about this topic, make sure to read my ultimate guide about the true skydiving requirements. It will explain everything that you need to know about skydiving prerequisites.

Can You Be Too Fat to Bungee Jump?

There is a weight limit for bungee jumping, preventing fat people to perform bungee jumps. The most typical weight limit is set between 265-300 pounds (120-136kg), depending on the company. However, there are specialized bungee jumping companies that allow weights of up to 475 pounds (215kg).

That being said, engaging in bungee jumping when dealing with excess weight can increase the potential for injuries. Furthermore, there might be concerns regarding the suitability of the harness.

I strongly recommend proactively reaching out to the bungee jumping company ahead of time to discuss your situation. This ensures a well-prepared and hassle-free experience, and it’s heartening to know that bungee jumping companies are committed to assisting and making the jump as comfortable as possible for everyone.

Do You Fall Faster in Bungee Jumping or Skydiving?

Skydivers fall faster than bungee jumpers due to longer falling time, and increased weight. In skydiving, the typical falling speed is between 120 and 165 mph (193 to 265 km/h) while the speed in bungee jumping lies between 85 and 115 mph (137 to 185 km/h).

Do Bungee Jumpers Reach Terminal Velocity?

It is not possible for bungee jumpers to reach terminal velocity as their uninterrupted falling distance is too short. To reach terminal velocity, the jump length would need to be at least 1,500 ft (450 m) long before the cord is allowed to start breaking the speed.

Deploying a 450-meter cord for bungee jumping is currently not feasible. The weight and bulkiness of the cord could impede jumper mobility and introduce logistical complexities. Longer cords heighten the risk of entanglement with surroundings, compromising the safety of participants.

The extended length could subject the cord to heightened tension, increasing the potential for snapping during descent. Additionally, longer cords lose elasticity, essential for a controlled deceleration, making them less suitable for ensuring a safe landing.

How Fast Do You Fall When Bungee Jumping?

On average, the falling speed in bungee jumping lies between 85 and 115 mph (137 to 185 km/h). The falling speed depends on factors such as falling position, jump length, and weight, with the jump length playing the most significant role.

If you are interested in understanding more about falling speed, make sure to read my article about the distance and time to reach terminal velocity. It explains all the underlying mechanisms and also sheds light on how to increase falling speed.

How Does the Jump Differ From Bungee Jumping and Skydiving?

As a whole, the nature of the jump between bungee jumping and skydiving differs.

In bungee jumping, a quick leap from a fixed point attached to a recoiling bungee cord yields a brief, dynamic fall and rebound. In contrast, skydiving entails aircraft exits at high altitudes, controlled parachute descents, and a longer, controlled free fall, resulting in a smoother landing.

The contrasts between bungee jumping and skydiving extend to the nature of the jump itself. In bungee jumping, participants leap without the presence of an instructor, fostering a direct personal experience. Unlike skydiving, where the initiation of the jump is facilitated, bungee jumping requires active initiation, which can involve confronting and conquering personal fears.

Moreover, bungee jumping typically involves a head-first orientation, differing from the belly-to-earth position commonly seen in skydiving. This unique positioning can induce distinct sensations, as the reversal of blood flow elicits an unfamiliar bodily response. The newfound proximity to the ground amplifies the perception of speed, heightening the awareness of the rapidly approaching ground.

Additionally, the rebound effect in bungee jumping—resulting in a change of flying direction—can trigger motion sickness, a factor not as prevalent in skydiving. This dynamic interplay of factors contributes to the distinct psychological and physiological experiences inherent in these two exhilarating activities.

Where Do You Jump Off During Bungee Jumping?

During bungee jumping, you’re tethered with an elastic to a platform from which you leap. This platform can be situated on structures like bridges, buildings, cliffs, or even unconventional options like cranes and helicopters.

Do You Spend More Time Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?

On average, skydiving requires more time than bungee jumping due to extended ground training, an additional plane ride, and the overall longer duration of the activity. For a tandem skydive, you can assume to spend between 2.5 and 5 hours while bungee jumping only takes between 2 and 3 hours.

So, overall, skydiving takes longer but that still leaves one question: Do you fall longer during skydiving or bungee jumping?

The falling time in skydiving is longer than in bungee jumping. You can expect to fall around 40 to 60 seconds in skydiving and only 5 to 15 seconds in bungee jumping. Following the fall, skydiving provides ~5 minutes of canopy glide, while bungee jumping involves ~2 minutes of hanging on the cord.

For a more detailed breakdown, refer to the table below.

Solo SkydivingTandem SkydiveBungee Jumping
Ground training and briefing5 min20 min5 min
Ariplane ride20 min20 minn.a.
Freefall time40 – 60 sec40 – 60 sec5 – 10 sec
Canopy ride/ hanging time5 min5 min2 min
Wait time, “offboarding” time,
and check-in time
30 min1:45 – 4:15 hrs1:50 – 2:50 hrs
Overall time~1 hrs~2.5 – 5 hrs~2 – 3 hrs
Comparison Between Activity Duration of Skydiving and Bungee Jumping

For solo skydiving, it is important to note, that most skydivers will spend longer at the dropzone than one hour. Not only do they complete multiple jumps per day but they also see the dropzone as a location for socializing with other skydivers.

You might have also realized that there is a huge wait time range for tandem skydiving. This is primarily driven by a huge difference in waiting time between weekdays and weekends. To learn more about these differences and how you can save waiting time, check out my article about the duration of tandem skydiving.

Do You Go Higher With Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?

Skydiving generally involves higher heights than bungee jumping. A typical skydive ranges from 10,000 to 15,000 feet (3,048 to 4,572 meters), while a typical bungee jump occurs at heights between 30 and 50 feet (9 to 15 meters), though operators have been known to go as high as 100 feet (30 meters).

In terms of world records, skydiving beats bungee jumping by a big margin. The world record for skydiving stands at an astonishing 135,898 feet (41,420 meters), showcasing the extreme altitudes achievable in this sport.

In contrast, the world record for bungee jumping is 15,200 feet (4,632 meters), achieved with a 33-foot cord that stretched up to 98ft. Interestingly, the jump was made from a hot air balloon, and after several bounces, the world record holder Curtis Rivers freed himself from the cord and parachuted to the ground.

How Do the Skydiving and Bungee Jumping Community Differ?

With around 41,000 certified skydivers in the US and around 70,000 globally, the skydiving community is much bigger than the bungee jumping community. As bungee jumping is not recognized as an official sport there are no official statistics about the number of regular bungee jumpers.

However, it can be assumed that the bungee jumping community is mostly comprised of bungee jumping instructors and only a few people who do it regularly. That being said, the small bungee community is easygoing and a supportive crowd that wants to support you in overcoming your fears.

The skydiving community also has supportive and friendly vibes – which is one of the reasons why skydiving is great as a hobby. To find out more reasons, refer to my article about the nine reasons why you should start skydiving as a hobby.

That being said, enjoy your freefall!

Guide cover with title: Tandem Skydiving Newbie's Guide
Button Showing the Tandem Skydiving Newbie's Guide

Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

Recent Posts