Although they’re disparate enough, bungee jumping and skydiving receive a lot of comparisons to one another. Some people who have tried both have even said that bungee jumping is the scarier of the two. Is that really the case?
Some people may find bungee jumping scarier than skydiving, but others may not. The scariest aspect appears to be that you’re only attached to a bungee cord and don’t have a parachute to control your descent. Both activities involve heights and can be equally scary!
In this article, we’ll evaluate what makes bungee jumping scary, then do the same with skydiving. This way, we can help you decide once and for all which you may find scarier, so make sure you check it out!
What’s Scary About Bungee Jumping?
Let’s begin by discussing bungee jumping and what jumpers have reported as their top fears.
If you read our article about bridges and platforms for bungee jumping, you’ll recall that you could descend from as little as 400+ feet up or even closer to 1,000 feet. It all depends on the platform you select for your jump.
Even if you’re making a smaller bungee jump, the thought of climbing (or being lifted) 400 feet still fills many people with fear. If you don’t like heights, then your anxiety when bungee jumping will be far more pronounced.
Leaping into the Sky
Once you reach the top of the platform, there’s only one thing left for you to do: jump! Well, you can let yourself fall too, but it’s better to plan your descent if you can and jump off the platform.
As we’ve mentioned on the blog, it goes against the laws of nature and your natural sense of safety to walk off or jump off a small platform.
You’ll have to get over a pretty big mental hurdle to finally let yourself go, especially for your first bungee jump.
Fortunately, you’ll have an instructor by your side the entire time who can guide you and coax you into feeling comfortable enough to jump. That said, it’s truly not easy the first time around!
Not Having a Parachute
Here’s where people’s hackles really rise. When skydiving, at least you have a parachute you can release so you can slowly descend, but that’s not the case with bungee jumping.
You just fall through the sky, which to many, is the scariest part of the entire experience. Ah, maybe so, but it’s also the most exciting part, at least if you can set your fears aside and let yourself enjoy it.
Related Reading: Why Does Bungee Jumping Feel Like?
Only Being Attached to a Bungee Cord
You must trust in your bungee cord when you jump. The cord will release until it’s pulled tight, and you’ll freefall through the sky at high speeds. Then, when you have no more cord left to pull, you stop, bounce, and kind of wait.
Don’t worry, you’re not stuck for long. Depending on the bungee company and where you’re jumping, you’ll have someone pull you back up by the cord, or you’re brought back down to the ground.
Check out my latest bungee jumping experience in California at the Bridge to Nowhere to help you get an idea of what it’s like.
What’s Scary About Skydiving?
Now let’s switch gears and discuss skydiving and why it fills so many people with trepidation.
Do you have a fear of heights? It’s not just bungee jumping you should worry about but skydiving as well.
As mentioned in the section above, you’re only several hundred feet up when bungee jumping, maybe 1,000 feet, but generally not much higher than that. Since you leap from the sky when skydiving from a helicopter, you can afford to ascend far more!
The average distance for diving is at least 10,000 feet, but it can sometimes be as great as 14,000 feet!
Having to Jump from a Plane
Do some skydivers love the prospect of leaping from a plane? Absolutely! It makes them feel like they’re in a spy movie, and who doesn’t want to live out that fantasy?
However, for others, that you have to leap from a moving vehicle while the scenery below you (mostly just clouds at your altitude) continues to pass by at a dizzying rate can make skydiving quite the terrifying activity.
Deploying Your Parachute
Your skydiving instructor will give you precise instructions on how releasing your parachute, but your fear and anxiety can make you forget all that information once you’re up thousands of feet in the air.
Even if you remember what to do, there’s a difference between hearing the information and successfully releasing your parachute.
Since it’s sort of a matter of life and death, the urgency around deploying your parachute makes it among the most difficult and scary parts of skydiving.
Making a Safe Landing
As your parachute lifts into the sky and inflates with air, you’ll begin graciously slowing down. Even still, your skydiving experience hasn’t ended yet. You still have to bring yourself to the ground without getting stuck in power lines or a tree.
This additional responsibility can make skydiving feel very terrifying.
Is Bungee Jumping Scarier Than Skydiving?
Now that we’ve looked at what’s scary about bungee jumping and skydiving respectively, it’s time to delve deeper into the question from the intro. Is bungee jumping scarier than skydiving, or is it the other way around?
Both have scary elements, so we’ll say it comes down to your personal preferences.
If you’re afraid of heights and that’s what has held you back from skydiving or bungee jumping, then you will more than likely find skydiving scarier. You jump from much greater heights when skydiving than bungee jumping.
Remember also that you’re leaping from a moving plane rather than a stationary platform. That just adds to your anxiety, and rightfully so.
If you’re nervous about having to remember to do a lot to make the experience go smoothly, then once again, skydiving is scarier. You have to release your parachute at the right time and guide yourself down.
By comparison, when bungee jumping, you don’t really have to remember anything. Well, except that you should be ready for some recoil.
Granted, you can always skydive with an instructor, and they’ll manually release your parachute for you. That erases the trepidation that you’ll do it incorrectly, wait too long to release the parachute, or that the parachute won’t open when you need it to.
Most jumpers feel safer with a parachute than a bungee cord, and that’s why they find bungee jumping scarier.
Putting all your faith in a stretchy piece of rope does require a lot of trust. You may worry the line will snap when you jump, even though that’s highly unlikely. There’s a reason you’re weighed ahead of your jump, and that’s to ensure the bungee cord can hold your weight.
Bungee jumping is a fairly safe sport. Check out how safe here.
Of course, there’s no reasoning with anxiety. If you’re terrified that the bungee cord could snap and you can’t move beyond that, you might be more willing to go skydiving. Then again, you could find skydiving just as scary.
That comes with its own set of fears, after all, such as the one mentioned above that the parachute won’t open when you need it to. Parachute failure is again unlikely, of course.
Still, it’s all about the controlled descent. You can stop that freefalling feeling whenever you want to when skydiving (within reason), but you can’t when bungee jumping. You’re at the mercy of the bungee cord.
How Do You Get Over Your Fears and Go Bungee Jumping? 5 Tips to Follow
Despite everything you’ve read, you’re still interested in bungee jumping. However, you have no earthly idea how you’re going to overcome your anxiety and go through with it.
Well, we’re here to make it easier. The following collection of tips will help you banish your fears to the backburner to the best of your abilities.
Don’t Book Your Jump Too Far in Advance
Our best piece of advice when planning a bungee jump is to put it out of your head.
If you plan the jump months from now, that gives you weeks and weeks to ruminate about what could happen, especially what could go wrong.
We’ve mentioned this before, but when it comes to high-stakes activities like bungee jumping, you can easily let your fears build up in your head way past an unreasonable and realistic degree.
You’ll feel paralyzed with fear and might even cancel the jump.
Try to plan a bungee jump for the same week you’re scheduling it. If you can lock in your jump with 24 or 48 hours’ notice, that’s even better!
Bring a Buddy
Tandem bungee jumping could be just what you need if you can’t muster up the courage to jump alone.
You’ll have another buddy with you the entire time so you can experience the fun of bungee jumping together (and yes, the fear as well!).
Bringing someone else with you adds a sense of accountability. Neither of you will want to cancel, even if you’re scared about jumping, because you don’t want to disappoint the other.
You can also confide in one another about your fears, alleviating your anxieties together.
Never Look Down
We would recommend this tip if you’re skydiving too. Whether it’s hundreds of feet up or thousands, the view never looks pretty. Instead, it will make you dizzy with anxiety, or is that nausea?
Just look in front of you as you prepare for your bungee jump. You can even close your eyes as you descend off the platform, but you’re doing yourself a disservice that way. You’re missing all the sights from your special vantage point.
You might never be in this spot again, after all, so you should milk it for all it’s worth.
That said, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you find it easier to close your eyes, then do what works for you.
Remind Yourself It Goes Fast
When you’re finally off the platform and in the sky, the moment can feel like it lasts forever. It’s almost as though time has slowed down.
In reality, the freefalling part of the bungee-jumping experience lasts for maybe 60 seconds. That’s right, it’s only a minute, and then it’s over!
Even if you were really scared of something, if you were told you only had to do it for a minute, that wouldn’t sound so bad, would it? Probably not. After all, a minute goes so fast in most instances.
As scared as you may feel at the moment, just tell yourself it’ll be over in a flash, because it will!
Try to Have Fun!
Don’t treat bungee jumping like a death sentence, as then you’ll never enjoy it. You won’t give yourself the chance.
Instead, accept that you’re nervous, but try not to let your fears dominate everything. Keep yourself open to the possibility of fun, especially once you jump from the platform and begin freefalling.
That’s the most fun part of bungee jumping, and if you don’t let yourself enjoy it, you might feel disappointed in your experience as a whole.
Whether you find bungee jumping or skydiving scarier will undoubtedly come down to a matter of personal preference. Both sports involve jumping from tall heights and freefalling in the sky, even if that part only lasts for about a minute.
What most people find scariest about bungee jumping is how you do it sans parachute. You have to rely on the bungee cord and hope it won’t snap. That doesn’t happen often at all, especially when you choose a high-quality bungee company.
The staff at the company should inspect the bungee cord with every jump and weigh you before your jump to ensure the cord can hold your weight.
If you want to go bungee jumping despite your fears, we commend you. The tips we presented should help you ease your nerves.
Remember above all else to try to go into it and have a good time. As scary as many people report bungee jumping to be, they also say it’s a lot of fun!