Everyone knows of the most popular hobbies and that’s because they’re pretty much thrust in our face through media outlets, in the news, and maybe even your friends talk about them too.
Unconventional, unique, and flat-out weird hobbies allow us to break away from that norm and can really help us get to grips with defining ourselves in a unique way.
Heck, maybe you don’t care about defining yourself and maybe you’re just curious to try something totally new.
Whatever the case may be, unconventional hobbies allow us to explore forgotten pastimes or activities that float on the outskirts of pop culture.
Get Comfortable With the Unconventional: 25 Hobbies That Float Outside the Norm
Everyone knows a woodworker, builder, and maybe even an upholsterer, however, it’s very unlikely you know many blacksmiths.
That’s because blacksmithing is a dwindling trend and is something that only held real relevance throughout history due to the need for armor and weaponry to fight wars.
Most metalworking is done en masse in large factories with the use of machines and giant forges these days rather than being a product of a single craftsman working away in his shop.
With that said, if you’re curious to try something unconventional then blacksmithing can be an excellent hobby to do just that.
Not only is blacksmithing fun (and nuanced), but it can also become a great hustle for you to make some extra money and possible even replace your full-time job if you become good enough.
Most blacksmiths these days specialize in decorative pieces such as replica weaponry, such as from movies and games, but can also find success in selling letter openers or keyrings too.
Whilst cosplay is a growing industry and has millions of fans across the world, it still remains something discussed on the outskirts of society — in essence, it’s a fringe activity that requires a real niche interest to be enjoyable.
In fact, cosplay fits nicely in our list of unconventional activities and that’s because it requires a mix of acting, creativity, and a certain degree of exhibitionism which most people usually find uncomfortable or don’t gravitate to naturally.
For the people who enjoy it, they often cite being able to play their favorite movie or game characters as one of the top reasons to engage in cosplay; basically, it gives the person a sense of escapism that often isn’t easy to achieve in day-to-day life.
As well as that, there are plenty of cosplay events that are hosted all around the world every year which means you can show off your costumes and can meet other likeminded people to make friends with.
Mukbang is a Korean word that basically means “to engage in video-streamed eating sessions and/or pre-recorded eating sessions” and in fact, it’s one of the internet’s top growing sensations across the world.
You might ask why someone would want to stream themselves eating or binging on foods, however, there’s definitely a market for it and some of the top mukbang enthusiasts can make millions in ad revenue and sponsorships.
In fact, we’ve talked about eating as a hobby before and we even explored its relationship with mukbang and how that has helped to solidify its position as a true hobby that people can enjoy.
If you’re not sure what to expect then it’s worth doing a quick video search on YouTube and you’ll soon become accustomed to this wild pastime.
4. Competitive Eating
Competitive eating, not to be confused with the previously mentioned mukbang, is something that people engage in every year around the world where they attempt to beat the record for eating a certain amount of food in a specific amount of time.
It’s something that’s relatively niche, but still manages to capture the attention of the wider world every now and again through various media publications where a man or woman attempts to down dozens of hotdogs in just a few minutes.
Competitive eaters swear that there’s a technique to becoming a fast eater and they regularly use the assistance of water to mush up their food — in fact, some of the best competitive eaters are women who weigh less than 120lbs meaning basically anyone can try it and achieve relative success.
We must emphasize, however, competitive eating can be a dangerous activity even if you’re relatively practiced at it and it’s not unusual for people to choke whilst trying to gorge food too quickly, so make sure to exercise extreme caution.
Scrapbooking is something that had seen a good amount of time in the limelight, especially through much of the 1900s and early 2000s, however, it’s since fell out of favor for more convenient forms of memory preservation such as social media, cloud storage, and even digital scrapbooking apps too.
In essence, scrapbooking mainly involves collating different pieces of visual information that link to different parts of your life that can be placed in your scrapbook to help you recollect certain events.
A good example is if you went through a certain musical phase in your teens — your scrapbook would serve as a conduit to relive those memories whereby you may want to include band/music cutouts from magazines, tickets from gigs you attended, and even signatures from the different band folk you met.
Depending on how old or young you are, you may be aware how bad the human memory is at reliving certain past events especially when it relates to the state of mind you were in at the time; scrapbooking can help us do that more effectively.
6. Lock Picking
We’ve talked about lockpicking as a hobby before, however, we thought it deserved an honorable mention on our list of unconventional activities.
When we talk about lock picking as a hobby, we don’t mean engaging in the illegal kind of lock picking where thieves attempt to break into other people’s property, no, what we mean is the kind where you can buy lock picking puzzle kits in an attempt to open the lock.
It’s a relatively niche area where puzzles are concerned, however, it does offer you a different dynamic especially since locks are three-dimensional (in format) which means you’ll have to use unique skills like spatial reasoning to overcome them.
7. LARP (Live-action Role Playing)
Live-action role-playing, or LARP, as it’s more commonly known as is a hobby that helps people engage in living out their fantasies as famous characters, or even as a knight or archer where they can engage in giant battles with others.
In essence, LARP has you playing out fantasy scenarios in the real world with potentially hundreds of other people.
You can have large scale battles, kings, queens, and even a fully operational hamlet whereby you live with others.
In a LARP event, everyone has a role to play — similar to real life, different roles come with different perks and drawbacks that play an influence throughout the whole experience.
It’s possible to ascend from basic roles depending on how influential you are, however, it’s also possible to be toppled from a position of seniority if you’re not committed enough.
LARP is great for people who want something to invest their time in and so they can live out fantasies that probably wouldn’t be possible anymore or might be too fantastical for real life.
Next on our unconventional list is yo-yoing, which may or may not surprise some people to be seen here.
As a pastime, yo-yoing was relatively popular at different points throughout the past century, however, is now seen as a fringe activity and even kids aren’t playing with them as much anymore.
The reasons for yo-yoing becoming unconventional are manifold, however, we think it’s mainly linked to video games stealing the interest of young minds and the fact that yo-yoing is typically seen as a “childish” activity that puts most grown-ups off it.
With that said, yo-yoing is still performed competitively as a sport and it’s also quite common to be performed as part of street routines too.
9. Pole Dancing
Pole dancing, sometimes practiced as “pole fitness”, is a hobby that women and even some men engage in as a form of artistic expression and as a way to stay in good physical condition.
It’s still an underrated art form and/or sport mainly due to its stereotyped links with the criminal underworld, and also for the fact it’s still seen as an X-rated activity by many people.
With that said, it’s definitely seen more time in the spotlight over the past ten years and we can easily envision a future where it becomes part of the competitive sporting circle and maybe even in the Olympics at some point.
At it’s peak, pole fitness is as hard as professional calisthenics and gymnastics so you’ll need to be on top form if you want to get good.
Pyrography, also known as wood burning, is a form of woodworking where you’ll be making various forms of art or creating certain textures by burning the wood you’re using.
You can make decorative lettering with a burnt effect for signs and you can even make “charcoal” style tables that can be coated with epoxy to create a unique furniture piece for your home.
As a skill, it remains unconventional because most people don’t take to burning good pieces of lumber without worry about the effects it might have (it’s not exactly an intuitive activity burning flammable material).
11. Hikaru Dorodango (Mudball Making/Polishing)
Hikaru Dorodango is a hobby that you probably have trouble saying, never mind contending with the fact you’ve never heard of it before.
Essentially, it’s a Japanese-based hobby, however, it’s managed to establish popularity across the world in small niche circles.
In case you’re wondering, Hikaru Dorodango is the skill of “mudball polishing” whereby you’ll take dirt from the local area, make it into a “cake”, and then start slowly polishing it down into a perfect sphere.
Once you’ve perfected your sphere, you’ll use various agents (such as wax) to create an almost marble-like textured ball — they’re quite mesmerizing to look at and some even resemble the palantír from Lord of the Rings.
The best thing about this hobby is that you can take dirt from different places all around the world to create a sort of memento and they all look completely unique depending on the make-up of the soil.
12. Element Collecting
If you’re a fan of all things science then you may have contended with the idea of working with different chemical elements at some point throughout your life to perform experiments or just to prove something.
Elements are curious things because they offer completely unique interactions and properties unlike anything else.
Heck, a good few elements can only be made during certain stages of a star’s life cycle meaning you’ll be collecting pieces of history from the birth of our solar system.
As tantalizing a prospect that is, element collecting still remains a relatively unconventional hobby and in most cases, you’ll never be able to collect everything you want due to the dangers of certain materials.
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter then you’ll have recognized this hobby straight away.
Quidditch is the sport that Harry and his teammates play in the Harry Potter book series/movie series which sees him whizzing around on his broomstick in an attempt to catch the golden snitch (as a Seeker) to win his team the game.
Whilst all this is happening, the rest of the team are attempting to score goals in a more traditional sense where you’ll have chasers (score the goals), keepers (guard the goals), and beaters who attempt to disrupt the game by using a different type of ball called a “bludger” to stop players in their tracks.
Believe it or not, Quidditch has actually been made into a real team-based sport and is played around the world in niche circles.
It’s closely based on the real game played in the book, however, you won’t see anyone flying around on broomsticks — magic doesn’t exist unfortunately.
Rafting is another fairly “out there” hobby that has you making hand-built rafts to traverse various bodies of water in your local area or even around your country.
In fact, rafts have almost always been built out of necessity to cross lakes and rivers rather than being used for pastimes, however, we’ve seen an uptrend in people wanting to get out in nature and rafting is the perfect way to do that.
There’s no absolute way to make a raft and you’ll find tons of informational and video-based guides online if you’re not sure where to start.
As an added point, it’s worth consulting with your local governments office regarding the laws when travelling in open water as you may need a permit
It would also be prudent to practice good water safety by making sure you have a life jacket and you’re notifying others of what you’re doing in case anything should happen.
If you have a penchant for the downright weird or unconventional then taxidermy will be right up your street as a hobby.
In case you didn’t know, taxidermy is the skill of bringing dead animal bodies back to life — not literally that is.
Taxidermy is mostly considered as a form of art where your job will be to make the dead animal look as lifelike as possible which is usually done for pet owners to make the owner feel like their furry friend is still with them.
Taxidermists also see work within the museum industry as their skills are often used to make different animal attractions look as realistic and lifelike as possible.
16. Speed Skating
Speed skating is a relatively unconventional sporting hobby where competitors will attempt to race each other in an ice rink wearing ice skates and aerodynamic suits to prevent drag.
Believe it or not, before speed skating reached its peak of being part of the Olympics it was actually used as a mode of transport to traverse iced-over lakes or rivers.
Although the sport has seen an increase in popularity since joining the Olympics, it still remains a niche pastime mainly down to the fact that not many places around the world have ice or ice rinks to practice on for that matter.
17. Toy Voyaging
Next up on our list is toy voyaging which is actually one of our favorite unconventional hobbies.
Essentially, instead of sending yourself around the world (which is quite expensive), you’ll be sending your toy around the world to visit different places.
You may ask, how does that work?
Well, toy voyagers mutually agree with each other from around the world to swap toys and to take them to different places whereby they’ll be snapping lots of pictures as proof of where the toy has been.
That may seem weird at first, however, it is quite an interesting thought to know that your toy has been to all these different exotic places from around the world.
Foraging is something that humans have been doing for thousands of years, however, it’s only been in our recent past that this has become almost redundant to the point where it’s now considered a niche hobby rather than something of a necessity.
As an activity, foraging still serves a purpose for people who enjoy organically grown foods but it can also come in handy when combined with other hobbies such as survival or prepping.
Depending on your location, you’ll be able to forage for a wide variety of foods such as berries, fruits, mushrooms, and even medicinal plants.
It’s highly recommended before foraging for foods that you do heavy research into what’s edible and what’s not as it’s very easy to mistake certain plants or mushrooms for other kinds that could easily be poisonous.
Geocaching has taken off in recent years but is still a relatively unconventional hobby that not many people have heard of.
It’s origins can be traced back to other hobbies such as letterboxing where a person or organization will hide a variety of prizes or trinkets around their city (usually in letterboxes) for people to find.
Similarly, geocaching also follows the same structure, however, the hiding places are often more extensive and can even be found buried underground.
If you think that sounds like fun then there’s actually an official geocaching website including an app you can download where people are constantly uploading different geocaching missions for you to embark on.
There’s no set way to do it, however, most people use the GPS on their smartphone to assist with navigation, but we also recommend taking a friend or two along to make the event more fun.
20. Tape Art
Art is an interesting area of expertise and that’s because its devotees are constantly surprising us with novel ways to achieve or express artistic desires.
With that said, tape art is probably one of the most interesting and unusual forms of art because you’re literally using the tape from inside a cassette to make a picture or abstract piece of art.
The best way to describe it is that it’s similar to doing “one-line art” where you basically draw an image in one line without stopping.
There’s lots of looping involved to create your eventual image but that’s where most tape artists get their satisfaction from; it’s as much a puzzle (and a challenge) as it is a way to express yourself.
21. Train Surfing
If you’re looking to combine unconventional with deadly then train surfing is the de facto hobby to do that.
If you pictured a man standing on top of a train kind of like he was surfing on it then you’ve basically hit the nail on the head.
Train surfing is the hobby of riding the outside of a train as a form of thrill-seeking and for entertainment.
It’s totally illegal and has even lead to numerous deaths over the years; you might have even seen some news articles published at some point commenting on this niche pastime.
With that said, it hasn’t stopped thousands of adrenaline junkies from trying this pastime in completely defiance of the law and good judgment.
If there’s something not to try then this is definitely it!
22. News Raiding
Do you ever watch the news and think “that man in the background seems to be lingering an awfully long-time”?
If so, then you might be watching a “news raider” at work: essentially, it’s the pastime of figuring out when (and where) live news events are going to be filmed and turning up to stand in the background.
In fact, one man, Paul Yarrow, is so prolific when it comes to the activity of news raiding that he’s become a sort of meme or cult hero for news raiders all across the world.
23. Extreme Ironing
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush but think you’ve seen it all then think again.
Extreme ironing is the next entrant in the list of adrenaline-seeking hobbies where you’ll be doing your ironing in some of the deadliest places known such as on cliff faces and even whilst doing a sky dive.
In case you’re wondering what the origins of this mystifying pastime are, it was a guy called Phil Shaw from the UK who started it by doing his ironing in his back yard on his days off as he couldn’t think of anything better to do.
24. Competitive Dog Grooming
Dog grooming has taken off in the business world, however, there’s also a niche part of that pastime where people will “competitively” groom their dogs in weird and wonderful ways.
Not only will they be grooming their dogs with funky hairstyles, but they’ll also take to dying them lots of different colors to make them stand out.
You may think this is a cruel pastime, though, the dog groomers themselves usually treat their dogs with the utmost care aside from making them look a little weird.
In fact, if you’re serious enough about your dog grooming skills then you can even have them scored at different competitive dog grooming events around the world.
25. Finger Knitting
As far as cost-effectiveness and unconventional goes, finger knitting ticks both of those boxes.
Essentially, you’ll be weaving different materials like wool and yarn without the need for the physical tools such as needles or hooks.
You’ll be using your fingers and wrapping the material around them in specific ways to create a rope-like quality which can eventually be woven into bigger garments such as leg warmers, hats, and gloves.
In case you’re not sure where to start then we recommend checking out YouTube as there are tons of quality videos showing you how to get going.
Unconventional hobbies let us exercise our need for uniqueness and to establish a strong identity.
Hopefully, you’ll now have a better idea of what hobbies are considered unconventional and how you can get involved in them.
As a reminder, this is only a taste of the hobbies out there and we highly recommend checking out our massive list of hobbies for more ideas.
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