There are more than two hundred sports and activities that you can do outdoors — it’s not hard to get confused.
On this page, we collect and categorize them to help you navigate through all their diversity, starting from the 20+ major sports for which the Windy.app was created in the first place. Here they are divided into four groups:
Land and snow sports
It is customary to combine sports into several other groups like this, depending on the weather elements, season, equipment and other features. To the list above we can add also wind sports, extreme sports, endurance sports, and several other groups.
A sportsmen themselves are commonly called as outdoor enthusiasts, outdoorsy and outdoorsmen, or sometimes woodsmen or bushmen, which comes from the fact that hiking is the most common outdoor activity, as well as going to the woods or mountains in general with various purposes.
As we planned, later this page will turn into a small encyclopedia with the purpose to give you the basic and most useful information needed to begin doing this or that sport, or which will help you to become better at it or go to the next level. We also hope that this encyclopedia will inspire you to try a second or maybe a third sport.
So navigate through the diversity outdoor activities and follow the links to read in-depth guides to the individual types of sports.
Austin Neill / Unsplash
Kitesurfing is a water and wind year-round summer sport and outdoor activity. In kitesurfing, you move on the board under the action of the traction force of the kite. Therefore, the wind is a must for this sport. With enough wind, you can steer the kite to get more power and move upwind or downwind.
Windsurfing is a water and wind year-round sport and outdoor activity. In windsurfing, you move on the surf board under the action of the traction force of the sail. Therefore, the wind is a must for this sport. A sail in windsurfing is almost the same as a sail in yachting. Well, almost. It looks a bit different.
Windboarding (winter windsurfing)
Surfing is an extreme year-round sport and one of the most popular water outdoor activities in the world. Since 2021, it has become an Olympic sport. In surfing, you ride on a board on the big waves (swell). Then different types of boards are used for different types of surfing: from longboards about 3 meters long to small boards called handplane which are slightly larger than a palm.
Short board surfing
Wing foiling (wind surfing)
Sailing is a type of yachting, a kind of year-round water and wind sport and outdoor activity. In sailing, you ride on the water in a sailing boat due to the power of the wind. The crew, which may include one or more people, controls the sails into which the wind blows. Due to this, the yacht tacks — moves in a zigzag in the right direction, including against the wind.
Yachting is a year-round water and wind sport and outdoor activity. In yachting, you move on the water — a river or lake, sea, or an ocean — on a vessel called a yacht. Yachts can be with sails — this activity is called sailing, or with a motor engine — this is called powerboating. Yachts can be used for competition, short boat trips, or long cruises. People who go in for yachting are called yachtsmen.
Kayaking is a year-round water sport and outdoor activity in a single or double boat with oars. In kayaking, you move on a small boat made of carbon, polyethylene, or fiberglass. There’re also inflatable kayaks that are easy to transport. You move in a kayak due to the oars with which you row, as well as due to the flow of water or waves.
Standup paddle boarding, or SUP boarding, or SUP surfing is mostly summer water sport and outdoor activity. You could say it's a mixture of surfing and kayaking in lighter versions of both. To ride a SUP, you just stand on a special large flat board, take a paddle and start rowing, you don’t need any special training or special skills.
Icefishing (winter fishing)
Hook fishing (angling)
High diving (cliff diving, cliff jumping)
Ty Koh / Unsplash
Paragliding is an extreme year-round sport and outdoor activity. In paragliding, you fly in the air on a special non-powered aircraft. You sit in a harness or lie supine in a cocoon-like bag suspended below a wing controlled by slings. However, to start paragliding, a beginner needs a lot of preparation.
Wing suit flying
General aviation is non-commercial aviation, which doesn't affect the agricultural, medical, and administrative purposes of flights. Private amateur flights are made in a wide variety of aircraft: light and ultralight aircraft, sport aircraft, homebuilt aircraft, gyroplane, small turboprops, jets, and gliders. You can become an amateur pilot at special practical courses — they are organized on the basis of flight educational institutions.
Light and ultra-light aircraft aviation
Electric aircraft aviation
Drones are a new kind of transportation and a year-round outdoor activity in the air using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is aircraft without any human pilot, crew, or passengers on board. In the case of drones as a sport and recreational activity — these are small flying machines: the smallest fits in the palm of your hand, for storage and transportation of standard drones you need a separate small suitcase.
Tommy Lisbin / Unsplash
Skiing is a winter and snow extreme sport and outdoor activity. In skiing, you use special boots fastened firmly into the skis and ride in the forest (cross-country skiing) or down the slope (Alpine skiing or skiing). Both main types of skiing are included in the program of the Winter Olympic Games. The latter includes five sports disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, combined.
Alpine skiing (downhill skiing)
Freeride skiing (freeriding)
Backcountry skiing (off-piste skiing)
Ski touring (Alpine touring, excludes ski lifts or transport)
Ski mountainering (skialpinism, skimo)
Heliskiing (helicopter insted of ski lift)
Ski jumping (after sliding down from a curved ramp)
Snowboarding is an extreme winter snow sport and outdoor activity. In snowboarding, you go down a snow-covered slope on a special board with bindings. While riding, you are rigidly attached to the board and is always in the same position. You control your movement, trajectory, and speed by shifting your weight to the back or front of the board. Snowboarding is part of the Winter Olympics.
Big Air snowboarding
Snowboard cross (Boardercross)
Cycling is a year-round sport and outdoor activity, for which the bicycle is used. The basis of any bicycle is the triangular frame, as well as the saddle, handlebars, and pedals. There’re many types of bikes, depending on the conditions and tasks of riding: road, cyclo-cross, mountain bikes, track cycling, BMX, cycle speedway, and even artistic cycling, cycle polo, and more.
Road bike climbing
Bike freestyle jumping
Electric biking or ebiking (e-biking) is a year-round sport, outdoor activity, and way of life. In electric biking, you ride a bicycle equipped with an electric motor that provides additional power while pedaling. Therefore, riding an ebike, especially uphill, is much easier for a rider than on a regular bike without a motor.
Hiking or trekking is a type of year-round walking outdoor activity when you follow an easy route for one day in the nature. In hiking, you don’t need any special equipment — just dress for the weather. But if you regularly plan to make small hikes, then we recommend that you purchase suitable light clothing and, most importantly, comfortable shoes in which you can go all day on rough terrain.
Fastpacking (trail running plus ultralight backpacking)
Coasteering (coastal walking)
7 summits climbing
Caving (cave exploration)
Zip line riding
Running is a type of year-round outdoor activity and one of the most popular spots in the world on par with soccer and swimming. You don’t need any special equipment for running — just dress for the weather. In addition to the usual running in the city or park, running as an outdoor activity includes such types as trail running, sky running, ultra running, vertical running, and others. It is also included in triathlon and other multisports.
Ultra running (long distance running)
High line (high altitude slack line)
Patrick Janser / Unsplash
Multisport is a year-round sport and outdoor activity for competitive purposes. It is also an Olympic discipline. During multisport, you participate in several sports at once, one at a time. For example, in a triathlon, perhaps its most popular multisport, you first swim 300 meters in the open water, then ride a bike for 8 km, and then run 2 km.
Triathlon: swimming, cycling, running
Cross triathlon: swimming, mountain biking, trail running
Duathlon: running, cycling, running
Cross duathlon: mountain biking, trail running
Swimrun: multiple swim and run
Aquathlon: swimming, running
Biathle: running, swimming, running
Biathlon: cross-country skiing, rifle shooting
Aquabike: swimming, cycling
Quadrathlon: swimming, kayaking, cycling, running
Rowathlon: indoor rowing, cycling, running
Winter triathlon: running, cycling, cross-country skiing
Winter quadrathlon: cycling, running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing
Exploration is a type of outdoor activity to discover and research new territories, paths, information, resources and so on. Geographically, exploration usually refers to the Age of Exploration or the Age of Discovery — the discovery of new lands by Europeans from the 15th to the 17th centuries. But since man discovered almost everything on earth, the term has come to mean discovering new information and gaining new life experiences for scientific and personal purposes.
North pole expedition
Training in the nature (outdoor fitness)
Nature and wildlife photography
Avalanche and mountain rescue
Natural science is a year-round outdoor activity to study nature and its various phenomena, during which you describe it, understand and try to predict. Natural science is based on empirical data from observations and experiments, which are conducted not only in a laboratory, but rather in nature during field research (field studies, fieldwork) — another concept with which this term is closely related.
Journalist (field reporter)
National Park Service ranger
Sea capital (ship's captain, shipmaster)
Fire lookout (fire watcher)
Updated on March 24, 2022
Text: Ivan Kuznetsov, an outdoor journalist, editor and writer from the Dolomites, Italy, and Karelia, Finland, with 10 years of professional experience. His favorite sports are hiking, cycling and sauna. Read his other articles. Other Windy.app team authors contributed to this guide
Cover photo: Arctic Guesthouse Igloos / Unsplash