Special Report

The Most Expensive Hobbies

Grant Suneson, Samuel Stebbins

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11. Paintballing

Paintballing is a sport that typically involves two teams made up of players equipped with paintball guns, or markers, competing in a designated area with the object of shooting, or tagging, opposing players with a paintball to eliminate them.

While a popular option for parties, paintball is also for many a regular hobby. It is not cheap, however. Those trying out the game or playing for a bachelor or birthday party can typically rent equipment at a paintball facility. But those who want to play more regularly or on private property where rentals are not available will need to make a relatively large investment in all the necessary equipment. This includes a paintball gun and hopper, a protective face mask, and a compressed air tank — which can all be bought individually and range in price, but there are all inclusive starter packs available for about $200. Paintballs themselves are also expensive, often selling for about $20 per 1,000.

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12. Drone racing

Drone racing is exactly what it sounds like — flying unmanned robots around a course, trying to beat fellow drone racers to the finish line. The first modern drone that resembles what people use today became commercially available in 2010, and the best models have consistently improved since then. In theory, any drone could be raced against other drones like it. But a top of the line racing drone, like those used in the Drone Racing League, costs over $500.

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13. Biking

Biking is a popular hobby, attractive to many as it is not only fun, but also a healthy form of exercise. There are many different types of cycling, including single track mountain biking, downhill mountain biking, and road biking. Each of these ways to enjoy bicycling requires a specific kind of bike. Bicycles can range in cost from several hundred dollars to well over $10,000, depending on quality and performance. After purchasing the necessary equipment, which in addition to the bike itself will include a helmet, and likely appropriate riding outerwear and a bike rack, cycling can be enjoyed for little or no cost. The exception is for downhill riders who go to ski mountains and pay to use a chair lift to get to the top of the mountain.

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14. Woodworking

In the olden days, all woodworking was done with little more than wood, axes, and elbow grease. But modern woodworkers rely on expensive machinery to help speed up their projects, as well as make them more accurate. Even the most rudimentary woodworking typically requires hand tools and a power drill, which altogether can cost up to $300 — not including the wood itself. Woodworkers can add hundreds more dollars to their hobby by adding in basic power tools like saws, lathes, and sanders.

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15. Photography

For the average person, the cameras on smartphones are more than enough to snap the occasional photograph. But for those who want to take photography more seriously as a hobby, the equipment can get expensive. An entry level digital single-lens reflex camera, or DSLR, has a much wider range of capabilities than a standard point and shoot, and typically costs several hundred dollars. Different camera lenses specially made for specific shots, like a distant zoom or portrait, can also cost several hundred dollars and often well over $1,000. Unlike many hobbies on this list, however, once a hobbiest has made the initial investment in the necessary equipment, photography can be enjoyed for little or no cost.