Hof was born in Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands as one of nine children. When he was 17 he felt a sudden urge to jump into the freezing cold water of the Beatrixpark canal.
Hof holds 26 world records, including one for longest ice bath. In 2007 he climbed to 7200m/23600 feet altitude at Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes, but failed to reach the summit due to a recurring foot injury. In 2008 he broke his previous world record by staying immersed in ice for 1 hour, 13 minutes and 48 seconds at Guinness World Records 2008. The night before, he performed the feat on the Today Show.
In February 2009 Hof reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro within two days wearing only shorts. Hof completed a marathon above the arctic circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F). Dressed in nothing but shorts, Hof finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes.
In 2011 Hof again broke the ice endurance record by standing fully immersed in ice for 1 hour and 44 minutes in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2011 Hof broke the ice endurance record twice, in Inzell in February and in New York City in November, setting a new Guinness World Record of 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds. In September, Hof ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water, under the supervision of Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels