Paintball can be a lot of fun, but you need to make sure you have the right gear. In fact, choosing clothing is one of the most important parts of preparing for a game of paintball.
There is a lot to consider when deciding what to wear. You need to think about the terrain, the weather conditions, and the protection offered by the clothes you choose. Whether you are new to paintball or have already been out in the field a few times, take the time to ensure you are properly protected.
What to Wear for Paintball – Protection from Head to Toe
All areas of your body need protection. One of the first rules of dressing for paintball is ensuring you do not have exposed skin. Paintballs can travel more than 200 miles per hour and hit anywhere on your body. From head to toe, you should have some form of protection. This includes the following articles of clothing:
· Shirts and jackets
· Extra padding
Headwear for Paintball
Start with your head. A helmet or face mask that is specifically designed for paintball is a must. When choosing a helmet or face mask, make sure it offers a tight fit, yet still feels comfortable. It should not slide or move when you jump around or run.
Depending on the type of helmet or mask you choose, you may also need a pair of goggles – if the headgear does not already have built-in eye protection. Thermal lenses are preferable as they do not fog up. You want to have an unobstructed view of your surroundings.
Shirts and Jackets
Next, think about the shirt or jacket that you will wear. Remember, paintballs can cause welts and bruises without proper protection. For your upper body, wear layers. This allows you to easily adjust your attire to the weather conditions.
For your first layer, wear a long sleeve shirt. This shirt does not need to be anything special – just a regular shirt. On top of your long sleeve shirt, add one or two other layers of comfortable clothing. This could include another shirt, a hoodie, or even a lightweight jacket. If you are worried about protecting your neck, you could wear a turtleneck sweater or shirt as one of your lower layers.
If you find that two to three layers of clothing are not enough protection for your upper body, purchase padded shirts. Several companies manufacture padded tops that are similar in style to compression shirts – with durable Kevlar or plastic pads lining the chest, stomach, shoulders, and possibly the arms.
Choosing the Right Pants for Paintball
After selecting your upper body wear, find the right pants. The best option is to simply wear two pairs of sweatpants. This should offer optimal protection for your legs, without limiting your mobility. Though, some paintball players wear jumpsuits.
Protection for Your Hands
Gloves are an accessory that is easy to overlook, yet are incredibly necessary. There are gloves made specifically for paintball, but if you already have a pair of football gloves or thick gardening gloves – you should have sufficient protection.
Proper Footwear for Paintball
As with any sport, proper footwear is essential. A comfortable pair of sneakers is recommended. Ankle injuries are fairly common, due to the running, diving, and rolling around. By wearing high-quality sneakers, you can limit your chances of injury. For playing in muddy terrain, soccer or football cleats can give you added traction.
Extra Padding and Protection
In addition to the clothing listed, you should also think about extra padding. If you need to quickly drop to your knees or crawl along the ground, you are going to want added padding for your knees and elbows. A pair of knee pads and elbow pads will keep you protected. Again, you can find pads made for paintball or use general sports pads.
Some paintball players add a cup to protect their groin. This is optional. Though, if you have never been hit in the groin with a paintball, you will be in for a shock if this occurs. Again, this is not a requirement, but a protective cup will shield your nether regions from severe pain.
What to Wear for Paintball in the Summer
In the summer, you will want to make a few adjustments to what you wear. You still need protection, but you can drop a couple of layers to keep yourself from becoming over-heated. Use the same recommendations as above, but with a few variations.
The main concern is to find the right combination of layers for your upper body to provide protection without trapping heat. Start with a long sleeved shirt and then add a compression shirt or a top with added padding. The material used for compression shirts allows your body to breathe, without trapping the sweat like a hoodie, heavy sweatshirt, or jacket.
The pants should not really be an issue. Continue wearing two pairs of sweatpants or a jumpsuit. You tend to sweat more around your chest, lower back, and armpits than your legs.
Staying Comfortable and Protected
Part of finding what to wear for paintball is finding a balance between comfort and protection. You want to avoid welts and bruises, but you still want to be able to move around without too much restriction.
You should also take a look at what others in your group are wearing. If everyone else is bundled up and sporting heavy gear, then limited mobility will not be as much of an issue. Though, if everyone shows up wearing thin, lightweight gear, then you do not want to be the only one struggling to move around.
It is also recommended that you and your team come up with a unified color to wear. This could be as simple as putting on a colored jersey over the rest of your gear. This helps you and your teammates spot each other and avoid friendly fire.
Once you select your clothing, you will need to try them out at least once to ensure you are happy with the results. If you feel too restricted, try wearing something lighter. If you end up with too many bruises, you should add some protection.
Final Tips to Get You Going
Paintball is a fun sport – as long as you follow a few basic safety precautions. At the top of the list of safety tips for paintball is wearing the right clothing. The bottom line is that you need to find a balance between mobility and protection. Remember these suggestions as you begin shopping for your paintball attire. So now that you know what to wear for paintball, get out there and have some fun.