What to Wear for Paintball: Equip Yourself Right

Last updatedLast updated: August 24, 2021
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If you’ve ever wanted to get rid of some of your aggression, or wanted to engage in a bit of fun with your buddies, then paintball is the activity to try. After you have decided on a location to play, the next consideration is deciding what to wear for paintball. Those new to the activity may not be aware of how hard that paint is shot at. Even on a hot summer’s day, this is not a time for shirts and shorts. Instead, you want to protect your body so that you can play safely while still having enough movement to race around and, hopefully, win. We’ll walk you through what clothes to wear for paintball so your team will come out on top.

A quick check list of what to wear

  • Headgear, including a mask and a hat
  • Long sleeve shirt or jersey
  • Pants that are loose and baggy
  • Shoes with ankle support and good treads
  • Gloves for protection
  • Vest to protect chest and back
  • Knee pads and elbow pads

In-Detail Guide. You’ll need:

There are many pieces of clothing that you will want to wear when playing paintball. In addition to your paintball gun, of course, they will protect you will still allowing you to play to your advantage. Some clothing is a must while other pieces are optional.

Headgear

When playing paintball, every player needs to wear a mask. This is both a safety and a liability issue. While paintball locations will have masks available that you can use, if you are a frequent paintballer, then you will want to invest in your own mask. They can be expensive, but finding one that fits you exactly will help with protection.

Furthermore, because you own the mask, you will take better care of it, meaning a paintball mask will be a sound investment.

In addition to a mask, you can opt to wear a hat or a bandana. This is especially important if you are playing in the summer. Paintball can be hours of fun and you want to protect your head from the harsh rays of the sun. A hat can also offer an extra layer of protection, if you are shot in the head.

Long sleeve shirt with protection

What to Wear for Paintball: Equip Yourself Right

The more skin that is exposed, the more bruising you will have. Short sleeve shirts should not be worn while playing paintball. Instead, always wear long sleeve shirts.

Again, if you are an avid paintballer, then you will want to invest in more premium clothing, such as a shirt that has extra padding. There are some long sleeve shirts that come with padded chest and ribs protectors integrated in their construction, like this model from TUOYR.

The one mistake to avoid is wearing too many layers. You might think you’re protecting yourself but in actuality it will make it much harder to play the game. Too many layers can make it hard to turn or move, and as you start running around, you will quickly overheat. This is why a specialized paintball shirt will keep you protected while also allow you the proper motion needed really engage in the game.

Paintball jersey

There are some people that are so serious about paintball that they have their own team that regularly plays. If this sounds like you, then a paintball jersey is a must. Paintball jerseys are made from lightweight but durable materials. They allow your skin to breathe so you don’t get too sweaty but also offer much needed protection against getting hit.

A lightweight and breathable jersey, like this popular one from HK Army, is an ideal choice for hot weather. It keeps you cool so you can run around in hot weather and not become fatigued.

The cool part about paintball jerseys is that you can often customize them with your team name and team logo.

Pants

What to Wear for Paintball: Equip Yourself Right

In addition to a shirt that protects you, you will need to wear proper pants. Again, the less skin the better, so avoid those shirts. Because you will be running around a lot, choose pants that are a bit looser and will allow you to breathe. Cargo pants are a good option as they aren’t tight and the fabric is durable enough to allow you to roll around a bit.

While track pants might seem like a good option, the material is too thin and can be damaged if you’re trying to hide or maneuver through brush. Heading to the local thrift store is a good option as you can find pants that are still durable but you’ll be fine with if they do get ripped.

Gloves

Not everyone wears gloves while playing paintball but those that do have a much better time of it. Gloves add an extra layer of protection from paintballs. They also give you added protection from cuts and scrapes. Remember that paintball is a very physical activity; you are often running and hiding in all manner of terrain. Having gloves on means you can take more risks and not have to worry about cuts or scrapes on your hands.

Vest

Anyone who has been shot by a paintball knows how hard it hurts. A well-placed hit to the chest can even go so far as to know the wind out of you. To protect yourself, a vest is highly encouraged. These are simple to put on, as they come with a series of adjustable snaps.

Paintball vests protect both your chest and your back, allowing you to not have to worry about any essential organs being hit.

As a bonus, paintball vests come with plenty of pockets. You can store essential such as a water bottle and a map. They are also secure enough to place your phone, wallet, and keys.

Knee and elbow pads

If you’re looking for a nice stroll in the woods, paintball is not for you. It is a fierce competition that relies on survival skills to get you through the action. You need to keep a keen eye out for your opponents and if you see someone’s paintball gun come into view, it’s up to you to react fast.

Dodging, jumping, and rolling are par for the course when playing paintball. And when you’re reacting fast to a paintball coming right at you, the last thing you want to worry about is rolling through a bunch of rocks.

Knee pads allow you to quickly drop onto your knees, ducking oncoming attackers. They also allow you to keep low to the ground, crawling to avoid being seen.

In conjunction, elbow pads allow you to roll around, without worrying about rocks embedded in your sensitive elbows.

Groin and neck protection

Two other areas you should consider protecting are your groin and neck. Men who play paintball will often wear a jock support, just in case a bullet hits that area. Your neck is also an exposed area, so you might want to consider a neck protector, which looks like a scarf but is made from thick foam.

Shoes

What to Wear for Paintball: Equip Yourself Right

When playing paintball, you will want to be able to run, climb, and dodge. To do this safely and speedily, your shoes should have ample support and traction. Hiking boots are usually recommended, although heavy duty running shoes will also work.

Even though they may look cool, don’t wear skate shoes with flat bottoms as they have no tread and you will quickly slide around. Combat boots are another shoe you could consider, but as they are quite large and bulky, if you aren’t used to wearing them, then you might end up tripping over them.

Pod packs

More of an essential item, pod packs are literally areas where you can store your extra paint balls. A pocket is not secure enough as you will be running and jumping around. Instead, get a specifically made pod pack to keep your paintballs secure and easily available.

Ghillie suit

While beginner players shouldn’t go out and purchase a ghillie suit, if you are a seasoned paintball player and want to add an extra element to your play, then a ghillie suit might be something to consider. Essentially, a ghillie suit is a form of camouflage. It is made to look like the environment around you, usually trees or grass.

While they look a bit complicated, they are actually pretty lightweight and comfortable. They are also easy to find, either at a sporting goods store or online.

What to wear in hot weather

The key to understanding what to wear for paintball in hot weather is lightweight but durable materials. Fabrics that wicks away moisture will keep you from sweating too much, and lightweight materials will allow your skin to breath.

Above all else, if you are playing hot weather, pack plenty of water and try to schedule extra breaks.

Other things to consider

Not that we’ve covered the basics of what to wear for outdoor paintball, here are a few other considerations.

Wear old clothing

Old clothing is always best. Unless you have bought specific paintball gear, stick to older clothing because it will become dirty and it will eventually become ripped and torn. Army surplus stores and thrift stores are great places to start your paintball outfit.

Take a towel with you

What to Wear for Paintball: Equip Yourself Right

Paintball is not a pretty sport. By the end you’ll be covered in sweat and dirt. Do yourself, and everyone else with you, a favor by bringing a towel. You can dry yourself off and clean up a bit.

Get an anti-inflammatory cream

As we get older, injuries tend to hurt a bit more. There’s no shame in admitting that we need a bit of help healing. An anti-inflammatory cream can help get you back on your feet after a few hard paintball hits.

Simply rub the cream where you have been hit and it will help to reduce swelling and bruising. Some ibuprofen is also a good idea to carry with you.

Spare clothes

Finally, accidents do happen. It might have rained the night before and as you’re trying to dodge your opponent, you end up flailing around in the mud. Don’t despair as you should always have a spare change of clothes. Paintball games rely on the environment to be fun and you never know what Mother Nature will have in store for you.

Final thoughts

There are a lot of fun activities you can engage in with your buddies and paintball is one that combines the fun of socializing with the thrill of survival. You can meet up, practice your tactical maneuvers, and get rid of some pent-up aggression. If you’re deciding to try paintball out, just remember that what to wear for paintball is an essential process. The right clothes will keep you protected while also allowing you enough mobility that you can run and dodge the other team. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of winning.

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