The answer to this question, depends on several factors such as the seasonal temperature, Indoor or outdoor play. style of paintball played. Although paintballs can hurt at close range, Blitz has a 20-foot Surrender rule to reduce close range impacts. Also, with proper clothing selection, getting hit can feel like someone just flicked you with their finger. Not bad at all.
Here are the basics:
- Paintball mask to cover your ears and face. If you want additional protection, you can shop for a full head protection face masks but usually that is unnecessary for most.
- A baseball cap that you will turn around backwards, Beanie or stocking hat, or paintball style head wrap for head protection.
- Full length pants. Preferably Jeans, Cargo pants, Military BDU’s, or paintball specific pants found in the Blitz Pro shop or online are often used by more advanced players. You want pants to fit loose.
- Long sleeve t shirt. You can wear BDU style shirt over t shirt or a paintball Jersey. This allows you to adjust for temperature.
- Cleats, turf shoes, running shoes, or light hiking boots depending on preference or terrain
- Gloves. A good pair of mechanic gloves, ½ finger paintball gloves, or full finger paintball gloves with you trigger finger cut off between the first and second knuckle for trigger control.
- Chest protector. This comes standard with Blitz rentals. We recommend all new players use them until you are comfortable with paintball impacts.
- Pod pack for carrying paintball onto the field. This comes standard with Blitz rentals and is worn around the waist for reloading.
- Remember, loose clothes reduce the impact of paintballs to the skin, but they also promote bounces. When a paintball hits you and bounces without breaking, you are still in the game and not eliminated. A paintball must break on you to be out.
Now that you have the basics, we will address seasonal differences and then give a detailed description each item to wear and why it should be used.
When you play paintball, you might see a lot of players with arms exposed or even playing in shorts. Our recommendations are a starting point until you discover what you are comfortable wearing.
How you dress should depend on the weather. Paintballs can sting, especially at close range. But what you should be worried about is overheating. Paintball is exercise intensive and most play for hours. Staying comfortable and cool in the summer and warm in the winter is key.
Late spring, Summer, and early fall: This is the busiest times ant Blitz and most paintball fields. Use the above suggestions but try to ensure the clothing is light and breathable. If you are in layers, you want to be able to take them off while still having a base layer that covers the skin.
Late fall and early spring: If the temperature is cool, wear a bit heavier clothing. However, remember that you do a lot of running and moving while playing paintball so still be careful about being overdressed.
Winter: Strangely enough, if it is not too cold for quality play (Blitz closes if under 32 Degrees) Winter can be a great time to play. Cold weather makes paintballs brittle, so they break easier reducing the impact. Also, you can add some heavier loose pants and maybe a jacket or Hoodie. Maybe a pair of long johns. This allows you to shed clothes if it warms up but makes impact form any paintball hardly noticeable.
Now, lets look at each area of protection independently:
Your mask and head protection. Paintball masks come in multiple brands and styles. They all will cover your eyes, mouth, and ears. All paintball approved masks use a polycarbonate lens and are rated to stop paintballs and ASTM standards for eye protection. The higher quality masks have very comfortable foam inserts and have anti fog dual pane lenses, so you don’t fog up while breathing heavy.
The number one thing Blitz will suggest players buy if they want to play often is a well fit anti fog mask. The comfort and visibility a quality mask offers really improves the experience of a long day of paintball.
Some masks come as a helmet as well for those looking for highest levels of protection. However, most players that want to cover the top of their head just use baseball caps on backwards, beanies, or paintball head wraps… all are great choices. But for overall comfort, headwraps designed specifically for paintball are the most comfortable. Blitz caries them in the pro shop and you can find them online as well.
Upper Body protection: As described, a light loose long sleeve t-shirt for a base layer. Many will just play in that. If you want to have better protection ad a Military style BDU shirt or a paintball jersey over top. For those wanting maximum protection, use the Chest protectors available at Blitz. If the facility you are visiting does not offer them. They can be found online for reasonable prices.
Lower Body protection: Long, loose pants are the best type to wear. Either jeans, Cargo, Military issue BDU, or paintball specific. Use undergarments like thermals or Sweats if the temperature is colder. This not only protects you from the sting of a paintball hit, but the environment. Many bunkers are played best kneeling. Also when you run, if you slide or play on our AstroTurf fields it will avoid slide burns on your legs.
Hands: Hands are one of the areas you want to protect. You are very likely to take a hit there, and due to the skin and bone with little else, it can be unpleasant. However, a light pair of gloves completely fixes the problem. Blitz suggests either paintball specific gloves, or mechanics gloves. Make sure you cut off the trigger finger between the first and second knuckle for trigger control. Full and half finger armored paintball gloves are sold in the Blitz Pro shop for reasonable prices.
Feet: This is terrain specific. If you are playing in wooded courses, light hiking boots are ok. At Blitz, a built structure field running shoes, turf shoes or plastic cleats are optimal. If you are mainly playing on our AstroTurf fields, turf shoes and running shoes are best but cleats work as well. Be aware, no metal cleats are allowed. The other drawback to cleats with big spikes over turf shoes is they can catch in the ground or turf in a slide and damage your ankle. So, unless you have plenty of experience on how to run and slide with cleats we do not recommend.
Coveralls: Blitz sell camo painter suits that cover the whole body and fits over your clothes if you prefer not to get your clothes dirty.
Gear: A lot of great gear is available for paintball, and it becomes part of your wearable attire. Packs are necessary for reloading. Tac vests are common, as well as chest protectors. A Pac and chest protector both are part of the standard rental at Blitz.
Young players: We allow players 10 and up at Blitz. You can even drop them off and they can play all day. We recommend following the same gear suggestions for youth as adults. The number one thing to look out for when playing a long fund day of paintball is dehydration and overheating. Paintball is a great athletic endeavor and gives players tons of exercise. Dress accordingly.