What to Wear for Paintball

A group of friends in camo attire with full gear on a paintball course.

There are two considerations: if you are going for the first time, you don’t need to spend money. Wear something heavy and something you don’t mind getting paint on. As for helmets and masks, you can rent out equipment. There is little possibility that a paintballing venue will allow you to play without protection.

A paintball travels at around 300 feet per second when shot. It is also coated with a thin layer of film, which can surprise a player if hit. Sometimes it may even cause welts on the skin. Nevertheless, a paintball is nothing to be worried about in terms of pain. A paintball player must wear the proper equipment to be protected from any accidents that may happen, like slips and getting caught in a part of a course. Having paddings will help reduce the risk of injury.

Also, anyone planning on getting serious about the sport will fare better with protective paintball clothing since playing with people as serious as you are will also increase the game’s intensity. So it is best to be prepared for anything that may happen in a competitive match.

Here’s the proper attire for what to wear when playing paintball.

Paintball Mask

Special paintball protective masks on display.

Source: Freepik

A paintball mask is probably the most recognizable equipment worn after the paintball marker. A good paintball mask has the necessary protection for your face since paintballs flying at that speed may injure your face easily.

The main body part a mask is protecting is the eyes. A mask has to be durable to withstand these forces. Also, it should be fairly easy to clean if someone manages to hit the glass.

Usually, paintball masks are also scratch-resistant. Most manufacturers use glass that’s easy to clean and has a layer of protection from accidental scratches allowing these to last a long time. 

They also add features that keep the glass from fogging up. As paintballing is a physical sport that makes players move around, it would be a major disadvantage if your mask fogs up again and again. This will impede your field of vision, reducing your chances of playing at 100% as well as reducing your overall enjoyment of when paintballing.

There are masks that are small or large profiles. What this measures are the overall size of the mask. Smaller masks are ideal for speedball because you need to be more limber and agile. But at the end of the day, choosing the profile is usually subjective. Just remember to be protected and comfortable at all times to reduce any form of accident.

A paintball mask has different parts. First, the bottoms, and it’s not what you think it is. This refers to the lower part of the mask, which protects the eyes downward. There are models that have more protection towards the neck as well. What’s important to note about bottoms is that they should properly cover your jawline.

Mask lenses are also needed to protect your eyes as well as provide you with a good field of vision. Sometimes, lenses are not installed, and you will need a separate pair of goggles or sunglasses. 

Paintball masks also have straps to keep the mask always on and can even add a little bit of flair to you when you’re in a paintball game. The mask also serves to protect your ears but has ample space to help you hear and listen to your surroundings well. 

Our Recommendation: NINAT Paintball Mask

NINAT Paintball Mask Tactical Masks Full Face with Greylens Lens Goggles Eye Protection for Halloween CS Survival Games Shooting Cosplay Mask Paintball Black

Headgear

A man wearing a special yellow-tinted paintball protective gear.

Source: Pxfuel

Getting hit on the forehead hurts, trust us. If you can tolerate pain, that’s awesome. But for those who want to protect their heads, they have different choices. 

You can pick out a headband. This is a piece of cloth you wrap around your head, which can be made from polyester or cotton. These are usually padded to offer some sort of impact resistance from direct paintball hits and terry cloth to help absorb some sweat. 

Headwraps are also options for paintball players. These have become more famous in recent years. They resemble headbands, but the main difference is that you secure them with Velcro as opposed to a headband which you tie around the back of your head. These may also be made from cotton or polyester and have a terry cloth for sweat absorption. You can recognize these from the mesh cloth on top, which protects your hair and keeps it from falling in front of your face.

People also wear beanies when playing. While not necessarily made for paintball, people like these because of the padding they provide for the player’s head and keep them warm in colder temperatures. But you will often see players sporting a beanie regardless of the weather too.

Some people nowadays use skull caps that are a hybrid of a head wrap and a beanie. These are great as they have great support to keep your hair from going all over the place and a relatively padded headband to protect your forehead.

If you really want to get your head in the game, then you can also choose to get a paintball helmet. These resemble tactical helmets and provide solid protection for your head and hair. It has an outer shell made from hard plastic and padding inside for shock absorption. These also have air vents to let the air in to keep your head cool.

The choice you make is completely subjective. Choose the head protection that you feel provides you with the best protection and what matches your playing style.

Our Recommendation: HK Army Head Wrap

HK Army Headbands (Graphite)

Pants

A paintball player wearing camo pants and full gear during a match.

Pants are a vital piece of equipment for paintball players. While you don’t necessarily have to spend on pants just yet, not wearing pants may be something you may regret. Of course, we’re talking about wearing shorts and not no pants at all.

For beginners who can’t afford to buy padded pants, it is generally recommended to wear a pair of denim jeans they won’t mind getting paint on. Denim, as stylish as they are, offers great protection from scrapes or scratches and helps the player move around comfortably. These also have ample protection from paintballs. You can wear an old pair of jeans until you decide it is time to upgrade to a proper pair of paintball pants.

Paintball pants will resemble cargo pants that have paddings in critical areas. It is usually made of flexible and durable materials so that even if it gets snag on trees or any features on the course, it won’t easily tear off. It will also allow freedom of movement from the wearer in their crotch and hip area. 

These are also made from breathable materials so that the player will stay cool when playing. This is why some pants have mesh panels and details that provide ventilation. 

Some pants have particular prints on them that add to their overall style and designs. For players who especially like outdoors and woodsball, a camouflage design will be more practical compared to something that has bright neon colors. But for speedball, it won’t matter as much if you pick out something that’s lime green or stick with a tactical camo design.

Another important thing to consider for pants is the right fit. You don’t want to pull your pants up every now and then while playing. This can be distracting and can become a nuisance over time. Pants should be easy to wear, have fasteners that can help with accessorizing.

Our Recommendation: Exalt Paintball Pants

Exalt Paintball T4 Pants - Black - Medium

Paintball Jersey

HK Army HSTL Line Paintball Jersey - Lava (X-Large)

There’s no doubt paintball is one of the dirtiest sports played. This is why it is important to wear a jersey or uniform that you won’t mind getting some stains. And if you’re playing woodsball, you may even go down on the mud to get to your location stealthily.

Jerseys help make games more official. Each team can pick a specific color that represents them or distinguishes them from the opposing team.

As far as recommendations for beginners go, an old long sleeve t-shirt will do. The sleeves protect your skin from getting paint that may become difficult to remove if dried. Anything that you don’t mind getting paint on will also do as long as they have enough sleeves to cover up your arms.

If you want to get serious, then a dedicated paintball jersey would be great. First off, a good paintball jersey is light and helps keep you cool through ventilation. These can be mesh fittings or slits. This also provides players with ample movement and flexibility. Speedball players usually choose these lightweight options.

There are some jerseys that have paddings that help protect you from paintball hits, when you fall, or anything that may cause injury. These types of jerseys also have cuffs for better protection. These are mostly for woodsball players who need extra protection from the environment as well.

There are times when woodsball players also put on a vest over their jerseys. These add extra protection and help carry additional equipment like radios, maps, water bottles, and other things they need.

Our Recommendation: Valken Paintball Agility V17 Jersey

NINAT Paintball Mask Tactical Masks Full Face with Greylens Lens Goggles Eye Protection for Halloween CS Survival Games Shooting Cosplay Mask Paintball Black

Footwear

A pair of black leather combat boots with black laces.

Source: Freepik

Sure, you can just wear your running shoes when you play paintball. But if you plan to be more serious about it and do it regularly, then you probably should put more thought into what footwear to use in different scenarios and environments.

In paintball, you don’t just do running. There are also situations in which you need to go through different terrain. While a pair of running shoes is a good option, they are not always the best ones to use.

It is quite easy to choose what to wear. Just look at the terrain where you will be playing. For example, playing speedball will usually mean that you may be playing on pavement. This is a good pair of lightweight shoes that will play out well. These can also come in handy if you need to run a distance or make some sprints to get ahead or evade your competition.

But if you will be playing woodsball, a good pair of combat boot may come in handy. These are very durable and meant to tackle difficult terrain. You can take these practically anywhere, and they will just go with you. There are also models that are waterproof. Of course, you may not go through streams and rivers playing paintball, but who knows? These are also great as they are mostly high cut which adds plenty of ankle support.

Then, for serious players, there are paintball cleats. These are made specifically for paintballers as they have spikes at the bottom that help create better traction when running in especially muddy ground. A pair of paintball cleats also provide assistance if ever you need to do a quick turn around a corner to dodge a shot or get to a better position. Finally, these also have high-tops that add good protection and support for ankles.

Our Recommendation: Free Soldier Tactical Boots

FREE SOLDIER Men's Tactical Boots 6 Inches Lightweight Military Boots for Hiking Work Boots Breathable Desert Boots (Black, 8)

Gloves

A pair of black Bones Gloves from HK Army.

Source: HK Army

Gloves are probably the most overlooked paintball equipment, especially by beginners. The reason is that hands are not the primary target for paintball players. They seem unnecessary at first but, looking deeper, offer plenty of support and protection to players of all levels of experience. 

Paintball gloves don’t just protect players. These also provide support for handling the paintball marker by helping your grip. 

A pair of gloves are usually made from durable materials. You can pick a pair of gloves to use depending on the situation you are to play in. Speedball will require something that’s a bit lightweight as you need to prioritize speed and flexibility. When playing in the woods, a glove leaning towards tactical design will do you well. If you find yourself crawling or doing some dives to save your life, then you want to add extra protection for your hand. Tactical gloves usually have paddings to protect you further.

There are some varieties of paintball gloves. The most common variant is the fingerless gloves because of the ease of use of the paintball gun when wearing these. Regular variations are also great, given they provide enough space for your fingers to move around fast. But most people report that fingerless gloves provide more dexterity and speed.

But like most things, wearing gloves or your choice of what pair to wear is subjective. Of course, there are pros and cons to either of your choices. But make sure that what you choose is the most comfortable setup for you and something that will make you play safer and with more joy.

Our Recommendation: Ironclad Tactical Impact Fingerless Gloves

Ironclad Tactical Impact Fingerless Gloves, TAA Compliant, Best for Military, Law Enforcement, Airsoft, Paintball, Machine Washable, Sized S, M, L, XL, XXL (1 Pair), Black (IEXT-FIBLK-06-XXL)

Paintball Harness

A Grit Pod Pack Harness, 4+7 Coyote Tan Woodland Camo from Social Paintball.

Source: Social Paintball

Last and perhaps one of the most important things to wear in a paintball match is the harness. These are fundamental to making a paintball game that much interesting and enjoyable. A paintball harness is one of the ways to carry paintball pods and air tanks. People also call these paintball pack, a ball hauler, or a pod pack. 

Harnesses have different capacities which can help define a game. Usually, a regular harness will help you carry 700 to 800 rounds, while some harnesses can easily provide you with double that amount. Of course, the ideal choice for serious players is more than your opponent’s.

These are often made from durable and heavy-duty materials to prevent rips and tears when used in especially rugged terrain. They also have fittings and Velcro for easy adjustment. Most of the time, you wear them around your waist.

There are four general types of paintball harnesses, and they are distinguished by how they are worn. The most common harnesses are worn horizontally. These are the ones that have a strap which is used to wear them. The advantage of wearing a horizontal harness is that the pods and tanks are easier to reach.

Vertical harnesses carry pods upright and towards the small of your back. These are often used by speedball games because these have a low profile and are easy to reach with either hand. Belt pouch harnesses are the simplest form. As the name suggests, these are usually attached to a belt and can hold two or three pods held together with a Velcro have an elastic band that acts as an ejector to help release the pods quickly.

Finally, the last type is something we’ve lightly touched on in the previous items in this list of what to wear for paintball. A tactical paintball vest is popular among more serious paintball games. You can bring more than just pods and air tanks with this harness since it has pockets, pouches, clips, and even an anchor point where you can put things you will need in a paintball match.

Our Recommendation: MadDog Paintball Harness

Maddog 4+1 Deluxe Padded Paintball Harness

Frequently Asked Questions

What paintball gear should I get to start playing paintball?

A pair of denim long pants, a light long sleeve shirt, running shoes, and a mask are the basic clothing to wear when going on a paintball match. Make sure that you won’t mind getting these clothes dirty or getting paint on them. 

Do paintball places give you gear?

Yes. Most paintball venues rent out gear like markers, pods, harnesses, knee pads, elbow pads, and masks. 

What should I wear to paintball in hot weather?

During hot weather, it can be difficult to wear tactical clothing. There are light jerseys available that have plenty of ventilation and will keep you cool. But more serious players do not get really bothered by the weather so much the thought of leaving important things to secure victory.

How many layers should I wear for paintball?

One layer is enough as paintball ammo does not hurt as much when you’re playing more often. 

Does paintball wash off clothes?

Paintball paint does wash off as these are made from water-based paint. You can throw your clothes into the washer, and it will wash off easily. Paint on your skin and hair will wash off pretty easily as well. Pods are also hypoallergenic, so there is a reduced chance of getting an allergic reaction when hit.

Conclusion

A man in a camo suit with a paintball gun and protective mask aiming at a match outdoor.

When thinking of what to wear for paintball, think about the type of game you will play. For fast games like speedball, light and fast is the way. For something more tactical, then wear heavy-duty clothing so that you can look the part. The most important consideration is to be safe and have lots of fun.

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