When you’re playing paintball in warm weather, you’re going to get hot, there’s no way around it. A paintball mask is critical to keeping you safe and gives you visibility of your surroundings, letting you play effectively. By design, a paintball mask is going to be made out of rubber, plastic, and foam, none of which is particularly great at dissipating heat. If you’re looking to find out what you can do to stay cool and minimize fog while wearing your paintball mask, this article is for you.
So, the main question is: How to keep cool in a Paintball Mask?
The most important aspect of staying cool while wearing a paintball mask is choosing the right paintball mask to wear. If you are shopping for a new mask, it’s important to find one that has excellent ventilation, fits your face well and leaves room for air flow in and out of the mask. It makes sense to spend a little bit more on a nicer mask that you’re going to enjoy playing in and have a much better experience with. It’s no fun playing paintball if you can’t see out of your mask, you feel like you are boiling or you’re uncomfortable while wearing it.
If you’re using a rental mask your best option is to leverage headwear such as a headband hat or skull cap to minimize the amount of sweat going into the mask.
Lastly, it’s important to let your mask dry out in the open air between games, to avoid excess humidity and fogging while you’re playing paintball.
Paintball mask selection makes all the difference
Choosing the right mask really will make all the difference in the level of enjoyment you have and your ability to stay cool and comfortable while playing paintball. A mask is one of the most overlooked but also the most important pieces of equipment you have when playing paintball. Higher quality masks have lighter-weight materials, better ventilation, lenses that are larger and coated with anti-fog treatments and better designs to help you stay cool on even the hottest days. Quality masks are available at varying price points, but you’re going to want to expect to spend somewhere around $60 or more to get a high-quality mask that will help keep you cool. If you’re just getting started, it may feel like a lot of money to spend. However, you will be much better served spending it once instead of buying several cheap masks that you will not be happy with.
Some masks are set up to accept a battery powered fan at the top of the mask above the lens. The fan draws out the hot, humid air from inside the mask and vents it out the top. This both helps keep you cool and also helps to prevent fogging of the lens. If you purchase a high-quality mask, a fan is generally not necessary, but it can help make a lower-end mask more effective in keeping you cool.
But there’s a catch:
The downside to using a fan is that they tend to be a bit loud, add bulk and weight to your mask and it’s another device that you need to manage batteries for.
The right lens matters
Many higher quality masks allow you to swap the lens from clear to a colored lens of your choosing. Most commonly, the colored lenses available are either smoked, tinted or mirrored in varying colors. The advantage of these lenses is they help block heat and glare from the sun, improving your vision and keeping you cool. A clear lens is going to magnify the sun’s heat on your face, so a colored lens is a much better option over wearing sunglasses under your mask with a clear lens. If you are buying a new mask, check to make sure it has swappable lenses and ideally purchase one with a colored lens to begin with.
Headwear – Not just for style
As we covered before, headwear provides some protection from paintballs and the sun. In this case, proper headwear also aids in helping you stay cool while playing paintball. Headbands, hats, bandanas, and headwraps are all great options to help soak up sweat while you’re playing. The evaporation from the headwear will help cool you down and the headwear will also help avoid sweat from entering your mask, avoiding more humidity and fog. If it’s a very hot day or you’re going to be playing for an extended period of time, it’s a great idea to bring multiple pieces of headwear. Once one of these soaks through, it will still provide cooling but is less effective at stopping sweat and humidity inside of your mask. A cooling towel is also a great option to help cool yourself down between games or could even be worn during a game depending on the style.
Keeping it dry – Let it air out
At this point, you’ve done what you can to try and keep yourself cool inside of your mask while playing paintball. No matter what, moisture is still going to accumulate and the foam inside your mask is going to become saturated at some point. To help deal with this, make sure you take your mask off and set it in the open air whenever you’re not wearing it. This will give the foam a chance to dry and you can also wipe down any of the rubber areas with a clean dry towel remove any standing moisture.
Why does this matter?
Staying hydrated is important not only for safety but it also ensures that your body has enough water in it so that you can sweat and that sweat can then evaporate, helping to keep your cool. It’s important to get proper hydration starting the day before you play paintball and continuing to drink water throughout the day while playing.
If you follow this advice, you will ensure you are as comfortable as possible while playing paintball and while you won’t be ice cold in your mask, you will definitely be much cooler and much more prepared to play paintball in warm weather.