If you are new to paintball, you may be wondering what you should wear when playing paintball outdoors? As you advance, you can upgrade to paintball specific clothing, but there are some simple answers on how you can get started playing paintball with clothing you probably already own. I’m going to give you some great easy to follow the advice so you’re ready to go out there and play.
The basic clothing items that you need to play paintball outdoors are long pants, a long sleeve shirt and shoes that have to provide good traction and support. It’s important to keep in mind that paintball is a very active sport, so clothing that breathes well and will not cause you to overheat is important. It’s also helpful to remember that while paintball paint is designed to wash out, it sometimes does stain. You will be very active when playing paintball outdoors, so there is a high chance that your clothing may be damaged. For that reason, older clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty or damaging is highly suggested. Lastly, the color or pattern of your clothing doesn’t really matter. Camouflage clothing can be fun, but only really helps when you are playing in a heavily wooded area.
If you’re not ready to spend the money on dedicated paintball pants, your best option is a pair of cargo pants. Cargo pants are a great option as the pockets will provide extra storage for pieces of paintball gear, such as microfiber cloths, squeegees or barrel plugs. Your next best option is an old pair of jeans because jeans are generally durable and will help lessen the impact of paintballs when they hit you. A third option would be a pair of sweatpants. Sweatpants are generally low cost, will also help lessen the impact felt when hit by a paintball, but may be too hot for warm weather and will likely not last as long as a pair of jeans would.
Here’s the deal:
If you do need to buy pants, a great option is to visit a military surplus store or a thrift store and purchase military cargo pants. These pants are great as they’re very durable and designed for active use. Another option is to check pants in Amazon.com and pick one that best fot for your needs.
Until you’re ready to purchase a paintball Jersey, your best option is a long sleeved T-Shirt or work shirt (ex: Dickeys). Playing paintball outdoors usually involves a variety of structures and vegetation so long sleeves will provide you some protection from the sun as well as scrapes and scratches from objects you may come in contact with. It will also help lessen the impact of paintballs when they hit your arms. A long-sleeve sweatshirt is also a good option if the weather allows for it. Keep in mind paintball is a very active sport and you will get very warm while playing, so a sweatshirt is not a good option if playing in hot weather.
Why does this matter?
A common mistake I’ve often witnessed is someone wearing a non-breathable jacket, such as a nylon snow jacket. This is an easy way to get dehydrated or cause heat illness and end up with a trip to the emergency room, so please don’t do this.
When playing paintball outdoors, you may encounter mud, water, rocks, dirt, sand, grass, etc and you will be running on all of it, so good traction and support is critical.
If you have baseball or soccer cleats these are probably your best option for playing paintball outdoors. They provide excellent traction on whatever surface you may encounter when playing paintball outdoors and good support for your feet and ankles. If you don’t have cleats, your second best option would be athletic or cross-training shoes. Athletic shoes will allow for good traction and support when running, sliding or crouching while playing. Hiking boots would be the third alternative, they would be very durable, offer good traction and support, however running and other very active maneuvers may be more difficult.
While headwear is optional, getting hit in the forehead or top of the head is painful, which I learned the hard way. So, don’t be like me and opt for some protection. Many new players find it beneficial to wear a baseball hat backward to provide some protection of their head, both from the sun and to lessen the impact of paintballs when playing paintball outdoors. Another option for headwear is a bandana to provide protection of your forehead and the top of your head. The bandana will provide less cushion than a baseball hat, but is better than nothing. But our suggestions is to pick at least the cheapest models of paintball masks for your safety.
Personal Safety Gear
This category is optional and comes down to personal preference. Why does this matter? It can be quite painful to get hit on the hand by a paintball, so some players like to wear gloves on their hands to help lessen the impact when playing paintball outdoors. Mechanic-style gloves or even gardening gloves can be used if desired. Some male players also opt to wear an anaclitic cup to protect themselves in case a paintball strikes them in the groin. An alternative if a cup is uncomfortable or not desired is to use a small towel inside the crotch of your pants. For female players, layering shirts or wearing a sweatshirt is common to provide extra chest protection. Most paintball fields will also have Chest Protectors available to rent for a small charge.
You’re ready to Play
Now that you know all of the basics clothing needed to be ready to play paintball outdoors, go find your local field and get started! Once you play paintball outdoors for a little while, you can start looking into upgrading to paintball specific clothing.
The main advantages of dedicated paintball clothing are that it is constructed to withstand the activity of playing paintball by using heavy-duty materials, extra stitching, sections that will stretch or flex and often has additional padding. This means the shirts, pants, gloves, and headwear will be more durable and will provide extra comfort and protection.