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What to wear to play paintball? Does it hurt if you get hit? Those are probably the questions you mostly have in mind if you are about to start playing paintball. In reality, these two questions go together.
If you get hit from a short distance at a direct angle on naked skin and at some sensitive body part, it most probably hurts quite a bit. However, if you are properly dressed, the probabilities for feeling something more than a thud when you get hit, diminish radically. Don’t forget though that paintball is an action game, and as such, it includes some crawling, lots of running, maybe some impact with other players, and probably a few falls. Some bruises and cuts are therefore part of the game.
That’s why it matters what you wear to play paintball because adequate clothing can protect you and keep you comfortable for as many hours as you battle.
Basic wear to play paintball
Long sleeves, long pants
It sounds quite intuitive that your paintball clothing should cover your body as much as possible to avoid cuts and bruises or being stained with paint. Although the paintball paint is non-toxic, it may still feel uncomfortable to have paint on your skin, and maybe it is not always easy to wash away.
Some paintball arenas may ban short sleeves and short pants, so be prepared with clothing that covers your body adequately.
Padded clothing or multiple layers
There are special paintball tops, like the Paintball Pro Jersey by Athlon, that are specially designed to protect you from hits, cuts, and bruises during the battle. These are padded and sewn with extra stitching on the chest and shoulders where you could get hit, and made of ripstop fabric at the elbows that get lots of action. They are also made from breathable materials so you don’t get too hot during the action. A raised collar keeps the neck protected and elastic sleeve bands and half gloves protect your arms and hands.
If you are just starting paintball and are not ready to invest in a quality paintball jersey, you could try wearing multiple layers of clothing. The impact of a hit lessens with every layer of clothing you have on. Wear as many layers of clothing as the weather allows for.
The paintball players know that there is an additional strategic reason for wearing padded clothing or multiple layers: paintball pods may not explode when they hit a soft material that absorbs part of the impact. And this is how your opponent gets fewer points!
Comfortable, large clothing
Playing paintball means you run, you bend, you get on your knees, you hide, you dash out. It is a game of unstoppable action and what you wear to play paintball should not limit your movement. Your clothing should also be strong enough to endure the action without you finding yourself with a torn top or trousers mid-battle.
The Ultra Light Pro Jersey by Athlon, for example, is light, wide and made with double flat stitching: it never limits you and fears no action. You can add padding at the shoulders, chest or elbows as you wish, to get exactly the kind of comfort and protection you want from a paintball top.
Military trousers are ideal for moving freely and not fearing scratches and bruises.
Dark colors or camouflage
Paintball is a battle arena. Dark and camouflage clothing do for the paintball player what they do for a soldier at battle: they allow you to hide better and make you less visible to your opponent. If camouflage is one of your concerns, try a top like the Paintball Training Jersey by Athlon, which offers you all the benefits of a paintball top in dark military colors.
Shoes and safety gear for paintball
Since you will spend a few hours running and being on the move, it is good to wear comfortable sneakers or battle boots. Make sure that you don’t care if they get stained, though.
Some safety gear is required when you play paintball, to protect specific body parts from hits and from incidents. Goggles protect your eyes and forehead and you can usually rent one on location, if you don’t have your own. It is also a good idea to cover your head and neck with a cap or even with a light helmet.
In order to protect your hands from hits or while crawling, you could use half gloves.
Cleaning and maintaining your paintball clothing
The paint contained in the paintball pods is non-toxic, non-allergenic and water-soluble, which means that, if you wash your clothes soon after a game, the paint will clean off and not stain them.
Therefore if you don’t want stains on your paintball attire, don’t leave your clothes in the laundry bin for days. Run a laundry at the temperature indicated on the clothes tags right after the game to keep them as good as new.