What to Wear For Paintballing

If you are new to paintball or have played only a few times, you are likely wondering exactly what you should be wearing while immersed in the thick of battle. Even veteran paintball players are always looking for gear and clothing suggestions that will provide additional protection and comfort. The aim of this article on what to wear paintballing is to explain your ideal gear selection and the reasoning behind it. This guide will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while of the paintball field. Players of all levels will benefit from perusing this piece.

General Rules about What to Wear Paintballing

Go for Thick Layers

Everyone knows that venturing out to the paintball playing field in shorts and a sleeveless shirt is a bad idea. However, many are not sure about what types of clothing and equipment will prevent pain while facilitating a free range of movement.

Paintballs are not as soft as actual paint. In some instances, they can be fired at velocities that create a rip or a hole in clothing. As a result, it is not recommended to wear garments that are especially thin. Opt for thick shirts and pants. These pieces can absorb the impact of a paintball that strikes your body at a high velocity.

Add as Many Layers as Possible

It is not enough to merely throw on some old clothes for your paintball session. Instead, put on multiple layers of old clothing to minimize the impact of the paintballs when they hit your body. The extra layers will add space between your skin and the outermost layer of clothing.

This “in-between” material will accept the brunt of the paintballs‘ impact. This way, you do not feel much of anything at all when you are hit.

However, if you are playing in extreme heat, it is not prudent to pile on the layers. If your group is enjoying a match beneath the hot summer sun, everyone should take care to not go overboard on the layers. This is an effort to prevent overheating. Also, do not head on out to the playing field with new clothing. You are going to get hit with paintballs and they will leave marks on your clothing and your gear.

Leave No Body Part Exposed

No matter what, it is critical that you do not leave any skin exposed. Paintballs sting when they come into contact with unprotected skin. If you are hit in an unprotected spot, a paintball can even leave a welt on exposed skin. Sometimes, they even sting when hitting skin that is protected. Your paintball experience will be as pain-free as possible if you put forth the effort to dress appropriately.

Upper Body Protection

what to wear for paintballing: Empire Paintball Prevail F6 Jersey

Empire Paintball Prevail F6 Jersey

In terms of specific garments, wear a long sleeve t-shirt as the initial base layer. The Empire Paintball Prevail F6 Jersey in the image above will do a great job for you.

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Add Layers

Add at least one more long sleeve shirt on top of that for extra padding. Top it off with a hoodie or a thick sweatshirt. Some players wear a specific paintball jersey on the exterior while others opt for a light rain-resistant jacket.

Padded shirts are also available. Some of these padded garments are similar to the compression style shirts made by companies like UnderArmour. The extra padding in these shirts offers great protection and can even take the place of an extra layer. While they are fairly costly, they are comfortable and available in both long sleeve and short sleeve varieties.

If you are concerned about this amount of clothing bogging you down and restricting your movements, opt for fewer garments. Nonetheless, be sure to bring more layers with you to the playing field. You can add them on you in between games if desired.

what to wear for paintbelling: Warrior Ghillie Suit

Warrior Ghillie Suit by Arcturus Camo

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When Going with Ghillie Suits

Certain players opt to wear sniper suits or ghillie style suits. Ghillie suits are typically worn by hunters. Nonetheless, paintball players have adopted them as they are comfortable, provide camouflage, and can break up the head’s outline. Sniper suits are available at military supply stores while ghillie suits can be purchased at sporting goods stores or online. You can also purchase individual ghillie style pants, ponchos, and jackets if you desire.

When choosing what to wear paintballing, some players add vests to the outsides of their shirts. These are typically worn in scenario style paintball competitions. This where they are used to hold tubes for extra paintballs, pistols, grenade,s and other sundries. Paintball vests are available in a wide array of patterns and colors. Some are even sold with special themes like military, police or offbeat styles.

Lower Body Protection

what to wear for paintballing: Exalt Paintball Thrasher 4 Pants

Exalt Paintball Thrasher 4 Pants

Wear two pairs of baggy elastic sweatpants. On the other hand, you can opt for a pair of old baggy jeans on top of long johns. Some players choose to wear jump suits, cargo pants or pants made specifically for paintball.

Most paintball players roll around, crawl, kneel, and dive during play. Therefore, the baggier and thicker the pants, the better. They allow you to move more freely, reduce the chance of a bruise, and paintballs are less likely to break when coming into contact with them compared to tight garments.

If you tear a hole in your thin pants during play, you will have exposed flesh for the remainder of the competition. Keep in mind that outdoor paintball players are exposed to rough terrain, twigs, dirt, rocks, thorns, and other objects that can easily tear holes in pants. Therefore, only choose very durable layer of pants or double up for extra protection.

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In terms of clothing style, opt for dark colors or camouflaged pants, shirts, and jackets. This is the only way to make it difficult for your opponents to see you.

Think about the aesthetics of the environment that you will be playing in before choosing your garments’ colors. Choose hues that will blend in with the paintball fields that you play at most often.

Extra Padding

Many paintball players are not satisfied by the limited protection their long sleeve shirts and pants offer. Therefore, some opt to wear arm pads that protect the forearm from the elbow to the wrist. These are especially helpful for players who like to slide and dive throughout the paintball playing field. The pads will soften the blow when your arms come into contact with the ground.

Other players also opt to wear shin pads as well. On top of that, consider purchasing some “slider shorts” that are designed specifically for paintball players. They are perfectly padded to provide ample lower body protection.

Head Protection

Add on a winter hat, do-rag, backward fitted baseball cap or go ahead and flip up your hood if you wear a hoodie. It is imperative that you wear a helmet/mask that is designed specifically for paintball. The best paintball helmet has to have your back at any given moment.

Paintballs fly through the air at 280 feet per second. This equates to about 200 miles per hour. If a paintball hits you in the head and you are not wearing protection, it will definitely hurt. Consequently, strap on a paintball helmet/mask over your hoodie or winter hat for the ultimate protection.

All paintball helmets/masks cover the face. These items should be imperative for your list on what to wear paintballing. There are even some helmets that cover the entire head. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that covering your head will often cause your mask to fog up and decrease your vision.

When shopping for a mask, opt for one that fits you the most comfortable. It should stay firmly affixed to your head and never fall or slip off while you are running, rolling or performing any other evasive maneuver during the thick of battle.

Additional Head Protection: Goggles


V-Force Grill Paintball Mask/Goggles

Pick out a pair of paintball goggles as well. Goggles built with thermal style lenses are especially effective. That’s because they prevent your paintball mask from fogging up.

When choosing between thermal lens goggles and single lens goggles, always opt for the thermal option. Ideally, you will add on a goggle fan that functions to prevent fog from appearing in your lens during humid conditions. However, be sure to verify that your specific mask is compatible with the goggle fan before purchasing it.

Do not settle for goggles that are not intended for paintball use. Regular shop goggles will not suffice. Goggles designed specifically for paintball are exactly what to wear paintballing. If you are stricken in the eye with a paintball while wearing non-paintball goggles, you could lose sight in that eye. Never take the cheap or easy way out when it comes to your safety.

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Hand Protection


Empire Paintball BT Sniper THT Gloves

Do not attempt to play a round of paintball without gloves. If you leave your bare hands exposed and they receive a hit, it will hurt. A lot. Do not lose sight of the fact that your hands are exposed throughout the match as you use them to point your gun down the range toward your opponents. The hands are especially tender compared to other body parts. Therefore, any impact will sting quite harshly.

Pick up a pair of paintball specific gloves for adequate protection. The best paintball gloves are going to offer you armor for your hands. This way, you are not going to feel the impact so excruciatingly.

If you do not want to spend the money on paintball specific gloves, opt for football gloves, gardening gloves or lite duty mechanic gloves. Ideally, your gloves will have extra padding or even a plastic protective component on the back section of the hand.

While some choose to wear fingerless weight lifting gloves, this is not the best option. The skin on the outsides of our fingers is especially sensitive. This area will hurt if struck with a paintball, especially if the shot is licked off at close range.

On top of that, refrain from wearing welding gloves, winter gloves or any type of latex gloves. These are all much too thick and can prevent you from pulling the trigger exactly when you desire.

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HK Army Shredder Paintball Cleats

In terms of footwear, high-quality sneakers are essential. Paintball players commonly experience harsh ankle injuries due to all of the running, pivoting, jumping, diving, and other rapid lower body movements.

Some choose to wear soccer or football cleats. Others opt for hiking sneakers or military style boots. Do not use your best pair of sneakers for paintball. Instead, go with durable old sneakers or low cut boots that you won’t mind getting dirty or wet. Never wear open-toed shoes or sandals.

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Do Not Forget to Protect Your Neck and Groin

Finally, do not forget to add on a sturdy neck protector. It will guard your neck’s extremely sensitive skin. If you do not want to purchase a neck protector or find it to be uncomfortable, opt for a bandanna that you tie around your neck. Moreover, you can also simply choose a turtleneck sweater.

Many will argue that crotch shots in paintball are very rare. However, when they occur, they can be awfully painful. While a cup to protect the groin area is uncomfortable, it will provide additional protection in your most sensitive of places.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do paintballs really hurt?

Yes, paintballs can hurt, but only slightly if you have the right equipment. Keep in mind that you also need to consider the distance and the speed at which the paintball is traveling when it hits its target to determine how much it will hurt. The body part that it comes into impact with also plays a huge role in how much pain is caused. With the proper equipment and some strict rules set in place, however, you will barely feel a slight sting similar to a flick on the arm.

How do you stop paintball bruises from hurting?

Before answering this question, let’s clear up some confusion. Some people use the terms “bruises” and “welts” interchangeably even though they are not the same. Bruises are purplish or brownish marks caused by a damaged capilary under the skin while welts are raised marks that form on the skin after a blow. However, fortunately, the treatment options for both of these is the same.

Wash the affected area with warm soapy water

Do so to remove any dirt and debris that might have gotten into the skin. By proceeding like this first, you’ll also prevent any possible skin infections.

Apply a cold compress

It’s important to minimize the blood flow underneath your skin to make the swelling go away. You can apply the compress in 15-minute intervals for the best possible effect. Don’t forget to let your skin rest for at least an hour before reapplying a compress after you have toned down the pain.

Elevate the affected area

Whenever possible, keep the affected area elevated. Doing so will restrict the blood flow and thus help the swelling go away much faster. You can stack pillows on top of each other to rest your arm or leg or any other part of your body that has been hit by a paintball.

Final Word

Choosing what to wear paintballing might be a tedious process. However, this step will provide you hours of untainted fun under ideal conditions. You will experience almost no pain, just the sheer joy of playing your favorite hobby.

That’s it on guidance about paintball gear. If you find this article instructive, share it with your paintball pals on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other social media platform. We’d also love to hear your tips on this subject!

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Last update on 2023-06-03 at 03:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API