Modern paintball is one of the most fast-paced, exhilarating, adrenaline-fueled pastimes you could ever hope to enjoy.
It’s also one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and if you’re going to get involved, you need to make sure you’ve got the best possible gear to back you up.
Because while safety is the primary concern, it doesn’t have to be sacrificed for comfort.
That’s why you need to check out the current top nine best paintball pants for 2022, fully covered in the review below.
A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow if you’re new to the sport, or if you just need to brush up on what to look for.
Now, don’t come back until you’ve captured that flag.
Note: Most paintball pants included are unisex and can be worn by men or women.
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- The 9 Best Paintball Pants of 2022
- KYhao Military Paintball Tactical Pants
- Valken Fate Exo Jogger Paintball Pants
- IdoGear G3 Combat Pants
- Paintball Equipment Emerson Combat Gen2 Pants
- ZAPT Tactical Molle Ripstop Combat Pants
- GI Sportz Glide Paintball Pants
- Social Paintball Grit v3 Pants
- HK Army Hardline Paintball Pants
- Carbon SC Paintball Pants
- How to Choose the Best Paintball Pants
The 9 Best Paintball Pants of 2022
KYhao Military Paintball Tactical Pants
Leading from the front are these budget-friendly, multi-use tactical combat trousers in a classic camouflage design.
Made from a durable combination of cotton and polyester, they’re a lightweight garment with several pocket options and come complete with removable knee pads.
Perfect for airsoft and paintball, they’ll keep your knees protected when you’re crawling around in the dirt, and you’ll look and feel like you know what you’re doing – even if you don’t.
- Great price.
- Teflon coating.
- No padding behind the knee pads.
- Not the thickest, most heavy-duty pants out there.
- As basic as they come.
Valken Fate Exo Jogger Paintball Pants
These Valken Fate paintball pants are super-lightweight and breathable, ensuring those hard-core sprints through the undergrowth are as comfortable as they can be, minimizing chaffage.
They offer a highly durable paintball pant solution without breaking the bank, with reinforced knees, stretch material in the crotch, a built-in, fully-adjustable belt, and jogger-style elasticated ankle cuffs.
To cap it all, a dedicated squeegee pocket is a nice touch so you can always keep your marker clear.
- Great price.
- Very flexible.
- Velcro belt.
- Good pocket options.
- The motif on the butt might not be to everyone’s taste.
IdoGear G3 Combat Pants
Made from a 50/50 combination of cotton and polyester, Idogear’s G3 tactical combat pants are designed for some serious outdoor playtime.
With removable knee pads that can be fully adjusted to your preference, they have a low-profile waist and elasticated accents at key locations to never hinder your movement.
Featuring a zip fly and Velcro enclosure, you have the choice of up to 10 different pockets for extra gear and equipment, so you can be sure you’re charging into battle armed to the teeth.
- Ripstop material.
- Teflon coated.
- Military-grade elastic.
- Choice of camo designs.
- Knee and ankle adjustment system.
- The knee pad design isn’t the best.
- Reports of them running small – adjust size accordingly.
Paintball Equipment Emerson Combat Gen2 Pants
These specially designed paintball pants are made from a combination of high-quality polyester and cotton, ensuring they are durable and comfortable to wear.
With built-in knee pads for extra protection, and offering multiple pockets in practical locations, they are ideal to wear when playing paintball, airsoft, or any tactical outdoor sport.
For the price, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck compared to higher-end variations on the same design.
- Teflon coated.
- Durable construction.
- Highly rated.
- Alternative color schemes would have been nice.
ZAPT Tactical Molle Ripstop Combat Pants
Now, this is more like it for a selection of colors and styles. These tactical ripstop combat trousers look the business, and offer plenty of functionality to boot.
Compatible with the MOLLE system, it features a wealth of options with which to carry tactical gear and accessories. Made with a heavy-duty but breathable fabric, doubled layered at the knees and seat, and a simple Velcro strap system is built into the waist to allow for size adjustments.
Tough and durable and offering more than enough storage, tactical pants don’t come much better at this price point.
- Rugged construction.
- Quality YKK zipper for the fly.
- Loads of pockets.
- Excellent choice of designs.
- None apparent.
GI Sportz Glide Paintball Pants
These GI Sportz paintball pants are Glide by name and glide by nature. Designed to allow the wearer to comfortably dive all over the place, they’re probably one of the best paintball pants for sliding around any arena.
The knees and shins have been reinforced with extra padding, so you can have peace of mind when you’re making a break for that bunker with a commando roll, and the anti-slip, elasticated waist will keep you comfortable while doing so.
- Tough and durable design.
- Adjustable cuffs.
- Heavy padding.
- Designed especially for speedball.
- The logo branding might not be to everyone’s taste.
Social Paintball Grit v3 Pants
With additional ventilation in key areas – including the crotch and lower leg area, the V3 from Social Paintball might just be the most breathable paintball pants on the market.
With upgraded, durable zipper pockets that offer waterproof protection, you can be sure your valuables and extra gear remain safe and dry.
Extra padding has been added where you’ll need it the most, and the whole design is lightweight, offering a good range of movement so you’ll never be bogged down.
- Highly rated.
- Designed for the modern game.
- Adjustable ankles.
- Dual barrel swab holsters.
- Double stitching.
- They run small – take care when ordering your size.
HK Army Hardline Paintball Pants
Founded back in 2007, HK Army has become one of the premier manufacturers and suppliers of quality paintball equipment, gear, and apparel. This is one of their pro paintball pant options, designed, as they say, to get you to the podium.
Made by players for players, it’s built to last and withstand all the demands a paintball session will put on its padded and rugged construction, as well as offering maximum paintball deflection.
Wear what the professionals wear and your opponents will know that you’re not messing around.
- Waist size adjustment.
- Ankle cuff straps.
- Hip, crotch and knee padding.
- Zippered leg vents.
- Designed with bounce potential in mind.
- Choice of colors available.
Carbon SC Paintball Pants
Like HK Army, Carbon are also at the top of their game when it comes to manufacturing some of the best paintball gear out there.
These tournament-ready trousers are on another level, with three layers of breathable membrane, weather-resistant coating, and exterior 250DN Cordura-weave nylon.
Designed to offer maximum protection without compromising on weight, they feature laminated 400D knee pads, four-way power mesh crotch for breathable flexibility, and a tapered leg and hip paneling for jogger-style fit without the restriction.
Easily the best lightweight paintball pants available.
- Premium materials.
- Hidden waist belt adjustment.
- Squeegee pockets.
- Waterproof zippers.
- Very expensive for what they are.
How to Choose the Best Paintball Pants
Below you’ll find a handy guide on what to look out for when researching the right paintball pants for your needs.
About Paintball Pants
The more the sport of paintball continues to go from strength to strength, the more advancements are made in the technology of the gear, equipment, and apparel.
Paintball pants are one such example, formally nothing more than a pair of overalls, hiking pants, or other such outdoor leg garments.
Paintball pants were actually a progression of BMX and motocross gear, chosen because they offer more protection than your standard trouser, while providing maximum maneuverability.
Knee and crotch padding was introduced to protect those sensitive areas – not just from flying vegetable extract – but also from the terrain you happen to be throwing yourself around on.
Tournament players are particularly keen on wearing the specially designed, professional versions – as the materials and coatings used in construction can actually deflect shots and cause bounce-off.
In the fast-paced world of paintball, every little helps in giving you the edge, and tactical combat pants will become an essential part of your gear.
You’ll find that most paintball pants are made with a combination of polyester and cotton, and possibly finished with a Teflon coating.
Elasticated features offer maximum comfort and maneuverability, while Velcro ankle cuffs are ideal for use with military-style footwear.
As much as the thickness and padding is important to protect you from the impact of paintballs, so too should the material prevent tears and rips when you’re crawling through the undergrowth.
Look out for ripstop materials (follow this link to understand what is ripstop) that are designed to prevent this kind of damage and abrasion, but don’t forget you need flexibility as well, so something too heavy-duty and rigid isn’t the best idea.
It cannot be stressed enough – you really need to check and double check the sizing when it comes to choosing the best padded paintball pants for you.
It might be advisable to go up a size to what you’re normally used to. Pants can run small, and they certainly need to be more loose than they are tight.
Paintball pants can often be oversized or baggy, so be prepared for that if they seem a little on the large side at first.
And some players like using an extra layer underneath, a moisture-wicking, padded compression pant similar to this example (link to Amazon.com).
Or, the kind of protective, padded shorts that snowboarders and skaters use.
Either way, you need to make sure your paintball pant sizing is correct to accommodate any extra layers you might be packing, and allow enough freedom of movement to get you seamlessly around the field of play.
Straps, Buckles, Zips and Adjustments
In addition to the correct sizing, it’s important you take note of all the adjustable features on a pair of paintball pants.
Is it a button or zip fly? Can you adjust the waist and how? What kind of material is used at the ankles and is it fixed? Does it come with a belt? Does it use Velcro or poppers?
How you can adjust the pants to suit your size and range of movement is something you should be thinking about before purchase.
Personally, I like zips and buckles over buttons and Velcro – but that’s just me.
Pockets and Compartments
Tactical combat trousers – by their very nature – usually come overloaded with pockets and compartments in which you can house extra gear and equipment.
You might need to carry all kinds of items into a paintball arena – depending on the type of game you’re playing. The same can be said if you’re more of an airsoft guy or gal.
Look out for paintball pants that offer the most versatility when it comes to pockets, in easy-to-access locations that won’t hamper you in the heat of battle.
Some options even offer dedicated pockets for additional equipment and tools, such as a squeegee holder, ammo pouches, and paint grenades.
Some versions are MOLLE compatible (Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment) similar to what the military and special forces use.
As you might expect, this style of pant is preferred by paintball and airsoft players looking for extreme authenticity and realism in their games.
Look out for pockets that offer some weatherproofing protection to any valuables you might need to bring along to the skirmish.
Breathability and Flexibility
Sweating like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs isn’t the most comfortable scenario when it comes to paintball. And sweat you will.
It’s an incredible sport with which to get fit, as the calories will fall off and have you perspiring like you’re in a sauna.
However, nobody likes butt-sweat.
To that end, it won’t do if your pants aren’t breathable. And look out for options that can wick away moisture from your skin to keep you as cool and comfortable as possible.
Zippered openings are ideal if you need to cool down, and mesh sections will allow air to move freely through.
Paintball welts are par for the course – but nobody wants jock-itch.
Likewise, the garment needs to allow you a full range of motions, as you’re going to be diving all over the place looking for cover.
Paintball pants with elasticity and flexibility in key locations are worth their weight in gold. Look for options that feature plenty of give in the knees, hips, and – most importantly – the crotch region.
Color options are usually down to your own personal preference.
But when your life might depend on it (not really, but I’m role-playing) it’s well worth considering where and when you’re going to be suiting up for a paintball game before you choose the color of your clothing.
For woodsball, appropriate camouflage is highly recommended depending on your environment – and the season.
Likewise, if you’re playing indoors, it’s a good idea to choose darker tones, so you can lurk in the shadows without fear of detection.
The only time you might choose something else is if you’re every playing scenario paintball and your character calls to be dressed in day-glow orange…
Padding and Protection
Paintballs can hurt, particularly if fired at close range – which is often the case in speedball, tournament play, or indoor scenarios.
Pro players will often supplement their paintball clothing with additional armor to prevent the possibility of those lovely welts that can result in a well-placed shot.
Fear not, however, as most paintball pants worth their salt have built-in padding and protection to keep your precious skin safe.
This is particularly true in those highly sensitive areas, and some options come with extra knee pads or reinforced sections to help take the pace out of a direct hit.
How important is it for you to look cool on the battlefield? If you want to look and feel like a badass, then choosing a military-style paintball pant is the way to go.
Available in a wide selection of designs and styles, thankfully, the common theme is to have a practical, combat-ready fit that will make you appear like you’ve just graduated boot camp.
Go with camouflage options with plenty of tactical storage pouches if you really want to feel like you’re in the marines.
But in reality, it’s not about how you look – it’s about how you play.
Good paintball pants that are practical and suitable for outdoor combat sports use don’t have to be that expensive.
But if you’re serious about the game and you really want the very best, then you might have to part with a little more coin.
It just depends on your own budget and personal preferences. However, I would suggest don’t run before you can walk, and you try something a little cheaper if you’re just starting out.
Do paintballs really hurt?
Paintballs are spherical capsules that contain gelatin and dye. The higher the quality of paintball, the more “fill” the pellet will have compared to how thin the shell is, and the likelihood that it will splatter on impact.
As such, the pain one can potentially feel can differ from paintball to paintball. Never play with inferior quality paint.
But considering they’re going to be fired at you at high velocity from a canister of compressed air or CO2, then yes, they are going to hurt. Especially if you happen to be light on protection.
This is why players of all skill levels should be wearing good quality clothing and protective equipment to minimize damage to the skin.
If that’s the case, then you’ll likely have a few bruises, and nothing more.
What should I wear to paintball?
If you’re going for the first time, and you don’t have your own gear yet, then I would suggest wearing clothes that you certainly don’t mind getting dirty.
Covering your arms and legs is recommended. Sweatshirts, long-sleeved Ts, or hooded tops are a good idea. Cargo pants are preferable, but jeans will do if you really have nothing else.
Some venues might provide overalls for you. For my first ever paintball session, they decked us out in camouflage jumpsuits.
Running sneakers or comfortable boots are preferable – depending on the terrain.
Either way, you want to make sure you’re not going to roll your ankle (which is the most common paintballing related injury), so anything with additional support is ideal.
Wear fingerless gloves to protect your hands, but still with the freedom to squeeze that trigger. Or, if you’re looking to be a little more professional, check out these tactical shooting gloves instead.
Finally, it’s absolutely imperative you wear goggles and a face mask.
And while you could always go with the gear provided by a paintball center (sweated into by hundreds of other users) it’s really much better to get your own.
Check out this article on the best paintball masks and pick one up.
And since this can be a very detailed subject, you should head on over to read this article for a more in-depth look at what to wear for paintball.
Do I need special pants for paintball?
You don’t need special clothing for paintball (aside from the face and head protection, of course), and you can enjoy a game in any old clothes.
However, if you’re wanting to have the best possible experience combined with the ultimate in comfort, flexibility, and protection, then you really should think about picking up a pair of quality paintball pants.
Check out the video below of some entertaining paintball action to see what the pros are wearing in tournament play.
And this is an example of what players are wearing in urban or forest scenarios.
Should I wear something under paintball pants?
You don’t have to, but many players (especially tournament or speedball combatants) opt to wear compression layers, wicking underwear or extra padding beneath their paintball pants.
Having additional protection in areas like your hips and knees is also recommended, particularly if you’re an aggressive player who likes to throw themselves around.
Snowboard, motocross, and skate undershorts offer such padding, and they’re a popular choice for paintballers who enjoy their benefits.
How should I wash paintball pants?
It’s not just about bunging them all in the machine and starting any old cycle. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there from regular players on how to make your paintball clothing last.
Start by watching the video below for more information and a visual guide to cleaning all your gear. And remember – always launder everything as soon as possible after a game.
Does paintball ruin your clothes?
Yes. Providing of course that the paintballs are not inferior quality, cheaply made, knock-offs.
Paintballs are made from water-soluble ingredients and will wash out in normal spin cycles.
Refer to the cleaning tips above – and always wash your clothes immediately after play.
Paintball is one of the most thrilling sports you can play, and whether you’re a total noob or a seasoned pro, having the right gear is going to give you an edge.
Choosing the best paintball pants of 2022 is a great place to start.
Let me know which style you would go for and why.