It’s no secret that you need to keep yourself protected when playing combat sports.
Running around like headless chickens, pellets whizzing left and right, carrying weighty guns or other equipment as you charge into battle.
And that sounds like a lot of sweaty work – particularly in high temperatures.
In this guide, we take a special look at what to wear for paintball in the summer – with some extra tips thrown in – so you don’t collapse with heat stroke.
It’s time to stay cool, and chill out.
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Summer Paintball Clothing Tips – Too Long, Didn’t Read
Let’s keep things quick and easy, and give you a bite-sized list of tips right off the bat.
In summer or for any warm-weather paintball play, you should be wearing:
- Lightweight, loose-fitting clothes.
- Moisture-wicking garments.
- Thin layers.
- Removable lightweight padding/protection.
- Your own mask.
And you should remember to:
- Keep to the shade
- Take regular breaks.
- Know your physical limits.
- Stay hydrated.
- Bring the sunblock!
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, so read on for some more useful tips and tricks for staying cool when playing paintball in the summer.
What to Wear for Paintball in Hot Weather
Let’s get into a bit more detail on the best types of clothing to wear when you’re in the heat of battle – in the heat.
Aside from the mask and goggles (more on protective gear, below) I would recommend wearing some kind of cap to keep the sun off the back of your head.
This is where bandanas are ideal, not only are they lightweight and offer some paintball protection, they can look really cool when done right.
Sweat bands are also useful – particularly if you’re prone to sweating heavily. I know I need one to keep my eyes from stinging, so if that sounds like you – it’s a good idea to take one along.
If you have long hair, I’d recommend putting it up in your preferred method, or out of the way with braids.
Look for lightweight, long-sleeve tops for playing paintball in summer, and light colors will reflect the sun better, so try to stay away from black – which will absorb a lot of heat.
I can’t stress this enough – black clothes are a recipe for disaster when playing any sport in the sun.
Camouflage clothing is actually designed to keep you cool in heat, so army surplus stuff is well worth a look. As a bonus, paintball paint comes out of this material more easily than regular shirts and hoodies.
And it’s much better for playing woodsball – as you’ll blend into the background rather than wearing bright colors. Take a look at this article on woodsball vs speedball to see the differences in the gameplay.
Moisture-wicking fabrics are important, in order to keep the sweat away from your skin, all while improving ventilation and breathability.
Loose-fitting clothing is a must. There are multiple benefits to this – the first is obviously remaining cool, while the second actually helps when it comes to minimizing paintball hits.
A paintball that doesn’t explode on a target isn’t considered a hit, and although it might be a small advantage, loose-fitting clothes are better than tight when it comes to improving the chances of a ricochet or “bounce off.”
This is why you’ll see pro players wearing larger, oversized jerseys for tournament play. Think 90s fashion, and you’ll be on the right lines.
Of course, you can feel free to wear T-shirts, providing you’re aware of the sting and possible welt that a paintball is capable of when hitting bare skin.
This article on airsoft vs paintball pain will tell you what to expect in more detail.
Remember, more experienced players might turn up in next to nothing – shorts and a T-shirt. I wouldn’t recommend that until you’re playing at a decent level, and you understand the risks.
Women should consider wearing a padded sports bra, or some other type of chest protector – even in warm weather.
It’s more or less the same for the bottom half – light, loose-fitting, moisture-wicking garments are ideal.
Take a look at this article on the best pants for paintball for some good examples. Remember to go for breathable garments that don’t hug the body.
Jogging pants are ideal if you’re not looking to spend money on tactical gear just yet, or if you have an old pair of cargo pants – they are probably your best bet.
Shorts can be considered – again, if you’re not shy when it comes to getting hit on bare skin with a paintball.
Choose something that at least reaches the knees to offer the best protection – and hope that nobody is going to deliberately aim for the lower leg. The soft skin on the calf can sting like crazy!
Just make sure to stay away from jeans, as not only are they uncomfortable, hot, and restrictive, but you’ll never get the paint out of them.
Did you know the most common paintball injury is a rolled ankle?
Come rain or shine, sun or sleet, it’s so easy to slip or stumble when you’re charging into battle – or running away from it!
As such, wearing some lightweight but supportive shoes or boots is very important – both for your comfort, and safety.
While you don’t have to go full basketball, having something that provides comfort and protection in the ankle area is recommended.
I like to wear a pair of trail-running/hiking hybrid shoes, which are lightweight enough for summer play, but still offer the support I need, where I need it.
The most important aspect of what you wear for paintball is the protective gear.
Regardless of how hot or cold you may or may not be – this is non-negotiable. However, you can take steps to make it more comfortable in different temperatures and conditions.
The first is that I highly recommend using your own mask. It will fit better, protect better, and you won’t have to share it with any other players.
Take a look at this review of the best paintball masks on the market and find yourself the best option.
Using a goggle fan can help prevent fog build up, as well as potentially keeping you cool in the process.
Using removable padding for elbows and knees can be useful – particularly if wearing shorts or T-shirts.
They will offer a decent amount of protection without adding too much weight, and allow a cooling ventilation to breeze through when you’re on the go.
Alternatively, check out this article on the best tactical pants with knee pads – many of which can be lightweight while offering a decent protective layer and padding.
And if you belong to the fairer sex, this review of the best tactical pants for women will be right up your street for lightweight, cool clothing.
Location, Location, Location
When it comes to playing paintball in summer, this is where woodsball excels over speedball.
The latter is usually played in areas where there isn’t much overhead cover (with exceptions), but woodsball is usually played in dense forests.
And in summer, those trees can be just what the doctor ordered for staying cool on a blazing hot day.
Where possible, stick to the shade, and stay under the trees. If you need to, request that the game is played in the shade as and where possible.
The umpires will most likely thank you for it, too.
Fitness and Conditioning
While paintball is an excellent way to keep fit, increase stamina, strength and endurance, it’s worth mentioning that you should have a modicum of fitness before attempting a game.
I’ve witnessed overly-keen, COD-playing, couch-potatoes keeling over, largely thanks to them misjudging just how intensive this sport can be.
And this can easily happen year round – no matter the season or temperature.
Make sure you understand the limits of your body, and you’ll save doing yourself an injury, or causing unnecessary distress to other players.
If you’re the type of person who wheezes after walking up a flight of stairs – paintball will be literally running before you can walk.
Break it Up
Remember to take regular breaks when playing paintball in summer – and don’t overdo it. Even if you are wearing the best paintball clothing and gear for the heat, you can easily push things too far.
Stop for a break after every game, and don’t be afraid to sit the next one out if you’re not feeling up to it.
Heat and sunstroke is a very real danger, and there’s no shame in taking a breather if need be – it could be lifesaving.
Furthermore, if you don’t feel well for whatever reason mid-game, it’s perfectly acceptable to return to the safe staging area to cool down, and steady the ship.
Just remember to keep your protective gear on until you’re properly out of the playing field.
Even if running too hot, this is essential, and masks should never be removed prematurely. No matter the heat – you can face serious injury, as well as the possibility of a ban.
Eight glasses of water a day, right? When you’re playing paintball, it’s advisable to take on a lot more, and very important to stay hydrated – particularly when in the heat.
You should be looking to up that intake to around two gallons. And while that sounds excessive, when playing sports in summer, you’ll go through that in no time.
I cannot stress this enough – staying hydrated is vital. Fellow paintballers and field staff will also remind you – particularly the more experienced players.
Take a large flask of ice-cold water with you, and be sure to top up at regular intervals. A decent airsoft field will have access to drinking water for everyone.
Aside from this, healthy, light snacks with no salt will help keep your energy up. I highly recommend bananas and granola bars stashed back at base.
If wearing light and loose clothing for paintball concerns you, and you think you should be wearing more protection – consider visiting a low-impact paintball field instead.
Typically, these fields are ideal for younger players, or anyone who is justifiably worried about the large welt a .68 paintball can cause from a powerful gun on bare skin.
Either way, a low-impact paintball field is perfect in the summer for anyone a little nervous about paintball pain.
A final (and vital) consideration when playing paintball in the summer – is to remember the sun block. UV rays are very harmful on exposed skin – particularly for younger and fair-skin players.
Make sure to slather it on across any exposed areas – not forgetting places like the neck and tops of the ears – if not covered by a good paintball mask.
Seriously, though, getting hit in the ear by a paintball isn’t anyone’s idea of fun!
When choosing what to wear for paintball in the summer, it’s important to stick to light, loose, clothing.
Take regular breaks, hydrate, and don’t push yourself beyond your physical capabilities, and you’ll enjoy a safe, comfortable, and rewarding day out.
Let me know if I’ve missed any key tips for summer paintball in the comments.
Stay safe, stay cool, and happy paintballing!