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Playing Paintball in Cold Weather

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Wet Equipment

Paintball equipment is not designed to get wet. Guns rust, paintballs swell, moving parts freeze up and motors burn out. While cold weather is not always associated with wet conditions, it often is. During play in wet conditions I have had guns jam, paintballs get ruined (usually from moisture getting in the paintball bag) and agitated hoppers simply stop working. Equipment malfunctioning is simply a part of playing in wet, cold weather.

I recommend bringing a tarp, put a towel on half of it on which you store your equipment and then fold the other half of the tarp over the top to keep everything as dry as possible. If you are playing when it is cold and wet, be very sure to keep your equipment dry or you are guaranteed to have issues.

A bigger issue for many players is that the combination of colder temperatures, warm faces and moisture in the air is that masks will fog. When masks fog players cannot see which completely destroys the game. While the inability to compete is a major disadvantage, an even larger problems arises when players take off their masks during the game which is extremely dangerous. When two players with fogged masks are competing in a paintball game, one player may remove their mask and the opposing player is less likely to realize it, setting the stage for a tragic eye injury.

The best way to keep masks from fogging is to use a thermal mask. Thermal masks have two lenses with a buffer of air between them. While thermal lenses still do fog, they do so less often and tend to defog by themselves faster than single lens masks. There are other approaches such as mask fans and anti-fog sprays that you can try, but a thermal mask is the best approach.

Movement

Paintball is a game of movement. In cold weather movement suffers from players being cold and from the bulky clothing they wear. Paintball, particularly woodsball, often involves periods of crouching and waiting followed by brief periods of intense movement. In cold weather, muscles tend to tighten faster than normal, resulting in difficulty in moving. I remember hiding in the woods, trying hard to keep my teeth from chattering and revealing my position, and then trying to run from a crouch - not only did my muscles hurt but I couldn’t run nearly as fast and I felt like I would trip over my own feet as I ran.

The second major problem is the bulkiness of clothing that you wear when you play paintball. Large coats, thick pants, heavy gloves and boots may keep you warm, but they severely restrict movement. Diving behind a bunker that is straightforward in cleats, pants and a jersey becomes much more difficult when you’re bundled up. Additionally, the bulky clothing makes it much less likely that paintballs will break as they tend to bounce off of padded clothing.

There really are not any solutions to these challenges. You can try to stay warm with less clothing by putting hand-warmers in your pockets, but they are only minimally effective. No matter what you try, players usually end up looking like Ewoks with masks running around.

Players

All of the previously mentioned problems can be dealt with when you want to play paintball in the cold. The issue of players, though, is often what keeps cold weather games from happening. In general, paintball players don’t like to play in the cold. You can make all the cold weather preparations you want, but if you can’t get people to play against, you will end up spending a cold day walking through the woods by yourself.

Read about more issues with cold weather

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  4. Introduction to Paintball
  5. Misc
  6. Playing Paintball in Cold Weather Part 2 - Cold Weather Paintball Problems and Solutions

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