The most important weather condition, in my mind, is that it is dry. Rain, snow, sleet, and any other form of moisture make paintball difficult. This is because water causes the balls to swell and break in barrels, and it also wreaks havoc on paintball guns. I’ve played paintball many times the day after a rainstorm, and that is generally okay, as long as I have cleats so I don’t slip in the mud. Playing an active rainstorm, though, is not ideal. Though I have played games in the rain, the effort is generally not worth the enjoyment. Particularly, if I have to spend multiple hours at home fixing guns.
The next thing to keep in mind is the temperature. Paintball can be played in a range of temperatures, but the best are from around 50° to 80°F. At temperatures below 50°, you begin to see problems with your gun, particularly if you use carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is in a liquid form within a paintball take, and relies on ambient air temperature to properly expand. If you are playing in colder weather, your gun will be less consistent, less accurate, and will tend to jam. Playing with compressed air will remedy many of these problems, but it is not a complete solution. This is because the paintballs themselves are more likely to break the colder the air is. There are winter fill formulations of paintballs, but they typically have a thicker shell which is less likely to break on contact. It is happened more than once, when I have been playing in cold weather, two squarely had a player, only to see the paintball bounce off their puffy overcoat.
In addition, hot weather is not ideal. While paintball guns generally performed quite well in warm weather, unless it is extremely hot (above 100°F), the sport is less fun to play for players. In addition to challenges with remaining properly hydrated, in very hot weather, paintball players tend to wear out. I’m very hot days, it is not uncommon to all for people to call it a day after just a few hours of play.
One other thing to keep in mind when playing outdoors, is the lighting. An ideal paintball field will be well–lit but with enough shade that sunlight does not directly hit you in the eyes. Cloud free summer mornings are generally ideal times to play. It is not unheard of though, to play in less than right conditions, such as when it is overcast. On hot days, this may actually be preferable.
One other option that you have, is to simply avoid your natural environment. Throughout the world there are many indoor paintball facilities were you are able to play an ideal temperature, and a well-lit environment, with no rain or snow. While you do miss out on natural light, and don’t feel the wind on your face, it is a place that you can go to play at night, or during the heat of the summer or the freezing cold of the winter.
One last thing to keep in mind, is that perfect weather is not requisite to play paintball. For all the games I have played in beautiful weather, I have probably played more and less than ideal conditions. My general mentality, is that as long as you’re playing paintball, you’re better off than if you aren’t.