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postheadericon Be prepared – top 10 things to have in your paintball gear bag

Be Prepared – Top 10 Things to Have in Your Paintball Gear Bag

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen someone arrive at a field or paintball outing only to discover that they left their hopper at home… or how many times I’ve seen a gun break only to find that the owner doesn’t have a tool kit or spare parts available.  Luckily in most cases, there are others around who did remember, and are happy to help out, but sometimes being unprepared means you may get to sit and watch others play.

That being said, I’ve compiled a list below of the top 10 things to make sure you always have in your bag before you head out to the field.  We’ll assume for the sake of this article, that you haven’t forgotten your gun.

1. Paintball Mask – This should probably be number 1, 2 and 3 on the list. You should never play paintball without a mask that is designed for paintball. Let me say that again.  You should never play paintball without a mask that is designed for paintball.  Your eyes are much to important to take any chance losing them. Safety goggles or sunglasses don’t offer the protection you need when a paintball is heading at your face going 285 feet per second.

Paintball masks come in many varieties.  All masks that are intended for paintball should meet the minimum safety requirements, so after that your choice is going to be focused more on comfort, visibility, and style.  More expensive masks tend to excel in all three areas but something like the entry level vForce Armor Goggles are fine for beginners. For more experienced players you may find them wearing the vForce Profilers or the vForce Grill vision systems.

2. Safety Gear – Even though a mask is considered safety gear, I felt it was important to list it separately.  There are a number of other safety items which should be considered as well such as paintball gloves, neck protectors, and knee and elbow pads.  These will make you more likely to dive when necessary to avoid being shot, and will make you less likely to get hurt doing so. You can also wear a chest and back protector.  These come in different varieties and will help minimize the number of bumps and bruises you go home with.  The Spyder Body Shield is a very popular version because it looks more like a Jersey than a catcher’s chest protector.

strong>3. First Aid Kit – I keep a small first aid kit in my bag in the event that I get a cut or scrape.  You can typically find a general all purpose kit at your local drug store. I’d typically make sure that it includes band-aids, triple-antibiotic ointment, gauze pads and tape.  If it doesn’t include them, I’ll throw in a small bottle of pain-reliever in the event I get a headache, or as I get older, for some of the related aches and pains.

4. Barrel Cover – I keep my barrel cover on my gun when it’s stored away. This helps me avoid forgetting it.  All reputable and insured fields will require that you have a barrel cover on your marker at all times except during play. Most will not accept a barrel plug, so if your marker came with a plug as most Spyder Paintball Guns did until last year, you will want to get a barrel cover before heading to the field.  If you forget, most fields will gladly sell you one.

5. Squeegee – Squeegees come in a few different formats.  The “battle swab” consists of two soft ends, which can be inserted into the barrel to soak up any residual paint. They typically fold in half and are pretty easy to keep in your back pocket or cargo pants for easy cleaning on the field if you have a ball break in the barrel.  Jerk squeegees consist of a wire or plastic lead with rubber washers and fabric on one end. They are pulled through the barrel to pull out most of the paint.  Straight shot squeegees are similar but do not have much flexibility in them.  Both the jerk and the straight shot squeegees require that you remove your barrel or disassemble your gun to use them, so they are not ideal for on the field cleaning.  I would recommend having both a battle swab and a jerk or straight shot squeegee in your bag. It’s frustrating to have your balls going every way except straight because you have a dirty barrel.

6. CO2 or Nitro Tank – It seems obvious but it’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t forget your tank.  There are two main varieties of tanks… CO2 tanks are typically measured in ounces, which describe how much liquid CO2 the tank will hold.  20oz CO2 tanks seem to be the most popular and a full tank will typically give you 900 – 1000 shots. Keep in mind that some guns (typically more expensive guns) do not recommend using CO2 and instead recommend Nitrogen tanks, which in most cases use normal compressed air. These are typically measured by the size of the tanks (in ci or cubic centimeters) and pressure (in psi or pounds per square inch). The larger the tank and the higher the PSI, the more shots you will get.  It’s worth noting that not all fields can fill the higher PSI tanks, so you may end up getting 3000psi fills on a 4500psi tank.

If you play a lot, or don’t play on a formal field, then you may want to consider having two tanks.  This will allow you to get both filled and allow you to keep playing if one breaks or is empty.  DO NOT attempt to repair a malfunctioning tank on your own.  Paintball tanks are under very high pressure and you may be injured or killed if you are not properly trained to service and repair tanks. Your local paintball shop or dive shop are good places to start when looking for someone to repair a tank.

7. Tools and Spare Parts – Most markers come with a few spare parts and tools needed to performance maintenance on the marker.  Make sure these stay in your bag.  In addition, most manufacturers sell parts kits which include more of the same parts, and in many cases other parts which you will want to have on hand in the event that they break. O-rings and cup seals are obvious items to have. An o-ring pick will help with removing damaged or broken o-rings that need replacing.  You will also want to have gun oil in your kit, which should be applied to the o-rings as well when you are replacing them or cleaning your marker.  Be sure to check if your marker requires or recommends a particular type of oil.

8. Batteries – If your marker is electronic, as more and more are these days, you will want to make sure you have spare batteries and a charger in your bag.  If your hopper requires batteries (many require 2), then you’ll want to account for those as well. I like to keep a fully charged set of batteries in my gun and hopper and another charged spare set as well. A rapid car charger can come in handy if your batteries die.   You’ll be out of play for a bit, but at least the whole day won’t be wasted.

Important: Be sure to check your markers guidelines to make sure you are using the right type of battery. Some are pretty specific about whether standard batteries should be used or the types of rechargeable batteries available.

9. Food and Water – If you are playing at a field, chances are that they will have snacks and drinks available for sale, and will probably offer some sort of lunch as well.  The key here is to be sure that you stay well hydrated.  Because many players choose to dress in layers to reduce the sting of being hit and are normally wearing masks, it’s easy to become overheated or dehydrated. This will bring and end to what would otherwise be a great day. If you are playing with friends in the woods, be sure to take drinks and snacks with you. Take the opportunity to grab a drink in between games and I guarantee you will last longer and feel better as the day progresses.

10. A Towel – It sounds minor, but I’ve found that a small towel comes in handy for wiping my face or my gun off between games.  It gives you something to lay your gun on if you want to avoid getting it scuffed up (though if you’re playing hard, it’s going to get scuffed up), and it’s good for wiping your hands off.

Having fun on the paintball field has a lot to do with how prepared you are to play.  A great paintball gun is nice, but if you don’t have everything you need to keep it and you in good working order, you’ll spend more time on the sidelines than the field. Having these items in your bag will go a long way toward keeping you safe and on the field. Play hard!

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