What do you do when you need to blow off steam? Everyone needs a way to unwind after a long day or a stressful week–what’s yours?Some people relax through physical activity, like jogging or other exercises. Others play competitive games like Call of Duty. Some people loosen up by getting together with friends.If all three of those options sound good to you, you might want to consider paintball.Paintball combines the best aspects of all of those activities. It features the physical exertion and adrenaline rush of exercise and the competition and skill of a competitive game. Best of all, it’s a team activity you can do with friends!While paintball is a lot of fun, it needs to be approached responsibly. Choosing the right safety gear is important. You don’t want to ruin a fun outing with friends by getting yourself (or someone else) hurt.So, what kinds of safety gear do you need to start paintballing? Read on to find out!Is Paintball Really Dangerous?You might be feeling a little skeptical at this point. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “Is paintball a dangerous sport?” The answer is: yes and no.Without the proper equipment, yes, there is a real risk of injury. If you are wearing the right gear, though, the answer is no. Paintball is a very safe sport as long as you’re prepared for it.It’s important to remember that while paintballs aren’t bullets, they’re still hard objects that move very fast. Being hit in an unprotected area is going to hurt. Depending on where you’re hit, you could be seriously injured.Wearing the proper safety gear can prevent these injuries. That’s why picking the right gear is so important.Picking the Proper ClothesGearing up for paintball starts with the clothes you wear. There’s one guiding principle to follow here: coverage! A paintball is going to hurt a lot less if it hits clothes instead of bare skin.It’s recommended that you wear two layers on your torso. This layering will help blunt the impact of the paintball. Many people choose to wear two shirts, or a shirt and a jacket.Keep in mind that paintball is a very physical sport. You’re going to be doing a lot of running and moving. That means you’ll want to pick loose clothes that don’t restrict your movement too much.It also means you’re probably going to work up a sweat. A thick sweatshirt might seem like a good idea in terms of protection, but you’ll regret it when you’re running across a field on a hot day!The best way to bulk up your defenses is with protective gear like paintball armor. Paintball armor comes in various forms. The most basic is the chest protector, which adds padding to your chest and stomach.Different chest protectors offer different coverage areas and levels of padding. Some may also include extra features such as pouches.Pants and FootwearDon’t forget your legs when you’re looking at safety gear. Choosing the right pants is just as important as choosing the right shirt.Avoid tight jeans and similar options. Like your shirt, you’ll want your pants to be flexible enough that they don’t impact your movement. Tracksuit pants or jogging pants are a good fit, but your best bet is to buy paintball pants.These are designed with paintballing in mind. They are breathable to help you stay cool during the action. They also feature extra padding on sensitive areas like the knees and groin.Investing in kneepads is a good idea (especially if you don’t have paintball pants). Your knees can take a lot of damage if you aren’t careful. It’s best to protect them from the wear and tear of running and sliding!Shoes are also important to consider. Paintball involves lots of running, often on difficult terrain. You need to make sure your footwear is appropriate for the activity.Cleats and boots are good choices for paintball. They are designed for sports, hiking, and other physical activities, so they can stand up to the stress of an intense paintball match.Make sure your shoes are comfortable and supportive. Poorly fitting shoes can impact your movement and put more stress on your legs and knees.Goggles and Facial CoveringsDo you know what the most common paintball injury is? If you guessed eye injuries, you’re right. Your eyes, ears, and face are more delicate than the rest of your body and need more protection.That’s why goggles and helmets are among the most important pieces of protective gear you can buy.Your most basic defense against eye injuries is a pair of goggles. Standard goggles cover your eyes and protect them from the impact of a badly aimed paintball.A more comprehensive solution is a paintball mask. A mask covers your entire face, not just your eyes. This means protection for your nose and mouth as well.While every piece of safety gear is important, goggles and masks are what protect you from the most devastating injuries. A good mask should be at the top of your paintball checklist!Other Safety GearWe’ve covered the obvious categories of protective gear, but there are a few more pieces of equipment you might want to invest in. Gloves and neck protectors are some other great pieces of paintball gear.Gloves are useful for a variety of reasons. They can help you keep a firm grip on your paintball gun. They also protect your hands while you’re climbing, diving, and crawling across the battlefield.Neck protectors are exactly what they sound like: padding for your neck. Getting hit in the throat is very painful and could cause serious problems. Prevent that possibility by buying a padded neck protector!Both of these options come down to that principal rule we covered earlier: coverage!Have Fun and Stay SafeNow that you know how to protect yourself, you can buy the gear you need to stay safe. The proper equipment will allow you to play paintball without fear!Buy your paintball safety gear today! Pick up a new mask and a chest protector. Buy that new pair of gloves you’ve been eyeing. And don’t forget to pick up a paintball gear bag to store it all in!
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