Q… is for quality.

Paintball isn’t a cheap sport to play so knowing what to buy is essential.

The old adage of ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is very relevant to paintball, but not as bad as it was back in the day. If you’re just starting out in paintball you should absolutely be looking at the lower end of the price scale, luckily you can buy some pretty awesome gear for not too much cash, so you don’t need to worry too much. The worst advice we could give is to buy the most expensive gear you can from the outset; all that will do is empty your wallet quickly and prevent you from affording the important part. Playing. That said, there are some products that are worth splashing out on if you can and as always, do some research and buy the best quality gear that you can. Here are some simple tips for filling your first paintball gearbag and fuelling your latest obsession.

Markers.
There are now many good quality paintball markers out there that will perform well, won’t hurt your budget too much and won’t let you down. The important thing here is to buy within your means but also buy the best you can afford; even a very inexpensive marker will still hurt you if you buy poorly. The best advice here is to find a local paintball store, get to know them and get some advice based on your budget.

There are some great mechanical markers (no batteries needed) and also some reasonably inexpensive electro markers (batteries needed). Our tip would be to buy a good quality mechanical marker rather than a cheaper electro. It’ll be a better option within its category and will be much less problematic.

And if you’re budget is really tight, scour the forums or Facebook Groups, find some good advice and hunt down a bargain.

Loaders/Hoppers.
You’ll be overwhelmed with the choice for entry-level loaders. There are some great options that operate without batteries, keeping your gameplay cheap and avoids the issue of forgetting to take batteries. Our advice would be to save your money and buy a battery powered loader when you really need more performance. That said, if you buy a marker that performs very well then you may want to step up to a better loader early on. IF your budget allows.

Mask/Goggles.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Buy the best goggles that you can afford. They protect your face and eyes. They help you to see what’s happening and they can also make you look awesome. Better goggles bring a multitude of benefits to the player. The materials and design features are more advanced making for a cooler and more comfortable product. Lens technology is better meaning zero fogging in bad weather, better quality eye protection and noticeably clearer vision. They can be pricey but you won’t need to replace them for some time if you buy the right ones for you.

Clothing.
Comfort and toughness are key. Purpose designed paintball gear exists for a purpose, but can often be expensive for the new player. So look for some decent quality sports bottoms, walking trousers or even cargo pants, that won’t rip too easily that you can dive around in mud, water and grass with ease.

A breathable poly tee and even a hoody will do the trick to start with but again, buy something that uses better materials. This means they’ll be up to the task and last longer than a couple of events. If you’re planning to play a lot of scenario events with a more military theme then head over to your Army Surplus store.

Good quality, warm socks are always a good idea. If it’s super cold, get some thermals. And your hands? Get some gloves. Check out your local paintball store for gloves; some of the great value entry-level brands have gloves that are perfect at very good prices.

Footwear.
No matter where you play you’re gonna need footwear that can grip. Trainers? No chance. Boots? Nope. Wellies… seriously? Even astroturf shoes won’t cut it. We always recommend a decent quality sports cleat from any well-known sports brand. American football cleats, with a soft outer and a mid-range height work a treat. They’re comfortable, tough, and they grip well on most surfaces. Soccer boots are good but being a low cut shoe can sometimes be a problem for ankle rolling on uneven terrain. The soles can also be too rigid making for aching feet after a long day in the field.

Padding/Protection.
Basics first. Barrel condom/bag/sack. You NEED one of these to cover your barrel between points to prevent accidental firing ad hitting someone… or yourself. They’re super cheap and if you’re buying a bunch of new gear from your local store they’ll probably thrown one in for free.

Elbows, knees and hips. You can buy designed-for-purpose paintball padding that varies in price. Most of it is good stuff and will always work in all situations. Try to avoid padding with lots of straps and buckles; they’ll cause rubbing issues and often break. Always go for comfort and good padding coverage over style. They’ll spend most of their life under your clothes so who cares what they look like? Within reason, of course.

Packs.
You’re gonna need something to carry your paint in right? You can go for some super-inexpensive packs that do the basic job. They’ll hold paint pods and that’s about it. But the further up the price range you go, the much better the product. Not only do these look better they have more great features. Extra elastic hidden loops help you add more pods without having a large pack to haul around, extra strapping means the player can customise the fit of the pack and some packs even have special pod holding technology that removes the need for straps. All cool and useful stuff.

So that’s it. Buy some gear. But be smart and spend money in the right places to guarantee you start off on the right path.

Don’t forget to support Play Paintball and our drive to raise awareness of how cool paintball is at every level.

You can find us on all the usual Social Media channels and please help by sharing content that you like with people who have never played:

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