A lot of players I know stop playing paintball during the Winter months. For a player like me who needs to feel the adrenaline rush every week, this is unthinkable. I prefer to play all year round and snow will not stop me from doing it. Although it is doable to play in the snow, there is a bit of planning and studying involved. You have to know what sort of gear you can use when it is cold and adapt by changing your style. If you handle this in advance before getting on the field, you will be good to go no matter how much it snows. In the guide below, I have included a few tips to get you started when playing in the winter.
Tips For Playing Paintball In The Winter
Freezing Weather Affects Performance
Most paintballs are made of a biodegradable gelatin element. When it gets very cold outside, the exterior of the ball is fragile and starts to fracture. A lot of times this will occur before you are able to fire it out at your enemy which can cause you to lose a game. The best step to take to avoid this scenario is to keep your paintballs stored in a warm place for as long as you can. A lot of people make the mistake of carrying around a bunch of pod packs. Avoid this and be creative by thinking of a way to keep the balls warm under your sweatshirt. Be aware that once you load them up into your hopper that you should use them as soon as possible. When I am not using them, I store my paint at home in a warm place with a heating pad my wife uses for her back.
For those that are willing to pay a bit extra, some manufacturers make special paint for the cold weather. The outer shell is a bit denser and the formula used to make the liquid inside can resist low temperature. If you have less time and a higher budget, I would go this route. One last thing to remember is to ignore people who say the frozen paintball myth is real. For that to happen, you would have to play where the weather is extreme and this would not happen anyway.
CO2 Can Cause Problems in Cold Weather
During the Summer I use my CO2 tanks every single time I play because they perform the best. This is not the case during the colder months. The pressure is much lower and my marker starts to sound like a machine gun faltering every time I use it. Once that happens, the body of your gun will freeze up and steam will seep out of your barrel. Let’s just say you will not be having a good day.
Instead of CO2, it is best to go with an HPA tank which a lot of people know is compressed air. For the most part, compressed air is not affected by Winter weather so can perform the way you need it to. If you love your CO2 tank and refuse to use compressed air, you still can but take a few precautions. The first thing to realize is that you cannot fire rapid shots and must be choosy when you do pull the trigger. Secondly, keep your barrel pointing upwards at all times so the CO2 is always secure in the tank. It will leak out if you position it downwards.
Thermal Lens for Your Goggles
Basic Goggles may work well during the warmer months but you will not get the same result in the Winter. Single lens goggles will get hazy and you will not be able to see a thing. Buy a thermal lens and this problem will not be an issue. This is one of the most important winter paintball tips in this guide.
Wear at Least 2 Layers
Anytime it gets cold out, it makes sense that you will want to double up to stay warm. This is especially true when you are playing a sport or other outdoor hobby. Your body stays nice and warm when you are running on the paintball field but will start to freeze when you don’t. For this reason, you should wear clothing that is breathable and is easy to open up when you are moving. I like to put on thermal underwear, an Under Armor sweatshirt, and a jacket that I can zip up and down when needed. Puffed up jackets that you can barely move your arms in will not work and will kill performance. Other accessories to wear include waterproof boots or shoes that can stay dry, a warm beanie and construction gloves.
One last tip for staying warm that a newbie would not know is to bring a blanket when you are resting. When you need a rest, it will keep you nice and cozy until you are ready to play again. Make sure it is an older quilt that you won’t mind getting dirty.
Always Bring Your Squeegee
No matter how well you prepare, broken paint will always be an issue during the winter months. This is why my squeegee never leaves my side when I am playing any type of game. My favorite type of squeegee is a pull through which can remove paint sludge with ease.
Drink Lots of Water
Any sport that you play will require you to stay hydrated at all times. Paintball is no different and you tend to get thirstier when it is cold out. On your way to the game, drink a good amount of water and keep a water bottle nearby during games. If you are super cold, staging areas have coffee and tea sometimes.
Take Care of Yourself and Others
Playing any sport in freezing temperatures can always have an element of risk. Hypothermia is a real problem and you must take it seriously. Always pay attention to your body and how you feel to make sure you don’t feel dizzy or tired. Be a team player and also look out for others on the field and call them out if you feel you need to.
These winter paintball tips will be enough to help you have a good time on the battlefield and stay safe at the same time. If you have any other questions, please comment below.