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Prevent Paintball Mask From Fogging
Army Paintball Mask
Paintball Mask Fogging Up?
Being a paintball enthusiast, more amateur than pro, I find one of the most annoying things is playing outdoors, having fun, and then fog sets in. It is beyond irritating not being able to see because the lens that is a couple of inches in front of your face is no longer clear. What is even more disturbing is you remember cleaning the lens, adding paintball anti-fog spray or gel, and it is still fogging up. Why is this? It's nature helping you lose the round, sigh!
Moisture that is trapped inside from the sweat, has no where to go, it has to condensate on the lens, when the anti-fog cannot keep up with the water build up, it's over, and you cannot determine your teammate from your competition. A time ago or so, got tired of the fogging issue, so thought maybe if I put paper towels between my forehead and mask to raise it off my skin a bit, thinking maybe it would help, sure enough it helped a lot, until the paper towels got saturated and became like the factory foam.
So, what can be done, add air flow and an escape of moisture. In this article, we will demonstrating one idea of how to hack your mask to help with airflow, and not risk safety. As a note, I am not certain this would be allowed in competitions, however, after all, I am only an amateur and enjoy playing in the woods and outdoors. For reference, the mask I am using pictured above is a US Army Ranger paintball mask. This particular style and version allows for some room to modify the design a little.
US Army Ranger Paintball Mask
Considering the Options
As stated above, not all masks are created the same, the US Army Ranger Goggle mask I have has a nice flat area to add padding to come out flush with the existing foam padding. This was very convenient, but again every mask is different. You may find you will need to improvise a bit, such as removing existing foam or padding out in different areas. Below is a list of the supplies I used for my improvised padding.
- Felt strips
- Stainless Steel Screw (Phillips 3/4" Length Flat Head)
- Stainless Steel Nuts and Washers
- Loctite 60 Second Universal Glue
- Window Seal (Round Soft Edges)
- Phillips Head Screw Driver
- Drill with Bit
- Didn't Use, but may need: Razor and Ruler
Keep in mind that the screws you use may be different in length with sizes depending on the distance you may need to modify your mask.
How It Was Done
I chose to use the felt strips, only to allow for some room to move and play a bit. It took a total of 4 layers to get to the edge of the existing foam that is above the lens. This is important to note because the masks are designed to be forming to a face. So going less than the foam would cause the mask to like point upward instead of straight out or slightly downward as my mod allowed for in the end.
As you can see in the photo below, the first two rows of felt I bolted into the mask. The reason I did this was to add a layer of rigidness and the lesser likelihood of the components falling off from movement. Try to place pads in the same place on both side of the mask. The common sense that should be used in this article is that what is shown once, is really done twice for this scenario. You may find that you have to improvise your modification differently with a similar concept of application.
Bolted Felt Pads to Mask
Lots of Glue
In the next photo, after the felt pads have been bolted to the mask, which by the way was where the drill and bit came into use. A hole had to be punched thru the two felt pads and through the mask. The next steps are to glue down the felt pads starting with the pad that is screwed down to the first one. Do not adhere the very first pad to the back of the mask. This is considered in the event you would want to remove the pads to replace or otherwise change, you are not scraping the glue off, Only removing the bolt.
Tip: If you just purchased the mask, bolts are much easier to apply before attaching the visor. The visor for this particular mask isn't intended to be removed after installed, makes installing bolts a little difficult for anyone that may have larger fingers.
Anyways, onward to gluing the felt pads. You will need to apply liberal amounts of glue (as noted I used Loctite 60 Second glue) in between all the layers, hold for the instructed time so the material adheres to each other. Once done, you are ready to attach the padding that will help with wear comfort. The photo below only shows the left side glued down, in this particular application, it was done twice on both sides.
Glued Down Felt Pads
Add Head Rest
The next photo shows the round, soft rubber window seal cut to length. This was also glued into place. Try not to get any of the glue onto the front of the head rest, this could cause scratching and discomfort. Once the head rest is secured in place, the last step is to add silicon on the felt. This is a preventative measure to help water or sweat to work its way in between the felt pads, thus water resistance is added.
Note: That in this demonstration, both sides have been completed with the felt pads before adding the head rest. Also, if once the head rest is installed, if not comfortable enough, wearing a headband my give you that final touch of comfort.
Adding the Rubber Head Piece
So, there you have it, the end result is to be able to allow just a bit more air safely through the mask. As with anything there is always a give and take, in this modification, the take is a little bit of comfort has to be forfeited, however the give is, less fogging. As stated in the very beginning of this article, it is suggested to still used anti-fog spray or gel in combination with this idea. Nobody wants to be caught in the field taking their mask off because of fog, but it happens, and it can be dangerous, or simply get you out of the game faster. The end results I have had personally is a lot less fog. On very humid days, the mask will still fog, but it is much more delayed to fog up, on less humid days when the mask fogged before, now it does not.
Note: Keep in mind if you have a fairly large head, the mask moving away from your face will begin to provide less protection for the ears. Be mindful of this when modifying your mask in the way of this demonstration. Remember you are responsible for your safety on the field, nothing in this article or this modification can prevent safety hazards.
Have fun and hope you enjoyed this article as much as you enjoy the sport itself.