My (Your) First Paintball Kit
How Much You Got?
Before you do anything, you need a budget. I don't want to sound like your financial advisor but if you're not careful, you can drop a whole paycheck in one mouse click. Trust me, i've been there. Now if that is your budget, by all means (share!)... but if not, i don't want you forfeiting dinner for a month.
Nowadays, it's possible to get everything you need with a single benjamin (that's $100 to anyone who doesn't know their presidents). But if you're picky, or heavily subject to peer pressure, or have more money than strands of hair, you may want a setup that goes beyond this price range. Just step back, inspect your finances, and get a solid dollar figure you can dedicate to this fantastic sport.
Throw That Money Around
To aid in forming a budget, here is a list of gear you will need so you know where the money needs to go:
- Mask: protects your lovely face, must be comfortable enough to wear all day because you will need to wear it all day. They all protect the same, but some are more comfy than others, some better at preventing lens fog than others.
- Marker: or gun, whatever suits you. The main tool for the job. Helps you "introduce" paintballs to anyone on the field who opposes you. Many types, many brands, many styles, but a discussion for another hub.
- Hopper: or loader. Holds paintballs for instant use by feeding them to your marker. Some just rely on gravity, some use electronic motors to persuade paintballs into the marker, and even some are just plain aggressive and force paintballs into the marker. Price becoming progressively higher with each type, of course.
- Tank: holds gas, which provides the pressure needed to operate the marker's internal pneumatics, and also the pressure that propels the paintballs.
- Harness: or pod pack. Optional, but as anyone who plays may tell you, a hopper-full isn't always enough for one game. A device that either resembles a belt with a pouch on it, or a back-brace with sleeves attached, these things hold pods full of paintballs, providing an ample supply in the event they're needed.
- Pods: plastic tubes that hold paintballs, most common in either 100 or 140 ct sizes (other sizes exist, but a new player need not concern themselves so soon). Seasoned players often end up with quite a collection of these.
- Paintballs: well, of course! There are varying brands & grades, probably a topic best for yet another hub!
What To Get, Where To Buy
As stated previously, it's possible to get everything you need for $100, in various package deals offered by various companies. These packages often include just the essentials - mask, marker, tank, hopper - but sometimes more (sometimes less). For example, a Tippmann Gryphon package for $99, or Spyder Aggressor package ($100-ish). Also, many stores or websites offer their own package deals - a web search with your favorite search engine will provide many results. For newer players, it's probably best to start with one of these package deals - picking all of it individually can become overwhelming.
There are plenty of places you could buy your gear from, but only a few places you should buy your gear from. BUY LOCAL! Primarily, local paintball stores. They aren't always easy to find, and aren't necessarily just down the street, but by supporting local paintball shops, you support the entire local paintball community. They also have better selection than general sports stores or certain mega-chain department stores.
If there are absolutely no paintball stores around you, then really the best choice is online shopping. Plenty of reputable sites, and few reasons to stick with just one. Shop around, see what you find.
Nice To Have, But Not Required
There's plenty other gear, mostly apparel, associated with the game. Jerseys, pants, headbands, gloves, socks, shoes, stickers, tshirts, etc... none of it is entirely necessary, really on a personal basis as to whether you feel you need the paintball-specific equivalents or not.
What i WILL argue against, though, is the average person wearing a paintball jersey when playing. Those are really only to identify team members in a tournament or practice setting, not everyone should be wearing them. Think of it like people playing basketball or football at the public park - any of them wearing jerseys? Probably not, not most of them anyways. Same concept here. Heck, i wear tshirts or hawaiian shirts when i play paintball.