From changing the camo you wear to the type of tank you use, playing in the snow can be tricky business. First, make necessary adjustments to help your marker continue to perform in a cold climate. Use a high pressure air tank instead of CO2. Paintball CO2 tanks tend to freeze up when rapid shooting - even in the summer; this is multiplied when the air is cold outside.
High pressure air tanks supply a constant air pressure, independent of the outside air temperature, and will perform more consistently in the winter than will CO2. Also, consider using winter formula paintballs. Regular paintballs will freeze up in the cold and become harder to break, making them hurt and bounce off their target.
Winter formula paintballs have a much lower freeze point and will stay liquid in very cold temperatures. These are only offered by a few brands and cost a small amount more, however essential for playing in the cold. If you play paintball in cold temperatures, winter formula paintballs will make or break your game.
The clothing you wear will also be a bit different for cold weather paintball. In the normal season, most players wear baggy jerseys, long sleeve shirts and pants combined with some type of paintball protective gear
. This may include a paintball chest protector, body armor or tactical vest, elbow and/or knee pad
s and neck protector. The paintball mask is an essential piece of equipment no matter what the weather is.
An advantage of playing paintball in the snow is the clothing you would normally wear for extremely cold temperatures. Thick, heavy winter coats, long johns, gloves and even ski pants are excellent protection against oncoming paintballs. Winter clothing all but nearly replaces paintball protective gear
accessories (except for the mask). The only problem with these type of garments is they are often heavy, reduce range of motion and greatly slow the player down.
When choosing what you're going to wear for playing paintball in the snow, dress in layers and 'think light'; don't just wear as much clothing as possible. Long johns underneath jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt are great first and second layers. Your winter parka with either a hood or knit cap will be sufficient protection for play, however add or subtract depending on how harsh the temperature is. Some players also wear a tactical vest over their winter coat if (it will fit) to help carry their gear.
Remember, you will also need some type of storage capacity to carry necessary gear, like paintballs or extra magazines for your paintball gun. Tactical paintball harnesses that fit around the waist will interfere with a winter coat, unless you wear it underneath the jacket. Consider using a thigh harness to carry pods of ammo or extra gear and keep it free from overlapping with your coat.
Choose the type of paintball footwear you use when playing in the snow wisely. Sneakers or athletic shoes often get wet very quickly; cold, wet feet can make for an uncomfortable (and shorter) play day. Military combat boots that go far up the calf provide the best coverage and insulation, however can also become heavy and burdensome if the snow cakes inside the treads.
If you're playing in fairly deep snow, boots or waterproof shoes will still sink down and make it much more effort to travel, greatly slowing your down. If the snow is deep enough, you might also add an interesting twist to your game by trying snow shoes or even cross country skis. These will help you stay on top of the snow and allow you to cover much more ground with less effort and greater speed.
Another fun aspect of playing paintball in the snow is the ability to make your own field. If you can build a snowman, you can build a paintball bunker! Turn an otherwise plain hayfield into a paintball fortress with strategically placed mounds of snow to hide behind. Paintball bunkers made of snow cost nothing and do an excellent job of stopping oncoming balls; however they take a lot work to make!
Don't put your paintball gear away just because it's a bit nippy outside! Playing paintball is still great fun even in freezing temperatures. Make a few modifications and wear the right clothing and you'll have a much better time. For an even more interesting day, try your hand at playing paintball in the snow; get used to these conditions and you'll play like a pro in the summer! Practice throughout the entire year and watch your paintball skills sky rocket!
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