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Ultimate Guide To Paintball Starter Kits
If you’re getting ready to take to the field for the first time, paintball can seem daunting. There’s a lot of gear involved besides the marker itself, and the sheer volume of choice makes finding the right equipment difficult. Fortunately, starter kits are available, and there’s really no better place for a beginner to look.
Think about your budget
Every starter pack is different, but they often include a marker, ammunition, a visor and some form of body protection. In essence, they include all the basic pieces of kit that you’ll need to take to the field for the first time. Most novice paintballers don’t want to spend gratuitously on new gear. Many of these packages can be quite economical, but how much you spend determines just how big the starter kit will be.
You usually have a choice between marker-only starter kits and more expensive full kits that come with chest protectors, masks and, in some cases, even gloves.
We’ll take a look at both options in a little more detail.
The budget-conscious can opt for a marker-only kit, which will supply you with all the bare essentials to take to the field. Starter kits like the Tippmann are about as basic as they come but still represent great value if you’re trying paintball out for the first time. You’ll receive a marker and a tank (which you’ll need to fill). Some of these marker-only kits also come with ammunition belts for carrying pellets around in the field. They’re convenient and take all the hassle out of buying your first marker.
These starter kits will help you take to the field for the first time and also give you a good understanding of how paintball markers work. You’ll still need a mask, of course, but this can be purchased separately. Alternatively, some mid-range starter kits like the Tippmann Cronus come bundled with a mask alongside the marker, which is often cheaper than buying separately.
You can also mix and max with jerseys or chest protectors as you see fit (a good pair of shoes is a must as well) but costs can quickly add up when you buy separately.
As the name suggests, full starter kits like the Maddog Bravo Elite Starter pack come with everything you need, including armor. These are the ultimate starter kits and they’re also ideal if you’ve never played paintball before and are concerned about the pain of getting hit. Paintballs aren’t hugely painful, but they do pack a punch that can be softened with the correct protection. A mask is an absolute must (getting hit in the eye can be dangerous) and full kits offer literally everything you need for your first match.
If you don’t want the additional expense, bear in mind that you can (usually) string some level of protection together from the clothes you already own. Always layer up. Wearing lots of layers is much better than wearing one particularly thick t-shirt since the air pockets between layers will absorb a lot of the hit. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are a must, but most people already own these. Nothing can quite replace the protection of a full chest guard, however, so if you’re really concerned about getting hit, it might be advisable to opt for a full kit.
The downside of this option is flexibility. Unlike marker-only kits, you’re stuck with the mask and body protectors supplied. Of course, it’s easy to switch these up later once you’ve gotten a feel for the type of clothing you prefer.
Planning for the future
The beauty of a starter kit is that it’s designed to suit most players. The downside to this, of course, is that a blanket approach doesn’t take into account individual nuance and it certainly isn’t tailored towards individual play styles. When you’re ready to take the next steps in the sport, analyze your starter kit. Think about which parts you enjoyed using, and think of areas where you would like something a little different. Perhaps you appreciated your marker’s rate of fire but found the accompanying chest protector unwieldy.
As you expand your paintball kit, you can choose more personalized equipment. The starter kit is your foundation and reference point. Using it to inform future purchases is wise, and getting to know what you, as an individual paintball player, favor will help you greatly as you advance through the sport.