Florida may be the “Sunshine State” but we get our fare share of rain throughout the year. After my local indoor paintball field moved locations and became an outdoor field, I really had to start thinking about preparing for the rain during the middle of a paintball game.
You can play paintball in the rain and most fields will let you as long as there is no lightning or high winds. You will have some some challenges when playing in the rain as your paintballs and gear will be affected by the moisture in the air. Even if you get a little bit of water on your paintballs will cause them to deform and reduce accuracy.
Protecting Your Paintballs From The Rain
Obviously we want to keep our gear as dry as possible, but keeping our paint dry is the most important tip. Moisture in the air and water making direct contact with your paintballs will severely impact both how they shoot and if they break on the target.
If your paintballs absorb too much moisture they will start to deform and stick together. This will prevent them from shooting straight or even feeding down the feedneck! The last game I was at a few weekends ago, I had to remove a paintball from a rentals feedneck after the rain subsided. This paintball had deformed so much that it was almost a flat disk and wouldn’t allow any paintballs to roll out of the hopper!
Moisture will also alter how brittle the paint is. If a paintball absorbs too much moisture, it will become rubbery and bouncy. This will prevent the paintballs from breaking on target and if they deform inside the paintball gun, it can completely jam the bolt.
Lets go over several ways to protect your paintballs from the rain.
– Keep Your Paintballs and Gear Covered
Keeping your gear protected is obvious, but what do you do if there is no cover? Not all fields have overhead cover or only have a limited amount of space under a canopy.
You should already have your paintballs in the bags they came in or a paintball caddy. Make sure that the bags are tied up or folded over so no moisture in the air gets inside the bag even if it is covered. This also goes for your hoppers, pods and paint caddies. Make sure they are covered with something, an empty paintball box or bag will do the trick in a pinch.
If the table you are placing your gear on is solid, you can place your gear under the table to quickly get your equipment out of the rain and buy you time to cover what you need.
If you brought any garbage bags, just put your gear inside of them. If you don’t have any, check with the field to see if they have any to spare.
– Don’t Use Speedfeeds
Speedfeeds are designed to quickly fill your hopper with paint without having to open up your hopper lids, but they do not protect the paintballs and motor inside from the elements and dirt.
If it is raining, or you have a feeling that it will start raining, use a standard lid for your hopper. Some speedfeeds come with a rain cover that snaps on the top so you can use it as a regular lid, others you will have to remove the speedfeed and install the standard lid.
The regular lid will help keep the rain and moisture out of your hopper, protecting your paint and the electronics within the hopper.
– Protect Your Paint When Reloading
If everyone on the field wants to keep playing while the rain is coming down, you may find yourself in a situation that you may have to reload. This can be tricky depending on the situation you are in, but you should at least try and cover the hopper while reloading.
What I have done in the past is cover the hopper and pod with my body to protect them from the rain. This can be cumbersome and slow to reload, but you wont get any rain in the hopper and mess up your paint!
If you have the option, run over to a covered structure on the field and reload there. If you are on the speedball field, see if you can position yourself so that both you and the bunker is protecting your hopper from the rain when reloading.
– Cover Your Barrel Porting
If your paintball barrel has lots of porting in it, water will enter your barrel and completely throw off your accuracy. Covering your porting in any way is the best way to fix this problem.
I like to keep a roll of scotch tape in my gearbag for various needs, and covering my poring is a trick that I have done many times before. Just wrap the tape around the barrel until all of your porting has been covered so no rain will enter the barrel.
Make sure to chrono your gun after taping the porting, you may have to drop the velocity a bit.
A word of caution! Some tape can and will leave gross residue or destroy your anodizing. Only use basic tape like scotch tape that you can easily peel off the barrel when you are done. Don’t leave any tape on your paintball gun for weeks to months at a time or you will risk damaging the anno.
Protecting Your Gear From The Rain
Now that you know how to protect your paint, what do you do with your gear? Most of the tips below will require some prior planning ahead of time in case you think it might rain that day, so check the weather before you head out.
– Protect Your Electronics
It is a known fact that your electronics in your hopper and paintball gun will be susceptible to shorts when using them in the rain. Most manufactures add what is called conformal coating on the board, which is a protective coating that protects the electronics from moisture.
Keep in mind, there is no 100% absolute guaranteed way to protect your electronics from the moisture. These tips are just to help reduce the chance of your gear getting damaged by the water. The best way to protect your equipment from the water is to get them out of the rain and remove the batteries.
Use Tape To Cover The Electronics
The easiest way to protect your circuit boards on your paintball gun is to simply cover the grip with tape. Make sure to cover the display cracks and cutouts on both sides of the grip and then install the grip cover over it. You may have to push the grip panel screws through the tape, but it should still seal up enough to prevent water from coming through.
There is a major hole where the trigger sits in the frame, but I have not found a way to cover this up without interfering with the trigger.
Add More Conformal Coating
As I work for a company that builds electronic devices for various industries, I have access to conformal coating to apply to my electronics. I also know that it is really hard to completely cover boards with an automated sprayer and some gaps can get missed in manufacturing.
I highly recommend you use the brush on coating and not the spray on coating unless you are experienced in coating boards. Make sure to cover all connectors and contacts with tape before applying the coating. The coating will have to be applied a few days before the actual game to make sure the coating fully cures before placing the board back in your hopper or gun.
You can buy some coating on Amazon for $10 to $15 for a small bottle like this one: https://amzn.to/37BD6XS
I HIGHLY recommend that you wear gloves and respirator while applying in a very well ventilated location or even outside. Do not let it cure inside the house, it smells really bad! If you don’t feel comfortable applying it, just don’t do it.
– Prepare Your Mask
Lets face the facts, your mask will most likely fog up both while it is raining and after the rain has subsided. There is going to be so much moisture in the air that it will almost be unavoidable.
There are a few things that you can do to help reduce the chance of your mask fogging or reduce the amount of fog that builds up inside of your mask.
Use a Hat or Visor
If you are on the field while it is raining, you will want to keep water out of the inside of your mask and off the front of the lens so it doesn’t obscure your vision.
Lots of masks come with some sort of a visor that installs on the top of the mask like the one pictured above. If you don’t have a visor, you can wear a hat instead.
Use a Spray On Anti-Fog
I specifically call out a spray on anti-fog for a good reason. The spray on versions will properly evaporate and leave behind the anti-fog layer quickly and more reliably in high humidity than any paste type anti-fog.
The paste anti-fog requires you to apply and let it sit and dry a bit on the lens. If you apply it during the middle of a downpour (or even after) the humidity in the air will make the paste take forever to dry a bit and just won’t work as well. If you can apply the paste before the rain comes or while you are at home, you will get much better results.
I personally keep a bottle of spray on anti-fog in my gearbag to use when it rains. I can quickly and easily spray it on and wipe it all over the lens quickly even during the rain. You can pick up some on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2XGfgWk
– Bring a Poncho
You have to make sure you are protecting yourself from the rain as well. No one wants to play in soggy clothes and having some emergency rain gear available is super handy!
I like to keep a camo poncho on hand as I play a lot of scenario paintball in the woods and on large fields. I can quickly and easily throw on the poncho in the middle of an event without worrying about getting too wet. I also use rain paints as well as the poncho only really goes down to my thighs.
Keep in mind that the poncho hood may make your mask fog up faster as it could limit the airflow in and around your mask.
– Bring Extra Clothes and Shoes
Regardless if it rains or not, I bring a spare set of clothes and shoes. Having a set of nice clean and dry clothes will make the trip back home comfortable and won’t anger your parents/spouse.
Not only that, you don’t want to sit in cold wet clothes for too long or you may run the risk of getting sick. If you know it is going to rain, bring some towels and extra sets of clothes just in case.
Tips for Playing Paintball in the Rain
Playing in the rain adds extra challenges to the game as your vision can be limited and accuracy will get worse. But here are some best practices when playing in the rain.
– Faster Paced Games
Your time on the field will be limited due to fogging and how long your paintballs will last in the rain. The last thing you want to do is have a slow paced game where everyone is sitting back and moving slow.
You will also have to get closer to your opponents as your effective shooting range will be reduced. You won’t be able to shoot your paintballs as far or as accurately as the rain in the air will start to slow the paintballs down with every rain drop they hit.
– Be Prepared to Shoot A lot of Paint
Because your accuracy is diminished, you may have to compensate with volume. I’m not saying you should sit back and just shoot, but from my experiences you will probably shoot 15% to 30% more paintballs while it rains just to compensate for the accuracy loss.
– Watch Your Step
When playing in the Rain, puddles will form and the ground will get muddy. If you don’t wan’t to go home a complete mess, be mindful of where you step!
Also, be careful when running through the muddy field and puddles as you could slip and fall. The last thing you want is slip in some mud and end up landing flat on your butt in the middle of a game.
– Just Know When to Call it
The Rain may get so bad that you just won’t be able to safely play at all. The wind may be blowing the bunkers around or just making your paintballs go wild and possibly go over the safety net.
Sometimes, you just have to wait for the rain to subside or call it a day. Every outdoor field I have gone to has given me a free pass for regular gameplay to come back anther day if the rain just won’t go away.
Come back another day and play ball then, no need to push through unpleasant weather conditions to try and have fun. Paintball is best played on bright and clear days when it isn’t all wet and gross.