When we started playing paintball in the late eighties, paintball masks did not exist. With no alternatives, we put our eyes at risk and used things like shop goggles to protect ourselves. Thankfully, the paintball industry has since developed a wide range of paintball masks offering comfort, style, and most importantly, safety. The modern paintball mask offers protection for the eyes, mouth, face and ears. It is mandatory at most legal paintball parks to have an ASTM approved paintball mask. Every paintball mask offered by Badlands has ASTM certification and is approved for paintball play.
Comfort, Style, Features, and Fit
Not all paintball masks are created equally. There is a struggle between providing adequate protection to the face and ears, while at the same time having the paintball mask fit as closely to the face as possible, so as to provide the smallest possible target. This is especially true for tournament paintball, and the paintball masks that have been developed for this purpose. The classic example of this struggle is the DYE I4 Paintball Mask – this highly popular paintball mask clings very closely to the face, and if you have a wide face, then the lower part of your cheeks will likely be left exposed.
Badlands carries a wide variety of the best paintball masks on the market. Choose a style that suits your taste, and if you are able, try it on first for comfort and fit. Not all masks will be comfortable for you, and some may offer less protection than you would like. When you try on a paintball mask, adjust the back strap so that the paintball mask fits snuggly against your face, but not too tight, then shake your head side-to-side, and up and down to ensure the paintball mask does not slip. Make sure the paintball mask is comfortable and does pinch or squeeze your face or head – you may be wearing it for hours at a time.
If you wear glasses, you also need to make sure the paintball mask you are looking for will fit over them comfortably. Most paintball masks should fit over your glasses, but you may have issues with the Elite series by JT – namely the Radar and the Head Shield Elite. The JT Spectra series will easily accommodate glasses as they offer a wider lens than the Elite.
The lens is what stands between your eyes and the force of a flying paintball. Paintball lenses are rated to withstand the impact from paintballs travelling up to 300 fps. For this reason, it is very important that your measure the velocity that your paintball gun shoots, so that you do not exceed 300 fps.
Most entry level paintball masks come with a single-pane lens. While offering the same protection as a thermal lens, a single lens is more likely to fog. Not only is fog a nuisance, it can be very dangerous if you get frustrated, and take off your paintball goggles during a game to wipe away the condensation on the inside of the lens.
Higher end paintball goggle systems usually come with a “thermal” or dual-pane lens. A thermal lens is much better at keeping your paintball mask from fogging. It works like the dual pane windows in your house – the air space between the two lenses helps prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the lens. It is important to never submerge your thermal lens under water. If you do, water is likely to get in between the lenses and it will likely never dry, destroying the thermal properties of the lens and requiring you to replace your lens.
One disadvantage of thermal lenses is the softer, inside lens is prone to scratching. The outer lens is covered with a tough, anti-scratch coating, which helps protect it from scratches. The inner lens does not have this coating. For this reason, always use a clean micro-fiber cloth to carefully wipe the inside lens when it needs to be clean. You can spray this inner lens with water and then wipe it away (do not submerge the lens under water). Do not leave water to dry on the inside of the lens as it will leave spots.
Not all goggle systems require thermal lenses to prevent fogging. The Vforce line of paintball goggles are sold with a single lens, and due to the design of the goggle system and the anti-fog coating used on the lens, most players find that these goggles never fog.
Many paintball goggles offer a quick-change lens system. These lenses are much easier to remove than standard lenses, making it easier to maintain and replace the lens.
Paintball masks fans, like the JT Vortex Fan, offer an extra boost in the battle against fogging. Actually, if you use a fan, you will win the battle – your mask will not fog. A mask fan is most useful for players who wear glasses. If you use a thermal lens, your lens will probably not fog, but your glasses probably will. A paintball mask fan will keep both your lens, and your glasses, free from fog.
Clean your lens with water. Basic H2O – that’s all you need. Do not leave any paint on your lens when you put your paintball mask away at the end of the day. The paint will slowly degrade your lens and leave marks that cannot be removed. If you are shot in the lens while playing, it is recommended that you thoroughly clean all paint from the area between the lens and the goggle frame, because paint will get trapped in this location and eat away at your lens over time.
It is highly recommended that you use a microfiber cloth to wipe your lens, and to never scrub, or rub your lens too hard.
A lens with a lot of scratches, or any sign of cracking should be replaced. These are your eyes you are trying to protect so don’t mess around.
Most manufacturers recommend replacing your lens at least once a year.
A paintball marker is not a toy. Without exception, if you are shooting your paintball gun for any reason, please make sure that you, and anyone else around you, is wearing a paintball mask. Paintballs can bounce, and can end up going in directions you did not intend them to go. Play often, but always play safe!
Vforce Paintball Masks
Vforce paintball masks are known for their comfort,
style and easy to change lens system. The standard models include the Armor,
Shield, Profiler and Grill paintball masks. Vforce has designed a paintball
mask for each player ranging from beginner to seasoned veteran levels. Vforce
offers a variety of colours, designs and limited special editions. Check out
the Vforce Paintball Masks.
Dye Paintball Masks
Dye paintball masks have been showcased by some of
the most successful paintball teams such as L.A. Ironmen and Tampa Bay
Damage. From the Dye i3 to the Dye i4,
Dye paintball masks are the lightest and smallest masks for paintball. The Dye
i4 paintball mask has a very low profile, making it much more difficult for
your opponents to hit you in the paintball mask. The DYE i4 is available in a variety of colour
combinations and special editions. Check out the Dye Paintball Mask.
Empire Paintball Masks
Empire paintball masks have stood the test of time
with their proven shell and lens designs. Empire presents amazing coverage with
a wide angled lens in all of their paintball masks. The Vents lens system is quick to change and
comes in a variety of clear and smoked lens colours. Get your lens for various weather conditions.
Start with an Empire Helix paintball mask for an amazing value then move up to
an Empire E-Flex for the ultimate pro level paintball mask. Check out the Empire Paintball Mask
HK Army Paintball Masks
HK Army paintball masks is one of the most customizable
paintball masks available. The KLR
paintball mask holds superior in protection and comfort while maintaining a
small profile. A large view through the
lens of the KLR will let you see your opponents with clarity while preserving
your style. With the interchangeability
of the KLR paintball mask, you can choose how you want to appear on the
field. Make your KLR paintball mask blend
in with the environment or stand out to make a statement. Check out the HK Army
JT Paintball Masks
Known for the Legendary JT Proflex paintball mask,
JT paintball masks have survived the ages keeping up with demand for a good
quality, light, effective paintball masks.
With the proven Spectra lens you have a wide field of vision with
various choices of tints and lens colours.
JT offers a huge variety of paintball masks that will fit with your
level of play whether it be entry, intermediate, or seasoned. Choose from the Proflex, Flex 8, Spectra,
Radar and full headshield variants for full head protection. Check out the JT Paintball Masks.
Tippmann Paintball Masks
Tippmann is known for its long lasting, durable,
high quality paintball products.
Tippmann paintball masks hold true to the same reputation. Suitable for
all players, Tippmann paintball masks uphold full face protection while
remaining comfortable and durable.
Upgrade to an Intrepid paintball mask and take advantage of the
combination of soft and hard materials to create a light and effective
paintball mask. Badlands is the largest
Tippmann dealer in Canada and keeps maximum stock for your paintball mask
needs. Check out the Tippmann Paintball Masks.