More things factor into your paintball performance than you might think. Temperature, humidity, wind, and poor weather conditions can all have significant impacts on how long you can play, how fast your games can go, and what limitations may exist out on the field. There is no “one size fits all” answer to the question of what season is the best to play paintball in. That all depends on where you live and how far you want to go for authentic combat experiences.
Playing paintball in the spring should be, for most regions, the best time to get out and hit as many fields as possible. Even if the weather still feels a bit cold, extra clothing layers and body heat generated from running around can keep you warm. Then, in the middle of the day, you probably don’t need to worry about sluggish and potentially dangerous heat. If you have any long sleeve camo gear or a ghillie suit, springtime is the perfect season to get out and blend in, which brings me to my next point.
With so much fresh growth and newly-sprouted plants, your camouflage should be able to function at maximum efficiency in woodsball environments. Woodland camo patterns rely on foliage appearing choppy and varied to mitigate the outline formed by your body’s contrast against its surroundings. Most camo works equally well in the summer, but with temperatures higher in those months, I tend to prefer springtime play more.
One downside to playing in spring is that inclement weather may ruin your plans more often than in other seasons. Unless you have the right gear, your paintballs can soak up water and become unusable during a downpour. With the proper preparations, however, you may grow to enjoy a rainy day. I find that rain adds a lot of opportunity for stealth and tactics in most woodsball games, making it well worth getting soaked. Just make sure to stay warm if you’re going to head out into the rain.
Where you live can have a massive impact on how summertime paintball plays out. Colder regions may see huge numbers of players come out for the only comfortable season to play outdoor paintball in. Warmer climates, however, might have very few events organized during the summer months since the heat can pose a significant safety hazard.
I don’t like playing paintball in the heat. Short sleeves feel terrible in wooded environments, but long sleeves can feel oppressively hot when the sun comes out. Wearing loose clothing can help, but you still need to constantly drink water to avoid heat exhaustion. I’d much rather play in the cold and bring a sweatshirt than bake in the sun. However, lots of local events get scheduled in the summer months, and the terrain is perfect for staging ambushes and assaults, so I find myself getting out to the field most often in the summer.
Playing paintball in the fall months might require a few extra preparations before you set out. For one, the colors and features of the environment will probably change. If you want to blend in, you might need some new camo and gear (although I’ve found that Multicam still works excellent in autumn). More importantly, however, is how the changing scenery can affect gameplay. As trees lose their leaves and smaller plants die off before the winter, the playing field will probably become more and more open. Engagement distances become longer, ambushes and stealth tactics become harder to perform successfully, and some areas may look a lot more barren than they do in the warmer months.
The return of shorter days also brings about colder temperatures, too. Unlike the springtime, these temperature changes are only going to grow more severe, until you might be better off just heading to an indoor arena to get your paintball fix. I don’t go to indoor fields very often in the warmer months, but from November onwards I start to visit them on some weekends.
Playing paintball in the winter can be tough but rewarding. The most popular way to play paintball in the coldest months out of the year is to visit a climate-controlled indoor facility that provides shelter from any foul weather outside. If you want to get a bit more daring, however, you might find yourself enjoying some outdoor play in the wet snow and freezing cold.
Of course, you need to bundle up for the winter, but you might also need to change up some of your gear items as well. If there’s snow on the ground, wearing white clothes (normally an easy way to make yourself a target) may be the best choice to evade detection. Without snow, you’ll probably want to bring brown and black clothing or camo to fit the barren landscape better. Also, even more importantly, you’ll need to bring special sub-zero paintballs that won’t freeze or crack from the cold as regular paintballs can. I actually enjoy getting out to play in these conditions, but limit myself to one or two trips to outdoor fields per winter season.
Honestly, this article was mostly opinion more than anything else. Depending on where you live and how much you can tolerate extremes of heat or cold, you might find yourself holding views totally opposite of what I think. Whatever you do, make sure to dress to the weather to avoid injuries that can happen out on the field.