It’s terrible to show up for a tournament and find out your electronic hopper got broken during travel. This fiasco has thrown games for many teams who weren’t as studious as they should’ve been when packing. Your paintball equipment is too valuable to just throw in a giant disorganized duffel bag. Good players pay thousands of dollars on specialized gear; a dented barrel on a $1500 paintball gun is not taken lightly. The travelling paintball athlete must juggle not only packing the right amount of the correct supplies, but also pack them in a secure, protected fashion. The solution is choosing the right size bag for the length of trip you’re taking and what equipment you’ll be needing. Besides a bag specific for your marker, there are basically three types/sizes of bags available for sale.
The paintball backpack is comparable in size and shape to school backpacks or a day pack used by hikers, however specialized to carry paintball gear. These bags are best for carrying your essential supplies to the field and back but rarely have enough room for changes of clothes or even a competition uniform. It’s good to own a paintball back pack just for keeping your important gear together (but separate from your soft items) when travelling for longer time periods. Larger duffel style bags referred to as paintball gear bags will often hold not only your playing equipment but also changes of clothes, uniform and toiletries. These bags are the best choice for overnight trips lasting several days and come in different sizes. Some are more equipped than others for air travel however better for carrying everything you need when driving to an event. When travelling by plane, the best bags to use are paintball suit cases. These are similar in size to paintball gear bags but have hard outer shells or heavier canvas-type fabric. Paintball suit cases offer the best protection for your equipment to be safely handled by an airline.
When purchasing a bag to carry your supplies for travelling, it’s best to shop at a paintball store. In reality, you can use any bag to transport your paintball equipment, however not using specialized gear has the potential for leaving you upset and stranded at your event. The main difference between standard backpacks and travel bags and paintball bags is the bags designed for paintball have specialized features. Paintball backpacks, gear sacks and suit cases have Velcro straps inside to attach your supplies and keep them secure during transport. The best paintball gear bags have compartments to help separate clothing and keep soiled or damp supplies away from dry. Paintball travel bags are also comparable in cost to other similar types of standard bags.
It’s also important to realize certain pieces of equipment may have specific requirements making it safer for travel. Your paintball mask for example should be packed with care. Many paintball masks are made with pliable plastic surrounding the lens that often easily deforms when crammed into a bag with everything else. If this happens or your lenses get scratched you will be distracted all day with uncomfortable eye protection and the game will not be as fun. Transporting a paintball mask can is best accomplished with either a good velvet soft bag and/or a hard goggle case. While this is yet another piece of luggage to tote around with you, it’s the best way to store and carry paintball goggles without warping the plastic or scratching the lens.
Transporting your paintball air tank is perhaps the trickiest piece of equipment to plan for. If flying, you can only travel with an empty air tank; you cannot fly with a full compressed air tank as it will become a bomb and it is against the law. You can however drive with a full air tank. The best paintball compressed air tanks cost more than $200, so even the slightest scratch or tiniest ding can be heart-breaking. The best advice is to always carry your empty air tank inside a sturdy rubberized tank cover and then wrap the entire thing in bubble wrap and pack amongst your changes of clothes or the pant leg of your paintball uniform. The electronic hopper is an important piece of equipment that the performance of your gun will depend heavily on. There are not many protective cases specifically for paintball loaders for sale however some brands come with them. It’s best to find the right size plastic container for safe storage and transporting of your loader, especially if you’ve paid a lot for it. When transporting (and storing), it’s best to take out the batteries of electronic hoppers to avoid the potential disaster from a leak.
Transporting your paintball gun in a separate case is the smartest way to go. For the most complete protection, a hard case is the best choice and will keep your marker the safest. Unless you’re using a full size rifle case, most paintball gun cases are fairly compact and fit well inside a larger duffle or gear bag. If you don’t have access to a hard case, you can opt for a soft sided case however this should also be wrapped in your jersey and/or paintball pants for as much protection as possible. When packing, always separate the barrel from your gun, pack them in padding and preferably together. Some marker barrels have their own carrying case and these are good to use for the safest travel. If you’re flying to a scenario woodsball event, carrying a realistic military paintball gun either through the airport or on the plane is not recommended. With how much turmoil there is in the world and added security at airports, an authentic replica assault rifle will surely raise an eyebrow and likely confiscated.