When playing paintball, it’s vital that you are able to see your opponent. If you’re nearsighted or have astigmatism this might be a challenge. After all, shooting the other shooter before they get you is the name of the game.
You can absolutely play paintball with glasses. You just need to do a little planning and choose the right gear: a mask that fits comfortably with your glasses and doesn’t fog upon you.
Getting the right mask isn’t always easy when you’re faced with rental choices at the venue. If you play a lot, you may want to invest in a better mask. But you’ll have just as good a time and be just as effective as anyone else.
The Two Issues That You Face
64 percent of the population wears glasses, and only 11 percent wear contact lenses. As a result, quite a few people are facing this problem. The two issues that exist include:
- Mask – Having the right mask that fits comfortably with your glasses can be like the quest for the holy grail. But they do exist.
- Fog – Both your glasses and your mask fogging up can be a challenge. What good is it to have corrected vision if you can’t see out of your mask?
Info: there are special paintball masks with which you can wear glasses if you are not fond of having contact lenses. However, if you go to a paintball place and want to rent a mask, most often they will not have enough space for you to wear the glasses.
The Right Mask
The masks that you rent are usually not built for comfort. They’re inexpensive and usually of average quality. They are definitely not made to accommodate glasses.
You’ll want to purchase a better-quality mask that fits your needs. The two best masks to use with glasses are the Empire E-Flex and the Tippmann Intrepid. Both have great features.
Empire E-Flex – The Best Paintball Mask for Glasses
- Low profile, but roomy enough inside for your glasses to fit nicely
- Thermal, anti-fog, dual-pane clear lens, provides great optics with no distortion and has a viewing angle of 270 degrees
- High comfort due to foam, beaded silicone strap, good breathability, and unimpeded hearing and voice projection
- Reduced silhouette makes you less of a target.
- Priced around $70
Tippmann Intrepid – The Second-Best Paintball Mask for Glasses
- The lens sits at a distance and allows you to wear glasses under goggles
- Expanded coverage for ear, chin, and jaw
- Spherical, dual pane lens, thermally treated to prevent it from fogging up
- Tri-layered foam for comfort
- Detachable forehead visor and quick-release system
- Priced around $35
How Do These Compare to Other Masks?
Yes, these are great masks for glasses, but how do they rank overall? Below are the top 7 masks. You will note that the Empire E-flex and Tippman Intrepid rank high here, too.
The Top 7 Paintball Masks
- V-Force Grill
- Empire E-Flex
- JT Spectra Flex 8
- Virtue VIO Extend
- Tippmann Intrepid
- Empire Helix
- Save Phace Diss
Not only can you see through your mask with your glasses, but you’re also getting high quality.
Fogging Glasses and Mask
Fog on your glasses or mask happens when moisture on your face evaporates in the mask. This is a result of the interior of the mask being warmer than the outside.
Condensation occurs on the lenses. When you wear glasses, you take a double hit of fog. Both your glasses and your mask can get condensation. Therefore, your vision is greatly compromised.
Fog on your glasses and mask is dangerous. The temptation is to take your mask off and wipe everything down. Don’t do this. Even if you think no one is around, a stray shot may hit you in the eye.
Is it worth it? Not being able to see can diminish your playing but you’ll need to ride it out. Be proactive when it comes to preventing fog.
Some of the same things you do for your glasses can be done for your mask lens. Here are some preventative actions you can take for both.
1. Anti-fog glasses
Ask your optometrist about anti-fog glasses. The brand Optifog lenses could help. It has an exclusive anti-fog property that works when you drop a specially formulated activator to each side of the lens weekly. The anti-fog coating on the lens retains the activator. So, that alone will prevent fogging.
Choose a style of frames that allows for more circulation by not sitting too close to your face.
2. Fog-resistant coating for your mask
Purchase a mask that is fog resistant. The manufacturer applies a thin layer of coating to the inside of the mask. But keep in mind, this isn’t the end-all. It works well, but it’s not a long-term solution. This is because the coating gets slowly removed each time you clean the lens. It’s just not permanent.
3. Anti-fog spray
This is also known as a lens cleaner. Keep it in your gear bag and use it every time you play. It’s not perfect, but it helps. All you do is spray it on both your mask and glasses lens. Always read the manufacturer’s directions and carefully wipe it off with a microfiber cloth to keep your lenses from scratching. After applying to both your glasses and mask it should reduce the condensation.
4. Good ventilation
One major contributor to fog is the lack of air circulation. If there’s no air circulation, there’s nowhere for the hot, humid air to go. It settles on the cooler lens. Your hot breath and sweat from your face and head form condensation on your glasses and mask lens. If there was good ventilation, it would:
- Keep the inside of the mask in equilibrium with the outside temperature
- Keep the inside of the mask cooler
- Allow the hot humid air to escape without landing on your glasses or mask lens
Make buying a mask with good ventilation one of your top priorities. Good ventilation has several other benefits besides de-fogging. For instance, it will help you:
- Breathe easier
- Keep your head and face cooler
- Hear better
There are small fans that you can buy to attach to your mask. They are made to circulate air and equalize the outside air with the inside air. However, they do have some drawbacks.
- They don’t have the power to move much air
- They’re cumbersome to attach before every game
- They’re noisy and can give your position away as a result
Although good in theory, manufacturers need to work on the technology and design a little more. They’re not efficient at this moment.
6. Dual-pane lens
The best way to prevent fog in your mask is to buy one with a dual-pane lens. They are referred to as thermal masks. The difference between a single pane and a dual-pane is that a single pane is what it says – a single pane.
A thermal or dual-pane is more complex. It has two separate lenses that are fused together around the edge. There is a layer of air between them. The air cushion between the two lenses acts as insulation between the outside lens and the inside lens.
This insulation allows the thin lens on the inside to warm up and stay warm without being affected by the outside temperature. This prevents a large temperature drop which leads to condensation buildup.
The downside is that dual-pane masks are a bit more expensive. They aren’t 100-percent effective (nothing is), but they are the best long-term method of preventing fog.
Homemade Methods to Beat Fog
If you’re so inclined, there are some hacks to beating fog.
- Shaving cream. Spread it on the lenses than let it dry. Rub it off
- Bar of soap. Apply it the same way as shaving cream
- Vaseline. This is the same as the two before but could damage the lens
- Water repellent spray. These are used by scuba divers, snowboarders and bicyclists. But why not use something made for Paintball instead?
- A good-old spit-shine. But why spit on your lens and get it dirty, when there are other methods?
It’s totally possible to have a clear vision while playing paintball. If you play paintball pretty often, the investment is well worth it. After all, you can’t shoot what you can’t see, right? Good luck out there!