Paintballing isn’t exactly my ideal way to spend a Sunday. I would much rather be in a beer garden in the sunshine, going for a Toby Carvery with my pals or having a Netflix binge with a cuppa. But as it was my buddy Jordan’s birthday this week and he’s into this kind of thing, I didn’t really have a choice.
And I was terrified.
I mean all you ever hear about paintballing is that it hurts and people are covered in bruises after a sesh. And now that I have survived my first full day of the extreme sport I can tell you right now…
IT HURTS LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER.
I’m glad we got that clarified and out of the way right off the bat.
Anyway, we went to Conflict Paintball in Grendon near Northampton for the day in a group of 16 of us. We were kitted out in camo and given the safety talk and the whole time I was so stressed about it. I had no idea what to expect. It was also really unnerving that the guy kept saying “Don’t lift up your mask because if you get hit in the teeth, you’ll swallow them”.
WHAT. Isn’t that horrid? Obvs I was even more scared at this point.
But now I’ve done it, I’ve come to realisation that the anticipation of getting hit is so much worse than the pain itself. I hated the first game we played. I didn’t know what I was doing, I pretty much hid behind a fence the whole time and it was not fun. But as soon as I was shot – a hit to the thigh which is now a bruised lump – I lost the fear a bit. It’s only pain, I’m not going to die.
And it was actually a helluva lot of fun!
The game I loved most was where we had to defend a fort whilst the opposite team tried to get up to us. And then vice versa. But when they said we were going to play ‘Zombies’ I was all like ‘Err nah mate, I’ve seen The Walking Dead’. But it’s ok, it wasn’t scary at all. I was half expecting live actors in full zombie make-up but it was just a guy in a hi-vis vest, it’s fine.
You also realise how important communication is in this kind of thing, you definitely have to make a strategy with your team if you want to win. Which isn’t the easiest when most of your team are strangers (you’re in there with lots of random groups). I actually think this would be a really cool activity for team bonding or a work away day or something.
So I had a really fun time with my pals, but you should know that you will probs spend more money than you think you will. I mean we all paid £5 deposit to go, which then went against your ammo purchases and we got a pizza lunch included so it’s a total barg. But they get ya with the ammo.
We got 100 balls each included in the deal but I ended up using about 600 in the day (it’s £6 per 100 balls). But to be fair it was a full day of fun so it’s pretty good value overall. Just don’t go mental buying grenades and smoke flare things.
So now onto the girly shit.
What do you wear to paintballing?
I was in two minds before I went – should I wear lots of layers to avoid maximum impact of the paintballs or do I go for less so it’s easier to run around and stuff? I ended up going for gym leggings, a sports bra, a t-shirt and a hoody. Then then give you the big camo boiler suit to wear over your clothes.
I ended up taking my hoody off after the first two games because you get so hot and sweaty running around in the woods all day!! I also wore a New Era camo cap just for bants but it really wasn’t practical under the big mask they give you so that also got scrapped. On my feet I wore the Primark trainers I took to Glastonbury last year and didn’t mind getting muddy.
Less is definitely more so I would recommend the kind of thing you would wear to the gym and feel totally comfortable in.
Will my clothes get ruined?
Not likely, your clothes are actually completely covered by the camo onesie. A couple of my friends got a few paint marks around their collar but it washes out. Although I’d say don’t wear anything you’re precious about just because you’re running around in it and it could get ripped or something. It’s a pretty hardcore sport, guys.
What should I do with my hair?
Your hair’s going to get paint in it. Just accept it. But again it washes out so don’t worry too much about it. I put my hair in braids just so it was out of the way and I could tuck them in my suit. I also ended up clipping the stray strands of hair away from my face because it is super annoying when there’s hair in your mask and rule number one of paintball is that you’re not allowed to take your mask off (remember the teeth thing). So kirby grips are essential.
Overall I had a really great time and although I won’t be hurrying back (I’d still much rather be in the beer garden), I won’t be dreading paintballing the next time it comes up for a pal’s birthday or hen night or something. It is actually quite a laugh with your mates.
And in case I’ve made this sound too fun and you’ve forgotten that it really hurts, I’ll leave you with a photo of my thigh bruise just a couple hours later. (Note, there are a lot more bruises).
Have you been paintballing? What did you think, did you like it?? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!