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So you went out and played paintball with your friends and really enjoyed it. Now, you have a million questions and don’t know who to ask, this will be a series of articles to help answer some basic questions.

The first real piece of gear your going to want to purchase, in my opinion, is a good mask. Rental masks are great for you to try the sport, but your own mask will be more comfortable and of a higher quality. This is the single biggest low-cost improvement to your paintball game. It’s much easier, and more fun to play, when you can see. Another reason to purchase your own mask is safety. If you have a mask that your comfortable wearing, you’re not in a big hurry to get it off your face, and are therefore less likely to not have a mask on when you should. I strongly recommend going to your local store with a friend or a parent and trying on several masks. Not only should it be comfortable, it should protect your face. Not every mask is for everyone. When you think you found the mask for you, try it on one last time and jump around and move your head all over and make sure you’re still comfortable.

A term you’re going to hear a bunch when mask shopping is “thermal lens”. All this means is that the lens has 2 panes, this will greatly reduce the chance of fogging. So, if you can afford it, a thermal lens is great to have.

The last thing I want to touch on is caring for your new mask. Never clean your mask with anything but water, and maybe mild soap. The lens has a coating that Windex and other cleaners will eat off. Keep your mask in the bag that it came with, to protect it. Only wipe your lens with microfiber cloths. Regular towels could scratch it. If you take care of your mask it will last you a long time and you won’t have to buy replacement lenses all that often.