Getting Started: Clothes and Gear

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Getting Started: Clothes and Gear

Post  Cleaver on Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:09 am

So, you've decided to get into airsoft.  What do you need to buy?

1. EYE PROTECTION

You cannot play airsoft without proper eye protection.
YOU CANNOT PLAY AIRSOFT WITHOUT PROPER EYE PROTECTION.

Just so we're clear.  Believe it or not, you CAN play airsoft without a gun.  There are many game types that utilize VIPs or Civilians that are unarmed, and it's still a lot of fun.  That said, you won't be playing any airsoft without proper eye protection.

Let's see what's available:


Lower Left: Shooting Glasses
We do not recommend these for play as they typically aren't as strong as other types of eye protection.  If you do intend to use these, it is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED that you wear them with some sort of retention lanyard.  While uncommon, eye protection can fall off if you take a bad fall or run into a branch just right, so be careful.

Upper Left and Lower Right: Full Seal Eye Protection
These are some of the most common types of eye protection.  They provide complete protection for your eyes from incoming BBs, as no pellet can get in around the mask.  Some even come with fans, which greatly help with fog.  They come with head retention bands for comfort and safety.  While these goggles do not cover sensitive areas such as your mouth and ears, it is quite easy to introduce a secondary level of protection, such as a balaclava, mesh mask, bandana, scarf, shemagh, etc.
Pictured: Upper Left - Save Phace Grunts.  Lower Right: ESS Land Ops Striker Goggles.  Recommended Fan Goggles: Smith Optics Outside the Wire Turbofan

Upper Right: Full Face Eye Protection
These masks, typically associated with paintball, will provide protection for not just your eyes, but ears, mouth, and forehead as well.  Be advised that all but the most expensive of these masks tend to fog in warmer climates, but otherwise work great in indoor settings.
Pictured: Vforce brand paintball mask.

2. CLOTHING

While you will typically see players running around in some sort of military camo, clothing suggestions are mostly up to the user.  That said, there are some details to consider.

First, proper footwear is critical.  The woods can be harsh, and typically speaking anything less sturdy than a boot will serve you poorly.  Most players will recommend high top boots for ankle support, though I personally have mainly used low top Merrell brand boots without much issue.  It's your preference, but keep in mind you will be running, climbing, and kicking all sorts of things.  Be prepared.

Next, outerwear.  I won't go into the details of dressing for climate, but instead dressing for the environment.  Put shortly: dress like the woods are out to get you.  Don't wear anything you would care to have ruined.  Mud, bugs, and bramble will be your common enemy.  Military camo is popular not just because of its concealing properties, but because of what it is often made from.  Rip-stop is a good material to repel the various pointy objects in the woods.

3. GUN

Now that your eyes are covered and you're wearing pants (please wear pants), it's time to get your gun!
Actually, this topic deserves an article on it's own.  Here's a Link for info on Airsoft Guns!

4. TACTICAL GEAR

Once you have your gun, your magazines, your fake grenades, and any tactical knives, cups, sporks, etc, you'll need somewhere to put it.
As a player, you have quite a few options here as well.  Pictured is my collection of options:



Upper Left: Plate Carrier
Arguably one of the most customizable setups, these typically have MOLLE webbing on the front, back, and sides, to set up whatever configuration you want.  These typically cover the entire front and rear torso, offering maximum protection from BBs and the environment.  That said, these can get hot, and they are typically the most expensive option.
Pictured: TAG Banshee

Upper Right: Belt
Pictured is a Vietnam era belt, but modern battle belts have more padding, are more comfortable, and come with MOLLE webbing for customization. A lightweight and inexpensive setup for the more minimally operating players.

Lower Left and Right: Shoulder harnesses
This, admittedly, is sort of a broad term, but in between a plate carrier and a belt there are shoulder harnesses.  Sometimes they come with integrated pouches, sometimes they come with MOLLE straps, sometimes both.  Pictured left is a Chicom rig, an inexpensive Chinese piece of gear designed to hold AK mags. Pictured right is a shoulder harness made by J-Tech, and it features integrated M4 style pouches with Molle Webbing on the outside for other options.

Not Pictured: Cargo Pockets
In a pinch, cargo pockets are perfectly adequate for most pickup games.  For starting out they work perfectly well.

That's all I've got for now.  Others may contribute their preferences as well.
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Re: Getting Started: Clothes and Gear

Post  Frothy on Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:32 pm

HYDRATION
Bring it every time to every game no matter what. You run around, you're sweating and you're going to be dehydrated. Options include:
1. Carrying water bottles/ canteens
2. Hydration bladders

Clothing:
To dress appropriately you need to understand the general conditions of the field that you are playing on that day.
Follow outdoor/ adventuring layering advice and you should be fine. I've put a small bit of information down below. It will add up to a costly amount, but will ensure that your play time is maximized.

Always wear wool socks when possible.

COLD WEATHER
1. Base layer - consisting of thermal underwear, usually synthetic, to wick moisture away from the skin.
- Liners do exist for gloves and socks for extra heat retention for the extremities.
2. Grid fleece - again, usually synthetic, to retain heat.
3. Secondary fleece - used to retain more heat in cases of extreme cold. (I have had to do this)
--AND/OR--
4. Soft/ hard shell - Soft denotes water and wind resistance, hard denotes waterproof and windproof.
Hydration is extremely important here too, water should be stored close to the body to prevent freezing.

WARM WEATHER
1. Base layer - synthetic t-shirt to wick away moisture.
2. Outer layer - Generally in the form of a Battle Dress Uniform (old style of combat fatigues) or Army Combat Uniform (new style of combat fatigues). These options are usually very inexpensive and work very well. Recommended fabric would be Ripstop 50/50 NYCO (NYlon COtton blend) as a compromise between comfort and durability.
Some people elect to wear "combat shirts" (t-shirt jersey material for the midsection with BDU/ACU fabric sleeves) in which case a base layer is not necessary.

HOT WEATHER
1. Base layer - synthetic t-shirt to wick away moisture.
2. Outer layer - Same as above, including comments about 'combat shirts'. Specific variants of the BDU were designed for hot weather, so you may want to consider those.

Hope this helps.
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