If you are a paintball player like me then you might be familiar with its popularity as well. And due to its rising craze, many tournaments and events are happening not just only on local or national but also on international levels. That being said, traveling around with the paintball equipment is something that needs to be carefully handled. So How do Travel with Your Paintball Gear?
I play scenario paintball and have competed in many national tournaments and even in international ones like Europe. My next goal is to play paintball in the biggest paintball tournament Oklahoma D-Day scenario, held every June.
To travel safely with your paintball gear, you need a proper bag to safely secure the paintball marker and other paintball gear in it.
You must have completely emptied the air compressed tank and removed its regulator. Under any circumstances, you shouldn’t carry a paintball gun in your “carry on bag”. Always carry a copy of TSA Paintball Equipment with you to be on the safe side.
In this blog post, I will tell you in depth how to prepare for your international paintball tournaments. My tips that make flying with paintball gear a piece of cake!
What you will need?
Traveling by air is rather nerve wracking at least for me. You need to follow a whole set of rules and regulations to pass through the security. These instructions will help you travel with ease with all your paintball gear.
Before we start you should know that firstly paintball markers are not considered one of the firearms as per the rules of TSA (Transportation Safety Administration). Even so, I still like to carry a TSA Paintball Equipment Copy with me to avoid any unnecessary delay.
Secondly, you are not allowed to carry the paintball gear in your carry on bags. Keep all the equipment in the check bags where it will be safe from theft and any breakage.
My list of paintball gear includes:
- A Planet Eclipse paintball bag
- Tippmann Cronus Marker
- Paintball Jersey
- A full sleeve t-shirt for extra protection
- Waterproof pants 2x
- Bargain Crusader Tactical Knee Pads
- Planet Eclipse Elbow pads
- Dye i5 Goggles
- A baseball cap
- A cotton scarf for covering my neck
- Proto Primer Hopper
- HK Army Paintball Pods
- Paintball pack
- Tippmann Empire Basics 48ci 3K Paintball Tank, with its regulator removed and emptied out
- HK Army Paintball Gloves
- Paintball cleats
- Cleaning tools
- Extra towels to wipe the equipment
Tip: I don’t carry paintballs with me because there is a risk of them bursting due to the pressure and compromising other gear within the bag.
And my stuff includes:
- Two sets of clothes, for casual meetings or for surveying the area. I can’t tour in dirty paintball clothes
- Pair of sandals or shoes
- A bag of personal toiletries, you can make one accordingly
- A small medical kit.
- A TSA Paintball Equipment Copy
- Other Important Personal Documents like ID cards, passports, tickets, and so on.
How do pack Paintball Gear Safely in a Bag?
This method is not a hard and fast rule that you should pack the same. I pack my paintball gear like this for convenience. This is just to give a picture of how to work things out.
Before anything I get my paintball tank’s regulator removed and emptied by a professional. I strongly recommend you go to a professional rather than doing it yourself.
I repeat, DON’T REMOVE REGULATORS BY YOURSELF!
Secondly, I place the copy of TSA Paintball Equipment nearby so I won’t forget to pack it in the carry on bag
My paintball bag has two compartments in it, a big one and a small one. I use the big one to pack big, bulky gear and clothes and the small one for masks, elbow and knee pads, caps, and other small accessories.
Pack in reverse order it will help you a lot later. As in, the last thing you put on should be the first one to go into the bag. Doing this helps me save a lot of time in getting ready.
I place the paintball pack and pods first in the bag in the big compartment. Followed by the paintball marker and its case. Packing the marker with its case will provide extra protection from breakage.
If you are carrying an electronic paintball marker then always remember to take out the batteries. It’s very important.
It is not allowed to carry a paintball gun in the “carry on bags”. TSA doesn’t consider paintball markers as potential firearms. Still carry a copy to avoid any delay of your flight or conflict with a TSA agent.
“I have also mentioned other tips below to pass a TSA agent safely and legally with a paintball marker.”
After the paintball marker goes the paintball pants as these are rather bulky too. Jerseys come next in the line. I carry both short and long sleeve shirts to wear according to the weather.
Next pack your knee and elbow pads along with your casual clothes. I prefer to take my casual footwear as well.
Then comes the turn of placing the hopper. Give it good padding with your extra towels to protect it from any damage.
Small accessories like a headband, cap, cleaning squeegee, small tools, and barrel blocking device go into the paintball mask bag along with the goggles.
This bag goes into the small compartment of the bag.
Use padding to pack hoppers, goggles, and tanks. That way you prevent scratches and breakage. I use my cotton scarf, shirts, and socks as well to provide extra padding to these gear.
I pack all of my casual clothing in a zip lock bag to save space. And place it on top of other things in the big compartment of the bag. Instead of folding clothes, make rolls of the clothes that way you will save a lot of space and can carry more in one bag or suitcase.
If you can make one roll with a set of one day clothes that would be great as well. Here is a reference video for roll packing.
Place the emptied paintball tank beside the mask bag in the small compartment of the bag. And now you are set to go.
Another important thing that I would like to address is the tank regulator. Make sure that you take a tank that is compatible with the regulations of the country you are traveling to.
For example: in the US, the DOT regulates air compressed tanks with labels of DOT-E or DOT-SP. Canada ones have TC labels on them. Air compressed tanks with the label TC/DOT can be used in both the US & Canada. HSE-AL-FW, HSE-AL-FW1, BS EN 1802:2002; these labels are specialized for the EU & UK.
I had a bad experience once and had to buy a new one. So keep a note on this one. I hope this helps you a lot.
I also tend to make a zip bag for spare parts needed for paintball gear in case of emergencies like spare O-rings, barrels, cleaning Squeegee, and spare batteries for electronic paintball markers.
Lastly, I finish packing with a medical kit and my toiletries bag, and some garbage bags for dirty clothes and socks. I also wrote down my name label and contact information on the luggage in case it went missing.
Now you are all set to fly away!
Important Paintball Travel Tips
These tips helped me with smooth air travel so far and I didn’t have to worry about being stopped or questioned during a security check.
- I bring out a TSA copy as well to prevent any misconception or delays. This helps in both boarding and taking off the plane.
- Take pictures of the inside of your luggage. That way you can keep track of your belongings, in this case, paintball gear.
- Carry magazine snippets (informational slips) of your paintball marker and other gear as well.
- Another thing you need to look out for is the local rules and regulations for paintball markers. Different countries have different rules. Knowing beforehand can save you from headaches and you can prepare yourself likewise.
- You should know about the tank regulations of the country you are traveling to beforehand.
- Always pack your empty air tank on top of your bag. So even if the TSA agent does check your luggage for the tank they don’t have to go deep down in your bag, messing up all the packing.
- Try to pack your paintball gear in protected cases for better safety and minimal damage. Because paintball gear is quite expensive.
- Pack some extra garbage bags for later when you are done playing paintball. To store dirty clothes away from the clean ones.
Can you bring a Paintball Gun on an airplane?
Yes, you can bring a paintball gun and other air compressed guns on an airplane. But this does not mean that you can simply walk into the airport carrying it. There are certain sets of rules that you need to follow to clear all the TSA security measures to get on the plane.
Following are a few practices that you can do for smooth clearance.
- Empty the cylindrical air compressed tanks for safety reasons. A loaded tank is hazardous and can turn into a bomb in the air when the plane takes off.
- Remove its regulator or valve as well
- Inform the customer service agent beforehand at the ticket counter that you are carrying a paintball gun in checked bags.
- PACK YOUR PAINTBALL MARKER IN CHECKED BAGS!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all states classify paintball markers as air guns?
Some states do and some don’t classify paintball guns as air guns. So wherever you are planning to fly or travel with your paintball gun. Check the local rules and regulations regarding carrying a paintball marker in that specific area.
This will save you from a lot of trouble because paintball markers are not just only used for paintballing. Many people use them for defense or security purposes as well.
How do I empty a paintball CO2 tank?
There are two methods that you can do by yourself. However, if you have just started out paintballing or are new to it we strongly recommend not doing it by yourself. Get it done by a professional.
One way of emptying your tank and the safest one is with the help of the paintball marker. Just shoot out empty shots from the unloaded marker until it runs out of gas.
The second method is kind of tricky and dangerous as well, especially if you haven’t done this before. You need to do this manually by compressing the trigger on top of the paintball tank with the help of a lot ng tools like a screw driver.
For extra precaution wear gloves before using this method and do it in a well ventilated area to avoid any hazardous situations like frostbite and other injuries from prolonged exposure to the compressed gas.
Traveling around with paintball gear is not as hard as it seems IF you know the specific rules and regulations of TSA regarding paintball markers and by following the precautions that I mentioned above through practice.
Just remember a few important simple pointers for a safe and smooth journey, which are often forgotten or missed out:
- Carry paintball gun in checked in bags
- Empty the paintball air tank.
- Take off the regulator of the tank.
- Carry a spare copy of TSA Paintball Equipment Slips along with magazine snippets.
- Inform beforehand to the customer service agent about the paintball gun at the ticket counter.
You can pack your paintball according to your ease and comfort. I just shared my packing process with you guys to give you a general idea of how it goes. Just do proper padding and use proper cases for packing the paintball marker and other gear, to protect these from any damage.
It’s a good call to properly pack all the paintball gear safely and securely because, to be honest, these are not cheap. And some of you might have spent hundreds of dollars for just a piece of paintball gear.
I like to keep a low profile and love to avoid any unnecessary attention. That is why I use a paintball gear bag that isn’t much of a paintball showcase.
Still, I do recommend you to get a proper paintball gear bag, the one that doesn’t shout out the brand or anything, that provides specific space and protection to the expensive equipment rather than just shoveling them into your suitcase. That way you can avoid getting your paintball gear bag from being stolen.
Even though it is not much of a deal, avoid calling out the word “gun” more often instead use the actual term paintball marker on airport grounds. To avoid uncomfortable glances from around you.
That’s all I know and do while traveling around with paintball gear. Stay safe and have fun paintballing!!!