If you are a paintball player like me, you might also be familiar with its popularity. Due to its rising craze, many tournaments and events are happening locally, nationally, and internationally. So, How Do You Travel with Your Paintball Gear?
The short answer is you need a proper bag to safely secure the paintball marker and other paintball gear to travel safely with your paintball gear.
That said, travelling around with the paintball equipment must be carefully handled.
I play scenario paintball and have competed in many national and international tournaments like Europe. My next goal is to play paintball in the biggest tournament, the Oklahoma D-Day scenario, held every June.
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 safe.
In this blog post, I will explain 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?
Travelling by air is rather nerve-wracking, at least for me. You must follow rules and regulations to pass through security. These instructions will help you travel with ease with all your paintball gear.
Before we start, you should know that paintball markers are not considered one of the firearms per the TSA rules (Transportation Safety Administration). I still like to carry a TSA Paintball Equipment Copy to avoid unnecessary delays.
Secondly, you cannot carry the paintball gear in your carry-on bags. Keep all the equipment in the check bags to be safe from theft and breakage.
My list of paintball gear includes:
- A Planet Eclipse paintball bag
- Tippmann Cronus Marker
- Paintball Jersey
- A full-sleeve or Padded Paintball T-shirt for extra protection
- 2 Waterproof paintball pants
- Bargain Crusader Tactical Knee Pads
- Planet Eclipse Elbow pads
- Dye i5 Goggles
- Baseball cap
- Cotton scarf to cover the neck
- Proto Primer Hopper
- HK Army Paintball Pods
- Paintballs pack
- Tippmann Empire Basics 48ci 3K Paintball Tank (with its regulator removed and emptied)
- HK Army Paintball Gloves
- Paintball cleats
- Cleaning tools & kits
- 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 include ID cards, passports, tickets, etc.
How do you 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 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: a big one and a small one. I use the big one to pack 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. The last thing you put on should be the first 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 carry an electronic paintball marker, always 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 flight delay 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, which are bulky too, jerseys come next in the line. I carry both short and long-sleeved 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 and 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 also use my cotton scarf, shirts, and socks to provide extra padding to these gear.
I pack 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. 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 you take a tank compatible with the regulations of the country you travel 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 for paintball gear in emergencies, like spare O-rings, barrels, cleaning Squeegee, and spare batteries for electronic paintball markers.
Lastly, I finished packing with a medical kit, 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 also bring out a TSA copy to prevent any misconceptions 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.
- 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 the tank regulations of the country you travel 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.
- 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 you can 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 carry 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 plan to fly or travel with your paintball gun, check the local rules and regulations for carrying a paintball marker in that area.
This will save you from a lot of trouble because paintball markers are not just used for paintballing. Many people use them for defence 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 paintballing or are new to it, we strongly recommend not doing it alone. 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 tricky and dangerous, 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 of tools, like a screwdriver.
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.
Travelling around with paintball gear is not as hard as it seems. IF you know TSA’s specific rules and regulations regarding paintball markers, follow the precautions I mentioned above through practice.
Just remember a few important simple pointers for a safe and smooth journey, which are often forgotten or missed:
- 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 the customer service agent beforehand 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 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 on a paintball gear. I like to keep a low profile and love to avoid any unnecessary attention. I use a paintball gear bag that isn’t much of a paintball showcase.
Still, I recommend you get a proper paintball gear bag that doesn’t shout out the brand or anything, providing specific space and protection to the expensive equipment rather than just shovelling 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 travelling around with paintball gear. Stay safe, and have fun paintballing!!!