How to Protect Your Neck in Paintball

how to protect neck in paintball

I’m not going to lie.

Getting shot in the neck by a paintball is not a fun experience.

Besides the possibility of leaving a nasty bruise in an embarrassing location, it can also be quite painful. Especially if you get hit in the adam’s apple.

Fortunately, getting shot in the neck while playing paintball is not all that common. Personally, I’ve been playing paintball for over 10 years now and I’ve only been shot in the neck around three times at most. At least that I can remember.

Unfortunately, one of those three times was probably the worst pain I’ve ever experienced while playing this sport. And while I did have a little trouble breathing for around 10 minutes after being shot, I think the worst part was having to explain to my boss the next day why I had a giant bruise on my neck.

Luckily for you, I’m going to teach you the best methods for protecting your neck during a paintball game.

Let’s get to it..

How to Protect Your Neck in Paintball

Using any form of neck protection may get uncomfortable after a while, but if you want to avoid getting shot in the neck by a paintball flying at 300 fps (feet per second) then it’s definitely worth it. Especially if you’re buying a neck protector for a small child, young teenager, or someone with a thyroid problem.

But what should you do to protect your neck during a paintball game?

If you want to protect your neck during a paintball game then you need to wear some form of neck protection. Some of the different types of neck protection you can wear during paintball include shemaghs, bandanas, neck gaiters, neck protectors, and even hockey neck guards. Each type of neck protection is going to have its advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which one you like best.

Choosing which type of neck protection you like best for playing paintball depends on the overall comfort, thickness, and style of the protector. Now it can be hard to decide which type of neck protection is the most comfortable without trying on each type, but thankfully the thickness and style are both easy to judge without actually using the item.

Continue reading below if you want to learn about the different types of coverage you can wear to protect your neck during paintball. I’ll even help you find which type of neck protection you like best.

Types of Neck Coverage for Paintball

The five main types of paintball neck coverage are neck protectors, neck gaiters, shemaghs, bandanas, and hockey neck guards. You can also make your own neck protection if you wish. Folding up an old t-shirt or a small cloth and wrapping it around your face like a bandana will work perfectly fine. 

Read More: Is Dry Firing Bad For Your Paintball Gun?

Or you can protect your neck from incoming paintballs with the best neck protection that money can buy. Check out these forms of neck coverage below and decide what type you like best.  

Neck Protector

best paintball neck protector

If you want the ultimate protection for your neck then you’re going to want a paintball neck protector. 

The reason a neck protector provides such a high level of protection is because most protectors come with a foam padding that helps to absorb the impact of the incoming paintball. The foam padding also helps to deflect the paintball, so in the rare case you do happen to get shot in the neck, it might just bounce off and not count as an elimination. 

When you first begin to use your paintball neck protector it’s probably going to feel pretty stiff at first, but after you play a few rounds it should start to soften up a little and become more comfortable to use.

shemagh for paintball


Besides offering a good amount of protection and bounce, a shemagh also comes with a cool tactical look that many paintball players love. Especially players that are interested in having that MilSim (military simulation) look.

There are many different ways to wear a shemagh too, so you may need to watch a few videos to find the style you like best. I basically use mine as a tactical scarf.

Neck Gaiter

paintball neck coverage with neck gaiter

A neck gaiter is a lightweight fabric that goes over your head and can be used to cover your neck and face. I personally prefer the neck gaiter over the shemagh because the fabric is lighter in weight and far thinner. 

However, because the fabric isn’t as thick as a shemagh, it does offer less protection and is less likely to promote a bounce. Another downside of using a neck gaiter is that it does interfere with your breathing if you wear it over your nose and mouth. 

Fortunately, you can always pull it down and only use it to cover your neck. This is what I typically do and it works well for me. 


A bandana is another option you can use to protect your neck in paintball.

Much like the neck gaiter, a bandana is also made from a piece of very thin fabric. The downside of using such a thin fabric is that it’s unlikely to reduce the impact of an incoming paintball as much as other forms of neck protection.

The other disadvantage of using a bandana is that it can easily become untied in the middle of the game. All the running around and moving your head from side to side can cause it to loosen up over time.

Hockey Neck Guard

Even if all you have access to is a neck guard that’s designed for hockey players then that’s okay. Anything that offers some form of protection for your neck against incoming paintballs is better than nothing at all.

And while hockey neck guards are designed to protect against cuts and not paintballs, they can still get the job done if need be. There are even hockey shirts that come with neck guards built-in if that’s more your style. 

Or, I guess you could just get a fancy turtle neck..

Your choice.



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