If you’re about to play paintball for the very first time, you need to know about thermal goggles. One of the biggest problems any first-time player faces, is fog. A fogged lens can ruin a paintball outing very quickly. Not only can a fogged lens make it impossible to see who you’re trying to play against, but it can also create a safety issue when the player can’t see where he is firing or walking and is tempted to remove the mask during an ongoing game. You can see how it might be aggravating to spend your hard-earned money only to have your paintball experience ruined when you can’t even see through your lens. Technology to the rescue!
Thermal masks are a special type of protective goggle that uses two basic pieces of technology to fight, and mostly win, the war on fog. The first piece of technology is a soft absorptive pad that surrounds your eyes. This comfortable foam creates a barrier between your breath and the lens and also absorbs any sweat dripping down from the forehead area. Humidity and sweat create the perfect storm for a fogged lens and a ruined paintball experience. Foam is the first step to a more comfortable and
Keeping hot air and sweat away from your lens is a great start, but there is a second and important secret weapon that stops fog in its tracks; the dual pane lens. No real thermal mask is worth the money your hard earned money unless it also comes with a dual pane lens. A dual pane lens uses a small gasket to create an air gap between the tough outer shell and a thin plastic insulator shield. That air gap stops cool air outside of the mask from cooling the interior layer of plastic. If that layer were to cool down, or if the gasket were to fail, then the lens would fog just like any other type of lens.
Standard paintball masks are cheap. A basic helmet is meant to protect your face, and it does that job extremely well. On the other hand, they aren’t comfortable to wear, they don’t look that great, and they don’t stop the fog. Thermal goggles on the other hand range in price from about $60 all the way up to $120 for a top of the line mask. We recommend 2 masks above all others for anyone considering playing paintball in Houston.
The Dye i4 is an anatomically correct mask that follows the contours of the face to give the smallest profile possible while also performing at a professional level. The i4 has dual stage foam that has both open and closed cell portions. Dual stage foam is ideal because it wicks perspiration quickly away from the face in a way that single stage foam cannot. The i4 excels in comfort and performance, but is not a great fit for all head profiles.
The Empire E-Flex shares some of the DNA from one of the best performing masks in the paintball world, the JT Flex. The Empire E-Flex sports ultra-comfortable hypoallergenic Spectra foam, a lens that is easily and quickly removed for cleaning and a specially designed area in front of the mouth that allows for great communication between teammates. Empire makes a great set of replacement lenses and a variety of colors. Where the Empire E-Flex excels is comfort and ease of use. It is perfect for all head profiles and is easy for new players to operate.