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Tips for setting up field in woods

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    Tips for setting up field in woods

    So during the initial Covid lockdown, we started playing a little bit on land my parents own. It's 7 acres of woods and we only did a little clearing of thorns and underbrush in a small area to make it playable. At the time there were only 4 of us playing so it was fine. Since the fields opened up, we've just been going to the field. However, I've got friends and family interested in playing and a lot of spare gear now so thought it would be cool to have a nice private setup for a change of pace. Some of them are a little intimidated by going to a big field for their first time and private is more casual.

    Looking for thoughts on getting a good field together in the woods. Right now there's too much underbrush in areas so it's hard to play in of course. We can clear that out but there isn't a ton of natural cover. Lots of trees but most of them aren't big enough to provide real cover. What's an easy way to set up barriers and such? Pallets? Or stack up branches found on the property? At the local field I play at, their woodsball field is a combo of pallets, plywood, stacked branches. But don't have a lot of manpower available so looking for most efficient way.

    Would appreciate any ideas. Thanks in advance.

    I have a natural field on my property that is made from what is there. We do play all over at real fields but in the colder months we play out back. I have kids who like to play so there is man power to help me out. We have larger trees, stonewalls and large rocks so that is covered but every other bunker is made from logs and down branches. Makes it easier to just build another bunker when needed and there is no mess of pallets and such to worry about. I played a renegade game with some other MCB guys and the property owner of the land had us tac up fabric like silt fencing as bunkers then at the end of the day you pulled them down and put them away. It was a pretty smart idea and they worked out well.


      Most importantly, a liability waiver.

      Approximately 3 light years lower on the list: look for free bunker materials; Pallets, barrels, liquid totes, any structurally supportive material of appropriate size. The closer it is to where you want a bunker, the better. You'll find these at large businesses. Just look for a pile of suitable material, then start probing for information on who manages it - and ask if you can take it. You wouldn't believe what companies throw away, and they'll happily let someone else deal with the task of doing it.
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        ^^^ This.

        I've gotten plywood, cut logs, pallets, and scrap lumber all for free from Craigslist and paper adds. Getting all that to your field is a PITA if you don't have a truck, like me, but often I've been able to convince the "seller" to deliver the materials by paying them $10 or $20.

        My best score so far, however, has been a bunch of cable spools. I got about a dozen of them from a local building company. I saw them stacked in the back parking lot, so I walked in, asked about them, talked to the manager, explained my situation, and got them all for free. Again, I didn't have a truck, but they delivered them all for $50, which is a steal considering how many bunkers they made.

        Getting them apart and set up on the field was a completely different story. They were too big to push out into the woods, so we had to take them apart. Once we had them in pieces, however, we took the center boards and nailed them together to make square barriers to lean up against trees or nail together into wedges. For the big discs, we dug thin trenches in the ground with a pick ax, about 6 inches wide, 3 or 4 feet long, and 1 or 2 feet deep. Then we just stuck the discs into those trenches, and they stood up on their own. We ended up getting over 30 bunkers from those dozen spools.

        I should also point out, since you mentioned not having much manpower, that you shouldn't do this all by yourself. If you've got friends who come out to play, invite them to come out again to a work day some time. Make it fun. Get pizza a beer and whatever. Collect all the materials first, and then spend an afternoon getting it all out onto the field and cutting down brush. You'll be surprised what you can accomplish in a couple hours with a few extra hands, and I think you'll also be surprised how many guys will show up to help out.
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          Well done! I always hated spool fields that didn't break down the spools - leaves way too many openings/gaps that detract from the bunker. That's not a bad thing when there are other bunkers, but if the whole field is made of them... no bueno.

        Appreciate the responses, very helpful. I don't have a pickup truck (just an SUV) so hauling large items in would be tricky. There is a large construction project going on at the adjacent property though and I noticed empty spools and other items last time I was out. Will see if they are around next time I go out there to see if we can work something out.


          Just got back from Portola near Reno we play out in the woods up there. Mostly we shape fields to work with what’s already there. But scrap wood/ construction trash bin treasures are your best friend. As well as. If you clear lower branches they make great bunkers. You can see a surprising amount thru them while still not getting shot


            Clearly defined boundaries.

            This is for you and others. You don't want hunters or hikers meandering into your game unawares.

            Pallets are generally free as long as you leave them the painted ones for pickup.

            Just get a machete and go around cutting down all the branches you can reach, and then make piles of branches at the base of trees.
            If you need to talk, I will listen. Leave a message and I will call you back as soon as I get it.
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              Once upon a time I had a 3 acre woodsball field at my house. Cleared the undergrowth and used natural saplings to build small bunkers from other branches. Most industrial tire lots will give away the big 350-450 pound tires if you can haul them away yourself. 55 Gallon Drums, scrap lumber, free pallets. Not sure where I got it but I had triangular pieces of thick material similar to field netting that I staked to the ground and to a tree, makes a dorito style bunker.

              Also dug trenches and piled the dirt in front of them, added more wood on top, etc.

              Built a big bon fire pit in the center of the field with benches made from logs in a circle around it. Made for great times, night games with only the light from the bonfire and good times after. We also did stupid sh*t like throw 12g's into the bonfire mid game, made quite a distraction when they went off.
              Last edited by greystone; 08-16-2020, 01:25 AM.


                Originally posted by DavidBoren View Post
                Clearly defined boundaries.

                This is for you and others. You don't want hunters or hikers meandering into your game unawares.
                Dear God, yes. I forgot about that. Super important.

                If you're trying to save money, the cheapest way to do this is with spray paint. If you spray every tree on the border of your field with a big X, two cans of spray paint will last you for an acre or so. Be sure to use a bright color, like neon pink or orange, and spray both sides of the tree to you can clearly see it when you're inside and outside of the field.

                The better way to mark borders is to use bright rope, but this can get costly. You need about 800 feet of rope to go around one acre, which can cost anywhere from $30-$60. Also, if you leave it up year round, rope will not last as long as paint, so it's best to take it down during the off season.
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                  Wow, it's been years since we had a renegade field going.
                  Generally whose land you are playing on is one of the main concerns and as that is concerned you will probably want to discuss with a lawyer having a good liability waiver drawn up to protect your parents assets. Anyone that gets hurt there will be looking at them.

                  As you clear and make pathways you will have loads of limb and brush debris. I found that either building with that material, or pulling it through the "loose build" pallets that are typically easy to find. Wire spools and barrels are great but can be hard to find. Even using things like scrap lumber with a sheet of plywood, plastic pallet, canvas conveyer belt....
                  We posted signs around the property stating no hunting, etc. where WE were in the clear to do so. Some years back we played in a 'no man's land' type county area and would occasionally see pedestrians walking through. We had a pre set code for everyone to stand down due to that specific happening as an aside from game off.

                  Don't know if anyone has mentioned but air could be a concern. Having CO2 available or a group of SCUBA/bulk tank.


                    Don't forget about dirt mounds. If you really want to have some fun, you could rent a mini-excavtor or track loader (i.e. Bobcat) for the heavy lifting. Glancing at my local rental place, a 1-day rental is in the $150-$200 range for a small track loader and about $250 for a mini-excavator.

                    You can also get old doors from a variety of sources. Architectural salvage stores, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, etc. The pricing I've seen is all over the place, but worth a shot. It is also pretty easy to just frame up a wall with some 2x4s & plywood. Ironically painting them will help them last a little longer- just make sure it is a good exterior paint with several coats.


                      Have thought about getting a mini excavator but probably will go smaller first. Framing is easy enough, I've got all the tools like nail guns and such. Trying to keep impact minimal though as the parcel is for sale (not likely to sell anytime soon).

                      Not worried about hunters as the land is actually in a residential/commercial zone. Currently it's bordered by other empty tracts. Very minimal chance anyone will wander on as there aren't any sidewalks and it's a relatively rural part of suburbia.

                      Will think about waiver - likely will be only family playing but small chance of having a friend play here and there.

                      Air is something I need to consider now. When we were first playing there, we were shooting STBBs and those weren't using much air. Only shot 1.5 cases between the 4 of us in an average day so no one ran out of air. But now we've started shooting more and the spool valve guns I've picked up use more air I've learned. May look into scuba setup as there are a ton of dive shops here.


                        One way to help with air is to limit paint. Only allow everyone to play with one full hopper per game. No extra pods. If you play objective-based games like center flag, you can win games without having to eliminate entrenched players, which can waste a lot of paint.

                        Limited paint is also a great equalizer for different kinds of guns. The guys with the blowbacks won't feel as outgunned against the spools that can shoot faster because they won't run out of paint as quickly.

                        Also, you mentioned that your games are really might want to consider playing with respawns. Whenever I play with small groups in the woods (pretty much anything less than five on five), we play with respawns. Whenever a player gets out, they have to walk back to the starting point for their team before coming back in again. That way, it feels more like a power play than a permanent power shift. The opposing team needs to work fast to capitalize on the advantage.

                        If the starting bases are really close to the playing area, you can make the power plays longer by making players have to wait 30 seconds before coming back in. Also, you can leave extra paint back at the bases. That way, if someone does shoot through their whole hopper (if you're playing limited paint), they don't have to leave the game. They can go back, get some more paint, and come in again.

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                          A few more things about air and dive shops....

                          You should definitely visit the shops in your area and ask a few questions. Tell them you're a paintball player. Explain what you want to do. Ask if they rent tanks. At my local shop, for instance, I can rent two scuba tanks for the whole weekend for $20. I had to buy my own fill station, but the two tanks are enough to keep 8-12 players happy for two to three hours (assuming we're shooting limited paint). Also, renting tanks means I don't have to worry about visual inspections, hydro-testing, etc.

                          I did end up buying my own tank eventually because I wanted one at home for testing my markers, but I'm not really saving that much money. I still have to rent one tank for $10, and getting mine filled costs $5. So I'm only "saving" $5, which I probably spend on the testing mentioned above.

                          If you do want to rent tanks, tell your friends about it. Be up front with the costs and ask them to pitch in. You'd be surprised what guys will help out with. Whenever I play with my friends, I first propose a date to all my buds and get a headcount. Then I buy a few cases of paintballs online from ANS Gear or wherever. I also rent the SCUBA tanks. Then when people show up to play, we split the cost and everyone pays me back with cash or PayPal or whatever. And if ten guys said they were going to play but only six show up, we still split the cost evenly so I'm not left covering those extra guys. Everyone will be cool with this as long as you explain it up front so they're not caught off guard. Lots of guys even throw in a few extra bucks because they're glad they don't have to go buy paint and air on their own. It really works out well for everyone. They have an easy time coming to play, and I get a few extra bucks for the time I'm spending getting supplies.

                          We've been doing this for so long, actually, that now we have "rental" set-ups for new players. After playing for a while, people tend to upgrade their equipment, but usually they keep the old stuff. So we have about a dozen different set-ups to loan out. We do charge an extra $10 for someone to use that because you do have to spend money occasionally to hydro tanks or replace o-rings or whatever. But that's still a deal for a new player when you compare it to the cost of visiting a real field.
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                            Some wise words from my old drill seargant,
                            "DRRR-INK WAT-ERRR!!!"

                            Gotta have a watering hole.

                            Sure, everyone SHOULD bring their own consumables... but I highly recommend that someone brings a 5gal jug of water to share. Don't need anyone falling out due to dehydration or heat stroke.

                            Also... pack it in, pack it out... put trash bags in known spots in or around the field. That way people can ditch empty 12g cartridges and other random $#!+ in actual trash receptacles, rather than the forest floor.

                            I hate to say it, because banning things is bull$#!+, but don't allow FSR to be used outside of actual established fields. It's plastic garbage and we don't need it in our forests.
                            If you need to talk, I will listen. Leave a message and I will call you back as soon as I get it.
                            IGY6; 503.995.0257