Category Archives: Tow Vehicles and Trailers

Sizing Up Your Kart Storage and Transportation Requirements

In my previous articles I kind of rambled about evaluating your trailering needs. This article is going to get into the nitty-gritty of kart storage and transportation.

So the first thing I would do is grab a notebook and a couple of pens. This notebook will be dedicated to karting and your to do tasks. I went to a local dollar store and bought a handful of them. I use a pink notebook for my karting notes and to-do list because it is bright, sticks out, and a visible reminder to keep it near my karting equipment. My shopping lists, things to do for race prep, things to fix or repair, all go in this notebook. This notebook is separate from my track set up notes. That is a separate book, dedicated to track notes directly related to chassis setup, driving notes, or track set up tips.

Before you can begin evaluating your transportation or storage needs for your karting program, it is helpful to have a checklist and inventory list of all the items used for your kart racing. This list can also serve as an inventory list for your insurance company in the event of a theft or loss. I would make a couple copies of your inventory list, 1 to keep with your insurance paperwork with the amount or value of the items.

I would start with my kart(s), Kart stands, and the next largest item. I inventory my items by size and weight first. This first list is going to serve as a guide so you know what you have in your current possession. You may also start another page for items you need to purchase to add the recording program. I also find it helpful to layout your equipment as you would at the race track. Either go to the track early one day, or set up an area near your kart storage.

When loading my kart into my truck or trailer, I always ask myself, what do I need to load or unload next. For example, in the summer, I load my canopy last when I have my truck or trailer, then before that I load my kart stand. The reason is I usually load and unload by myself when I am not at the track with my dad. On a hot summer day, I want my ez up in position first, so I load it last. Next is the kart stand, I know I need to unload my kart onto the stand, so I want to access the stand without having to move the kart first.

If I have both my dad and my kart, I then move the tables so I only have to move the tool boxes and driving gear once. I mention my loading and unloading procedures because during the off season, this is how I plan for the following season. I layout my karting equipment as if I’m at the track. I take a lot of notes on how to improve my loading and unloading. We are fortunate to have a trailer in our program, so I like to utilize the trailer as usable storage unit for my kart equipment. I’ve built racks and shelves for various truck pick up beds to utilize storage and loading procedures. This all goes on my inventory list.

Your program may be as simple as putting the cart in the back of a hatchback, buying a small foldable trailer, purchasing a truck, and finally adding a trailer. You may also find that purchasing a truck and trailer does not make sense for your particular situation, so you may want to look into arrive and drive or storage and delivery options. For each of us, it is unique, but very manageable with proper planning.

Once again, enter the notebook. First ask yourself, “what are my storage options?”

Do you have a garage or outdoor storage shed?
Do you have a pad for trailer parking?
Can you park a trailer at your residence?
Do you have a budget to store items offsite?

For me personally, I find that 100 sq ft per kart is ample room for storage of all items related to said kart. This allows enough room to work around the kart and to have my accessories or tools on hand. I don’t like going back and forth between multiple locations to work on my kart. When I am gearing up for post or pre race prep, I will completely unload my trailer. I do this because I have 1 set of tools that I always use for karting. I have dedicated toolbox for my karts, that are not mixed up with my household tools. For me, it is more efficient to work out of 1 box. I’m not searching for tools, I grab 1 box for the track, and I go. If I need a tool for both the house and kart box, I buy an extra.

I mention this because it is part of my notebook, and it is part of my planning. I have a few shelving units that are empty when I’m at the track, and full when I am back home. Each item has a place to be stored, whether in the trailer, at the track, or in a storage area. If I know my kart will be out of service for a while, I will condense my area by storing the kart upright.

In order to optimize my space, I’m always tinkering with storage, shelving, and tote boxes to stay more efficient. If I know I am going to be mounting and unmounting tires, I will remove the rims after my last track session, place last in the truck or trailer, and this is my first task away from the track. Tires can take up some additional floor space, so it is best to do this when the karts are not taking up the space.

One of my quick tips or systems I use, if I make working on the kart easier, I will do it more often. Loading and unloading can add extra stress to your karting program. Take time to plan our your storage and work area, try to duplicate your system over and over. Take notes on what you do or how you did it. Take notes on what tools you used and how you organized your work station. Create a system, make it repetitive, and fine tune it to become more efficient. All of these tips will help you size up your transportation and storage needs.

For example, if you have an extra set of rims with tires, you can rotate practice tires and race tires. By doing so, you might be able to eliminate the need for a portable air compressor and tire tools at the track, but keep them in your work space. Maybe it is the opposite, maybe you have a larger trailer, and want to keep your compressor in the trailer to optimize your storage space at home or in your shop. Again, lay everything out that you have and take notes and write down inventory. I like to have an assortment of axles, but I keep them stored in my trailer. I won’t need them at the house for most race prep. Another nice thing about axle storage, it doesn’t take up a lot of room in a trailer.

Again, lay everything out. Years ago when I only had a Honda Civic as a transport vehicle, I would plan out my transportation and storage by measuring the hatch opening width and height. I would remove bodywork and wheels to allow the chassis to fit. I purchased an X style kart stand to fit in the back. I would do a couple of trial runs for the equipment I needed to take with me to the track.

I personally didn’t want to rely on others to bring equipment or parts to the track. So as my karting arsenal grew, so did my transport needs. However, with good communication and planning with others, you might be able to split up some equipment among a few friends. Or reach out to a local shop that supports your track and ask them if you can pay a small fee for the use of their generator, air compressor, or other bulky tools on a regular basis. After all, this equipment cost someone money.

If you are in Northern California, and you want a hand organizing your transport or storage area, reach out to us. We realize that everyone has a unique situation. Some want a 30′ trailer with every tool in the world for only 1 kart, and some of us want to pull up in our pick up truck, tire pressures already set, and gas tank full, and ready to hit the track and burn a tank of gas.

The key to evaluating your transport and kart storage needs is to take notes, have a steady notebook, lay every thing out so you have a visual of what you need or want, and keep more notes.

Evaluating Your Towing Needs

So you have your 1988 Honda Civic Hatchback and you have a kart.  You remove the wheels and bodywork and shoehorn your kart inside, stacking your equipment around the kart like a can of sardines.  Ice chest on the passenger side floor and your gearbag sitting on the passenger seat.  This system works for you, and it is practical, very practical.  On Sunday, race transport, but Monday through Friday, paycheck transport.

If I just described your motorsports transport, post your photos and loading system on kartpulse under this thread, Kart Pulse – How Do You Transport Your Kart.

I’ve been there, albeit for a short time.  Currently I am looking into expanding our karting transport from a 6′ x 10′ enclosed trailer to a 8.5′ x 20′ enclosed trailer.  Our current loading and unloading system includes wooden ramps to run a triple decker kart stand through the cargo door opening.  Squeezing my fat ass between the tires and the trailer walls, neither move, so I end up climbing up or under the karts, axles, kart stands, to reach the tie down points.  For the two of us, this system has worked for us since 1997.  There might have been some cussing and swearing in the above process, but it is not Facebook official.

My dad and I actively race at our local NorCal kart tracks, participating in the Briggs 206 classes.  However, we also have a couple of 125cc shifters that we leave at our homes in order to have enough room for our two race karts.  The motivation behind a larger trailer, we have a new teammate, my five year old daughter.  I’m not sure how her racing will progress over then next couple of years, but I do know on practice days, we will have to have at least three karts heading to the track.

My dad and I have talked about a larger trailer for some time.  Looking at multiple brands including Haulmark, Interstate, Carson, Wells Cargo, Pace, Look, TPD, inTech, CargoMate, Double R, Charmac, Logan, and a few others.  Most of these were found online, then I started driving around to the different local dealers to inspect the quality and options.  I will list the local dealers and brands at the bottom.

I’m writing this series for a couple of reasons.

  • There is not a lot of easy to process information online
  • There is not a lot of local trailer dealers that have multiple options on hand
  • Help others find the information they need
  • Highlight towing and trailer safety
  • I’m very hands-on and I want to touch, feel, and smell my new trailer

As I visited multiple locations, not a single one had an options center or demo trailer.  All the information was verbal or in a  brochure, printed or online.  Some manufacturers had very cheap finish work, and others had proper finishing touches.  Each manufacturers trailer brochure presents each trailer like a show piece, but in reality, there are differences.  For the purpose of this article, we are searching for an 8.5′ x 20′ enclosed cargo or car hauler.  We do not need built in cabinets or other nice finishing touches, since we plan on building the inside to fit our needs.

We are also targeting a price range of under $10,000.00, which eliminates the aluminum frame trailers from our lists.  However, the nicest finish that I found out of the trailers I personally looked at, it was the inTech brand out of Indiana.  The trailer was built on an aluminum frame and the finishing touches were done properly.

Again, we are staying under $10,000.00 for our trailer budget.  We kept looking at used trailers in the same price range, and you do get more trailer for your dollar when you go used, but we both didn’t see the advantage of saving 10%-25% on the trailer purchase with the unknowns listed below.

  • Was the trailer overloaded and damaged the suspension?
  • What is the life of the tires after sitting?
  • How Many Miles Are Really on the Trailer?
  • Cost of New vs. Used is a small difference
  • Trailers hold good resale value
  • Most 20′ Trailers have 7000 lbs capacity, I want 10,000
  • Looking for extra height for a triple decker kart stand

Two very important things that will affect your trailer purchase, what is your current tow vehicle and the capacity and where will you store the trailer.

I have a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado HD2500.  The GVWR of my particular vehicle is 9200 lbs.  This is the maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of my truck, fully loaded with passengers and gear, plus the tongue weight of the trailer.

I also have a 25′ trailer pad that I have easy access to.  For some of us, this is critical from a budget standpoint.  In a previous karting life, I had a 28′ trailer that I had to store at a local facility.  It cost $220.00 per month to store the beast.  Throughout this series, I will have a few various forms to fill out to request free checklists and spreadsheets.  Ask me for my trailer buying checklist.

 

 

Buying a Trailer or Tow Vehicle

This is our introductory buying guide for tow vehicle and trailer options series.  These articles will begin with the thinking and planning stages.  Below are the questions we will answer.

  • What is your budget for transport or trailer needs?
  • What tow vehicle do you currently have?
  • What is the capacity of your vehicle?
  • Will you add a trailer to your tow vehicle?
  • What is the capacity of your trailer?
  • Do you have a place to store your trailer or tow vehicle?
  • How much equipment do you need to transport?
  • Will you need to work out of the trailer, use it for storage, or simply move equipment from point A to point B?
  • What type of insurance will I need for trailer?

These articles will be living documents and will change as we update each section.  This post will act as our table of contents for buying, using, purchasing, and more, a trailer or tow vehicle.

My Disclaimer.  This guide and website is designed to give you basic information.  It is your responsibility to further research your driving, vehicle, and towing needs per your specific uses and application.  For starters, your vehicle owners manual is a good resource for towing information, plus specifics for your vehicle.

Any reference to weights or ratings in this article as an example could be from a sample vehicle.  These numbers or measurements are only to act as a guide to help you determine your ratings or specifications.

One reason we are putting these articles together is to avoid expensive mistakes and accidents that many have made over the years by overloading their tow vehicles, trailers, or equipment.  Every year, I personally hear of at least two racing teams who lose their vehicles, trailers, and/or equipment in towing accidents.  Help spread the word to minimize bad towing habits.

Keep in mind that I am using a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado HD2500 with a gas 6.0 engine.  Always consult your owners manual for your vehicles specific requirements.  Where math is required, I will show the formula as well.

If you would like to see some expansions on these articles, please send us a quick note.