This maybe not a popular question until the time is upon you. Packing for a big race can be quite the chore for anyone. But here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to make life a little easier.
Choose your luggage/casing carefully. An empty Ogio bag is often already 12 lbs on its own. Whereas the Plano XXL Sportsman case shown in the pictures is only 5lbs empty, allowing me an extra 7lbs of stuff. The Plano XXL Cases are generally around $35-40 at Homedepot and are often stocked in black. The lid is hinged, secured with 4 heavy duty clasps which can be locked or in the case of air travel, zip tied shut. It has wheels at one end which last quite a while but I’ll show you the mods I’ve done having had this one for a few years.
Here are a few mods I’ve done to my XXL case having had it now for about 3 years. I may not travel as much as the top pros but I can assure I’m taking just as much gear with support equipment. I’ve never once NOT had this case searched.
As you can see in the pictures it’s all about the “Tetris” theory. Fit it all in their snug, not too tight, and not too loose. You want everything to fit together nicely so it doesn’t shift when being “handled” by the luggage handlers, TSA, etc. Since I’m racing SC truck, I stuff a bunch of loose tires into body/chassis cavity to take up that space. The rubber tires won’t damage my body or my electronics inside the void.
I also use old tire carcasses to make wide “bands” to retain my plastic cases shut. This also adds a bit of traction to the cases so they don’t slip around inside. Since I’ve done this I’ve never had one open up inside since. Even when one case had the corner busted apart, the lid stayed shut.
Another tip is if you have small items like a soldering iron, loose tools such as calipers, etc etc drop it all into a small box together. The box won’t add much weight but it will help “tighten” up your packing and provide a bit of protection to the items. Ask me how I know 🙂
When it comes to lithium batteries check the airline you’re flying. Most allow batteries in your carry on but NOT your check in. The batteries can be loose but do everyone a favor, use a lipo sack. You WILL get questioned about them, just let them know they’re for a toy car. I always carry a magazine with me in my carry on so I can show them as proof. DON’T try to carry your tools or other objects that can be construed as a weapon.
I always carry one of my cars, my radio and a change of clothes in my carry on. Reason being is if they loose one or both of your check in bags, you’ll have a fresh change of clothes, one car and your transmitter. You can at least get started at the race by borrowing a battery/charger and you won’t be wearing yesterdays clothes. Again, ask me how I know.
Last but not least, get yourself a reliable luggage scale. I’ve had mine for a while and can’t tell you where I got it but it’s good within 1lb, so I pack my stuff up to 48.5 lbs. Weigh them when you’re done and make sure you bring that scale with you. I either take a picture of them packed, or make a mental note as to what equipment is in each one so I can replicate this when packing up to go home. Nothing more annoying than getting to the counter and having to unpack a case/ bag to shift over a few lbs.