So you’ve booked your first track day for your motorcycle. And like many first-timers (or even tenth-timers), you’re riding to track day. So you’re wondering: what do you take to track day? You need a track day packing list!
On my first track day, I was so worried that I asked my partner Jo to come in a support vehicle. She stayed long enough to get very nervous at the high speeds and the multiple crashes that morning, then I sent her home. Great job, me! (But really, I was very appreciative she was there.)
The second time and most times after, I went alone. A couple of times my backpack was too heavy and the 45 to 1-hour ride was a little uncomfortable — especially coming home.
That’s why I put together this track day packing list, from my own experience and mistakes. It’s for me as well as anyone else. Everything here fits into your backpack, big tail bag, or top box. And it’s not overkill (I think).
Once you’ve done a few track days and are hooked, you might consider getting a trailer, van, or truck/ute and getting to the track a different way.
But before that, here’s your track day packing list for riding to the track. This is a list I made for myself after going a few times, adding to it each time.
Are you obsessed with motorcycles?
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Before Track Day
Every track day has its own set of rules, but it just should go without saying that make sure you’ve got your bike in order before track day.
Common things you should do are
- Check brake pads have 1.5-2mm on them
- Have full leathers and racing boots and gloves
- Make sure your tyres are street legal
- No leaks! Including your forks. I’ve seen the inspectors pump the forks a few times to make sure you didn’t just cheekily wipe them with a rag (this isn’t their first rodeo)
- No zip tie in place of safety pins. This nearly caught me out, but a nearby mechanic gave me a cotter pin.
- No missing safety equipment. Bar ends, kill switch, etc.
- Chain slack adjusted/within spec.
With that done, move on to your track day packing list.
Overview of what to pack for Track Day
The good news is that it’s totally fine to ride to your track day in your leathers and stay in your leathers all day. Everyone else is. Some people might take their jacket off if it gets hot — or you can go stand somewhere cool.
You can also ride to the track in road tyres and at road pressures. You can adjust those when you get there!
You can pack everything in this track day packing list in your backpack — that’s the goal. Ride there on your bike, in your leathers, with your backpack.
Once you’re at the track, you do have to leave your stuff somewhere in the pits. Pick a spot and drop your bag there and maybe lock it up.
You’ll see other people with huge complicated set-ups like
- Tyre warmers and a generator to run them (you will use the sun! Or just take it easy on a couple of laps)
- Folding chairs and coolers full of food and drinks
- I even saw someone bring their own little sofa!
People will have packed big tool boxes, stands on which to hold their bikes, and many other things. Don’t worry about any of that.
Here are the basics of what to pack for track day, the “basics” of your track day packing list.
Mandatory or highly recommended:
- Driver’s license. You need this for sign-on! (and to ride there).
- Wallet/cash. You’ll need to get fuel near the track, and fuel after the track to get home. And maybe food at the track.
- A bag or case you can attach to the fence. It’s easy to attach a backpack. If you have a tail bag or a case, it’s helpful if you can attach it to the fence.
- Sunscreen. If you have delicate skin, then being in the sun all day can burn you. Most of the time, you’re not racing. Sunscreen also helps reduce sun fatigue.
- Hat. Again, you’re not usually wearing your helmet, so a simple sun hat is great.
- Sunglasses. Same reason.
- Phone, charger and cable. I barely looked at my phone, but I still wanted enough battery for when I had to commute home.
- Alcohol wipes — I had to clean my visor and sunshield a couple of times and these came in useful.
- Earplugs — I left these in most of the time when I wasn’t talking to someone. If you have sensitive ears, don’t forget them.
- Simple lock to attach hour bag/case to a fence or something. Take whatever you sometimes use to secure your bike, and lock your bag to a fence.
Might seem over-cautious though — a lot of people at tracks are cool, and honestly, I rarely lock stuff up.
Track Day Tools and Spares
You don’t need to do a lot of work on your bike while at the track at the beginner levels, but you do definitely need some stuff that will make your life a lot easier.
It’s easy to borrow most of the gear here, but I prefer to be the person from whom others borrow, which is why I include at least the mandatory/highly recommended part of the track day packing list.
Mandatory/highly recommended tools
- Tape (e.g. electrical tape or duct tape). Good for taping up your headlights, tail light, and mirrors. Gaffer tape, while great stuff, is a bit too sticky for this simple purpose and leaves too much residue.
- Tyre pressure sensor and deflator. There is sometimes a tire service on site where you can get your pressures modified. But if you already know your target pressures, these things are great. Get a cheap analogue tyre pressure sensor/deflator like this one — I hate it when the batteries for my digital one are out.
- Allen keys — if you have a sport bike these are useful for taking off your mirrors, making adjustments to your controls, and tightening things up that come loose.
- Wrenches, screwdrivers — Pick a small selection that might be useful for tightening things up. (or taking off mirrors, if they mount on your handlebar)
Basically I’d recommend a basic tool roll that you’ve customised (if necessary) for your bike.
I bought a Cruztools tool kit on Revzilla and have used it on many bikes.
- Rear axle wrench — You may need to modify the slack in your rear chain while you’re there.
- Brake pads — I keep a set of these spare in my bag in case inspection thinks mine aren’t thick enough.
- Lube — You might notice something needs lubing that you forgot. A tiny tube of grease would be useful.
- Rags — The bike gets dirty after a day at the track and a rag is useful to wipe things down so you feel good about it before riding home.
Food & Sustenance
Other than a water bottle, food/sustenance is somewhat optional in your track day packing list as you can buy food at the track. But it’s priced at event prices (a kings ransom for a sandwich and greasy fries) and isn’t necessarily very healthy.
- Water bottle and flavoured electrolytes to flavour the water. The water bottle is VERY important. You can buy water for $5 a bottle if you want, but there’s also tap water.
The problem is… tap water at these events is a little bad tasting sometimes. It is because of the locations — they could be in the middle of nowhere, in semi-agrarian land.
So I like to pack electrolyte pills to not just make the water better hydrating (honestly, I’m sure electrolytes are mostly snake oil), but more importantly to flavour the water so it goes down better. This helps me drink more — which is really important, as being in leathers all day and working hard is VERY de-hydrating.
I’ve always liked Nuun electrolyte effervescent tablets.
- Energy bar (granola bar, muesli bar, protein bar, whatever you want to call it). I’m a big fan of these as they’re not heavy, they’re lightweight, and they’re delicious! My favourite for a few years have been Clif Bars, or if I’m feeling more fitness-y, RX Bars.
- Lunch — again you can buy lunch there, but if you make up a sandwich and throw it in an ice bag to keep it cool and fresh you’ll probably appreciate that more.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to say “pack a spare change of underwear in case you have an accident” in this track day packing list. OK, I am.
Make sure you have
- Spare key. I nearly lost it once in the first hour on my first day (well, I lost track of where I left it). After that, I left it in the ignition. It helped that I had the least valuable bike at the circuit. But a spare key zip-tied to the inside of your jacket is a good idea.
- Tow service phone number. One that you know has a decent rate and good availability and can service both the track and your home (or mechanic).
- Change of clothes. At least a shirt and underwear. You might be sitting next to a tow truck driver for a while, and it’s nice to be comfortable (and not smelly).
After track day
You get home from your track day. What do you do after locking your bike away? You just want to have a shower, a meal, and go to bed!
Just a couple of things I’d recommend to round out this track day packing list…
- Spray down the inside of your leathers with some anti-bacterial spray to keep them fresh for next time, something like Febreeze.
- Drink more water.
I usually leave wiping down the bike (and chain and wheels) for the next day. It can wait! Also it has to cool down anyway.
What’s the risk of riding to the track?
There’s a reason most track day packing lists on the internet are for more advanced setups and assume you have a trailer or van. It’s because riding to the track has a high degree of risk.
There are two main downsides of riding to the track:
- You might crash and have to find another way home, and
- You might be really tired
The first risk is definitely non-zero.
In the beginner group there always seems to be at least one crash. In my experience, several. The riders usually walk away unscathed, but the bikes become unrideable due to broken bits (mirrors, etc.)
A crash can happen because you’ve pushed it too hard (especially on cold tyres), but it can also happen if someone just hits you. It happens! They do an aggressive pass and clip your tyre and then you go sailing. It sucks but it can happen.
The second risk is a significant one. It’s why I often end a track day early if I’m riding home — I mean maybe just one session early. Once I’ve had my fill, I bail.
Riding home tired after a track day might mean accidentally riding too aggressively or just not being as alert as you want to be.
Considering those risks, it isn’t a bad idea to rent a trailer. But still, this is a guide for riding to track day, so just bear those risks in mind.
One risk people mention to me is riding home with your blood hot and speeding a lot. This may happen to you, but personally, I’ve been so tired at the end of track days that I’ve been happy to just go a reasonable pace.