What to wear karting in the heat

I live in New England and just finished my first season in my own kart. I’m starting to look ahead to next Spring with gear purchases and budgeting and since it seems like there’s a lot of karters who race in hot climates around here I was hoping some of you could answer some questions.

On really hot days (which around here means 85 degrees or more) I’m usually pretty miserable in full gear until I get on track, and even then I notice that fatigue sets in far faster than it would on a more mild day. I’ve been focusing on keeping hydrated and eating something throughout the day, but I was wondering:

  • Are there suit options that are geared towards hot climates?
  • Do you guys recommend something particular underneath the suit?
  • Any other gear recommendations, tips or tricks that might help make hot days better?

We don’t have many options for trying gear on in person around here, and being left with ordering online has made it hard to tell what kind of material things are made from and how breathable they will be.


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Welcome @djj051! I’ll leave the details on suits to others, I have another angle…

Have you been doing any conditioning for heat? If you’re struggling with fatigue, it might be worth wearing a few layers of clothes when you are at the gym and working in sessions a little longer than your races.

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I don’t think it’d be right for me to advertise our suit brand so I’ll deal with the under suit stuff.

I always used to wear under armor almost from when it came out in the UK. You don’t have to use that brand, most brands have some sort of moisture wicking clothing to go under your sports wear but it definitely makes a difference.

Nothing worse then waiting for a race to start all kitted up in 100F odd.

I’d agree with @NikG. Underarmor/or some light athletic shirt, as well a lighter colored suit.
Also, I make sure to drink water and eat fruit throughout the day, to reduce the stress on my body.

We keep a handful of the cooling towels in coolers for hot days. Really helps cool you down quick after coming off track. We’ve also put one inside my sons suit while on track for a really hot day. With the air moving through it, it helped keep temps down. You can try moisture wicking compression shirt and short/underwear. Helps building of lactic acids. Look into what distance runners recommend.

You can always take the suit off and just wear shorts around until go time.

Other things to remember, hydrate before you get to the races. If you know it’s going to be really hot start drinking heavy on the water 1-2 days prior. Day of is too late. Bring some banana’s with you too. Helps restore potassium quickly.

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What you wear under your suit when it’s hot depends on what makes works for you personally. Cotton t-shirts always seem to work well and it’s easy to have a couple of spares to switch during the day. The Under Armor stuff can be a bit binding and not let you cool off as easily but you need to make sure that putting the suit on or off is easy. Biggest thing is to take the suit off between sessions if time allows. Hanging it up so it can dry a little helps also. Look for suits with vents/mesh under the arms and other areas.The Sparco KX-8 looks good but there are others. A slightly looser fit will help too.
As for 85 being hot, it’s going to be 85 degrees here today (November 16th) and we consider it a nice cool day.
Our next race day is November 26th and our season next year starts on January 14th. I love Arizona!
Drink a lot of water and wear a hat that keeps the sun off your ears.

Remember the ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ’s of track-day hydration.

Always Be Chugging Drinks, Except Flavored Gatorades. Huge Icy Jugs of Klarbrunn’s a Little More Nice. Obviously to Purely Quench Salivation, The Utmost Virgin Water eXcels, Yes Zir…

Y and Z were tough.


We race in South Texas during the summers, so dealing with the heat is one thing we do all the time. As for the suit my daughter wears, it’s a normal K1 kart suit, it looks as though there are a few vents in the suit, but since it’s a kart suit, it’s meant to keep you safe before cool. She always pulls off the top part after a run. We have plenty of water and Gatorade (typically the lighter color ones like G2 or frost) for her to drink once she gets done. Underneath, it’s usually Under Armor type shirt and shorts to help keep her cool, and we have the cooling towels, which sometimes she actually keeps on under her suit when on track. There are a few at our track that have cooling vests with pockets for ice packs, but that might be overkill in 85 degree weather.

It does help that we race in the evening under the lights, but the hottest time of the day is just before the sun sets.

Of course the key is hydration, and good energy snacks.

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Thanks for the replies everyone!

I’ll have to up my conditioning game and try the track-day tips people mentioned here.

Many good suggestions to keep you busy. Welcome.
During to 1970’s and 80’s at Quincy it was often 90F > 100F, sunny, and very humid too.
DO NOT suit up or helmet on until the last minute, Speak with the grid steward to get the Class going.
As above, stay hydrated and simulate races when off doing exercise prep…
Keeping your racewear in coolers helps too.
But the ultimate is a body cooler on board, if allowed and affordable.

One thing that’s great for getting your body temp regulated during the day is to rest your feet in a tub/basin of cold water. Learned this in Utah a few years ago.