My first race, I had a borrowed trailer, my kart and kart stand, a helmet I owned, a gas can with mixed fuel/oil, chain lube I bought at the track, a few tools I already owned and a cooler full of fluids and small snacks. I wore jeans and a borrowed motorcycle jacket, some leather mechanics gloves and a pair of leather shoes I already owned. It was a low key race, very lax on the formalities and perfect for my first venture. FYI, I had zero practice time in the kart aside from putting around the neighborhood.
Little backstory. I grew up around SCCA racing. We were at a track monthly during the peak of race season and I already had a good idea of what would make me more comfortable while at the track versus what was a necessity to get on the track. Additionally having a strong Automotive background, mechanical failures did not intimidate me and I would just try to find a work around solution given the materials I had on hand.
Was it my best outing, sadly no. I was hoping through the corners and threw the chain twice before I knew why (used kart, didn’t know what to look for). DNF for the Final. Did I have fun? Hell Yes!! Would I do it any different given the choice, not likely. I tend to calculate my challenges, then dive in and recalculate my next attempts accordingly. That is the fastest path to learning self sufficiency. Sure, if you have cash to spare, then a Tent Program is worth while, but if you are budget racing then finding a way no matter what is very achievable too. Sort of the difference between Sink or Swim and Relying on your Floaties. I am not knocking the Tent Programs, just saying that there are many ways to get to where you want to go within your given budget.
In fact, most racers I know, did not start out with all the gear they currently possess. It was amassed over several years of racing. Myself, I have found little things along the way that make live easier. One of my biggest finds, was the Versa Trak tool boxes from Lowes. You can combine storage boxes, bins, drawers and more on a single stack with wheels and a telescoping handle to easily move around. Best buy for compact tool storage/transport.