Packing for a Race out of town

By:  Larry Larson

Packing and traveling to and from races around the country can be both difficult and frustrating. It was ironic that when I was first approached to write this article that I was in the middle of packing my boxes for the Spring Splash in Seattle Washington. Packing for these races has become so much of a routine that most of what I do is automatic but after thinking about it, it really is a calculated procedure I go through to make these trips and getting my equipment to and from these races in one piece.
    The first step is to check with the airline your are traveling with to find out baggage requirements. Are you allowed 2 or 3 checked pieces of baggage, what are the size restrictions and what are the weight restrictions? After this information is gathered you can make your decisions on what size and type of boxes you will use to pack your equipment in. Choose boxes that are of sturdy construction but are not too excessive in weight because what ever the boxes weigh is that much weight in equipment you can’t take with you.
    Making check lists is the next step in this procedure. I make 2 lists one is of equipment that has to go, boats, batteries, chargers, etc. The second is a list of items I would like to take but could live without if I have to. Try to keep the wish list or second list to a minimum you will find that after traveling many items you thought you would really need turn out to be something you never even thought about taking out of your boxes and using. When making these lists there are several things to consider, if you are traveling with someone else get together with them and split up items you don’t need doubling up on such as soldering irons, motor lathe, tools, etc. Another thing to consider is that the people we race with are a generous helpful group and usually if you find yourself short of something and someone at the race has it to spare they will gladly help you out. It is very difficult to try to pack tools, equipment and supplies for every problem that may arise you just can’t pack and travel with your entire shop. Take your time and try to cover the basics and do the best you can. This is where the buddy plan comes in real handy and splitting up some of these supplies and equipment really pays off.
    The actual packing of the boxes is largely trial and error the first time you do it. Split up the heavy items such as batteries in one box, chargers and power sources in another. Put all heavy items in the bottom and pack them as tightly as possible. You will have to choose a filler or packing
agent to use. I personally like to use bubble wrap but have seen foam also work very well. I break down my boats to make them as flat as possible. I remove sponsons, turn fins, rudders, antennas, etc. This leaves minimal things to puncture something else or to be broken off by the gorillas that handle the baggage. Keep track of the weight of the boxes as you are packing them most airlines allow a 70 lb. bag limit you don’t want to exceed this because the fee for over weight baggage is quite high. Boats go on top with as much packing around them as possible. Remember it is important to keep everything in the box as tight as possible. I have looked up only to see my boxes coming down the shout upside down at the baggage claim area. The last thing I do before I close up each box is to include an inventory list of what is in each box. The reason for this is at home I weigh the boxes as I go if the weights are really close to the limits and you don’t remember exactly what was in each box when you go to pack for your return trip you may find yourself paying for over weight baggage. It just takes the guess work out of repacking. Also when repacking for the return trip I normally discard all of my batteries from my transmitters. The cost of replacements is minimal and allows you a few extra pounds to bring back some hardware if you were fortunate enough to acquire some at the race.
    A few final thoughts I think it is very important to put some type of lock on your boxes if at all possible. This is for obvious reasons. Also when checking in with the airline ask how much each of your boxes are automatically insured for. I believe if you are traveling with a lot of equipment you will find that most of the coverage is inadequate and the cost of additional coverage is quite cheap in relationship to the risk. I hope that you may find some of this information useful the next time you find yourself traveling to a race and it makes your trip a little more enjoyable. Good luck and I look forward to seeing you at that next race.

This Article was written by Larry Larson Exclusively for Rum Runner Racing.  Use of this article is prohibited without written permission from Rum Runner Racing.

 

 

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