Your first karting experience will be a fascinating and stressful experience. You won’t need tons of equipment at first because most tracks will provide you with a helmet and a balaclava.
But, as you take a more professional approach to go-karting, you’ll notice that there are several pieces of karting equipment that you’ll need to get. I’ve compiled the following checklist for all the go-karting equipment you’ll have to buy, whether you’re racing at a local league or a global championship.
A go-kart helmet is the most crucial piece of karting equipment you’ll need. From the moment you hop on a go-kart to the point when you exit it, you must wear your helmet. The track organizers will provide you with a helmet if you’re renting go-karts.
The first thing you should look out for in a go-kart helmet is its certification. If the helmet doesn’t have an up-to-date Snell certification, you won’t be able to wear it on official races.
There are not many types of go-kart helmets, and you’re only allowed to wear full-face helmets on most go-kart tracks. There could be some exceptions for local league races, where you could wear open-faced ones.
Karting helmets are made from either fiberglass or carbon fiber. Some of them might also be made from a composite of several materials. Carbon fiber is the most durable material, but it’s also the most expensive.
Most go-kart helmets are priced at over $100. For local leagues, you can find great helmets for around $150. As you move to a national and global level, the prices can go up to over $1000.
One aspect to always look for when it comes to karting helmets is their ventilation. If the helmet doesn’t have good ventilation, your visor will become foggy, and you will feel sick. Thus, you won’t be able to concentrate on the race.
For more information, check our complete go-kart helmet guide.
If you are looking for a helmet at a specific price range or for a particular usage, check these:
- Best Go Kart Helmets for Beginners
- Best Go Kart Helmets for Under $500
- Best Go Kart Helmets for Under $1,000
Another essential piece of karting equipment is racing gloves. Even though you don’t have to wear gloves when racing rental karts, they’re highly recommended to have a better grip and prevent your hands from getting blisters. In professional races, you must wear a pair of karting gloves.
When buying karting gloves, the main feature you should look for is their grip. If they don’t have a coating on the palm of either silicone or suede, your hands could slide off of the wheel after a big bump. So, when you’re trying out gloves, make sure that you can grip the wheel tightly.
Another thing you should hunt for is a pair that’s comfortable to wear. By buying a pair that’s comfortable while you grip the steering wheel, you won’t have to worry about adjusting the gloves during the race. In turn, you’ll be able to solely focus on the race and perform better.
Most karting gloves are made from Nomex or leather, both of which are extremely durable. The two materials are also fire-resistant, in the rare case that you get into a fireball crash.
Professional go-kart gloves start at $30 and can go up to $200. The more you pay for them, the higher the comfort and grip will be. Also, some premium gloves can have two layers of material for extra grip and comfort.
With any pair, you decide to buy, make sure that it’s reliable. If your hands get numb right before a corner, you’ll get into a crash, that could be fatal in cases of high speeds. So, if you’re serious about karting, spend the extra buck on a reliable pair of gloves.
For more information, check our complete go-kart gloves guide.
If you are looking for a pair of gloves at a specific price range or for a particular usage, check these:
- Best Go Kart Gloves for Beginners
- Best Leather Go Kart Gloves
- Best Go Kart Gloves for Under $100
- Best Go Kart Gloves for Under $200
If you want to participate in any kind of league, you’ll need a racing suit. The same goes for karting academies. Karting suits will protect you if you get into a severe crash and fly out of the kart (which is more common than you think).
The primary aspect to look for when buying a karting suit is its certification and type. You won’t be allowed to wear it at official events unless the CIK approves it. There are two types of suits: Level 1 and Level 2. For regional or national events, you’ll need a Level 1. For global ones, a Level 2 karting suit is required.
Depending on the level of your karting suit, you’ll have a single, double, or triple layer of fabric. Level 1 suits only have a single layer, while every Level 2 suit has at least a double layer, for extra comfort and abrasion resistance.
Karting suits are made from three materials: Cordura, poly-cotton, and Pyrovatex. Regular racing suits are also made from Nomex. Out of the three materials, Cordura is mostly used in professional Level 2 suits, while poly-cotton can be found in cheaper ones. Pyrovatex is also used in affordable karting suits, but it also has fire resistance properties.
Karting suits go for as low as $50, with some going up to $500. A good karting suit for national-level leagues should set you back around $200.
When you’re buying a karting suit, you should think about how serious you are about karting. A cheap suit without any certification will be enough if you’re karting for fun. If you’re just getting into professional karting, you can either go for a premium Level 1 or an affordable Level 2 suit, depending on your aspirations.
For more information, check our complete go-kart suits guide.
If you are looking for a suit at a specific price range or for a particular usage, check these:
- Best Go Kart Suits for Beginners
- Best Level 1 Go Kart Suits
- Best Go Kart Suits for Under $200
- Best Go Kart Suits for Under $500
While go-kart shoes or boots aren’t essential for regional leagues, they can be of great help when it comes to improving your racecraft. The better feel you have of the pedals, the greater you’ll be able to control your throttle and brakes.
The most crucial aspect of go-kart shoes is their size. Make sure to find a pair that fits you perfectly without being too tight to the point of blocking blood flow to your foot. It also mustn’t be too loose; otherwise, it could come out during the race due to the vibrations.
Once you’ve found a size that fits you, make sure that it’s comfortable. The shoe’s sole needs to be as thin as possible, so it must feel like you’re walking barefoot while you’re wearing your pair of karting shoes. A great tip is to wear socks so that your foot doesn’t slide inside the shoe.
Karting shoes are made from Nomex, leather, or suede leather. Out of the three, the best choice is regular leather because of its durability. If you’re an active driver of other motorsports, then opt for Nomex shoes since they’re usually certified by the FIA, meaning that you can wear them at FIA races.
Go-kart shoes also have different closure systems, including shoelaces and velcro straps. That said, some pairs have both velcro straps and shoelaces, which are the safest choice.
Karting shoes’ prices range from $70-$300. At a regional level, you should be fine with a pair that costs between $100-$150.
For more information, check our complete go-kart shoe guide.
If you are looking for a pair of shoes at a specific price range or for a particular usage, check these:
- Best Go Kart Shoes for Beginners
- Best Velcro Go Kart Shoes
- Best Go Kart Shoes for Under $100
- Best Go Kart Shoes for Under $300
If you don’t own a helmet, karting balaclavas are essential for renting go-karts. On a professional level, balaclavas can help immensely by absorbing the sweat from the head, thus ensuring that your helmet doesn’t bother you.
Always look for a balaclava that feels comfortable on your head. You should opt for one that you can barely feel on your head, whether you’re wearing a helmet or not. For official races, you’ll need to get a balaclava that has an FIA homologation, though.
Karting balaclavas are usually made from polypropylene or cotton. Both of these are really comfortable materials, so pick the one you like the most. Some balaclavas are made from Nomex as well, but unless you’re racing cars, you probably won’t need these.
Go-kart balaclavas can be as cheap as $5 or as expensive as $30. Your local track might also offer you one-use ones for free or offer you a discount for your personal ones.
For more information, check our complete go-kart balaclavas guide.
If you are looking for a balaclava at a specific price range or for a particular usage, check these:
- Best Go Kart Balaclavas for Under $10
- Best Cotton Go Kart Balaclavas
- Best Go Kart Balaclavas for Under $30
Neck braces are the only karting equipment that isn’t mandatory in any league. However, a good neck brace can save you from hurting your neck or getting a severe neck injury.
When you’re buying a neck brace, you must make sure that you have a great range of motion. So, before you order one online, go to a local store and try it out to make sure that you’ll be able to move your head around inside the kart freely.
Most neck braces use velcro straps or a buckle as their closure system. Velcro straps are adjustable while buckle systems aren’t. That said, both systems are very safe.
Karting neck braces are made from a tough outer casing and an inner casing that’s made of padded foam. This doesn’t only make them comfortable to wear, but it also absorbs the shock during a crash or a high-speed corner.
Go-kart neck braces cost around $30-$200. Most ones around $100 should be enough for anyone.
For more information, check our complete go-kart neck braces guide.
If you are looking for a neck brace at a specific price range or for a particular usage, check these:
- Best Go Kart Neck Braces for Kids
- Best Go Kart Neck Braces for Under $100
- Best Go Kart Neck Braces for Under $200
Karting rib protectors have become mandatory for official FIA karting races as of 2022. Depending on their type, rib protectors can protect your lower back or your entire midsection, including your chest.
Finding a rib protector that feels comfortable is essential. It will protect most of your upper body during the whole race, so if the rib protector isn’t 100% comfortable, you won’t be able to focus on the race.
Rib protectors come with velcro straps, buckles, or D-ring straps for closure systems. D-ring straps are the best of the three due to their adjustability and durability. But, all three closure systems should work perfectly.
Most rib protectors are made from Cordura, Kevlar, or a blend of materials. Kevlar is the most expensive one but also the most robust one, with blends being the best value.
When you’re buying a karting rib protector, make sure to get one that has the best impact absorption. A kevlar one should do the trick, as long as it has sufficient padding on the inside to absorb the shock from a potential crash.
Rib protectors go for $80-$200+. If you’re going to race at an FIA karting event, you’ll need to get one with its homologation, so it could set you back more than $200. But, for national-level racing, a $100 one should be enough.
For more information, check our complete go-kart rib protectors guide.
If you are looking for a rib protector at a specific price range or for a particular usage, check these:
- Best Go Kart Rib Protectors for FIA Races
- Best Go Kart Rib Protectors for Under $150
- Best Go Kart Rib Protectors for Under $250
Camera & Mount
There are several reasons why you might want to record your karting footage. Getting a good camera is a must for that.
Before you go out and buy one, though, you have to consider why you need it. If you simply want to record your footage and watch it back in a few years, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on it. Then again, if you’re recording footage for Youtube, you should invest as much as you can in it.
While there are several types of cameras, a GoPro will always do the trick. The higher the resolution and the frame rate, the better your footage will be. Also, if you’re filming for Youtube, look for a camera with good sound quality, especially if you don’t have any commentary on the video.
When you’re choosing a mount, keep in mind that helmet mounts are getting banned worldwide. So, you could either opt for a camera on the kart or on your shoulder.
The price range of a camera and a mount is pretty vast. You could get one of each for less than $200 or for more than $2,000. Spending around $500 will be enough for great recording quality, even for Youtube.
For more information, check our complete go-kart camera & mount guide.