Hardware

Tool Backpacks

Tools repacked

I’ve owned two different tool backpacks and find them very useful. I don’t know anyone else with one so I wanted to talk a bit about them.

Why backpacks over other storage solutions? I haven’t owned a car in five years, so I look for things that are easy to take on public transit. I usually have everything I need in my work’s shops but when doing installs I have my personal toolbag with me. It has everything I’ll probably need for the job and everything has its “right place” to make it easier to find. These bags have a lot of back padding. Definitely an acknowledgement of how much the tools you’re hauling are going to weigh. The zippers are also larger gauge than you would find on a backpack. They’ve got two heavy duty straps on top that make it easy to move the bag without having to put it on your back every time.

The tool bag at the top is a CLC L255. It has a large main zippered area and a smaller zippered section up front. You can see I’ve got my Weller soldering iron strapped down inside the bag. This area of the bag is actually intended to store a drill battery charger and drill. I carry my drill separately and instead use the bag to haul soldering and crimping equipment. One of the gimmicks of this bag is a built in LED light. It can rotate to illuminate either side of the bag. I never got much use out of it and opted instead to just have a high quality headlamp on hand. I had this bag for many years but eventually broke one of the large zippers beyond repair.

Tool bag open

For Christmas I received a CLC 1134 backpack. I had picked this one for a specific feature: It has a pouch on the front for hauling an extension cord. It just seemed like a good idea to always have a cord while I’m working. The two main sections of the bag are more evenly divided than the previous bag. There’s less room for my particular soldering iron and I try to be mindful when closing bag because I don’t want this one to also die from a broken zipper. I tend to prefer shallow drawers in my tool chests so items don’t get lost underneath each other; I think all the pockets in the bag really make the best use of space and couldn’t be matched by a toolbox.

Tool bag unpacked

These bags spend most of their life in my house and not on the job site. I work out of them at my work table but usually they’re zipped up. Pictured above are all the tools that fit into the previous bag. At home I use the outside pockets of the bag to store the things I reach for most in the house: scissors, 6-in-1 screwdriver, tape measure, and sharpie. When my bag broke last fall I did consider some non-bag alternatives but none of them featured the mobility my current life needed. I went with CLC again but Amazon Basics started selling their own tool backpacks last fall too.

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