12 Best Tool Backpacks: Bag Reviews For Tradesmen
Best Value For Money
This Custom Leathercraft bag offers huge capacity for tools, string dual handles for carry & adjustable compression pockets for various items.
When you work in the building trade it's important to make sure you have the right equipment, which is why people have been using toolboxes for years. But why struggle? With all the new backpacks that are available, it’s no wonder people are turning to them.
So what makes the best tool backpack? Well, I've spent a lot of time finding out just that, making your life easier. This article will tell you exactly what makes these backpacks great and what to look for when choosing one.
Tool Bag & Backpacks Compared
Tool Carrying Capacity
CLC 1134 Carpenter's Tool Backpack
44 Pockets Inside + 7 External Pockets
13.75 X 16 X 8.5”
13 X 17 X 10.25 "
Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC
8 X 14 X 10 ”
Carhartt Legacy Expandable-Front Tool
43 Pockets With External Straps
8 X 18 X 14 ”
Revco Industries Revco GB100 BSX With Helmet Catch
8 Pockets But Loads Of Internal Space
12 X 19 X 7.5 ”
Molded Base Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tradesman Pro
14.5 X 20 X 7.25 ”
CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132
13 X 17.5 X 9 ”
Milwaukee 48-22-8200 Backpack
35 Pockets With External Pockets
14.3 X 23.4 X 8 ”
Nupla 67419 Black Label Rubber Bottom Backpack
35 Pockets With 2 External
13 X 16 X 9 ”
Occidental Leather 5089 M Seven Bag Framer
23 Tool Holders And Pockets
13 X 18 X 4 “
Veto Pro Pac Tech XL
16.5 X 14 X 9.5 ”
Husky GP-44449N13 22" Pro Grade Rolling Tote
38 Storage Pockets
22 X 12 X 15 ”
Why Do You Need a Tool Bag?
So why do you need a tool bag? Well, for one, it helps you to carry out the tasks at hand a lot more effectively. Think about all the times you've had to struggle up ladders with one hand carrying your toolbox. Having a tool backpack on enables you to use both hands on the ladder making it safer for you.
Carrying a toolbox in one hand can have detrimental effects on your back giving you problems later on in life. Not something you want when you work a physical job is it?
With a correctly placed backpack, this can be a thing of the past. Backpacks effectively distribute the weight across your back making them the better solution.
Another reason to choose a backpack over a toolbox is the for the organizational properties it provides. No more rooting through boxes for the correct tool. Backpacks come with many compartments making it easier to find the right tools.
What To Look For In a Good Tool Backpack
High-Quality Strong Material
There are a couple of reasons why choosing the right material is important when finding the right backpack. One reason is to provide the correct weight distribution. If the material is flimsy it will make carrying the bag very difficult.
The second reason is that tools are heavy so you don't want the bag to split making your equipment fall out. Make sure you check the material is strong to avoid any problems. Check to see if it's made from a tear-resistant material such as nylon.
Reinforced Bottom Base
A reinforced base is when a piece of stronger material is placed at the bottom of the bag. Why is this a good thing? It gives extra support to the bag, again helping with weight distribution.
It also ensures that all your heavy gear isn't going to try and escape from the bottom of your bag, not very helpful while you're climbing up that ladder. Try to make sure the bag that you choose is reinforced correctly to avoid these nightmare problems.
Why would having lots of compartments be a good thing? Simply to make your life easier and to save you time. Working on site you’re restricted with time restraints. Having these compartments lets you organize your tools more efficiently, making it quicker to find the right tool.
When choosing the best backpack tool bag for you must check out the number of compartments it features. Compare this to the tools you have and you can end up saving yourself a lot of time on the job.
Waterproof (Or At Least Water-Resistant)
Checking if your bag is waterproof can be of great importance. Let’s face it, you don’t want all of your expensive gear getting soaking wet especially if you have electronics in there.
Another reason could be to stop your tools becoming rusty due to the bad weather. Before picking a backpack, think what you're going to be taking with you. If you’re going to have tools that are electronic or prone to rust think about getting a waterproof one, or at least a water-resistant one.
Heavy Duty Zippers, Clips & Hooks
Ensure the zippers, clips, and hooks are heavy duty. Think of the weight you're going to be carrying. Weak zips can cause the bag to split leaving the contents of your backpack all over the floor. Not very helpful right?
The same can be said when it comes to the clips and hooks. If they don't secure correctly or are weak you could be in for a nasty surprise. Check the quality beforehand to stop this problem before it happens.
Sturdy Straps & Handles
Again, this comes down to the amount of weight that you’re going to be carrying. Tools are heavy which will cause a massive amount of strain on the backpack or handles weak seams can cause issues. Have a look at how many straps it provides. For example, does it have a waist strap? This will help take the weight off your shoulders.
You might also want to check the padding that the backpack provides, especially if you’re going to be carrying it for long distances. Sometimes, you can’t always get as close to the site as you might like to. Checking the padding before you buy the backpack can save your shoulders from some serious pain in the long run. No one wants to carry a backpack that’s going to cut off the circulation to your shoulders.
Have a look at the size of the backpack before to make sure you’re not going to get one that’s far too small. There’s nothing more annoying than getting a backpack only to find you can’t fit all of your equipment in there.
The same can be said when you get an overly large backpack. Carrying unnecessary weight can become a real hassle. Consider how many tool sets you have and work out what size you’re going to need.
You should always check if your tool backpack comes with a warranty it can be of great importance. You want to be covered if the worst happens. There are a few things to look for when checking the warranty. How long does it last, and what does it cover?
A lot of brands these days will provide some sort of cover. It’s great business practice and makes us (the customers) happy. However, be sure to check, as you don't want to get caught out.
12 Best Tool Backpacks Reviewed
1. CLC 1134 Carpenter's Tool Backpack
Best For Carpentry
This tool bag features two main zipped compartments one of which can store a cordless drill and battery. The pockets are adjustable which makes it great if you have bulky equipment to squeeze into your backpack. It’s also bigger then you expect and can sometimes feel bottomless which I found fantastic.
The padding on the back is brilliant and gives excellent back support. Not only this, but the straps are extremely well padded and adjustable. With the chest strap and shoulder straps being fully adjustable, it makes it very easy to carry over long distances.
The bag itself is very well made. The material is very thick and durable so you don’t have to worry about the bag splitting. This bag also has pegs at the bottom which helps reduce wear and tear and keeps the bag dry at the bottom.
As stated in the title, it has 44 pockets within the two main compartments making it great to organize your tools. This is the best carpenter tool backpack for anyone in the trade. I liked the fact that it has places for your pencils on the side of the bag meaning you don’t have to root around the bottom of your bag.
2. DEWALT DGCL33 33-Pocket Tool Backpack
Best For Electrician
This bag is the best electrician tool backpack on the market that I’ve seen. I'll explain why its features work so well.
It features a flexible LED light which is great, as you know electricians have to work in some pretty dark spaces. The light itself works really well staying bright for a great amount of time, it also stays where you need it to. This works great. No more putting a torch in your mouth, you can now use both hands to work.
I found this bag very comfortable to carry a long distance. The padded adjustable straps work well. they're also great for the larger person. The carrying handles are also extremely well padded, making it a joy to carry. The back of the backpack was also great even when full.
The space this bag provides is awesome. It has 33 pockets which is plenty for any electrician. It also has space for a tablet or a small laptop. With two USB charging ports, it means you can charge your equipment on the go, always handy. That being said, it doesn’t include the 20v lithium-ion battery so be prepared to buy one.
Overall the bag is extremely well made. It has double stitching in the stress places and the material is very heavy duty. The zips slide well and don’t break easily. All in all, this is a great backpack for an electrician. My only problem with it is that the bag is heavy even without tools.
3. Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC
Best For HVAC
This is one of my favorite backpacks at the moment its the best for HVAC trade. The only problem being is the price, but if you can get over this it’s worth every penny. This pack features 56 pockets which can hold a various size of tools. The quick release handle allows quick access to the large tool compartment, this was designed to reduce stress on the straps.
The straps have been designed for comfort the back also features a thermo-formed back panel, making this brilliant over long distances. The shoulder straps are fully adjustable at multiple points. The clasps and fasteners are extremely strong showing no signs of breaking even after heavy use.
The build quality is awesome with really heavy duty materials so there are no worries when it comes to wear and tear. The stitching is great with all the stress points being reinforced. The backpack also has an injection waterproof base which holds off in some pretty nasty rain, keeping your valuable gear dry.
Overall I love this backpack if only the price was a little bit cheaper. But you know what they say “you get what you pay for” and you really do with this one, fantastic build quality.
4. Carhartt Legacy Expandable-Front Tool Backpack
Best For Plumbers
The Carhartt Legacy backpack is made of 100% heavy duty polyester, which is water repellent. It has an abrasion-resistant base so no need to worry about scrapping your bag across the floor.
The bag has two large compartments plus 43 pockets making it easy to organize your tools. It has outside loops for larger tools. You could easily fit a laptop into the bag so you can do those last minute documents whilst on the move.
The backpack is very lightweight so even when it's stuffed with tools it's relatively light to carry, making it great if you have to walk long distances in it. The straps are in a padded yoke style and are fully adjustable. The back of the backpack has a padded air mesh back panel, so no more sweaty back.
Build quality is good with triple stitching in the places that matter. The zips are very strong so you shouldn’t have to worry about splits. Overall, this a very nice backpack with tons of room for tools, even for larger ones on the side. With the large wrench slot on the side, I’d say this is the best plumber’s tool backpack.
5. Revco Industries Revco GB100 BSX with Helmet Catch
Best For Welders
Revco Industries Revco GB100 is by far the best welding tool backpack we’ve found on the market so far, the quick action helmet makes it a must-have. The backpack is also fire retardant so you won't have to worry about the flying embers.
This backpack was larger than expected so you can fit loads of gear in there. The side loops are a nice addition enabling to slot extra equipment in. The material is very nice and doesn’t show signs of weakness. One of the problems is that the zippers have broken in the past. The manufacturer sent new ones out to these customers, and since then there hasn’t be a problem, so it’s likely it was just a bad batch.
The straps are fully adjustable and well padded allowing you to transport it with ease. The padded back makes it very comfortable. The side pockets are reinforced but the bottom seems a bit flimsy but does hold up. Overall this a nice backpack. It was a shame about the zips, but the manufacturer has dealt with the problem now.
6. Molded Base Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tradesman Pro
Best For Electricians
The Klein Tools 55421BP-14 tool backpack features 39 pockets which work perfectly storing your tools neatly. In the bag itself there’s plenty of room. You can easily fit a 17” laptop in there, great for when you have to work on the go. It even has a little hard molded pocket to hold your safety glasses in, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your glasses in the bag.
The material is very hardy and will stand up to some abuse, the reinforced bottom is awesome although it can dig into your back. I've heard that there’s a problem with zips breaking so hopefully the manufacturer will get on to it and address the issue. The straps and back could be more padded to increase the comfort level.
Other then these issues, the bag itself is great and does the job it needs to do. This bag seems to be aimed at electricians. Although it has a few flaws, I’d say this is the best small tool backpack on the market.
7. CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132 75-Pocket Tool Backpack
Best For HVAC
The CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132 is the larger version of my first product review. This bag features 6 zipped compartment and 75 pockets. It also includes a plastic tray to store all of your small parts.
The Backpack its self is made to be tough with a ballistic polyester fabric making it super strong and durable. With 75 pockets, there’s plenty of room for your tools and more. With, 6 compartments you can be sure the organization will be great.
The build quality is great although some of the pockets are too small for larger tools. The stitching and zips seem to be strong. One problem is the straps could do with more padding. I’d say this is the best large tool backpack on the market now.
8. Milwaukee 48-22-8200 backpack
Best For Electrician/Construction
The Milwaukee has 35 pockets for organizing tools, the bag itself is very roomy giving you lots of space. The backpack also features a laptop sleeve that can hold a 15” device, great for anyone that works on a laptop while on the job.
Its build quality is great and it has an impact-resistant base allowing great protection for your contents. It also allows the bag to stand up. The backpack is made from 1680 ballistic material making it super strong under hard conditions.
It has a load-bearing harness which is padded and breathable so it's a joy to carry all day long. It has two side pockets making it easy to store a water bottle. Inside the main compartments, there’s plenty of space.
Overall, this backpack is one of the most desirable bags on the market. Being strong, well balanced and comfortable I can strongly recommend this backpack.
9. Nupla 67419 Black Label Rubber Bottom Backpack
Best For Mechanics
Nupla 67419 is made from 1680 ballistic nylon which is the same grade that’s used for military gear. The material can really take some abuse. The backpack is double stitched, making it strong where it needs to be.
The shoulder straps are good and seem to be strong and comfortable to carry. It comes with chest straps to help spread the weight. Its back is padded so you don’t have to worry about the tools digging into your back.
The backpack design is well set up although it could do with extra pockets for more tools. I really like the rubber bottom to stop water getting in, although it doesn't hold the bag upright.
This backpack is pretty good, even with the couple of issues with the rubber bottom. It's great for a mechanic as you should be able to wipe any oil straight off. Personally, I think this is the best mechanic tool backpack in the business.
10. Occidental Leather 5089 M Seven Bag Framer
Best For Carpenters
If you’re looking for the best occidental leather tool bag then you’re in the right place. This bag is the business. It's made from premium top-grain leather from the USA. The bag itself features 23 pockets and tool holders.
Having hand-specific tool holders really helps to promote a good working rhythm while on the job, stopping you from having to pick up tools. By having one of these tool bags not only do you save time but it also saves you from bending over constantly, great if you have a bad back. The belt has a no-spill tool holder system engineered for the modern builder. No need to worry about those loose tools falling out.
Overall, the bag is extremely well made and will last you a lifetime. You even get a lifetime warranty so if the worst does happen, you’re covered. Now you might think it’s expensive but if you consider that this thing will stand the test of time it really isn’t that bad. This bag is aimed at carpenters that have to work hard and quickly.
11. Veto Pro Pac Tech XL Tool Bag
Best For Construction/HVAC
It’s built to last. The stitching is fantastic and the zippers are super strong. With all the abuse it takes, it never fails to deliver. With 80 pockets, there’s plenty of space for hand tools and more, displaying all of them in plain sight. Not only is the rubber grip super comfortable to carry but it comes with a great shoulder strap to make it easier to haul around.
Overall this tool bag is fantastic. It does everything you need a bag to do and does it well. It's hard to pick faults in a bag with this kind of flawless design. The price of the bag would be the only drawback but sometimes you need to spend a little to get a lot.
12. Husky GP-44449N13 22" Pro Grade Rolling Tote
Best For Mechanics
As toolsets are getting heavier I thought it was time to find the best rolling tool bag, saving our backs the trouble of carting these weighty bags around. I found the Husky GP-44449N13. It’s fantastic. Say goodbye to your sore backs with this piece of kit.
The bag its self is made from heavy-duty 1680-denier so it's super strong and won’t tear when dragging it along. The material is also water resistant and comes with a rain flap. It also has waterproof zips. You can now make sure you don't get all your electronic equipment wet while on the move. The telescopic handle is very heavy duty and easy to move around, with 3 wheels at its base portability comes easy.
With 38 storage pockets, you can keep all your items organized. The walls of the bag are reinforced so it won't lose its shape easily. Overall this is a very good bag which is great for transport and easy to organize. There’s plenty of storage space so you’ll always have room for the little extra bits you might want to take. My only problem is that the wheels seemed a bit small so it struggled to get over stuff like cables.
I’d recommend this bag to any mechanics. The waterproofing on the bag means if you get stuck in the rain your tools won't get wet. And with the wheels, you don't have to worry about carrying your tools long distances.
Types Of Bags Good For Carrying Tools
These are great if you need to carry your tools for a long way, the padding on the straps makes it comfortable over long distances. It’s also very useful if you have to be up and down ladders all day. You know you can be safe when the backpack is on your back and you have both hands on the ladder.
Totes (Over The Shoulder Carry)
Totes are great when going from place to place without having to carry the bag a long distance. Only having one strap, you can find it gives you a bad back if carried for too long. It’s not very good for climbing ladders because all the weight is on one side making you very unbalanced.
Rolling bags are great if you work in one building but have to work in different sections as the wheels allow you to move your tools with ease. If you have to do ladder work I wouldn’t recommend this type of bag. You don’t want to be up and down ladders with it all day. If you have to travel long distances on foot these can work well but lifting them in and out of your van can be tough.
Which Jobs Should Consider These Specialized Bags?
As an electrician, I’d consider going for the backpack style tool bag as there’s plenty of space for all your tools. When working up ladders you can easily carry them, I’d recommend the DEWALT DGCL33 33-Pocket Lighted USB Charging backpack. You can now charge your voltmeter on the go and the torch works great in all dark spots.
When working on site as a carpenter, it’s highly recommended that you have your tools to hand. There are multiple tools that you may need at any one time, so I recommend getting the Occidental Leather 5089 M Seven Bag Framer. These work great whether on the ground or in the air, holding all your tools around the waist.
When you have to carry a welding mask around, it’s important that your backpack has enough space to hold your tools and your helmet. Try the Revco Industries Revco GB100 BSX Extreme Gear Pack. Not only does it feature a space just for your mask, but it’s also fire retardant so there’s no need to worry about getting holes in your bag.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do I store and organize sockets in a tool bag?
I usually store my sockets at the base of the bag in the original box. That way, I avoid the sockets getting accidentally bent or damaged by other tools. It is also a way of optimizing the use of space.
How do I set up a tool backpack?
Set up your backpack with all similar tools together with items going from smallest to largest. This allows you to save time when you're on a job, as well as making the best of the available room.
Is leather canvas a good choice of material?
Leather canvas can be a good choice since it’s very strong and easy to clean. This material can be waterproof but only with special treatment. Regarding durability, it depends on the quality of the stitching and closures.
How do I clean my backpack?
You can wipe your bag occasionally with a clean, damp cloth. If that is not enough, depending on the material, warm soapy water will usually do the trick depending on the stain.
If the tool bag is made of leather, we recommend using leather protection cream. Always test on an unobtrusive area first to make sure that it’s compatible. It helps prevent the damage and also repels stains while protecting the surface from wear and tear.
Where is a good place to buy tool backpacks?
Amazon is a great place to buy backpacks they also offer next day delivery on most items. You will find a range of prices, and you'll also be able to check the reviews to make sure that your favorite option will do the job.
So there we go. These are the best tool backpacks in the game, plus 3 other bags giving you great insight and a buyer’s guide. I hope this has helped you on your journey to finding the back that’s right for you and you now know what to look for.
Personally, I’d look at getting the