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Limit Your Runs to The Truck with These Tool Backpacks

It’s time to find another way to up your daily step count.

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BYHank O'Hop/ LAST UPDATED ON May 19, 2022

Good technicians know how to store their tools properly. When your tools are close at hand, you don’t have to spend time looking for them when you start a new project. A tool backpack saves you time and makes you look like a professional. This buying guide on the best tool backpacks lists the top products on the market.

Best Overall

Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC Service Technician Bag

Summary
The pack for the working person. Built with all the pockets and features you need to get the job done.
Pros
  • Heavy-duty construction 
  • Non-tip bottom
  • Load-displacing shoulder straps 
  • Backed by five-year warranty
Cons
  • High price point 
  • Relatively heavy
Best Value

Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack

Summary
An economical choice from a name you trust. This is an excellent option for those who need little to get a lot done.
Pros
  • Affordable pricing
  • Perfect for those who need to keep packouts light
  • Orange interior makes it easy to identify tools
  • Thoughtful pocket layout
Cons
  • Weak zippers
  • Can be uncomfortable
Honorable Mention

Milwaukee Denier Jobsite Backpack

Summary
Another heavy-hitter on a bargain. The Jobsite Backpack is a solid contender for a multitude of technicians.
Pros
  • High strength materials used
  • Affordable price point
  • Useful pocket combination
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons
  • Zippers tend to fail
  • Stitching tends to come undone
Limit Your Runs to The Truck with These Tool Backpacks

Every so often, a job calls for way more tools than you can reasonably carry in a single trip. That doesn't stop you from cramming everything in your trusty tool bag and giving it your best shot anyway. But it doesn't take long for tools to start dropping, your back to start aching, and to start cursing at yourself for such a stupid idea. Obviously, it's smarter to just make the trip a few times and save yourself the heartache. That's if you intend to use the same tool bag, though. When you upgrade to a tool backpack, which The Drive is here to help you with, you just might be able to carry along everything you need in one go. Well, that's at least until you start giving up valuable real estate to tools you don't really need but convince yourself are better to keep around anyway.

Our Methodology

While tool backpacks are a simple topic, there are some things to consider when making a choice. We made sure to apply the usual routine of researching our options thoroughly to ensure they're worth their salt. Anything on our list is included because we know it's something tradespeople and techs actually use out in the field. We also made sure to include anything we've personally used or seen in action. In other words, we made sure to leave out anything we wouldn't trust ourselves.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Best Tool Backpacks Reviews & Recommendations 2022

If I could only recommend one tool backpack for work, I'd have to go with the Veto Pro Tech Pac. It's built to get the job done. The first thing that jumps out is that non-tipping injection-molded bottom. That alone makes it more practical for work than most, as it's not going to flop around as you dig through the 56 pockets, and you don't need to worry about accidentally setting it down in a puddle. The heavy-duty construction throughout is something any tradesman will appreciate, as is that load displacing shoulder strap setup that'll keep discomfort at bay. It's also backed with a decent five-year warranty, putting it in line with any other praise-worthy tool bags. Can you complain about anything about this bag? Absolutely. It's a relatively heavy piece of gear, and it's far more costly than many other options. However, both of those issues are pretty common for anything that's built to serve you well in the field.
With a name like Klein Tools in place of Best Value, it's hard not to make an impulse buy. Let's jump into the specs first, though. This is a 39-pocket tool backpack that's perfect for techs that don't need to haul much around to get the job done. It's got a hard molded front pocket to protect safety glasses or other delicates, an orange interior for fast identification of tools, and a hard molded bottom to help it stand upright. Klein Tools took the time to think about the few but most important things you'll need and even made the bag deeper than most to accommodate long screwdrivers. Unfortunately, the zippers are a notorious weak link for this particular bag. It's also worth pointing out that some find it uncomfortable to wear, particularly when loaded close to maximum capacity.
Since we couldn't give the award of Best Value to two backpacks, we opted to give the Milwaukee Jobsite Honorable Mention. It's a great entrant all around. From the durable 1680D ballistic material to the sturdy non-tipping base, it's clear to see this is built with work in mind. Also, the extendable pull handle and wheels, and laptop compartment showcase that it's got a little bit of something for everyone. It also has a total of 35 pockets and many find it comfortable to wear. Plus, Milwaukee backs it with a limited lifetime warranty. As much as there is to like about this option, it does have its problems. A few too many reports of poor durability of both the zippers and stitching make it just miss that pick for Best Value.
This CRC Carpenter's Backpack is a great choice for a number of situations thanks to a few design features and that competitive price point. The first is that it offers a total of 44 pockets while remaining a relatively small size. That's good news for anyone who's on the move all day but needs more pockets than many other packs offer. There are also two separate main compartments, making it even easier to organize any combination of tools. The combination of pocket count and thoughtful design is really what makes it such a versatile option. It's great for general contracting and other types of work, but can also be repurposed for recreational use. In fact, I gifted this model to my father, who uses it for his fishing gear, and it works perfectly for that purpose. As for the downsides, the lack of a non-tip base can be an issue on the job. And though it's a rather sturdy design, there's nothing in place to protect you from gear or tools that might dig into your back while wearing it.
The CLC 75-Pocket Tool Backpack is my personal favorite, and it was hard not to give it the placement of Best Overall on this list. I personally own this bag and can attest to the durable construction and ability to serve someone with a lot on the agenda. Three main compartments and 75 pockets make it extremely easy to set up an efficient layout for use as a trunk tool bag or a junkyard run bag. Of course, the competitive pricing is what originally drew me in, and I shouldn't leave out the fact that it even comes with a plastic bin to organize your odds and ends. I have to say that using up those 75 pockets makes for a heavy pack that can be awkward to wear. No load control in something this size can be an issue. Also, the lack of a molded non-tip bottom can make it a pain on some job sites.
Everyone wants a backpack that can do more and DeWalt answers that demand with this charging model. It accepts a DeWalt 20V Max battery pack which can be used to charge phones and other devices via USB ports. That's pretty handy for the home inspector or contractor that needs to keep tools and gadgets charged to get the job done. Of course, it has a couple of pockets specifically for those devices among the 33 total it has to offer. It also has a rather sturdy base and two main compartments to keep sorting simple on the fly. Unfortunately, the extra bells and whistles bring the price up significantly higher than other packs with a similar amount of pockets. It's also worth mentioning that durability is something of a concern, meaning it might not be the best choice for folks exposed to more demanding environments.

Our Verdict on Tool Backpacks

It's hard to argue that the Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC Service Technician Bag is the best option for most tradespeople. It is expensive, though. Someone needing something on a budget may want to check out the Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack instead, as it is a great option that will serve many well. 

What to Consider When Buying Tool Backpacks

So, what tool backpack works best for you? That really depends on the kind of work you're into. While they're all very similar, there are some key differences that define which situations a tool backpack will shine in. That doesn’t mean you need to know science. All you really need is a little bit of information to decide which model fits best into your life. 

Tool Backpack Key Features

Size

You need a backpack that is practical to carry and for use for the job at hand. You really want to balance things out to find something that's as small as possible so it's comfortable to carry but not so small that it won't carry what you need it to. Keep in mind that a backpack does free up your hands. So, anything you can't carry back there, you can easily hold in your hand if you need to. 

Compartments/Pockets 

Tool backpacks come with a variety of pouches, pockets, and compartments. Different models feature different combinations that may or may not be practical for your given circumstance. While it is true that something is better than nothing, it's best to take your time and find the configuration that works best for you. The good news is that you really only need to find a pack that accommodates the few specialty items you regularly carry such as laptops, power tools, long screwdrivers and so on, for it to serve you well. 

Material 

Tool backpacks need to be made with durable nylon, canvas, or similar material. Otherwise, they're liable to tear open at the exact worst moment possible, leaving you with a headache you'll be talking about for decades. Since no manufacturer will say their backpacks aren't rated to handle abuse, it's best to refer to reviews or stick with brands that lead the segment. 

Tool Backpack Pricing 

If you're a professional looking for a professional-grade product, it's not out of the realm of possibility to spend $200 to $300 on a tool backpack. These higher-priced units are generally made with premium materials and have special features that make them ideal for use in the work environment. Those who just need something that's suitable for a hobby can spend far less on a tool backpack. Many respectable models that’ll handle moderate abuse come in under the $100 mark. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Can I use a tool backpack to carry a laptop?

Some tool backpacks do have laptop compartments. You can opt to store your laptop in those without as long as it fits. However, you should always be mindful of other items stored inside that may damage the laptop in any case.

How do I clean a tool backpack?

Most tool backpacks are machine washable, which simplifies the process. However, you should always refer to the manufacturer's recommendations to be safe.

How do I get rid of a bad smell in a tool backpack?

The cause of the smell is usually odor-causing bacteria. The best practice is to thoroughly clean the bag from time to time. It also helps to apply vinegar to areas such as the straps, as it’s a natural odor-killing remedy.

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