LAST UPDATED: October 15, 2019
Best Tool Backpacks: Pack Your Tools Efficiently
Want your tools to last a long time? Use one of these top tool backpacks to keep them safe
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 15, 2019
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.
This is a technician’s “office” and offers stability and durability. You can carry it on your shoulders like a regular backpack or use the molded ergonomic handle. When you’re done with work, hang it up using the aluminum hook.
- Waterproof and keeps your tools dry even during bad weather
- Padded back cushions you against any sharp tools inside
- You can easily access your tools in the two storage bays and four compartments with multiple tool pockets
- Some of the tool pockets are too small, even for average-sized tools
- At full capacity, the bag can feel very heavy, depending on the total weight of the items you carry
This 51-pocket backpack is one in a line of multi-pocket backpacks offered by AmazonBasics. It’s made of highly durable 600D polyester and lined with PVC-coated 600D polyester to make it extra strong. It also comes with a one-year warranty.
- Has two zippered compartments: one for a battery and a cordless drill, and another for tools and parts
- Orange interior makes finding your tools easy
- Backpack features an easy-access pocket on top for storing frequently used tools
- Zippers aren’t very strong and may malfunction after a while
- Some of the pockets are too small to be usable
- Generally, the backpack is not ideal for heavy usage, as it may tear
This 44-pocket backpack is great for carrying bulky and small tools. It has two zippered compartments—one for small tools and the other for larger power tools. It’s also heavily padded on the shoulder straps and the back.
- Fitted with plenty of practical pockets that make it easier to organize your tools
- Has an adjustable external pocket for bulkier items.
- Comfortable to wear
- Dual handles allow you to carry it as you please
- Keeps dry in wet conditions
- Fragile zippers may come off the track with frequent use
- Can easily flop over when full
- It feels somewhat heavy, even when empty
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Tool Backpacks
- Organize tools in one place. Have you ever felt the pain of leaving an essential tool at home? Well, having a tool backpack provides a more organized way to store your tools so that you know when one is missing and you can look for it before you leave for your job.
- Easier to carry. If you are a plumber, electrician, or mechanic, you will benefit from having a backpack, which is easier to carry than a toolbox. You can walk for longer distances and climb a ladder with a load strapped on your back.
- Store tools of different sizes. Tool backpacks come with multiple pockets of different sizes to help you store small and large tools. Also, seeing that most of these backpacks are compact and, therefore, won’t take up much space in your home or garage, there’s no need to unpack them once you get home.
Types of Tool Backpacks
An electrician’s backpack is typically small and has many pockets inside and outside of the bag, especially the sides. This is to allow easy one-handed operation when taking out a tool without having to remove the backpack. Since an electrician often carries small tools, the pockets are fitted with elastic bands to keep them from spilling. Mechanic and technician backpacks share the same design.
A plumber backpack usually has a bucket style so that it can stand flat when placed on the ground. It also has a zippered enclosure to make it easy to open and close in a dimly lit workspace. There’s no need for many pockets, but the material must be waterproof and have plastic or rubber at the bottom.
Carpenter backpacks are wide and thick for carrying tools and protective equipment. It doesn’t need to be reinforced with a rubber at the bottom or be made from waterproof fabric. It should, however, have comfortable shoulder straps, a heavily padded backing, and a chest strap to make it easy to climb ladders. It shares the same design as a mason and jobsite backpack.
Special or custom-made backpacks have distinguishable characteristics aimed at making the backpack more user-friendly for outdoor adventures. For example, some backpacks have LED lights, carabiner hooks, and extra straps. Generally, they are designed with more details that aren’t typical to most tool backpacks.
Custom LeatherCraft (CLC)
CLC was founded way back in 1983 and since then has carved its niche as one of the apex producers of work gear and tool kits. From its headquarters in California, it makes some of the best aprons, pouch pockets, work gloves, smartphone holders, tool belts, and backpacks. Some of its best tool backpacks are the CLC Custom Leathercraft Carpenter’s Tool Backpack and CLC 75-Pocket Tool Backpack.
Klein Tools is a hand tool and gear manufacturing company that was founded by Mathias Klein in 1857. It’s currently headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois, and has a line of over 3,000 products. Some include tool bags, personal protective gear, and small hand tools such as pliers, nut drivers, and screwdrivers. Check out the Klein Tools 39-Pocket Backpack if you’re looking for a heavy-duty tool backpack.
Milwaukee is a subsidiary brand of Techtronic Industries that was founded by A.F. Siebert in 1924. It’s currently based in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and specializes in manufacturing jobsite apparel, power tools, hand tools, and tool bags. One of its top jobsite backpacks is the Milwaukee Ultimate Backpack.
Veto Pro Pac
Veto Pro Pac is a Connecticut-based company that has had over 30 years of experience in designing a wide variety of tool bags for professional tradespeople. Most of its tool bags have a signature look, which is the patented hinged handle. Some of its top backpacks are the Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC Service Technician Bag and the Compact Tech Pac.
Tool Backpack Pricing
- Under $100: The higher the backpack is in this price range, the more pockets it has. You can find a bulky backpack with about 60 pockets priced around $80 and a smaller option with about 30 pockets going for less than $50. The larger options also have a slot for storing phones, tablets, and laptops.
- $100 and up: If you are paying this much, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get a near-perfect bag with the best fabric, but you will most likely get a bigger backpack. Most backpacks here typically have more than two compartments and about 75 pockets. They also come with dual handles at the top to make it easier to carry the larger size.
You ideally need a backpack that’s large enough to fit all your tools but isn’t too bulky to carry around. Also, your choice may depend on how long you intend to use the backpack. For example, if you are only going on a short trip and thereafter won’t need to move your tools around, then you can opt for a smaller option.
A tool backpack should have a sufficient number of pockets or compartments to fit all your tools. They should also be well balanced to make it easier to organize your tools according to size and to find the right tool in the shortest time possible. It’s better to pick a backpack with adjustable external pockets if you have a variety of large power tools.
The last thing you want is a backpack that splits open and spills all your tools when you least expect it. This is why you should get a backpack that’s made of tough material such as canvas or nylon, which can typically hold sharp, heavy, and oddly shaped tools without giving up under the pressure. Also, consider a waterproof material with a solid base if you will be working outdoors.
- Comfort. This is important if your tools weigh over 30 pounds. Look for an option with padded shoulder straps and back to relieve the pressure of the load from your body. Also, if you aren’t a fan of strapping something heavy on your back, you should get an option with an ergonomic handle at the top for easier carrying.
- Enclosure Style. Zipped-up backpacks are the best for preventing your tools from spilling over and keeping them well-organized in the pockets. Velcro straps are more durable than zippers, but are only good for holding light tools.
Best Tool Backpacks Reviews & Recommendations 2021
The Veto Pro Pac is a well-built backpack specially designed for the professional tradesman who carries a lot of tools. It has four storage compartments and 46 pockets in the interior and exterior that can accommodate a large collection of small tools. One of the pockets is large enough to accommodate a 15-inch laptop. So, besides using it as a tool kit, you can also use it as a travel bag. When it comes to the design, it has a rugged construction made from nylon and a padded EVA thermal-formed back padding that feels comfortable on your back. Best of all is the injection-molded waterproof base that’s 0.1-inches thick and designed to keep the contents dry even when it's sitting on a wet floor.
While it may have some great qualities, there are some issues that have plagued some users. Some pockets are too small to fit small or average-sized professional tools. Also, the backpack can be quite heavy if you fill it to capacity, and it may be exhausting walking around with it for long distances.
AmazonBasics has an affordable backpack that’s not stingy with its number of pockets. This option features 51 pockets with an adjustable front pouch. It’s made of 100-percent polyester that’s PVC-coated and reinforced with a polyester inner lining for added strength. In addition, it’s divided into two zippered compartments with 42 pockets inside, and the rest are on the side and front panel.
Once you open it, you'll notice that it’s easy to find and organize the tools since it has an orange interior that makes the dark pockets stand out. Above all, it’s comfortable to carry around due to the padded shoulder and back panel and adjustable straps. We recommend it for electricians, contractors, and DIY warriors.
However, since it’s a budget product, the zippers may break or come off the rail with frequent use. Also, the material isn’t strong enough to carry heavy equipment. It may end up thinning and tearing. Moreover, some of the pockets are too small to be usable unless you use them to store a pen.
For a more versatile option that allows easy access to your tools with zipper-free pockets, we recommend the CLC tool backpack. It can carry about 50 pounds of equipment and has 41 pockets inside the backpack and seven pockets outside the bag. There are two main zippered components available—one for small tools and parts and the other for larger cordless tools and batteries. The main exterior pocket is expandable with adjustable straps and best for carrying power cords and a large drill. This backpack is made from thick, waterproof material and the bottom is reinforced with rubber to keep the tools dry and prevent them from tearing out of the backpack. It’s also quite comfortable to carry around thanks to the heavily padded back support, shoulder, and chest strap.
However, you may constantly find yourself needing to fix the zippers, which tend to come off the rail with frequent use. Also, it’s quite bulky and feels heavy even when empty. Worst still, it flops over easily when full.
This backpack from Klein Tools makes our list due to its durability, versatility, and stylish appearance. It comes in a mix of black, gray, and orange with the logo on the front. This tool backpack has 39 pockets with a strong weave to hold your tools. The hard molded bottom is sturdy enough to take the weight. There is a front pocket for storing safety glasses and a front zipper pocket for very small parts or tools. The bag weighs six pounds, so it is not lightweight. It stands 14.5 x 7.25 x 20 inches. With Klein Tools, you are buying from a company that has been around since 1857, so there is plenty of peace of mind with this purchase. This falls into the price range you would expect for a tool backpack. The shoulder straps and carrying handles have extra padding to ease the weight of the tools.
While it stands up well on its own, after months of usage the front can start to sag. So when you are leaving it open, it won’t hold its integrity very well. Its Cordura material helps water to bead on it, but it is not waterproof. The zippers are also not as strong as you would hope.
This sturdy backpack from Rugged Tools has a simple yet sleek appearance with its black and orange design. Costing a bit less than its competitors, this backpack has plenty of storage while staying compact. It has 28 pockets with reinforcements to protect against wear and tear. The molded hard bottom ensures it won’t rip regardless of the weight it has to tackle. Rugged Tools promises a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee and that they will make any issue right. It is designed to stand upright, so you won’t have to worry about it falling over into the worksite around you. Given the amount of weight you will carry with this tool backpack, Rugged Tools has designed it with padded shoulder straps, padded lumbar support, and a top handle for carrying. Its chest strap is another pro to help balance the weight.
The bag is quite light, weighing just less than four pounds. There is also a slim, rectangular pocket inside perfect for carrying documents or a clipboard. Given it is on the smaller side, you won’t be able to fit as much in it as other tool backpacks. It also doesn’t have many small pockets, so your smaller tools are harder to locate.
If you are looking for a tool backpack that looks more like a standard backpack for safety reasons, then this one from Milwaukee is a great choice. It has a simple, nondescript appearance and is all black. One of the biggest perks of buying this product is its laptop sleeve. In the increasingly digital age, laptops or tablets are typically a must at any job site. It has 35 pockets on the inside and outside with a variety of sizes. To ensure too much weight from the backpack doesn’t hurt you, it has a strategically designed load-bearing harness to distribute weight. By itself, the backpack weighs 4 1/2 pounds.
While this has a plastic bottom that is water-resistant, it is not waterproof. Allowing it to sit for too long in water will result in damage. But if you accidentally set it down in a puddle, there should not be any lasting issue. It is also a bit more expensive than other competitors, but not by too much. Customer service from Milwaukee seems to be very responsive to any issues that arise and sending replacement parts if needed.
Another excellent tool backpack from Veto is for those willing to spend more for top quality. It comes in black, orange, yellow, and mossy oak. One of the best features of this backpack is that the tool pockets are removable and can be rotated or swapped out. You can even replace some with a laptop panel, but that is sold separately. It has 46 pockets total, in a variety of sizes. This also includes an electrical tape strap. There is no wasted space given its strategic design. This makes storing your tools and supplies simple and finding them even easier. Veto offers a five-year warranty for any manufacturer’s defects.
If you are looking for something more understated, this is not it. It certainly looks like you are carrying heavy-duty and expensive tools, which can be a concern for some who use public transportation. By itself, it is quite heavy, weighing 13 pounds. It is also way more expensive than other competitors, costing over $300, but you get better storage, a stronger backpack, and Veto’s excellent customer service reputation.
Another great backpack from Custom LeatherCraft, this one offers a staggering 75 pockets, six zippered compartments, and a plastic tray. The backpack itself is divided by zippers, making each one its own unique storage space. While this can be a hassle for some who just want all their tools within one area, others may appreciate the extra separation. The padded shoulder straps are adjustable, as are the carrying handles for comfort on your hands.
This is more expensive than competitors, but cheaper than higher-end backpacks like Veto’s. This backpack certainly stands out with all of its zippers, so if you want it to not be noticed, you will have better luck with another product. It weighs five pounds by itself, but it can easily hold whatever weight you put in it. However, the zippers tend to be the weak link on this product and can get worn out easily. For those that are looking to replace their older Custom LeatherCraft tool backpack, this is the same model but its layout has been changed through the years. So don’t expect the same pocket layout as before.
- If you use extremely small tools for your projects, you can pack them in a pouch and put that in the tool backpack. This will not only reduce the time you take finding them, but it will also ensure that you never lose small tools.
- Always try to keep the bag in an upright position. This helps you to access your tools faster. It also ensures your backpack’s interior stays clean and dust-free.
- As a precautionary measure, have an inventory of all the tools in the bag. This helps you to quickly identify any missing tools. When you have all the necessary tools close by, you can finish a project faster.
Q: Can I use a tool backpack to carry a laptop?
Yes, you can store your laptop in one of the backpack’s compartments. However, you need to be careful not to keep your laptop too close to sharp tools as they may scratch or damage it.
Q: How do I clean a tool backpack?
Most backpacks can be washed in a washing machine, especially those made of nylon or canvas. Rub minor stains with stain remover and a cloth. A clean backpack will keep your tools free of dirt.
Q: How do I get rid of a bad smell in a tool backpack?
The cause of the smell is usually odor-causing bacteria. Once a week, spray vinegar on your backpack’s straps. This is a natural remedy that will kill any odors and break down odor-causing bacteria.
If you are looking for a backpack that can carry work tools for almost any profession, you will appreciate the Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC Service Technician Bag.
However, a limited budget shouldn't hinder you from getting a great backpack. The AmazonBasics 51 Pocket Tool Bag Backpack is an affordable alternative.