Tool Backpacks are a versatile and convenient way for a new generation of workmen to carry around all the equipment they might need day to day. Instead of the bulky and heavy toolbox that you carry with one arm, the best tool backpack can offer the same if not more storage and organisation than a one handed toolbox, but with the practicality of a backpack.
A tool backpack means that the weight can be distributed properly without straining muscles you need to do your job effectively. Chests and dollies can slow you down or stop you from getting your equipment over rough terrain or up stairs. Backpacks mean you can climb ladders with your tools, put your most important tools in the bag and in the front seat of your van, have them with you whenever you need them. Even better you have your hands free to work, while still having your tools on you. To find out what other advantages when using a tool backpack, read this post.
The Top Ten Tool Backpacks
It’s a relatively new idea, the tool backpack, but there are already a lot of bags on the market. We’ve narrowed it down to the best ten and review them all so you can decide which suits your needs.
- Custom LeatherCraft 1134 Tool Backpack
- DEWALT DGL523 Backpack
- Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Backpack
- Milwaukee 48-22-8200 Jobsite Backpack
- DeWalt DGC530 USB Charging Tool Back Pack
- WORKPRO Tool Backpack
- Carhartt Legacy Backpack
- Klein Tools 55421-BP Tradesman Pro Backpack
- Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC Service Technician Bag
- Toolmax Backpack
Custom LeatherCraft 1134 Tool Backpack
The Custom LeatherCraft 1134 has two main compartments, a front pocket with easy access and handles at the top of the bag to be carried as a regular bag. It weighs 4.6lbs, the shoulder straps are well padded and there is an adjustable chest strap to help hold it in place and ease the pressure on your back.
Feature #1: Lay Flat Opening
There are two main compartments and they both open fully so that the sides lie flat giving you clear access to all your equipment when you need to see them and choose just the right tool. This is good for those jobs that require a lot of different tools or when there is a lot of space to work. It stands upright by itself so you have both hands free to go through everything and makes packing and unpacking your tools quick and painless.
Feature #2: Pockets
Inside and out this bag has forty-one pockets. In one main compartment you have enough pockets for organising your smaller tools; screwdrivers and any extra drill bits and more. In the other compartment, the holders are larger for a drill and its battery pack, keeping them secure but without leaving them loose to knock the rest of your equipment or get damaged.
Feature #3: External Pockets
This bag features a decent sized outer pocket made specifically for easy access to anything you might need in a hurry. This is good if you’re up a ladder and need to access something without opening up the bag completely. A large pocket beneath it can hold extension cords or any other large item you need, while small pockets on the size can hold pens and smaller tools so you’ll never be scrambling for a pencil again.
Real Users Feedback
This backpack had 4.5 stars out of five over 609 reviews. Users love the durability of the bag and have some back over time to edit their reviews to state how well it’s held up since they’ve bought it. Main complaints are the way the hard plastic bottom can press on into your body.
- Well Organised.
- Hard plastic
DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack
The DeWalt DGL523 comes with a light attached to the bag. It has 48 pockets and padded back panels for comfort. It’s versatile and offers a high level of organisation for those with lota of smaller tools to carry.
Feature #1: Light
This bag comes with a Max Lumens 39 attached to the bag itself. It can be angled however, you need to light up any work area and is powered by two AAA batteries. It has three levels of illumination meaning you can choose the right light for the right setting. This leaves your hands free to work instead of holding a torch in one hand and trying to do everything else one handed while trying to work in that dark corner or in the fading evening light.
Feature #2: Comfort
The backpack is designed to make carrying the full weight of your tools more comfortable not just on your back but if you’re using the handles at the top of the back. This handle is padded to make it easier to carry in this fashion and the shoulder straps are well padded too. The back has padded panels too so it’s easier on your back, while the bottom of the bag has base pad feet to reduce the abrasion of the bag, this will present too much weight pressing down on your waist and back and increase its lifespan.
Feature #3: Organised Front Pocket
For the tools you use the most often, the front pocket of the bag is smaller but houses a lot of pockets that offers you a good level of organisation for your tools. The flap opens completely, lying flat for the best access to everything you need, meaning you can optimise the organisation of your tools as well as make sure you remember to pack everything. Then when you need a tool you know exactly where it is and with easy access get back to work straight away.
Real Users Feedback
4.5 out of 5 stars over 146 reviews the bag is popular for its attached torch and how light the bag is (without tools of course).
- Attached Light
- Weak zippers.
Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Backpack
Made of a durable ballistics poly-fabric and housing 75 pockets and padded shoulder straps this backpack offers a lot of organisation for your money as well a couple of good additions to the everyday tool bag.
Feature #1: Large Capacity
This backpack has three main compartments housing a total of 75 pockets for your tools. Each compartment holds different tools offering the maximum organisation and no need to sacrifice any tool with enough room for them all. One compartment can hold a 14 piece set of wrenches, while another can hold a drill, the bits and the battery, the bag unzips entirely and opens up flat to give you full access to every compartment. This is great for packing the bag and setting it up for maximum organisation and for accessing tools further down in the bag.
Feature #2: Compartment Tray
The bag comes with a plastic tray that sits in its own dedicated pocket that holds small items like screws or nails, so you can carry around your most needed supplies without having to find a place for them in one of the pockets. It’s a handy little addition that you might not think about doing yourself.
Feature #3: Pocket Closures
Many of the internal pockets come with flaps and Velcro closures to keep them closed and therefore keeping your tools safe and in place. This is useful if you’ve moving quickly, and if the bag gets jostled a lot. Keeping everything in place like this means nothing will come out of the pockets and you won’t open the bag to find a jumbled mess at the bottom of the compartments. Useful if you ever drop the bag or it accidentally ends upside down somehow.
Real Users Feedback
4.4 out of 5 stars over 367 reviews, owners of this LeatherCraft bag love how many pockets it has, though point out that this is useful for people who carry a lot of small tools rather than more than a few larger ones.
- Padded shoulder straps
- Made for smaller tools
Milwaukee 48-22-8200 Jobsite Backpack
This backpack can stand up on its own, has 35 pockets and can hold a laptop up to 15.3 inches, and offers a great deal of comfort when carrying a full and heavy backpack.
Feature #1: Moulded Plastic Base
This backpack features base that is moulded in shape and made of an impact resistant material that is also waterproof. This means the bag can be dropped and also stands up so it can sit wherever you leave it without tipping over without damaging any of your valuable tools. It also means you can open it up on any surface without having to hold onto – leaving you with both hands-frees to find your tools or pull out those heavy awkward items that need a little extra manoeuvring out of the compartment.
Feature #2: Load-Bearing Harness
The shoulder straps of the bag are well padded and on top of this, the backpack has an adjustable chest strap that buckles together and helps bear some of the load, taking it off the shoulders and spreading it out so that it’s not all on your back. This is important if you carry a lot of heavier tools or need to carry your bag for a long amount of time, you don’t want to suffer from taking all your tools with you or be unable to complete a job because you sacrificed a tool when it was too heavy to add to the bag.
Feature #3: Padded Laptop Sleeve
As well as thirty-five pockets to keep your tools organised, the main compartment is made large enough to hold a laptop and has a dedicated sleeve for a 15.3-inch laptop. This is perfect for anyone who needs to use their laptop on site as they work, and the padding means that the laptop is protected from any tools that you have in the same compartment or anything else that may damage the bag.
Real Users Feedback
4.6 out of 5 stars over fifty-four reviews, this bag is popular for its durability and the overall size of the bag.
- Laptop sleeve means fewer pockets for tools.
DeWalt DGC530 USB Charging Tool Back Pack
This DeWalt backpack has twenty-three pockets, a padded back for extra comfort and a clip shut outer pocket.
Feature #1: USB Charging
The bag has a USB charging dock made especially for a DeWalt ion battery. This gives you the option to charge two devices at once. There are pockets inside the bag that can hold a phone and an iPad. The dock also features a low battery monitor to stop you from over depleting the battery. This is handy to keep your phone and other devices always charged so you’re always in contact wherever your job is.
Feature #2: Vertical Tool Wall
The bag has twenty-three pockets overall, the main compartment holding seventeen of these in the form of a vertical tool wall. The bag opens up fully, sitting flat so that you can see everything in the bag. This is good is you have a lot of little tools that look similar or need to choose something carefully.
Feature #3: External Pockets
There are three external pockets; two at the top of the back at the kept close with a flap and Velcro and another beneath it that is held shut with a buckle. This means that anything you need to access quickly as you work can be kept in these top pockets. The buckle means that the pocket is kept closed to keep anything in there secure.
Real Users Feedback
4.6 stars out of five over twenty-eight reviews. Users love how well made this bag is, and how handy is being able to charge your things on the go.
- USB charger
- Have to buy the battery separately
WORKPRO Tool Backpack
The WorkPro is made with military grade material, with thirty-seven pockets and room for a fifteen-inch laptop.
Feature #1: Durable
This bag is made with 1680 Ballistic nylon material which might not mean anything to you but is military grade material. This means it stands up to a lot of abuse as you work. It will last longer and remain in one piece. The bottom of the bag is waterproof moulded plastic, that is shock and impact proof, keeping everything safe and meaning it can stand upright on its own. Handy for putting down in a muddy field or any wet surface so you can find your tools.
Feature #2: Laptop Sleeve
The bag has a padded laptop sleeve in one of its main compartments, with a Velcro strap holding it closed and secure. If you work with your laptop and need to have it as much as your tools this is a great addition to the regular tool backpack. The strap holding it in place means it won’t get shaken around when you’re on the move, or get knocked against any of the tools you have in the bag so you’re safe in the knowledge it’s not going to get damaged in there.
Feature #3: Large Capacity
Putting in a laptop sleeve has not been at the sacrifice of space. While the bag only has thirty-five pockets to organise your tools in, the main compartments are large and roomy enough for bigger tools like a drill and its battery even while you’re carrying the laptop too. A third more open compartment at the front of the bag adds to the space you have to carry your tools and anything else you need while on the job.
Real Users Feedback
3.9 out of five stars over eight reviews. Users like the ability to carry all their tools and their laptop and that the bag itself is light and durable.
- Lack of organisation
Carhartt Legacy Tool Backpack
The Carhartt backpack comes in brown and black, had forty-three pockets and expandable pockets make this a versatile bag that meets most needs.
Feature #1: Durable
The backpack is made with a water repellent material making it good for people who have to work in all weather conditions. The base of the bag is abrasion proof which means the bag can be put down anywhere you want – hard or soft surfaces – and will stay in good condition and keep wearing to a minimum. You don’t want the material the start to fray and give while carrying your heavy and valuable tools. The straps are padded the thicker materials holding up longer over time and the stitching well done.
Feature #2: Comfortable
The shoulder straps are padded and shaped slightly to match your body. There are two padded back panels too to add to the comfort. This will prevent the bag from pressing down too hard on your back. Both the back panels and the shoulder straps are also lined with a breathable mesh material to encourage airflow and prevent you from overheating when carrying a full backpack. This all makes it easier to carry the bag over a long period of time.
Feature #3: Expandable Pockets
The backpack has two expandable pockets. They’re kept closed with buckles meaning that even though the pockets have open sides once the straps are tightened anything you keep it is definitely secure. The pockets mean that you can carry larger items like a hard hat or oversized tools; anything that is too big to fit into the main bag.
Real Users Feedback
4.6 over five stars over three reviews the bag is popular for the heavy duty feel of the material and zippers.
- Expandable pockets
- Comfortable to carry
- Few reviews to be sure of quality
- Fewer pockets than most other backpacks.
Klein Tools Pro-Organiser Backpack
The Klein backpack has thirty-nine pockets and an orange interior to aid with visibility. It also opens flat for easy access to all your tools.
Feature #1: Wide Opening
This bag opens fully; one side of the bag opens up and lies flat giving you full access to all the pockets inside so you can organise everything carefully within and find the tools you need while you’re working without digging around in the backpack. While the front pocket doesn’t open up to lie flat it does open up almost fully so you can fit in bigger tools without having to push or force them in and the straps are adjustable so you can suit the pocket to the tool you need to carry there.
Feature #2: Durable
The bag is made of a durable material that will keep the bag going after a long time and heavy usage. There is a moulded base that means the bag is waterproof when put down. Having this base means that heavy tools that would push and tear a material base will not ruin the bag and are kept safe and secure. The base also means it stands up on its own so those tools are kept upright and the means you have both hands free to get anything you have at the very bottom of the bag.
Feature #3: Organisation
The two main compartments offer some serious organisation. The first compartment that opens fully and sits flat, has many pockets for smaller tools so you can carry individual screwdrivers or similar tools all in separate pockets so they won’t knock together in the bag. The orange interior aids with visibility so you can see what you’re doing in lower lights, or when your own body is creating a shadow over the bag as you bend over it to find the tool you need. The other compartment is for larger tools and items. The front pocket is expandable, and the top front pocket is small but closes with Velcro for quick access.
Real Users Feedback
4.5 out of five stars over two hundred and seventy-seven reviews. Users love that this bag lasts a long time and is big on organisation. Users are also able to carry a large weight comfortably.
- Expandable outer pockets
- Zippers can be unreliable
Veto Pro-Pac Tool Backpack
This backpack is waterproof, features fifty-six pockets and a heavy duty handles the top at for carrying the bag one handed. It’s made to be comfortable and durable and a serious piece of kit.
Feature #1: Storage
Inside and out the Pro-Pac has fifty-six pockets in total. There are two main compartments to the bag, both sides have many smaller pockets. There’s also zippered pockets for keeping valuables tucked away safely. The bag comes with a patented centre panel to act as a wall for your tools. This means you can organise them completely and keep them secure in place. Both the main compartments open fully and one can be held open at various angles with an adjustable strap. This means you can find a small stable spot to stand your bag and open one side up to get access to your tools without risking anything falling out.
Feature #2: Heavy Duty
Made with a thick nylon material this backpack is seriously heavy duty. The patented centre panel mentioned before and the stabilising injection moulded base means the backpack stands up well on its own and stands up against the elements. It’s waterproof and is tough against the usual wear and tear, staying in one piece for longer. The top handle is made of tough thick plastic rather than the usual material handles though this could be a little tougher on the hands when handled this way the handle is ergonomically designed.
Feature #3: Extras
This bag has a whole host of awesome extras that can’t be ignored. As well as storage and durability, the bag is comfortable to carry with padded shoulder straps and an ergonomic padded back panel. There is an aluminium clip on the top of the bag so you can hang the bag up and out of the way. The clip is stored in a compartment of its own to be hidden away when not in use. The back compartment has a quick release metal hasp that offers quick and easy access to whatever tools you want to store in there; whatever you think you might need in a hurry or want to access without messing around with zips and buckles. The front pocket is adjustable to securely fit around what you place in there and D-rings on the back to clip on any extra accessories you might need.
Real Users Feedback
4.6 out of five stars over 157 reviews, users like the longevity of the backpack, as well as the durability and it’s suitability for tougher work environments.
- Five-year warranty
- Long life span
- Many pockets are too small.
The Toolmax is a little different to the other backpacks in the top ten. It retains the classic shape of a regular toolbox but is convertible. It also has an iPad sleeve and several external pockets.
Feature #1: Convertible Carrying
Shaped like a regular tool box it has padded handles for carrying one handed like a toolbox. This isn’t always convenient else why would there be a need for tool backpacks. The Toolmax is both. There are padded shoulder straps that are kept in their own compartment when not in use so you can carry it as a backpack whenever you need to have your hands free. On top of this, there is a longer strap, also kept hidden in a pocket until use. This means you can carry the bag messenger style over your body. Handy for if you don’t want to carry on your back but the bag is too heavy for the regular handle. There is also a side handle so that the bag can be carried vertically too.
Feature #2: Size
The interior of the bag is one large roomy pocket, lined with a few smaller pockets. The shape of the bag means that it’s large but remains light thanks to the material it’s made with. While this doesn’t lend to much organisation, this does make it a good bag for people with lots of larger tools to carry around. There are two zippered pockets at the front and back that open flat and hold smaller tools. Also, there are two large front pockets with Velcro closure flaps for even more storage.
Feature #3: Light
The bag is made from a durable polyester material that is both water resistant and dust proof. More importantly is a light bag when empty. This means you can fill it with tools knowing that the bag itself isn’t adding to the weight.
Real Users Feedback
3.7 out of five stars over three reviews. Users like the versatility of the bag and how light the bag is while still being durable.
- Large capacity
- Versatile carrying
- Thin material
Final Verdict for the Best Tool Backpack
When it comes to choosing the best backpack from the top ten, you have to choose the one that suits your needs the most; not every backpack on the list will do that and some suit certain jobs over others. Choosing what factors are most important to you in a backpack can help narrow it down. Comparing them based on those factors, let’s see how they measure up.
Factor One: Size
When it comes to size the Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Backpack definitely leads the way. With those three main compartments and two half compartments at the front, this bag fits in a lot of pockets for your money. If you have a lot of little tools, this is the bag you need to carry them in. There is a pocket for everything, pockets that are covered with Velcro closure flaps, and room for a drill and that plastic tray is a great idea that is unique to this LeatherCraft bag. It’s definitely the best when it comes to size.
If you have larger tools or need to carry a laptop the WorkPro tool backpack doesn’t sacrifice any of that space. It means you can carry a larger tool like a drill and its battery pack as well as your laptop. And you don’t have to worry about either item getting damaged.
Factor Two: Organisation
With seventy-five pockets overall, the LeatherCraft 1132 offers the most organisation. There is no risk of running out of pockets for every individual tool, with room for a 14 piece tool set as just part of the appeal. You can separate your tools into the three sections based on whatever criteria you want. Whether it be the type of tool or the frequency of which you’ll use it. With so many of the pockets having flaps and closures, you know nothing is going to come out and end up in a jumbled mess at the bottom of the bag.
The Klein Pro-Organiser is also great for when it comes to organisation of you tools – it’s not just a name. With thirty-nine pockets, it seems like less but those pockets will hold bigger tools, so if you’ve not got a lot of little tools the Klein is the better pick over the LeatherCraft 1132 for organising everything and the interior and lay flat opening means you can get the most of the bag. Check out the pictures in the reviews to see what you can do with the Klein.
Factor Three: Durability
Many of the bags come with moulded bases for both stability and durability. If you work in all weather conditions or a rough environment you need a moulded base backpack. The WorkPro tool backpack is definitely the most durable of the lot. It has the all important base – one that is both waterproof and impact proof in case you drop it. It’s also made of military grade ballistics nylon material so you know it’s going to withstand the toughest of environments and a lot of regular use. Little can top that kind of material but the Veto Pro Pac and the Milwaukee definitely come close. The Milwaukee is made with a similar material and the Veto is a good all rounder when it comes to its durability and both have those ever important bases.
Factor Four: Openings and Closures
Most of the bags have flat opening compartments, which is a must for anyone who carries a lot of tools. The bags that do this the best are the Custom LeatherCraft backpacks. Every single main compartment of the 1132 opens up fully to lie flat nicely. The DeWalt bags both have good zippers and the DeWalt DGC530 has a buckle closure for its external pocket. The Veto Pro Pac and the WorkPro are the most durable bags overall, and that includes the zippers. The Veto Pro Pac also has that great quick release metal hasp that is a great touch for people who need fast access to their tools.
It may look plain but the Custom LeatherCraft 1132 is the overall best tool backpack in the top ten. It meets all the requirements of what is most needed from a bag. While it might not be as tough as some of the others, it still uses that durable ballistics nylon. Even without a moulded base, it can take a heavy load and heavy use without you having to worry too much about it breaking while you’re on the job.
The organisation is endless and with each main compartment having lie flat openings means you can really make the most of this bag and find a place for every tool you own if you need to. Closed pockets inside the bag keeping it all in place too. The shoulder straps are padded so you can carry all that weight comfortably. Also, the handles at the top of the back are tough but padded so carrying it one handed isn’t too hard either.
While certainly not the cheapest tool backpack it’s hardly the most expensive and you definitely get value for money. But if you are on a really tight budget, you might want to get a tool backpack that is under $100.