Best Tool Bags: In the Bag

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 8 Best Tool Bags

There are occasions when a sturdy canvas or cloth tool bag is handier than a cumbersome metal toolbox. Hitting a bump with the latter in your trunk or truck box results in a crashing sound not heard since the implosion of The Sands nearly 25 years ago.

It helps to buy a tool bag whose length exceeds that of the longest item you’ll be carrying, which is why we’ve listed – when available – the sizes of these bags. Please keep comments about length to yourself. Look for lots of pockets, helping to keep items organized rather than rattling around in the bottom of the bag.

And, if all else fails, you might be able to use it as an airline carry-on. If regular air travel ever becomes a thing again, that is.

Table of Contents

1. WORKPRO 16" Top Wide Mouth Tool Bag with Water Proof Rubber Base

This tool bag is made from a polyester fabric which is said to provide excellent durability and reliability while also reminding you of your days with Disco Stu. The double fabric with stitching over the entire body makes the bag extremely tough and long-lasting, according to the seller. It seems there would be little need to worry about this tool bag getting damaged or breaking while in use.

An internal metal frame should keep this thing from hiding that tool you’re trying to grasp one-handed. There are 8 pockets inside, 13 outside, and 8 belts for versatile storage of tools and accessories. This means your gear will stay organized, leaving behind the days of frantically pawing and digging to find that 10mm socket. Total size: 16.5” x 13.4” x 9.6”.

Pros

  • Extremely high customer ratings, many pockets, waterproof base

Cons

  • That waterproof base won't fold up

Bottom Line

  • Get it and go

2. Milwaukee 6-Pocket Heavy Duty Canvas Tool Bag

This brand hawks a wide variety of tool bags, ranging from this unit you see here to semi-solid side cases designed specifically for their line of cordless power tools. This one, thanks to its shape and abundance of pockets, can easily double as a tool bag if you’re on the go to a roadside call.

There should be plenty of room in this thing for a raft of essential car wrenching tools, even if that’s not its intended design. Priced under twenty bucks, it’s difficult to go wrong here if you’re looking for a quick and cheap way to haul around a few tools. Total size: 13” x 6” x 8”.

Pros

  • Price, brand name, it's bright red

Cons

  • Technically not for automotive tools

Bottom Line

  • Look past its intended purpose

3. G & F Products Heavy-Duty Mechanics Tool Bag - Government Issued Style

We’re not sure if the ‘government-issued’ label on this tool bag is a good or bad thing. If it’s of the mythical $300 toilet seat ilk, fine. If it’s of the same quality as the pothole repairs out in front of our office, that’s not so reassuring. According to the reviews, though, it seems to be the former, not the latter.

Priced just a coffee over ten dollars, this bag measures about 11 inches long which is slightly shorter than the two bags featured so far. There is a quartet of pouches on the exterior, great for keeping those sockets from getting lost in the bottom of the bag. The large brass zipper looks baller, if you care about that stuff. Total size: 11” x 7” x 6”.

Pros

  • Plenty of reviews praising its durability

Cons

  • Make sure it's big enough

Bottom Line

  • :Give yer junkyard run a military feel

4. Amazon Basics Tool Bag with Strap

Bezos & Co. seem to put their name on everything, don’t they? If we ever do one of these posts on mud flaps or underhood insulation, they’ll probably have an entrant for those as well. A couple of options are available here, with a larger 16-inch bag offered alongside this 12-inch tote.

Its dull grey and black coloring assure that you won’t care about it getting dirty. There are 26 pockets in total, including ten on the inside. The material is described as ‘600D Oxford cloth’ and received good durability reviews. A wide zippered opening permits easy access to tools. Total size: 12” x 5.5” x 7.9”.

Pros

  • Appropriately priced, plenty of good feedback

Cons

  • That infernal branding

Bottom Line

  • Put some microbrewery stickers over the logo

5. DEWALT 33-Pocket Tool Bag

Like the Milwaukee brand, DeWalt would love it if you bought its tools to fill this bag. There’s nothing keeping us from using it as a handy tool bag, of course. No fewer than thirty-three pockets line this thing, along with one flap-covered pocket with hook & loop closure.

Abrasion-resistant rubber feet sound like something you’d find on a set of power armor in Fallout 4 but actually appear on the anterior side of this bag in a bid to keep it from wearing through prematurely. An adjustable shoulder strap rounds out a good and useful package. Total size: 13.8” x 4.5” x 19.3”.

Pros

  • Plenty 'o pockets, 4.8 out of 5 rating from nearly 4,000 people

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than most, very narrow

Bottom Line

  • You get what you pay for

6. Stanley 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag

Getting in on the accessory game to prop up the tool side of their business is Stanley. Its tool bag is a foot long, just like your favorite sub sandwich, making it ideal for carrying hand tools and other small items. A shoulder strap is absent but the seller makes sure to point out the dual handles are padded for comfort.

A rubber foam bottom keeps the bag sturdy, protecting contents from hard falls and drops. In other words, your gear should be protected when you lose your grasp running towards that complete MX-5 that was placed in Row 17 just this morning. Use the outer mesh pockets for storing personal belongings to which you frequently need access.

Pros

  • Seemingly well-made, good price

Cons

  • No shoulder strap

Bottom Line

  • Collapsible utility

7. CLC Custom 2-Pack Combo

As noted advertiser Ron Popeil – who's still alive and kicking at age 85 – used to say: “but wait; there’s more!” This listing from the ambiguously-named Custom Leathercraft company includes two utility tote bags for less than the price of most single units on this list.

The larger of the two is 14 inches long with the smaller one measuring just two inches shorter. Many customers remarked that they use them as carry-ons for motorcycles or ATVs, good for slinging in a GoPro and other items. Despite its name, the bag is not made from genuine leather. Total size: 14” x 5.5” x 6” and 12" x 4.5" x 5.5".

Pros

  • Very affordable, two for the price of one

Cons

  • Some durability complaints

Bottom Line

  • For $20, set your expectations properly

8. Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag

This bag leans more towards the carpenter arena than the car mechanic’s but, given its durability ratings and size, might be a good left-field choice. It’s a durable tool bag with a zippered main compartment and 10 interior pockets. Several sizes are available; we're profiling the 14-inch option here.

There is an internal metal frame, rugged zippers, aggro stitching (that’s the first time we’ve ever combined those two words), and is made of a sturdy synthetic fabric. There are larger models available with a load-bearing, abrasion-resistant molded base for those who need greater support for heavy tools and gear. Total size: 14” x 9” x 10.5”.

Pros

  • Great workwear brand, 99 percent of over 500 reviews are 4- or 5-star

Cons

  • Very expensive

Bottom Line

  • An interesting alternative

How do I choose a tool bag?

There are several things that you must keep in mind while picking the right tool bag. Some of the most important factors include:

Size

Depending on the number of tools that you want to carry along when you are in the field, you must pick a tool bag that is neither too spacious nor too congested. While having a large tool bag might sound appealing, especially for scalability purposes, you must remember that the bigger the bag is the bulkier it will get, and the harder will it be to carry. Likewise, if the bag is too small, you will be forced to pack the tools close to each other, and as a result, the delicate ones might get damaged due to external pressure.

Material

A tool bag manufactured with a good quality material will be able to hold more weight and will also last longer as compared to those of average quality. Usually, the tool bags made of Nylon and Canvas are more durable. Therefore, while buying one, you should check if its built material is adequate.

Ease of Portability

Make sure to choose a tool bag that is easy to carry. The one with a good design along with padded bottom and shoulder straps should help you to move your tools from one place to another quite conveniently. Furthermore, the paddings allow carrying the bag for long duration and distances without you getting exhausted. In addition, the bag should also have textured and padded handles for easy and tireless small movements.

Hooks, Zippers, Clips, and Organization

Check and ensure that the hooks and clips of the tool bag you are planning to buy are of good quality. Also see if it has zippered compartments so you don’t lose the small tools that your kit may have, and that the zippers are of fine quality. In addition, you must even confirm that the loops and compartments are aligned in a well-organized manner so you can locate the necessary tools easily and quickly.

Broad Main Opening

The mouth of the bag should be sufficiently broad so you can put in and/or take out a couple of tools from it in a single go. A narrow-mouthed bag wouldn’t have enough room for these types of activities, and therefore, a major amount of your time would be wasted unnecessarily.

Style

Although this characteristic is optional, having a stylish bag gives you a professional look, and your customers will trust you. In the long run, this would help you grow your business at an increased pace.

How do I keep my tool bag organized?

Once you have a correct tool bag according to your needs, it is imperative to place the tools in their respective pockets and slots so they are easy to locate and access. A good-quality tool bag has specific compartments for different types of tools. For instance, there should be pockets to store pliers of varied sizes, hooks, or slots to tightly place the screwdrivers, separate clips to hang closed-end spanners, etc.

In other words, the best way to keep your tool bag organized is to place the right tools in the right slots so they can be reached out conveniently when required.

What is a tool bag used for?

When you want to carry your tools regularly, you need something that is lightweight, durable, and is designed in a way that doesn’t exhaust you while you are on the road. This is where a good-quality tool bag comes into play. A tool bag:

Has various compartments, pouches, slots, and pockets to keep your tools well-organized

Is handy and convenient to carry

Is water-resistant or waterproof (according to its material)

Looks trendy and stylish

With these characteristics and attributes in a bag, it is quite easy to access your tools when needed, while giving your personality a professional look at the same time.

Is CLC a good brand?

According to the number of positive reviews the CLC products have gained on Amazon, it is safe to say that the brand is good and can be counted on. The CLC bags have the right-sized pockets and pouches to store your expensive and sophisticated tools without damaging them. The well-organized alignment of the pockets even enables you to access the tools pretty conveniently and quickly.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: StudioBakac / Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

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  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on Jan 29, 2022

    i thought this looked familiar

  • Maxb49 Maxb49 on Feb 01, 2022

    Milwaukee Packout. If you're looking for deals on tools/bags, check out VCG Construction on YouTube (although Vince said during his last livestream that there likely won't de deals on Packouts in the near future).

  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
  • GregLocock Car companies can only really sell cars that people who are new car buyers will pay a profitable price for. As it turns out fewer and fewer new car buyers want sedans. Large sedans can be nice to drive, certainly, but the number of new car buyers (the only ones that matter in this discussion) are prepared to sacrifice steering and handling for more obvious things like passenger and cargo space, or even some attempt at off roading. We know US new car buyers don't really care about handling because they fell for FWD in large cars.
  • Slavuta Why is everybody sweating? Like sedans? - go buy one. Better - 2. Let CRV/RAV rust on the dealer lot. I have 3 sedans on the driveway. My neighbor - 2. Neighbors on each of our other side - 8 SUVs.
  • Theflyersfan With sedans, especially, I wonder how many of those sales are to rental fleets. With the exception of the Civic and Accord, there are still rows of sedans mixed in with the RAV4s at every airport rental lot. I doubt the breakdown in sales is publicly published, so who knows... GM isn't out of the sedan business - Cadillac exists and I can't believe I'm typing this but they are actually decent - and I think they are making a huge mistake, especially if there's an extended oil price hike (cough...Iran...cough) and people want smaller and hybrids. But if one is only tied to the quarterly shareholder reports and not trends and the big picture, bad decisions like this get made.
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