Early in my career, I quickly learned the value of organized tools. Like a lot of guys, I started out using a big duffel to carry everything whether I need it that day or not. It’s heavy and disorganized, but it’s cheap. However, even the greenest apprentice can figure out that it’s actually disorganization that’s expensive on the job site. Having used the new Fluke Pack30 Professional Tool Backpack for a couple of months now, it’s clear that this bag is one you can depend on for organization and durability.
Editor’s Note: G&G Electric employs some 70 electricians in the Central Florida area. We put this Fluke backpack in the hands of Joel Belcher for his feedback.
- Intelligent layout
- Durable build
- Optimal size
- Reasonably priced in the premium category at $165
- No major drawbacks
The Fluke Pack30 backpack is a great option for electricians, HVAC, MRO, and more that blends an intelligent, durable design with a reasonable price.
- Over 30 pockets in six main storage compartments
- Waterproof bottom base keeps the backpack upright
- Clips, brackets, and straps on the outside for frequently used tools such as tape rolls, measuring tapes, voltage detectors
- Stores, organizes, and protects test equipment, hand tools, safety glasses, and personal items like keys, wallet, and phone
- Special pocket for tablet PCs and laptops 12 inches wide or smaller
- Polyester body
- Molded EVA covers for the front and top sections
- Padding in the back
- Adjustable chest strap
- Standard one-year warranty; extendable to 2 years through product registration within 45 days of purchase
In the Field
Since I’m tasked with the full spectrum of electrical work, I need both rough-in and trim-out tools available as well as just a service pouch. It turns out that the Fluke Pack30 Professional Tool Backpack is more than capable. It accommodates all the tools I need for the big work, and it still fits my service pouch when I need to simply grab it and go.
The trend in the tool backpack sector has been to make larger packs. Some are so large it’s debatable whether you should actually use every pouch they give you since it will weigh so much. What strikes me about this Fluke backpack is the combination of highly thought-out storage that maintains a reasonable footprint. It’s pretty much the best overall design I’ve seen so far. The Pro Tool Innovation Awards judging team agrees and gave it the award for best tool backpack.
There’s just a lot of room in this bag; I haven’t even filled it up yet! Of course, space will get tighter if I include a drill in addition to the impact driver. Although there’s not quite room for a full-sized recip saw, the backpack easily carries every other tool I need on each job.
What’s more, it frees up a hand. I often have to carry in a big ladder for my work, so having two free hands and a backpack that isn’t overloaded with weight helps me avoid making an extra trip to the truck.
Come Shell or High Water
The Fluke Pack30 backpack frees you from the headaches of searching through a jumbled bag for the right tool. I’ll bet those jumbled bags don’t really help to extend the life of your tools, either! But the organization adds another benefit that other Pros have pointed out: with just a glance, I can tell if I’m missing a tool before I need it. If I find an empty pouch or pocket that usually has a tool in it, I know I don’t have everything I need. Try that with your duffel!
It’s no surprise that a job site is a rough place, so having the two hard-shell cases to protect more delicate things is a big advantage. I keep my ticker here, as well as safety glasses, sunglasses, phone, and such. A molded base allows the bag to stand and keeps it out of puddles. One caveat, though – if the big, hard-shell pocket in the front gets too heavy, the bag will topple over.
Fluke includes a well-protected pocket for laptops or tablets. That’s a feature that some other manufacturers omit. Although I don’t have the need for it, project managers are using tablets and laptops on site more frequently now than ever. This pocket is an excellent idea. Even without the high tech needs, this is a perfect place for documents, permits, and so on.
The braided metal wire through the handle, however, is a feature found on all of these high-end bags. It toughens up a vulnerable area since you’re likely to move the Fluke Pack30 backpack around the job by this handle quite a bit.
Price & Value
The Fluke Pack30 Professional Tool Backpack was first offered at about $199. But you can find it online right now for around $165, making it among the least expensive tool backpacks of this caliber. Now, I know that some might balk at that, but consider this: The Klein Tool Master comes in at $178 and, although many guys swear by them, comparable Veto Pro Pacs begin around $260.
I meant it earlier when I said that it’s really disorganization that’s expensive. In a duffel, tools get banged around, you spend time searching for them, and you can’t easily be sure if you have everything you need. It’s just inefficient. A couple minutes here and there all day, along with worn-out tools, will really add up.
The Bottom Line
With a tough, feature-rich, and reasonable price, it’s hard to find much fault with the Fluke Pack30 Professional Tool Backpack. If you’re in the market for a premium tool backpack, give this one some serious thought.
Fluke Pack30 Professional Tool Backpack Specifications
- Item number: Pack30
- Dimensions: 20 in x 13 in x 9.25 in (50.8 cm x 33 cm x 23.5 cm)
- Net weight: 5 pounds (2.26 kg)
- Storage compartments:
- 1 central storage compartment
- 1 front compartment
- 2 side compartments
- 1 top compartment
- 1 12-inch (30 cm) back pocket
- Price: $175.49
This review originally published on September 26, 2018.