Tool storage and transportation can sometimes be a bit of a bear. Selecting the right tool to carry your tools can be challenging; with so many tool bags, tool chests, tool boxes, and backpacks on the market, we’ve got a lot of options to consider. Different trades will have different demands, and a “one-size-fits-all” approach might not work the best for your needs. That’s why Ideal Industries, known for their electrician’s tools, has put together a solution with HVAC technicians and electricians in mind. The Ideal Tool Backpack offers a durable and organized storage solution for a wide variety of electrician’s tools and equipment.
While it looks like Ideal Industries put some thought and consideration into their new tool backpack’s design, we want to know what sets it apart from other models. Did Ideal reinvent the wheel here? Is the backpack functional and useful? Which features, if any, might improve the overall design? We sent the Ideal Tool Backpack out in the field with a master electrician and his apprentice to see how it performed.
Before we get into the features of this product, let’s look at the way it’s built. A backpack can have the most thoughtful design in the world in terms of storage and organization, but if it falls apart after the sixth use, why bother with it? After all, these types of tool storage solutions tend to carry a fair amount of weight. Between being lugged and hoisted around, as well as being exposed to plenty of abrasive and sharp materials on any given job site, tool backpacks need to implement durable materials and stitching in their design.
The Ideal Tool Backpack uses a 1200 D ballistic polyester for the vast majority of its construction. For the front double slotted sleeve, Ideal Industries goes with a 1680D ballistic polyester for additional protection. Some of the competition, like Klein, uses 1680D for the entire construction. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story – the quality of the polyester material matters as much as the thickness of the thread. While 1680D is thicker thread than 1200D, it’s not always superior.
The stitching on this pack looks solid. The parts of the backpack that likely won’t take as much stress receive a single stitch, while the bits that will likely bear the brunt of the weight have a durable double-stitch design. Additionally, the Ideal Tool Backpack uses YKK zippers, designed for handling everyday use with heavier loads. Also, the bottom of the pack includes four abrasion-resistant ABS molded feet.
One issue we ran into is a few missed stitches on a front strap. The thread didn’t pop, it just looks like the material folded and the machine missed an inch or so. Aside from that slight stitch issue, it’s in good shape after a couple months of use.
Around here, we’re sticklers for organization. Naturally, we like our backpacks to have a lot of pockets, as a lot of pockets leaves less opportunity for carrying around a jumbled-up mess. If every tool has a designated place, it becomes much easier to find what we need when we need it. This is where the Ideal Tool Backpack really shines. It features 26 interior pockets, 11 webbed loops, a laptop compartment, various D-rings, and a double-slotted sleeve.
The big deal on this backpack is two main compartments. With plenty of room for hand tools, small power tools, and meters, it has greater capacity than the other options we’ve put to use.
The dual compartments house 26 pockets. It features 21 tiered pockets where you can store away a pretty wide selection of drivers, pliers, wrenches, and meters. It also features 11 webbed tool holders for longer tools and meters. D-rings in each compartment will allow you to tether tools or accessories within each compartment. It even has angled spaces for your hex keys.
The Ideal Tool Backpack also includes an interior water-resistant pouch for fasteners, accessories, tape rolls, and anything else you won’t really want getting wet. Zippers give you access to both the top and bottom of the pouch.
There’s a fleece-lined and foam-insulated inner sleeve that will accommodate up to a 15″ laptop or tablet. Not everyone needs a computer on the job site, but Pros that travel out of town on jobs and those on larger sites frequently do.
You’ll definitely notice the large exterior pouch to store your hardhat. If you’re not using it for a hard hat, it gives you space to keep your fish tape and extension cords.
The Ideal Tool Backpack also includes a nickel-plated tape measure clip and a tall tool strap for tools up to 18″. It’s great for storing a hammer or strapping several rolls of tape.
This pack includes a mesh water bottle carrier, as well as an easily-accessed top pocket for storing your keys, or possibly your cell phone.
The Ideal Tool Backpack features reinforced comfort back and lumbar padding. The padding provides a bit of space between the bag and your back. This design not only keeps the heavy pack from slamming into your back, but it also allows air to flow between your tools and your back. And of course, the padded straps are adjustable.
All in all, this is a relatively comfortable setup. Of course, the more weight you lug around, the less comfortable any backpack will be, but our electricians like the amount of padding included here. You might not always need to use the chest strap, assuming that the walk from the truck to the job site is not that far. But on those longer hikes, the chest strap provides some additional support.
Tool backpacks aren’t for everyone. But for Pros that travel, especially by plane, or need to take their tools to work at height, it’s a fantastic solution. Ideal gets this one mostly right by focusing on a combination of hand tool and meter storage rather than just pushing the total number of pockets to an obscene number. The key is going to be for Pros to know their limitations and not use the extra space to fill it with more weight than they can carry.
At $145, the Ideal Tool Backpack isn’t the cheapest option available, but it does sport the highest capacity we’ve seen with its two main compartments.
Ideal Tool Backpack Features
- 26 interior pockets and 11 webbed loops
- Double-slotted sleeve can accommodate fish tape or extension cord
- Fleece-lined padded laptop sleeve compatible with up to 15″ laptops and tablets
- Tall tool carrier on side panel for tools up to 18″
- Nickel-plated tape measure clip
- Mesh water bottle carrier
- D-ring attachments for tethering
- Water-resistant pouch
- Made from 1200D ballistic material
- Double-slotted sleeve made from 1680D ballistic polyester
- Reinforced comfort padding, airflow back, and lumber panel
- Adjustable shoulder and chest straps
- Heavy-duty YKK zippers
- Four abrasion-resistant ABS molded feet
Ideal Tool Backpack Specs
- Model Number: Ideal Industries 35-409
- Dimensions: 13.5″ x 8.5″ x 18″
- Weight: 5.625 lbs.
- Hoist Capability Rating: 50 lbs.
- MSRP: $149
For more information, check out Ideal Industries here.