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  • tool bag

     fixbear updated 2 years, 3 months ago 1 Member · 12 Posts
  • guest

    July 14, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Hey all,

    So I am curious about the kind of tool bag y’all carry and what kind of tools you start a job out with.


    I’ve seen techs that bring in everything and the kitchen sink from their truck as well as those who simply bring a multi-meter and 6 way screw driver for their initial visit.


    I’ve found over the years that walking in to the job with the right set of tools so I can repair or diagnose on the spot without making multiple trips to my truck impresses the client.


    What would you guys say is needed as a basic tool set to cover most jobs?


    Personally I start out with a small  tool bag that has a set of standard sockets, pair of pliers, channel lock pliers, 6 way screw driver, small pry-bar, small file, multi-meter, set of allen keys, cordless mini impact by Makita and a set of standard and metric wrenches, and small can of PB Blaster.


    Talk to me

  • ectofix

    July 14, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I used to carry a tool case like the one pictured below.  The one that I had came with different pallets, though.  The pallets I ordered with mine were more in tune to larger, standard sets of tools we use for our work.  I could buy a Chicago Case version of it at our local C.C. Dickson.  Platt was another brand I ordered a few times…and preferred them for their quality. 


    Neither were cheap, but they looked good when you walked into a customer’s place.  They held everything I needed for most jobs.  They held up very well to the abuses I put them through, too.


    NOWADAYS, if I was still in the field, I’d probably get me something from VETO (Veto Pro Pac Tool Bags | Tool Bags, Tool Storage).


    Looking at the above case, here’s how I had mine.  AGAIN, the leather pouches in my tool case’s pallets were different than what’s pictured.  I still have mine, but the tools have (somehow) migrated into the roll-around in my garage:



    • 1/4″ drive set socket set (SAE & metric) in a compact molded case. 
    • DMM with temp probe.
    • Amp clamp.
    • Small plastic box with compartments for various electric terminals and hardware.
    • Small ball-peen hammer.
    • Small pipe wrench.
    • Maybe a set of combination wrenches 1/4″ to 1/2″ in a pouched wrap. 
    • An ignition wrench set for when I had some heating elements to replace.

    I forget what else.  Other stuff always changed underneath, but wasn’t much more room down there as it was.



    • 2 to 3 channel locks of different sizes.  The largest being 12″.  ALWAYS needed those. (The 24″ ones stayed in the truck)
    • Wire strippers.
    • Wire crimpers.
    • Needle nosed pliers.
    • Allen wrench set in that nifty plastic index that Lisle invented years ago.
    • Some jewelers screwdrivers (for removing knobs or calibrating thermostats).
    • Some other stuff that I forget now.

    Unlike the box pictured above, I faced all the plier-like tools Ooutboard so that just one handle of each tool was in a pouch.  The tools all sorta overlapped each other that way – allowing for more stuff and so I could see what I was grabbing for.



    • Small, medium and large screwdrivers (Flathead and Phillips).
    • Flathead and Phillips stubbies.
    • Offset screwdriver.
    • Set of nut drivers from 3/32″ (for pilot valves) and up to 1/2″.
    • 6 in 1 screwdriver
      • My most used tool.  Seemed to be my most often LOST or broken tool as well, so I bought MANY of ’em.  10-1s and 11-1s sometimes made it in there to replace them.
    • Multi-bit driver for security hardware.
    • Maybe a center-punch and roll-pin punch.



    Really not much space there and, by design, intended more so for paperwork.  I did keep some of that in there occasional, but it wasn’t much.  Maybe an old-fashioned “hard copy” of a service manual I’d throw in there before walking into a restaurant.  Otherwise, I carried a metal clipboard for standard documents.  The metal clipboard DID fit in there, but it was tight.


    If I was on a job that required additional tools, I kept a sizable tool bag in the truck to throw those things in.  I also kept another tool bag that was distinctly oriented towards refrigeration work.  Some duplicate tools to what was in that briefcase-looking one, but was set up more suitably for addressing a customer’s woes on the “cold-side”.


    NOW, this case’s setup isn’t for everyone.  Understand that, after serving 20+ in Marine Corps aviation, the requirement for my having a silhouetted tool case was nearly ingrained in my brain.  This case was the closest to such a thing.  Just a quick scan throughout the case and, for the most part, I’d be quickly alert if I hadn’t accounted for all of my tools.  So, this setup worked best for me and looked professional to boot.

  • alnelson

    July 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I have the same Chicago Case. Thats what I use whenever I’m working on cooking equipment. Those tools only get used for cooking equipment. My list of tools is pretty much the same as ectofix


    When I’m doing refrigeration or hvac I have a klein backback filled with tools just for that.


    And if I’m servicing a boiler or a commercial burner I have a five gallon pail with a tool pouch in it with the tools just for that.


    So yes, I have three different sets of tools in my van, lol

  • izzygreen

    July 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I’m glad to see then that I am not the only one faced with the multiple tool bag issue. I find myself duplicating tools per set so I don’t have to carry in more than one box. There is always that one tool that I’ve got in my electrical or mechanical box that I end up needing when I’ve brought in my plumbing kit.


    Just venting my frustrations, and wondering if y’all had the same issues



  • badbozo2315

    July 17, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Here’s my daily driver. Veto MC. If I don’t use a tool in a week, it’s not in my bag. If I don’t use it in my truck in a month, it goes into the storeroom. I can’t stand dragging in everything but the kitchen sink, on the first trip.




    Spark igniter in back, crimp pliers, larger channel locks, allen hex key set, multimeter. In front of pliers is a small zip bag with odds n ends- shorty wrenches, metric & US, temp probe for meter, magnifying glass.


    Also stored in this side is my Android tablet, for doing our paperwork and looking up parts. Fits right in with it zipped up.


    I also have the Veto MCT, the slightly taller version of this bag, needed only with our older, larger Android tablets. I don’t use it any longer.


    I have an open top tool bag for all my plumbing tools. Another smallish toolbag for everything metric- sockets, wrenches, screws & nuts. Lots and lots of Ryobi drills, impact drivers, saws, etc.

  • ectofix

    July 17, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    W-E-L-L…I’m BAD, badbozo.


    I think I still have a remnant of every 6 n 1 screwdriver I’ve ever bought…still rolling around in the 3rd drawer of the Craftsman T/B that once rode around in my truck…which is NOW retired (meaning the T/B) from service work – five years after I left the days when I was “truckin’ it”.


    I have evidence of that.  Ironically, while looking for some tools to work on my lawnmower this past weekend, I’d opened that drawer and was thinking that I need to PURGE!


    I also haven’t employed my Drill Doctor anymore on my valuable weekends.  Additionally, I haven’t dedicated any of my valuable weekend time sorting & “binning” any and every scavenged piece of hardware that I’d happened to pocket and throw into a designated coffee can at day’s end.


    Boy, that scavenged stuff sure got me out of some predicaments back in those days.  You can’t find any of those special” things” by going shopping at a big-box store.


    Speaking of thatI’ll share a SILLY STORY:


    I once worked on a Walmart Deli hot case that wasn’t temping. This was back in the days before their 3rd party maintenance management and mind-numbing stipulations.


    That old case partly relied on halogen lamps to maintain temp through residential-type dimmer switches, which adjust their intensity (this was many years ago).


    So the dimmer switch for this one section was toast and I needed one.  I didn’t happen to keep those on my truck.


    Well, this Walmart was SUPER!  It had a hardware section.  W-A-Y over THERE…on the other side of the store.  I walked way over there, found what I needed, then stood in line to pay for it using a P-card.   Then I walked way back over to the deli and installed it.  It worked as designed (per the hot case maker).


    My company’s policy was to charge DOUBLE for LOCAL PURCHASES up to…say – $100 – I think?  It was based on standard practice in the industry.


    This was INDEED a local purchase.  Therefore – as it stood, I ended up having to charge THEM DOUBLE my purchase price of the very commodity I needed to fix their case- that I’d just bought from THEM!

  • badbozo2315

    July 18, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    >W-E-L-L…I’m BAD, badbozo.


    I keep hearing Weird Al Yankovich- “Because I’m bad, I’m bad, I know it, I know it…” 


    >then stood in line to pay for it using a P-card.


    What the heck is a P-card?


    >My company’s policy was to charge DOUBLE for LOCAL PURCHASES up to…say – $100


    We are supposed to do triple under $100.  Plus a misc surcharge of $9, plus a min of 1/2 hour (going to 1 full hour they say soon.)  They actualyy came out and said it at one of our all tech meetings- If you think you can screw the customer for an extra half-hour, sneak it in.


    We do a lot of WalMart Rational combi work.  Luckily, we work for, and bill to, Rational- don’t have to futz with WalMart and their requirements.

    Animals, just animals. Had one light a 102 on fire late last week- ran out of cleaning tabs, forgot to reorder, chicken fat built up to the point it lit up on the air elements.


    And just to add to “here’s my toolbag”, here’s my (new) truck.


    “Tools to the left of me, parts on the right, here I am, typing away online..” Sing it!  Truck1


    “Tools to the left of me, parts on the right, here I am, typing away online..” Sing it! 

  • izzygreen

    July 19, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Jeez, with a truck that clean how do you get any work done?

  • badbozo2315

    July 19, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    >Jeez, with a truck that clean how do you get any work done?


    What is this work activity you speak of? I’m too busy out here keeping the truck organized. 

  • guest

    July 21, 2017 at 5:45 am

    I think it depends on where you work. I worked in Chi-rack. When I worked downtown, I sometimes had to park several blocks away, and had to go up to the kitchen on the 40th floor. I had a small cart that I put a large “gator mouth” bag on. I always had the basic tools in it but would sometimes add something, depending on what I was going to work on. Making more than one trip back to the truck could be really time consuming. 

    As someone else said here, if I didn’t use a tool in a certain ammount of time, month for the bag, year for the truck, it went away, espically after they gave me a mini van. Some speciallity tools you only need once or twice a year…..but when you need them, you need them. You have to be very selective on what you carry with those.


    Metric and SAE wrenches, a small canvas pouch for metric and SAE 1/4 socket set. A pair of tin snips for cutting almost anything else, a box cutter, two good scrapers for scraping and wedging, a small prybar, ball peen hammer, large flat blade screw driver, a long shank phillips, valve grease, etc. etc. LOL when I came, I came to stay!


    I think it really depends on what you service and where you live.

  • arnold999

    March 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    All greetings I want to buy a bag for storing my plumbing tools for walking on requests.Because in the box you have to spread everything to find the right one.How do you think fit?
    share experiences, what bags are used by plumbers

  • fixbear

    March 11, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    I’m old school.  I used several Klien bags because they open wide, are somewhat shallow, and have buckles. But because they are leather bottom and canvas with metal feet they have gotten a bit pricey.   I would rather have multiple shallow bags vs. a deep one and have to dig for what I want.  You still have to evaluate what you want to carry and need on a job. 


    I had a close fiend that I used to work with that was so organized,  he only brought with him what he actually needed.  He had plumbers license number 1 and did a lot of the MacDonald’s in this area.  Used a pickup truck and it was always empty except for what was going to be used that day.

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