Kolbalt Tool Bags Review
Three Kolbalt Niche Tool Bags
The three Kolbalt niche tool bags that we look at here are often overlooked when we build our inventory of working tool boxes and bags. But take a look at them; one or more may fill an unserved need for you.
What Kind of Tool Bag is “Right”?
Oh boy! For every 1000 trades people there are probably 998 different answers to that question, combining as it does the combination of bags that would objectively work well, as well as personal preference. Just for fun, let’s list just some of the choices and the variables that would influence the answer.
Bag or box? Hard or soft? Locking or not? Open top or closed? Metal, fabric, or polymer? Backpack or hand carried? Wheeled or carried? Do you have to carry the tools around, or can you drive them about the jobsite?
Bag or tool belt? What kind of work do you do: new construction or remodeling/upkeep/repair? Residential, commercial, or industrial? What kind of industrial: factory, mines, outdoor facilities, transportation facilities, etc.? How far do you have to haul your tools? How many tools do you have to carry? Interior or exterior? Same job every day, or is every day different? Size of your tools?
Do you have one set of tools that you swap around to different bags depending on the job, or do you have redundant tools in different bags for particular jobs? Do you have a helper?
I’m just getting started here, but you get the idea. Nonetheless, whatever your situation, the three Kolbalt niche tool bags described below are often overlooked as useful ways to fill a tool bag need. Give them some consideration – they could make your work life a little bit easier.
Kobalt Blue Black Polyester 10-in Electrician’s Tote
The first of our three Kolbalt niche tool bags is the Kobalt Blue Black Polyester 10-in Electrician’s Tote (Model GP-62569A). It’s a 10-inch square bag designed to hold the collection of hand tools that electricians use often, and indeed this style bag is often used by electricians. Before I get into the description of this bag, let’s answer two logical questions.
Why a small(ish) bag when so many larger ones are available? There are two answers to this first question. Sometimes you only need a relatively small set of tools for the job. Sometimes you’re working in tight spaces and only want to share that space with a smaller bag with just the tools you are likely to need. More isn’t always better with tool bags and boxes. I’ve seen some tool bags advertisements saying: “Holds 70 tools!” Well, construction tools are made of metal, and 70 of them – or any large number – are very heavy. Also, any bag that holds that many tools has to be made of heavy materials, addingfurther to the weight. I’ve carried my dad’s 60-pound tool box around jobsites when I was a kid and tradesmens’ tool boxes were made of plywood. It gets old fast…and so by the way do trades people. In mid- and late-career you’ll be looking to shed all the pounds you can from your tool carrying.
Why are “electricians” bags square? Well, not all of them are, obviously, but square, smaller bags are popular with electricians because they are often working off of ladders, in buckets, and other places where a bigger bag won’t fit and a rectangular bag won’t hang from a hookas well without tipping. See the photo below – you couldn’t hang a rectangular bag like this with any real stability.
But it’s not just electricians who favor this style of bag. A plumber friend has one that he uses for under-sink work. That’s a compressed space in which a limited number of tools are usually necessary.
- Constructed of heavy-duty 1680D water-resistant polyester fabric
- Removable and adjustable webbing shoulder strap with shoulder pad
- 13 External pockets, 28 internal pockets , interior screw driver wall x 2
- 5 Heavy-duty feet protect base
- Comfort handle grip
- Measurement tape webbing clip strap
- $49.98 at Lowes
The first thing you notice about this bag is that it is sturdy! This thing’s going to last. The next thing that jumps out at you is that the pockets and tool slots are well thought out. Not only are there slots and pockets for vertical tool placement, there are open spaces and larger pockets to accommodate larger tools – meters for example in electrical work. The carry handle is padded for comfortable carrying, and it comes with a heavy shoulder strap if you prefer. The 10-inch format is a good middle ground. It’s small enough to fit in many smaller spaces (crawl spaces, attics, and those mentioned above) yet large enough to carry a significant number of tools if you want to.
It’s my general experience that while you want a good selection of tools close by (in the truck, job trailer, whatever), the actual tools you need for any particular task is usually relatively limited. You couldn’t carry all the tools you might conceivably need for any job in this tote, but once on site you should be able to select the tools you’ll need for an individual task and carry them to that location conveniently in this bag.
I also like the fact that, as you carry it, it hangs from your hand in a mostly vertical direction. This is a benefit not just in hanging the bag from a hook, but in carrying it in tight or crowded spaces (more on this benefit in the discussion of the open top bag below).
Kobalt Blue Black Polyester 14-in Tool Bag
The second of our three Kolbalt niche tool bags is the Kobalt Blue Black Polyester 14-in Tool Bag (model GP-62653). This is an open-top tote bag style bag, with half-height pockets around the outer circumference (and a few pockets in the interior). The bag is oblong in shape and is ideal for “dropping in” heavier tools such as an impact driver, drill, sander, etc.
- Made of 600D double wall material for durability and resistance to water
- Large main compartment for easy access: 1648 cubic inches
- Multiple pockets: 8 external pockets and 4 internal pockets and tape loop
- 14”W x 11”H x 5”W
- $29.98 at Lowes
My own tool bag/box system is to have one primary tool box in which I have all of the tools that I’m likely to need on almost any job. I then fill other bags and boxes with the specific tools and fasteners that I’ll need for the job at hand. I like open top bags because of the ease of stowing and retrieving the tools. (I usually have the flexibility to work around the weather, and I don’t have to worry about tool theft.)
What I really like about this particular bag is how it carries with all the weight of the tools pulling straight down – a rectangular bag or box is prone to side-to-side tipping, and means that you have to fight the tools’ weight in two directions. Another advantage of this style bag is its compactness when you have to carry it in crowded environments – think of an elevator or busy city street, or even an occupied residence.
This bag is big enough to carry a good selection of tools, modular enough to accommodate an assortment of smaller tools, and has a large enough center compartment to hold most powered hand tools. It’s easily as sturdy as the old-timey canvas bags that our forefathers carried their tools in (and in which many of today’s trades people still do). Unless you subject it to incessant, repeated assaults by sharp pointy things, it should last a good long time.
All in all, it’s a well-designed bag that I often reach for as my second bag. For many people it could well serve well as their primary bag.
Kobalt Blue Black Polyester 10-in Accessory Tool Bag
The third of our three Kolbalt niche tool bags is the Kobalt Blue Black Polyester 10-in Accessory Tool Bag (model GP-62577B). This is an old classic parachute bag design (I don’t know why Kobalt didn’t call it that) that’s been around for over 100 years (probably longer), and designed to carry a selection of small parts – originally nails and fasteners. Despite its venerable heritage, you don’t see a lot of them on jobsites these days, perhaps because young people haven’t been exposed to them, but they do have at least one niche use where they’re invaluable.
That’s when you need a variety of small parts available and you’re working on an uneven or sloped surface. Think an unfinished attic, or a sloped roof. The soft, floppy design of the parachute bag will conform to wherever you set it down, without sliding or slipping. Not only that, it’s also a very compact way to carry an assortment of small parts, and with its draw-string closure, secures them in a jiffy. Closed, it’ll fit into any odd cranny in your truck or tool box. None of this can be said of a normal tool bag or box. Get one of these and I’ll all but guarantee that you’ll find a good use for it!
This Kolbalt version is made of nylon or polyester, rather than canvas as the 19th century versions were. While not as traditional, this material can be easily kept clean and won’t accumulate fabric-abrasive grit. Other than that, it’s a hard-to-improve-on traditional design. Besides its high functionality as mentioned above, it’s just plain cool. Those old timers actually knew a thing or two.
- Made of 600D single wall material for durability and resistance to water
- Web loop handle , rip cord closure
- 12 Total pockets: 6 external pockets, 6 internal pockets
- 214 cubic inches capacity
- 10-inch diameter, 7-inch height
- $15.98 at Lowes
Why You Should Try Them Out
Trades people are always looking for ways to do their job more easily, faster and better. Unless you’re a Type 4 production pro (in which case you probably have developed a tool bag strategy that works for you day-in and day-out), you probably have occasional frustration wishing that your tool bag assortment was a bit more efficient. Take a look at these three Kolbalt niche tool bags. There’s a good chance that one or more of them can fill a need and make some of your work days a little easier.