If you do any electrical work at all, it would be a shocker if you didn’t know the name Klein. I’ve accumulated a fair number of Klein tools over the years, and have always been impressed with their quality. And, when you’re working on something that can knock you flat on your keister, or turn you into a crispy critter, you want a quality tool in your hand. When Klein Tools recently sent us one of their Klein Tradesman Pro Tech Backpacks (model 55456BPL) to evaluate, I got the opportunity to check out a new way to schlep all those tools around.
In the past, I’ve lugged my assortment of electrical tools around in a big plastic black and yellow toolbox. It does the job, but everything sort of rattles around in it, and I often spend as much time digging through the jumble looking for tools as I do using them. Also, I sometimes want to bring my laptop along on a job. Many contractors do the same; the computer is a great organizational tool for keeping track of schedules, punch lists, floor plans, wiring diagrams, customer info, and valuable online resources like HomeFixated.com! Just don’t drop it, or lose it, and you sure don’t want it in your jumbled-up toolbox.
The Klein Tradesman Pro Tech Backpack To The Rescue
The Klein Tradesman Pro Tech Backpack was designed for this exact purpose: schlep your tools AND your tech, without trashing either. The bag has a nicely padded compartment (the one closest to the straps) with a padded sleeve in it, perfect to hold your laptop or tablet of choice. There’s plenty of room in the same compartment for paperwork, a clipboard, blueprints, and your collection of Chinese take-out menus, along with a zippered mesh compartment big enough to stash a cell phone, calculator, pens, and your MP3 player. To help protect your electronics, there’s a semi-rigid panel between the laptop compartment and the next tool-stashing compartment.
Some of the highlights from Klein:
- Ballistic weave.
- Separate compartment keeps laptop protected from other tools.
- Storage for adapters and cables.
- Organizer pocket for pens, phone, cables, and more.
- Hard, molded front pocket protects safety glasses.
- 25 pockets for tons of tool storage.
- Orange interior to find tools faster.
- Shoulder straps and handle for easy carrying.
- Tough, durable molded bottom protects from the elements.
Here’s a quick video overview from Klein of the Tradesman Pro organizers:
Let’s Pack It In
The first thing you might notice is the weight. The backpack weighs in at 6.4 lbs. before you drop the first pair of dikes in it, but in this case, the weight is a worthwhile tradeoff; it’s the price you pay for quality construction. Stack this up against your kid’s high-school backpack, and you’ll find there’s no comparison, this thing is built to go to work. From the beefy padded handle on top to the thick, molded waterproof rubber boot on the bottom, the Klein Tradesman Pro Tech backpack looks and feels like a quality product.
The zippers have sturdy, oversized pulls, easy to grab even with gloves. They go all the way around three sides of the pockets, allowing them to fold out for easy access to your stuff. The shoulder straps are wide and padded to help absorb and distribute the pack’s weight, and the underside has a tacky material on it to keep the pack from sliding around. One pouch also has some tiered pockets sized to hold business cards, a useful detail.
To see how the Klein Tradesman Pro Tech Backpack would fare in the real world, I loaded the pack up with pretty much everything I’d need for a typical job. I tossed in several pairs of pliers and wire strippers, screwdrivers, tape, wire connectors, my circuit-breaker finder, circuit testers, duct seal, Allen wrenches, a drywall saw, safety glasses and ear plugs, zip ties, a pry bar, and so forth. Everything fit neatly into pouches and pockets.
In the tech compartment, I tucked in a 15” MacBook, a mouse, a small Samsung tablet, a magazine, and a clipboard and folder with a bunch of paperwork. Everything fit easily, with quite a bit of room left over in various pockets. If I was going on a job, I’d add a fish tape, if I needed one, and a Ziploc bag full of an assortment of screws and miscellaneous parts, because it’s a law of nature that you’re ALWAYS missing one screw.
Once I had the bag loaded, I closed it up, strapped it on, and went for a walk around the block. It was fairly heavy, but very manageable, and a lot easier than lugging my big toolbox. It’s nice having your hands free, too, especially if you have to climb (or carry) a ladder, or drag along a spool of Romex or a bunch of conduit, or a happy meal.
Should You Buy One?
So, is the Klein Tradesman Pro Tech Backpack worth the investment? If you’re any type of service tech, dragging around an assortment of diagnostic and repair tools, and if you also need a computer along, the answer is “Hell yeah!” The bag is very well made, should be durable, and provides good protection for your gear while making it easily accessible. The various pockets hold an incredible amount of stuff, and the orange interior does make it easier to find the tool you need. I’ve been using it almost daily for the past two weeks, and this is how MY gear will be traveling from now on!
The Klein 55456BPL Tradesman Pro Tech Backpack is available from Amazon for $107, or from Home Depot for $101. If you don’t need to schlep along a computer or tablet, you can cram in even more tools, and save about thirty bucks, with the Klein Tools 55421-BP Tradesman Pro Organizer Backpack for around $70. The construction looks good, and it has great reviews from over 100 owners.