For shop welders, a tool box is usually the preferred way of storing tools. The different drawers allow you to stay organized while fabricating different pieces throughout the work week. Usually these tool boxes are right near the fabrication table, so welders don’t need to go far to grab a tool.
However, field welders need a tool storage option that is more mobile. This is where a good tool bag comes in to play. Often times ironworkers need a bag with with their tools for the day, but it needs to be lightweight enough to move around while on the job. If they are several stories in the air, going back to the truck can be a real pain.
Although hand tools are relatively light, having a collection of them can add some serious weight to your tool bag. This is why the bag must be able to withstand the weight without the stitching coming undone. This makes it important to select a bag with good construction. It is really hard to sew a tool bag properly once it rips, so a high quality shoulder strap is essential.
This guide will cover our favorite tool bags that work well for field welders and mobile welders. They are generally more affordable than a tool box, and can last for a long time. You can even grab your necessary tools from the truck and load them into one of these bags – you’ll be set for the work day while remaining organized and compact.
Certain companies such as Klein tools have tailored their bags for ironworkers and carpenters. The specific pocket layouts are meant for optimum organization.
Klein Tools Bag w/ 40 Pockets
This bag is a great option for storing a bunch of hand tools, angle grinder, etc.
The large zipper pocket works well for more valuable items, and the internal pockets can store markers, pencils, soap stone, welding rods – you name it.
What makes this bag even more functional is the fully molded bottom. This allows you to set it down in the rain or the snow without worrying about having a moisture problem. Since tools can get expensive, having them rust out prematurely can be very annoying.
The ballistic weave construction allows this bag to last for many years. This has made it a favorite of electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and welders.
The included shoulder strap has extra padding – this comes in really handy if you end up loading the bag with lots of weight. It can be transported into most job sites with ease, and it is easy to pack up at the end of a work day.
Klein has been around for over 160 years, and you’ll find their storage options on job sites all over the U.S.
If you’re looking for a bag that you can grow into as you build your tool collection, the Klein bag is worth checking out.
Carhartt Legacy Tool Bag
If you have a smaller tool collection, this 14 inch bag is a great starter model. It is made of polyester which is very weather resistant in adverse conditions. With the classic Carhartt brown, the style is tough to beat.
The 17 exterior pockets are perfect for small hand tools, while the 10 internal pockets can store more valuable items.
To prevent the bag from collapsing and warping, Carhartt added an internal metal frame which makes this bag more rigid. It will hold its shape over time with this added support frame.
The rain defender water repellent on this bag allows you to work in the elements without soaking the bag. This makes it good for rainy and snowy climates where you must work regardless of the weather.
This bag features triple stitching throughout, and has YKK zippers which are some of the highest quality zippers on the market.
If you tend to carry a smaller collection of tools but you still want maximum protection, this Carhartt bag is worth a look. It generally lasts for a long time and can withstand some abuse.
Dewalt Pro Contractors Gear Bag
If you have a large tool collection that is still growing, you’ll probably need more space to haul your items around. For contractors and workers that require large sets of tools, this bag is a good option to hold them all.
Its tall build allows it to hold larger items that other bags can’t.
The ballistic poly fabric really adds to the longevity of this bag. It can withstand abuse and last for years on end.
Both of the handles are padded, as well as the shoulder strap. This offers comfort while traveling to and from the job site.
The extra large interior is great for storing drills, angle grinders, and larger tools of this nature. It also has an internal zipper pocket to secure valuables such as a smartphone. For items that must stay safe at all times, we recommend using this pocket.
The 4 exterior pockets work well for storing smaller tools such as pliers, chipping hammers, or tape measures.
For welders that want all of their tools in one large, convenient bag, the Dewalt is worth considering.
For welders that want a simpler tool storage option, this Makita bag offers reliable storage in an easy to use package.
The 20 inch length makes it longer than most other models, this allows the internal compartment to hold a large variety of items. If you need a few angle grinders on you at all times, this bag can handle that.
the shoulder strap is very comfortable (and strong). You can load this bag up with tons of tools without having to worry about the strap breaking. Having high quality stitching and straps allows these Makita bags to be fully loaded with tools. Lower quality bags tend to start fraying if you overload them.
The exterior pockets are good for less important items. They don’t have zippers, so you’ll have to keep an eye on them. We recommend storing all of your higher valued items in the interior compartment. For soap stones and marking utensils, the external pockets will store them just fine.
The industrial fabric on this bag is extremely high quality. It has its place on just about any job site, and it is perfect for a field welder that doesn’t want to spend a lot on their first tool bag.
Black + Decker Tool Bag (Wide Mouth)
For welders who want to stay organized while out on the job, this bag is a good pick. It comes with 2 dividers so you can customize the internal storage. For storing drills and angle grinders, this comes in really handy. The dividers are a nice change from other models that allow tools to get disorganized.
The wide mouth opening allows for easy access to your tools. Some bags don’t stay open very easily, and this can make it hard to access your tools. The wide mouth provides maximum access while on the job site. This makes the work day a little bit easier.
The adjustable shoulder strap is one of the better ones we have seen, and it stays comfortable even on those longer days when you’re moving around a lot.
This 21 inch bag also comes with a 2 year warranty. This is relatively rare for a tool bag – and proves that Black + Decker really stands behind their products.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, maximum storage tool bag, this is worth a look.
Husky Multi Purpose Tool Bag
For quick service calls and a few hours of work here and there, this bag is a solid option. It will hold just the tools you need without going overboard. If you do need it to hold a bunch of tools, there are larger options available in this same design.
When we get a call to come do a quick weld somewhere, we often don’t need to bring our entire tool collection with us. Having layout tools and a tape measure is sometimes all that is required. We often take what we need from our larger tool box and put the tools into a bag of this size.
Husky has been making this style of bag for quite awhile, and its simple construction has caused it to gain traction with many tradesmen. It is a bag you’ll see quite often – that many working class folks like to use.
Available in 12″,15″, 18″ and 24″ sizes, this bag remains compact while providing storage options for most welders. The stitching is very high quality, and we have had this bag last just as long as other comparable models.
If you already have a full sized tool bag, this makes a great backup bag for additional tool storage. We tend to use this as our secondary bag, and the 15″ size is great for holding smaller items.
For new welders, building a tool collection can seem daunting. There are so many tools that can be used for fabrication – and many newbies don’t know which ones are necessary.
If you’re a shop or a field apprentice, you’ll get a feel for the tools that the other welders are using. Ironworkers have a completely different tool set than pipeliners. Shop welders tools vary as well.
Some companies (such as oil field corporations) may provide some tools for their welders. Pipeliners are generally supplied with grinding discs, cutoff wheels, wire wheels, and stick electrodes. This is generally specific to the oil field – shop welders usually have to buy their own tools.
However, I have worked in shops where all consumables were supplied. This kept more money in our pockets since we didn’t have to buy abrasives, drill bits, etc.
It is good practice to take a small portion of each paycheck to get a new tool. This makes it less discouraging, and allows you to build your tool collection slowly.
Many shops will require apprentices to have a certain amount of tools before they start. Before I started at my first shop position, I was given a list of fabrication tools that I had to have. Once I started working there, I realized that the other welders had these huge tool boxes with a plethora of tools.
Keep in mind that it can take years to build up collections like these. Start out small and work your way up. Once you outgrow your tool bag, you can look into getting a tool box that will hold more and keep you better organized.
It is always nice to have a bag around to hold your favorite tools. If you’re a welder that gets called in for field work, having a mobile storage option is really beneficial.
Featured image credit : Wikimedia Commons (Klein Tools)