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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have decided to buy Occidental Leather for my tool pouch/belt set up. Quality and should last me for years. Any advice on buying the already assembled electrician sets or individual bags that work better? Thanks y’all!
 

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I have the smaller electrician tool pouch (not the boxy rectangular one) and I looooooove it. It's made with a curve in it, so it sits around your thigh instead of on top of it. It isn't very deep, so it doesn't stick out too far and It's super lightweight so even if you only have a screwdriver or two and your linesman, your bag doesn't feel too big for the job.

I have a leather belt from another brand, since I felt like the occidental belt was overpriced. I also have a little open pouch on my belt for when I need a few marettes, locknuts, a connector or two, etc (all depending on what I'm doing)
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
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The smaller the better, a few years down the line and your back and knees will appreciate the gesture.

After trying a bunch of pouches from my early years on you learn to just carry exactly what you need on you.

This is the best rig that keeps you from screwing up finished surfaces and your body.

 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The smaller the better, a few years down the line and your back and knees will appreciate the gesture.

After trying a bunch of pouches from my early years on you learn to just carry exactly what you need on you.

This is the best rig that keeps you from screwing up finished surfaces and your body.

Which pouches do you use?
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
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Which pouches do you use?
Veto bags and pouches but I don't put them on a belt, there is no need for that.

Too many guys have a pack mule mentality when it comes to pouches, you don't have to carry every tool you own on your waist.
 
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Can't Remember
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I'm looking for a way to better carry my stuff. One my tool set up is heavy and probably not helping my arthritis any. Secondly, I'm forever dropping screwdrivers and other items out. I'm looking at this from a mostly service side rather than construction. Also thinking that maybe its time to look into one of the multi tip screw drivers rather than carry six or more.
 

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Chief Flunky
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I'm looking for a way to better carry my stuff. One my tool set up is heavy and probably not helping my arthritis any. Secondly, I'm forever dropping screwdrivers and other items out. I'm looking at this from a mostly service side rather than construction. Also thinking that maybe its time to look into one of the multi tip screw drivers rather than carry six or more.
Can't gauge what you mean by service work. My tools would be very different as a telephone or CATV service tech as an example. I work for a motor shop so we get motors, drives, soft starts, in almost any size, AC or DC just to begin with. By the time we get the service call chances are someone else already tried to work on it and gave up. A megger is a daily driver for me where a lot of electricians don't even own one, let alone two.

Watch what every other service tech does. Plumbers, millwrights, HVAC techs, copier or telephone techs for that matter, never mind electricians. They all have a lot of specialized tools and a few parts. Installs are very different from service calls. Copy what they do. Most of the older guys have probably bought and tried lots of different combinations of belts, boxes, bags, backpacks, buckets, and carts, but eventually they all do one of two things for a reason.

You probably have a set of "must have" tools and materials that you use on every job. The stuff you take on troubleshooting calls. If it's like your cell phone (can't live without it), it's on that list. Might or might not need it on installs but most installs turn into startups. Does all of it fit into say a 4 pocket butt or side pouch? This is where a lot of CATV, alarm, and telecom techs live. Same with a lot of residential electricians. If so, you are a belt man. Try to think like this...what is the bare absolute minimum tools you need on every job. That's what you need and the belt you need holds only that plus maybe one empty materials pouch if you don't want to be a pack animal and cripple yourself by the time you re 35. By the time you start adding the full screwdriver set, all the wrenches, pliers, hammer, multiple meters, you will just wear yourself down on every job, big or small. So minimal tool set only if you belt.

You can haul 20-40 lbs. of crap on a belt. Take it from me. I used to work at an underground mine. The basic regulation required tools (hard hat, lamp, safety glasses, ear plugs, possibly a respirator, gloves, miners belt with brass tags, lockout locks, self rescuer, steel toe or metatarsal boots without whatever long underwear, jackets and bibs) weighs in at around 20+ lbs. This is withiut any tools at all! That was 20 years ago. Nine of it has gotten lighter. I've heard they're pushing wireless trackers and who knows what else now. It is possible to carry that much stuff every day. Everybody from foreman to laborer to craftsman starts with that load, even visitors. Every pound wears you out that much more. Most underground mine mechanics and electricians attempt to stuff everything into a pair of bibs and maybe another pouch or two on an already loaded belt. Addung a fall harness starts to look like A Christmas Story. Adding another tool belt is unthinkable. So bibs and bags are really popular.

If your basic tools will barely fit in a small 10x10 electricians tote, you re a bag man. This fits almost all service techs that can't travel light. You can carry the measly amount of tools in a side pouch on your regular pants belt or in bibs but it takes so little space and doesn't get in the way of driving that it might as well go in the bag too unless you are just so used to being saddled up you feel naked without it.

With every tool in your main bag or belt think how often you use it. If you don't use it at all for a week, it shouldn't be in your main bag. Go through it often and try swapping things around. Every tool adds weight. If you don't use it, it's dead weight. If you've been carrying around that neat 1/2×3/4 conduit wrench you just had to have at the supply house but haven't used it in 2 weeks, put it in your bag with your reamers, pipe wrenches, and pipe cutters. Otherwise you are carrying another weight around day after day for nothing. That's not efficient, convenient, or anything useful. If you don't use it in a week you are using it less than 1 out of every let's just say 50 hours. That's 2% of your time. If you have to get it out of the truck and it takes maybe 5 minutes extra to find tge tool in the bottom of a box on the truck once every 2 weeks, that's less than 1% of your time.

I'm not speaking to the guy that shows up with a flashlight, linemans, Klein multibit screw driver, and a roll of tape. They could carry those in their pants pockets. No belt needed. Same guy that carries one tool at a time from the truck and spends all day walking back and forth. I can't stand working with guys like that. Mostly because I'm working and they're walking.

The goal for a bag guy becomes fewest trips back to the truck for more tools or parts. If the job is troubleshooting I grab the main bag and I've got almost everything. If I know I'll need it I might grab a ladder too. Otherwise if it's repair/install/remove I carry an empty Toughsystem tote. Some guys use a 5 gallon bucket or carry a mechanics style bag and leave the center empty. Put materials and bags/boxes of kitted tools in there. Remember, one trip. On install jobs where the power tools are used I use a roll around dolly and load up what I need on that. Main bag and tote on top. My truck is too small to carry a Rubbermaid cart. On installs with lots of different tool sets it might take an extra trip but that usually happens when I need 4 or 5 different power tools.

If it is wearing you out, downsize. My other crew members have service trucks so they use a roll around cart like a Rubbermaid one but they mostly do mechanical. One tries to use a totally overloaded backpack with up to 1-7/8 wrenches but he will throw his back out sooner or later. Then once he's not out on injuries he will listen and spread it out more. I used to carry all my wrenches, impacts, sockets, and adapters in one box that beat my shoulder up before I even got to the job. I split it into the 3/8 and 1/4 box, 1/2 inch box, and 3/4 inch box, same as socket sizes. Half the time now I only grab one or two for wrenching jobs and the 1/2 inch box isn't loaded with 3/8 sockets so it doesn't dislocate my shoulder. I also have a tape/splice bag, the wrap/sticky back box, rigging box, cords and chargers bag, and so on. I try to keep bits with the tool and try to box/bag everything by task. So the tape bag has shears and labels, too for example. I keep a saber saw, files, and bits and wheels with an angle grinder as my "panel cutout" kit.

If you load it right and a bag/pouch is well designed, nothing falls out. It doesn't have to be Occidental or Veto. CLC does have a few nice bags. But it won't say Husky and probably not Craftsman on it either. No matter which one it is, it needs to stand on its own when not being carried. I prefer a rubber bottom instead of canvas or leather. That's for two reasons. First it rides upright in the truck and doesn't dump your tools all over so you don't spend ten minutes repacking when you arrive. Second it goes on a table or bench or on/In a panel if it's available but more often on the floor or on dirt, or on a floor that hasn't been cleaned in a decade with a mix of grease, oil, water, dust, dirt, and who knows what elae. Might have to wipe the bag down just to put it in the truck.

Technician bags have lots of pockets and organizers and not much total storage (within reason). Because we have to carry every tool there is for every ridiculous obscure fastener out there. Metric and SAE. Both Torx series. Thin blade, beater, and right angle screwdrivers. Carpenters carry a tiny amount of tools like a claw hammer, tape, pencil, and that's about it. Everything else is saddle bags for nails, screws, etc., so fewer trips back to the nail bucket. The goal for them is one trip to reload at break then knick out 4 stud wall panels before lunch. They have hardly any pockets but the ones they have are huge. Anyone doing electrical work has more screwdrivers alone than the entire list of tools a carpenter has. A belt just doesn't do it except for the very, basics.

I used to do the belt thing. Great when doing carpentry, residential installs, that kind of thing. Even went to shoulder straps which makes being a pack animal way more comfortable. On service calls i was carrying a bag, too. Once I found myself just taking the belt off or turning sideways to avoid scratching walls or crawling into a hole somewhere I realized it was just a really awkward bag sitting next to my other bag. It was more trouble taking it off and putting it on for every service call when it wasn't comfortable driving with it so I just moved the tools to the bag. Now the belt rides in the truck mostly.

I have the belt for when I'm on a ladder especially in safety crazy plants that don't let you carry anything up a ladder. I load it for the task. Unless it's just platform access. Then I just tie a rope on my bag handles and hoist it up.

I've gone back and forth on belts. As a miner, belts are required for everybody so its natural for me. Tried the little pouches, the big zipper pouch (really off balance), full "rig", the gator and a couple other belts, nylon and leather, medium/underloaded rig, various closed and open bags, the backpack, but eventually just ended up back with an almost packed 12x12 bag and no belt. If it doesn't fit in there I don't need it every day or it can replace something else. Bag goes over shoulder. Either tote bin or ladder in other hand if I need either. Installs call for a dolly loaded with whatever tools I need for that.

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Old Grumpy Bastard
GOV/MIL contracting
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I'm looking for a way to better carry my stuff. One my tool set up is heavy and probably not helping my arthritis any. Secondly, I'm forever dropping screwdrivers and other items out. I'm looking at this from a mostly service side rather than construction. Also thinking that maybe its time to look into one of the multi tip screw drivers rather than carry six or more.

The only heavy bag I have is the Veto XL that stays in one spot in the vehicle.

The rest of my stuff is broken down into smaller lighter sets by task.

Heaviest bag I bring into a job is my drill/impact bag and it's basically an M12 impact, drill, flashlight, and three batteries.

 

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Can't Remember
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I took a ride over to Lowes about an hour ago and grabbed a new tote, probably about the size in the picture above. The bigger one I had before dropped too many tools. I also bought a little plastic organizer tray with some wirenuts, green screws, staples, etc. Basic resi stuff. Enough room to also carry a M12 impact and a second battery. Flying to work tomorrow so I need to be better organized anyway.

Service for me is basic residential, some light commercial, and generators. So yes the variety of gear is broad, but mostly the same hand tools. I also have various Klein pouches for metric and inch wrenches.
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
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I took a ride over to Lowes about an hour ago and grabbed a new tote, probably about the size in the picture above. The bigger one I had before dropped too many tools. I also bought a little plastic organizer tray with some wirenuts, green screws, staples, etc. Basic resi stuff. Enough room to also carry a M12 impact and a second battery. Flying to work tomorrow so I need to be better organized anyway.

Service for me is basic residential, some light commercial, and generators. So yes the variety of gear is broad, but mostly the same hand tools. I also have various Klein pouches for metric and inch wrenches.
If you are flying to work wouldn't you rather have a back pack or Veto zipper closed bag?
 

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Can't Remember
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Client has his own jet so the bag apes won't screw it up. I can say that because I was one in college. Agreed, though, if I was doing the airlines, absolutely, maybe even a pelican case.
 

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Arsholeprentice
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Just sold my old Occidental set to my old apprentice last night.

They are unequal in quality and build. My issue was with how the all-in-one set up is payed out. For me it was uncomfortable. I prefer my bags to ride a little forward on the hips, not set in the middle. That way when I reach around for something I don’t have to twist if I need a visual.

With the bags in question, I would twist, but when you do the bags twist too. It’s just uncomfortable.

I framed houses for a few years and the Occidentals are what I wore. I would rather cobble together a set with some framing bags and the electrician tool pouch than use the all in one. You’ll get a better fit and end result.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just sold my old Occidental set to my old apprentice last night.

They are unequal in quality and build. My issue was with how the all-in-one set up is payed out. For me it was uncomfortable. I prefer my bags to ride a little forward on the hips, not set in the middle. That way when I reach around for something I don’t have to twist if I need a visual.

With the bags in question, I would twist, but when you do the bags twist too. It’s just uncomfortable.

I framed houses for a few years and the Occidentals are what I wore. I would rather cobble together a set with some framing bags and the electrician tool pouch than use the all in one. You’ll get a better fit and end result.
That is what I was thinking of doing. I was planning on the smaller electrician pouch or the small telecom pouch on the right, and the fatlip bag on the left. Thought Occidental would be the best for quality and last for years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The smaller the better, a few years down the line and your back and knees will appreciate the gesture.

After trying a bunch of pouches from my early years on you learn to just carry exactly what you need on you.

This is the best rig that keeps you from screwing up finished surfaces and your body.

I have this exact set up right now and I feel like I don't have enough room to keep things that I need. I work commercial and I feel like I don't have enough pockets
 

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Arsholeprentice
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I have this exact set up right now and I feel like I don't have enough room to keep things that I need. I work commercial and I feel like I don't have enough pockets
There is a reason so many of us with experience keep telling you younger guys... “Just carry what you need”. We’ve been down that road, and it’s rough.

I now use the small Duluth pouches if I feel it necessary, but literally 95% of stuff I do with my pockets. Knees and back have a lot more love for me these days.
 
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