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Our friends over at Lifehacker — if you’re into being productive in your personal and private life, you should check them out — have been asking their readers what gadgets they carry in their “go bag.”  TM reader Brian points out that this would be a fun question for Toolmongers as well. 

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So here it is: What do you carry in your toolbox (or toolbag)?  Let us know in comments, and feel free to upload pictures to Toolmonger’s photo pool as well.

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(Thanks, Paul Schultz, for the great CC-licensed photo.)

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Toolmonger’s Photo Pool [Flickr]


36 Responses to Reader Question: What’s In Your Toolbox?

  1. When I’m going to a friend’s house for the weekend and don’t know what I’ll be working on, I grab a sawzall, circular saw, drill, and a router for the power tools, and for the hand tools grab a pull saw, hammer, chisel/rasp combo, and a multi-tool. Throw in a speed square, tape measure, and work gloves, and I’m good to go.

  2. Usefulguy says:

    Uploaded photos to the Flickr pool…. I have two boxes, one with custom slots fro all my key hand tools and one for my cordless drivers. Having a box with dedicated locations for each tool makes a huge difference, you don’t leave anything critical at home and you don’t leave anything at the job site when you are done.

  3. Lee says:

    Well, I don’t really have a “to-go” tool box/bag, other than the black Husky socket set that you can see on the floor in my pics (below). As for my home toolbox… What do I keep in it? Nothing. It’s completely empty. Every single one of my tools is either on top of it or on the workbench in the background. :)




  4. JT says:

    I usually take my tool belt wherever I think it may be needed.
    hammer, 25′ tape, pliers, magnetic tip screwdriver, pencils, marker, Stanley wonder bar II (my favorite tool), calculator, hex wrench set, small crescent wrench, nail set, small flash light, and utility knife.

    I have always wished there I had a hook or something to hang a speed square, but it is too big to put in the pouches. I am also considering adding a torpedo level, but for leveling purposes I always seem to need it’s larger cousin.

  5. false_cause says:

    I maintain a couple properties (churches with small schools). I have a big Veto Pro Pac toolbag that has a little of everything I’m likely to need: Screwdrivers, nutdrivers, adjustable wrenches, tape measure, channellocks, dykes, linesman’s, needle-nose, wire strippers, multi-meter, headlamp, hex keys, files, a utility knife, claw hammer, inspection mirror, electrical tape, a box of wire nuts and a few screws, nitrile gloves, mechanix gloves, awl, safety glasses, torpedo level, pencils and markers, small notebook, loctite, JB-Weld, WD-40 and 3-way-oil.

    The rest of my tools are spread around various bags, chests and boxes based on the type of work they’re used for. I have a bag with stuff for carpentry, a “technician’s bag” with electrical tools I don’t often use, a plumbing bucket, a mason’s toolbag, a chest full of wrenches and a sack full of sheetmetal tools.

  6. Paul in Cin City says:

    On a similar note, for those interested in bicycle mechanics, check out these toolboxes of the pro wrenches.


    It’s interesting in both sets of pictures to see how many people carry every tool they can, while others are quite minimalistic. It’s also interesting to see how some are very orderly and others are seemingly chaotic.

    I must admit that I am troubled by a person who’s work bench is “too” neat and clean.

  7. LG in Toronto says:

    You would not believe how much time I’ve spent over the years trying to decide what should be included in my go-to tool bag!

    Like false_cause, I have dedicated, fully equipped bags/boxes for plumbing, electrical, drywalling and mechanical jobs, as well as power tools to deal with almost anything provided I know the situation in advance. But, I like to maintain one bag that I can grab that will permit me to deal with a very large number of general repairs or installs…

    This kit contains:

    DeWalt Contractor Bag
    18V hammerdrill-driver with spare battery & charger
    “Orbiter” multi-angle drill attachment
    20oz. straight-claw hammer
    3 nail sets
    deadblow mallet
    carpenter’s pencil
    25′ tape measure
    100′ longtape
    speed square
    sliding t-bevel
    torpedo level
    string line & line level
    plumb bob
    chalk line
    15″ handsaw
    stud finder/laser level
    9″ linesman pliers
    10″ tongue & groove pliers
    long-nose pliers
    diagonal cutting pliers
    aviation snips
    10″ Vise-Grips
    9″ long-nose Vise-Grips
    10″ adjustable wrench
    12″ adjustable wrench
    small strap wrench
    3/8″ ratchet
    10″ 3/8″ extension
    3/8″ universal joint
    GatorGrip deep universal socket (1/4″ (7mm) to 3/4″ (19mm))
    Moulding-puller/Cat’s Paw & small WonderBar
    GraBit damaged screw/bolt extractor set
    13-pc. drill bit set
    6-pc. spade drill bit set
    5-pc. masonry bit set
    container of assorted screwdriver bits, hex bits, Torx bits, etc.
    staple gun & spare staples
    multi-bit screwdriver & flexible extension
    wire strippers
    DMM & a LiveWire tester
    teflon plumbing tape
    electrical tape
    utility knife & spare blades
    1/2″ cold chisel
    1″ wood chisel
    1/2″ wood chisel
    safety glasses
    first aid kit
    construction calculator
    small container of Weldbond glue
    50′ rope
    a few plastic wall anchors
    a few wire nuts
    a few tie wraps/cable ties

  8. JB says:

    My bike bag which is my most used tools contains. 9″ auto wrench, 4″ & 6″ adjustable wrench, Long nose vice grips, Slip joint pliers, Spoke wrench, #2 Phillips screw driver. Flat head screw driver, Old timer 3 blade pocket knife, 2 Tire spoons, A cheap LED flash light, 1/4″ socket set in tin, Lineman’s pliers, and of course various spare parts tubes, patch kit, etc… . All of this is housed in a OD green canvas millitary type mechanics bag.

  9. David says:

    If this comment doesn’t come off sounding like a commercial for CLC then I am doing it wrong. Several years ago I worked a site where we had to bring in our gear every day. I happened upon this bag at Harbor Freight and have been in love ever since. It’s easy to carry, holds a ton of stuff, and it keeps everything organized so you know something is missing at the end of the day. They make a new backpack now, but I still think the old one is the bee’s knees.

    Photos here:

    bag closed

    bag open

    bag contents

  10. John says:

    For race weekends I carry four toolboxes, all smallish plastic with one lift-out tray. The “main” box has “frequent use” hand tools: screwdrivers, ratchets & sockets, pliers, wrenches, Allen keys, and a few specialty tools. The “electrical” box has a spool of wire, heat shrink tubing, light bulbs, jumper wires with alligator clips, terminals, and a crimper (my tester would go in there if there were room). The “other” box has safety wire and pliers, zip ties, and some miscellaneous stuff that doesn’t really fit anywhere else. The “deep $**t” box (whoops, I forgot, this one is metal) has the hammers, EZ-outs, helicoils, epoxy, and 3 kinds of RTV. If I have to dip into this box at the track, I’m going to need a LOT of help.

    I used to subscribe to the “if one toolbox doesn’t hold all your tools, get a bigger box” theory until I realized I’m usually the only one lifting it, so I broke the tools up into small boxes that I can carry easily.

    The tool selection is based on what I’ve found I usually need (and never need). I’ve made sure I have a wrench and/or socket for every fastener on the car, including completely rebuilding the engine. And it only took me a few years to realize that I could leave the Phillips screwdrivers and metric wrenches at home.

  11. [...] After reading our post earlier in the week asking what you carry in your toolbox, TM reader dbthetd posted this photo the contents of his to-go tool bag.  All the contents you see pictured above fit into a roll-up/strap up bag that looks like it won’t rattle and will unfold to offer easy access to the tools.  Check out the pool for more photos, including the bag rolled out on a table and all packed up for travel. [...]

  12. Old Donn says:

    Geez! I feel like a slacker! All I’ve got in my truck tool bag is a Craftsman 55pc socket set, (3/8, 1/4 in dr), 5 assorted screwdrivers, 3 pliers, (slip-joint, long nose, channelock), a set of metric & SAE combo wrenches, Mechanix gloves, tire pressure gauge, a roll of duct tape and Goodyear radiator hose tape.

  13. Al Jacob says:

    As a retired HVACr and Journeyman Milwright I still keep my pouch nearby. I used to work in multi-story buildings and ontop of roof tops so carrying a “toolbox” was out of the question. My leather pouch carried: insulated screwdrivers flat & Phillips (for electrical work) reg. screwdrivers (flat & phillips), set of nut drivers. crescent wrench, two pr. slip joint pliers (water pump pliers) open end wrenches from 5/16 to 7/8, sidecuts, needle nose pliers, wire strippers, 2 folding allen wrenches small & large, razor knife, tape measure, pocket digital thermometer, pocket elect. circuit tester, sharpie marker, # wire tape & elect. tape, fuse puller, a small finger nail file, compact hack saw blade & handle, small maglight. Attached to the belt is an amprobe meter, buck knife, volt/amp tester. Through the slots for the belt I carried a large crescent wrench and a small ball peen hammer. This pouch allowed me to perform 80% of any work on the various equipment I worked on. For the rest of the work my work van carried my toolboxes,gauges,parts,ladders,drill motors, ext. cords etc.

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