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These suckers have been around for north of a hundred years. Some have come out in heavy synthetic fabrics, but leather and canvas are still the materials of choice. Duluth Trading makes versions from their excellent fire hose fabric, which are fine products. I may be a proponent of speed-density fuel injection systems and digital micrometers, but I’ve fallen completely for this old-school method of carting tools around. I get a kick out of tossing someone a harmless-looking fabric wrap that just happens to have thirty pounds of wrenches wrapped up in it.

But aside from my sadistic amusement, these provide an excellent organizational method for small amounts of tools. If your buddy calls with his motorcycle sidelined, these hold as much as you need to fix it, and you can encourage him to keep his own roll under the seat. On the downside, capacity is low, tool rolls usually can’t keep the rain off, and they don’t provide quite as much protection. For wrenches, no problem. For a digital multimeter and diagnostic scanner, not good. But what do you guys think?

Fire Hose Tool Roll [Duluth Trading]

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21 Responses to Hot or Not: Tool Rolls

  1. Joshua says:

    I keep a tool roll on each of my motorcycles. I have most often used them to help someone else, but I’ll be glad to have them if I ever need to make emergency repairs on the road.

  2. Stacy says:

    A tool roll is effective as a supplement to the OEM toolkit that comes with your motorcycle. Unfortunately, the manufacturers these days are starting to pare down their OEM kits to the point of uselessness. I know of one “entry level” bike that comes with a single screwdriver.

    So, a good tool roll can be useful if you build it to fit the fasteners on your particular bike. I’m not a fan of the “kitchen sink” style of packing (out of space necessity) so I tend to keep my tools to a minimum.

    BTW, the tool roll show in the picture is not the same roll linked to at Duluth Trading. I can vouch for the pictured tool roll, as it’s a Kriega Tool Roll and a fine piece of kit.

  3. Toolhearty says:

    Tools rolls are great for bikes since they take up a minimum of space, but I won’t be replacing the ‘ol toolbox in the truck anytime soon. Toolboxes are a lot less fussy about how long your screwdriver or wrench is and how many you’ve got, plus you can add stuff ’till it’s time for a bigger box.

    Gatemouth tool bags aren’t so bad, either. Use one at work ’cause it’s easier to carry than a toolbox.

  4. Eric says:

    I love my tool roll! I have one of the Duluth Trading “Bucket Boss” tool rolls that I keep full in my truck. I can keep it behind the seat without any trouble, and it provides me with a good basic set of everything I need for small (unplanned) repairs. I used to use a tool bag, but it seemed to inevitably take up a seat or get in the way, and tool bags have a nasty habit of collecting all kinds of “stuff” leftover from a job, requiring periodic cleaning and lots of sorting. That doesn’t happen with a minimalist tool roll. As an added bonus, I can do a quick scan of all the pockets as I’m packing up, and instantly know if I’m leaving something behind.

  5. Rob says:

    I really like tool rolls. I use mine in conjunction with a tool bag to keep everything organized. One roll with pliers, one roll with screwdrivers, etc. Since I make my own, each is customized for the tools that go in it making everything quick and easy to find. It keeps other people from digging around in my bag too since the tools aren’t just sitting out.

  6. Cameron Watt says:

    Hot-ish. I’m a die-hard fan of toolboxes, even in the field, but use a couple to store seldom-used chisels that I don’t want bumping around against each other in a box; for that application the roll is best. I’m not a motorcyclist so space isn’t such a concern for me.

    I didn’t know tool rolls could be so refined. My canvas rolls resemble bundled rags on the best of days but if one were placed beside the roll pictured above then any doubt would be removed.

    By the way, rolls don’t need to be portable: My grandfather had a few permanantly fastened to the wall above his workbench to hold wrenches.

  7. Matt says:

    HOT – On my bike I have everything in that roll from the guts of a DC air pump to tire kits to wrenches. I’ve never stopped to help a stranded motorist while in my car, but I’ve done so numerous times on my bike where I have my tool roll.

  8. Love ’em. They keep tools from touching each other and rattling annoyingly in an otherwise quiet car and are soft enough to not dent/ding the car when you shove them in the nooks and crannies of a trunk.

  9. Shopmonger says:

    HOT HOT HOT…….fro several things

    1. Bike – gotta have it….(btw learn to sew your own)
    2. Punches – best way to keep your punches, if you cannot sew, got to HF and buy a cheapo roll
    3. Bucket roll organizers rule for on the site work….Cheap and easily replaced…


  10. Barry says:

    I like ’em!

    The tools are held in a minimum amount of space, preorganized, and easy to carry.

  11. Carl says:

    Tool Rolls + waterproof dirt bags hold my 150ish piece Sears tool kit in my Jeep in a really tiny space. Wranglers don’t have a lot of extra room to spare especially when planning seating for 4.

  12. Jim K. says:

    My bikes have always had a tool roll on them and I use them exclusively for my chisels, punches, and woodcarving tools so I’d have to go with Hot.

  13. browndog77 says:

    I have a canvas roll that came with a Craftsman cordless screwdriver(7.2 volt variety). After using 3 of those cheap but handy tools to death, I bought a Bosch I-driver, but still use the old roll for it & a host of bits & holders that I use daily. As Eric says, the knowledge that all tools are present & accounted for is priceless. This article has inspired me to get a couple of rolls to organize the larger tool bag I carry on every job! Hot.

  14. Paul says:

    They are nice in the boat too, they don’t rattle like a tool box packed with stuff. If you own a small boat you understand that when you go fishing with a couple other people or go camping space ends up being in short supply and it is important that tools can be tucked under the seat or in a cubby hole. I guess the plastic tool case type sets don’t rattle much either, but they tend to take up a lot of space with their forms for every socket and wrench.

  15. jeff says:

    Shopmonger what is HF? I am always on the lookout for some new tool rolls. I have them all over the place.

  16. browndog77 says:

    HF=Harbor Freight

  17. techieman33 says:

    Speed density fuel injection? modern? Maybe 20 years ago.

  18. Brau says:

    Hot … for a purpose, not for everything. These are great for keeping a few tools in the car trunk because they keep them from rattling. Also great for keeping small tools on hand (like jewelers drivers, small files, etc) without having to sift them from the bottom of a toolbox or tray. Not great as a replacement for a toolbelt and toolbox as you need a place to lay them out.

  19. Brice says:

    I well designed tool roll fits under the seat of my motorcycle. It has everything I NEED to do a complete teardown on the side of the road. God willing, I’ll never have to.

  20. jeff says:

    What kind of bikes do you all ride that there’s room under the seat? I need tools just to take my seat off. My bike came with a very compact toolkit but I removed it since it resided on the rear fender and I opted to install a rack there instead.

    I do think rolls are hot but just not in my case. Pickup I use a toolbag and bike doesn’t need the tools.

  21. Michael W says:

    Hot. Tool rolls are essential for chisels if you take them onsite.

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