The Storage Tote is a soft-shell portable toolbox, meant to be a supplement to your large scale storage. With plenty of custom slots for tools, pockets, and zippered pouches, you can carry just about anything you need. Its open-top style makes it a piece of cake to trade tools out quickly.
The Packout System was released in 2018 and has been blazing across the tool world with vigor ever since. With 21 different pieces in the range, including this tote, you can take your workshop from nightmare to pro-level organization using just one brand. A customizable buildout with this lineup allows a lot of variabilities to create the best setup for your needs.
Let’s get into the details of the Storage Tote and cover ideal customers, best features, and the downsides. Enjoy this thorough Milwaukee Packout review, and let it guide your decision to purchase or pass on the Storage Tote.
Who’s It For?
This Storage Tote was made with the rugged worker in mind – someone who needs to throw tools together and hit the job-site. Beyond that, the entire Packout range was created for the organization junkie. You might not have read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book, but you probably appreciate an organized workspace. If you are a person that enjoys having everything in its rightful place, this is the tool tote for you.
Do you know who this Storage Tote wasn’t made for? The Neanderthal who’s content with keeping their tools jumbled up in an old Whole Foods Market bag. But have hope cave-people, there is still an opportunity to turn your barbaric ways around.
Nothing makes a project go smoother than knowing exactly where all your tools are. Plus, you might avoid the unfortunate circumstance of reaching for your tape measure and getting a screwdriver shoved under your nail. The organization, folks, that’s where it’s at.
Broken down below is the ideal customer run-down.
This tote was made for the person who:
- Loves organization
- Needs something portable and durable
- Would like to integrate into the full Packout line
- Prefers a tool kit that has everything easily accessible
This tote is not ideal for the person who:
- Is on a tight budget
- Does not have many tools and needs an enclosed case
- Gets overwhelmed with too many pockets (settle down, you’re fine)
Most customers seem to be plumbers or electricians, but plenty of people have purchased this as a gift for their partners. Talk about a good birthday present.
What We Like About Milwaukee Packout Storage Tote
If storage totes had a democracy, this Milwaukee Packout would be president. Rough as a rhino, it has a huge capacity, and also comes in various sizes – up to 20” – that’s bigger than your average trout. It’s an awesome tool caddy for professional handymen and home tool hoarders alike.
First, let’s cover material:
- Body material: ultra-durable and sturdy
- Rigid sides: allow you to easily clip tools on for storage
- Semi-rigid cavity divider: useful for keeping things flexible in the body for packing large items in
- Hard plastic bottom: waterproof and will never tear
Considering the construction quality of this bag, a major positive that you might not think of is that the bag won’t collapse if it isn’t super full. There isn’t much that’s more annoying than a bag folding in on itself when you’re trying to find a tool. This thing stands up tall and straight even when it is empty.
Though shallow pockets were mentioned as a downside in a few reviews, the positive about this is that it’s a lot more difficult to have smaller items get lost in the bottom. Slim pen pockets on the side keep your writing utensils at the ready. If you know anything about pens, you know they’re never around when you need one. Pen pockets solve this problem!
On the same note, yes it is pricey, but you honestly get what you pay for. A 5-gallon bucket is going to be a lot cheaper, but good luck reaching into that booby trap to find anything you need.
A few other positive highlights from users include:
- Looks sharp and professional
- Extremely versatile
- Excellent quality and durability
- Very spacious
Overall, there is a lot of love about this Storage Tote. We measure out more positives than negatives. However, it’s never right to let love cloud your ability for sensible judgment, so let’s also consider the downsides.
What We Don’t Like About Milwaukee Packout Storage Tote
There isn’t a ton to dislike about this product aside from a few nit-picky things. Some say the pockets are too shallow for longer tools. The zippered pockets also tend to be pretty slim – probably only good for fitting some short pencils or a small notebook. This pocket sizing could certainly be annoying, but the issue is mentioned only in the odd Milwaukee Packout review.
While the open-top design is meant for easy tool access and swapping, it also turns into a temptation to completely load it up. It’s not like you’ve got to try to latch down a lid, so nothing is stopping you from dumping in your impressive screwdriver collection. Well, aside from weight.
The tote already hits the scale at 6lbs, so getting to the “too heavy” point happens pretty quickly. Especially when you are lugging this thing up a ladder. Thank goodness it comes with a shoulder strap. It seems like Milwaukee knew that their customers were rightful packrats.
A few other not so great mentions include:
- Material is bulky and stiff (but that’s kind of the point)
- Could be difficult for larger handed folks to reach into narrow pockets
- The middle divider can feel like it gets in the way
- Pockets don’t go all the way around
- It could be too large for your needs
We can’t ignore the price when it comes to the not-so-great things about this product. If budget is a concern for you, it’s best to look elsewhere for tool storage.
Let’s sum up our Likes and Dislikes from above:
- Incredibly durable and sturdy
- Fully integrable into the Packout system
- Stiff standup construction – no collapsing for this bag
- Specialized pockets for sublime organization
- This baby can get heavy if you load her down too much, which is pretty tempting considering the top is open and there’s no lid to get in the way
- The pockets could be a bit shallow for your longer tools
- Might be considered a bit large for daily use
When you pony up for this Storage Tote, you don’t just get an influx of self-pride for your organization skills. You get increased project speed, better tool management, and the jealousy of your woodworking friends. But, with the purchase of this tote, you’ll receive the tote itself and an attachable shoulder strap. You’ll have to buy all your tools to fill it with, of course.
Some users comment that they wish this tote came with included items such as:
- An extra shoulder strap
- Small parts organizer
- Extra D ring attachment points
- A laminated nameplate (you know, for that kindergarten “this lunchbox belongs to” vibe)
The Storage Tote comes fully assembled, as you would expect. Yes, you’re handy, but you don’t need to waste any time putting together things that aren’t dedicated projects. You’ve got enough on your to-do list.
There are plenty of recommended accessories to consider. Staying loyal to the Packout range alone still gives you plenty of options for compatible products. Most items are large organizers that mount together, but Milwaukee also offers a small compact organizer that would easily fit into the Storage Tote. This is the way to go for keeping small bits and pieces together.
Overview Of Features
Let’s hit those features upfront, then break down some specifics about what makes this Storage Tote a stand out product.
The hard fact features are as follows:
- 1680 ballistic material construction and reinforced sidewalls
- All metal hardware
- Sturdy grip handle and a padded shoulder strap
- 31 pockets and 2 zippered pockets
- Metal tape clip
So, what makes this product so durable?
You read those features right – ballistic material. Like, the stuff that was invented in World War II for soldiers to wear as flak jackets to protect them from artillery-shell fragments. And now it’s what your tool bag is made of.
Looking at cheaper products, you’ll find that as the price goes down, the use of plastic pieces rises. Put plainly, plastic sucks when functioning as fixtures or fasteners. That’s why Milwaukee made the wise decision to include all-metal hardware. There’s no complaining about that.
Less expensive tool bags fall short in the following ways:
- Cheap polyester material
- Half the number of pockets
- Cloth carrying straps
- Fragile sewing and seams
- Weak Velcro fasteners
You’re toting your precious tools here – bottom line, you need something durable. We’re talking heavy-duty stitching and material, thick seaming, and strong webbing. To accommodate this robust construction, you likewise want a product with firm comfort grips that will hold up over time.
Have you ever carried a plastic grocery bag that was loaded down with cans? If not, you need to help out around the house more. If so, you’ll remember the painful indent that was left in your fingers as you airborne-shuffled your way as fast as possible to the kitchen. With the over-molded handle on this Storage Tote, the only shuffling you’ll be doing is to the coffee shop for more joe.
A substantial handle is a great feature for a few reasons:
- Great ergonomic positioning for your fingers
- Distributes strain to lessen stress points
- Ample circumference fits well in the hand to decrease strain on the hand
- The rubber material will hold up to extensive grip time
A hard plastic bottom protects the tote from scratches and tears in rough conditions. You can place this bag down on a pile of jagged rocks and be just fine. Don’t go placing your Storage Tote down in a deep puddle, but a damp floor will not harm the waterproof bottom. This hardy bottom is also helpful to prevent the tool bag from collapsing in on itself.
A burly bottom will serve you well for the following rationale:
- No canvas tearing
- Stands up to dragging and rough surfaces
- Hardy bag interior, for sharper tools that might rub the surface
- Helps in keeping the bag upright and open
For those work-folks with a pocket problem, this tote is for you. Have no shame in your love for all things coordinated. The impressive number of pockets gives you the ability to categorize your handheld tools for quick locating.
A few specialized holsters on the outside of the bag free up interior space. They include a tape measure clip and straps for a level. You can even fit a drill in the main body.
Dimensions of the 15” Storage Tote:
- 17” long
- 15” side
- 11” tall
Hefty enough to be a tote-all, but small enough to be tote-able and compact. You can easily slip on the shoulder strap for a loaded up bag and get from truck to job-site without huffing and puffing.
To wrap it up, the Milwaukee Storage Tote is a fantastic tool bag. The perfect supplement to your large form of storage, you’ll find yourself using this bag day in and day out. In the comprehensive review above, we’ve outlined the many positives and notable negatives about this product. Hopefully, this gives you a bipartisan view of the item as a whole and equips you to make the best purchasing decision.
In summary, this is a great tool caddy for the craftsman with a lot of tools and high organization needs. It’ll work great to complement standalone storage systems or even as a home tool bag for standard chores.
Think of this tote investment as an extension of care for the tools you have. Good tools deserve to sit in good storage. Remember to take care of your organization and pack out what you pack in.
Q: Is there a tape strap?
A: Yes. This is the main function of the short canvas webbing loop mentioned earlier. Detach the clip and thread the canvas piece through the tape roll openings, then clip it back to the back to secure. You might be able to fit 2 rolls of painter’s tape, though this could be tight.
Q: Are there any plastic pieces?
A: There is some plastic material in the molded handle and comprising the durable bottom piece. None of the connector pieces are plastic in this Storage Tote, as one of the main features is all metal hardware. Plastic is a useful material for how it’s utilized in this product but would decrease the overall durability if used as the hardware. All metal hardware is a major plus.
Q: Would the tool bag fill up with water?
A: Yes…but this isn’t something you need to test out. Like any of your tools, don’t leave it out in the rain or take a shower with it and you won’t have to worry about it. If for some reason you accidentally fill it with water, thoroughly dry off all of your tools and lay them out flat to ensure no moisture remains. Don’t put this bag in the dryer, but set it out in the sun to dry it out.
Q: Does the bag come in other colors?
A: No, you are limited to red and black here. Classic to the Milwaukee namesake and the Packout line, the colors on this bag are meant to coordinate with the brand’s trademark aesthetic.