Packout disasppointment

Ever since they were announced, through all the coverage, positive feedback and recommendations; I had my eye on a Packout set. Pricey to a homeowner/diy enthusiast, but seemed justified by so many people and the press. Finally bit the bullet and bought a set with one of each module and the big tote.

The boxes came … unboxing … inspection for damage … all good … then after the first looks and glances … I started looking at the tote. Was not impressed. Gave it a couple days, busy doing stuff. Finally figured I’d start moving tools. Sigh, that tote is just such a let down that I feel like I should send the whole kit back.

For one the material is thinner, probably half as thick, than my current trusty old 10" electricians tote (made by big johnson) that I use as a primary tool bag. Now that bag is pretty full, but it has plenty of pockets and has served me well. Thing is there’s a few “primary” things I like to have around as well (studfinder, infrared thermometer, small drill, …) a few electronic gizmos I’d like to protect a bit better and the small parts storage is somewhat minimal.

So I needed / wanted something bigger, then would purge select & consolidate some different things into a new primary set and do things more efficiently.

Starting with, moving my 10" tote of stuff in to the 20" milwaukee tote + one packout parts bin underneath for all the screws and what not bits that are currently in two transparent parts bins, inside my 10" tote.

The stated number of pockets is actually lowered, due to what looks like 9 pen/pencil pockets on the outside and the inside pocket arrangement just ends up being poor. I knew it was only one sided, but I thought that side could at least hold the bulk of screw drivers, pliers, etc. Then I’d get a few small bins or pouch envelopes to toss a few things on the wide open side. No. … I have not even moved a QUARTER of the screw drivers, pliers, doodads and measuring tools over; and that long side with pockets already fills up, the pockets blocking the center area between it. … it just seems so basic and not even that well built.

Feeling so underwhelmed, I haven’t even looked inside any of the other four units.

This online shopping thing that we are now in to - has both upsides and downsides.

Some of the upsides is that we get to see a lot of different options, we hear about things like Packout boxes earlier than we might have otherwise and its way easier to shop around for price.

But an obvious downside is that online reviews can be misleading (one man’s meat can be another man’s poison) and we can’t lay our hands on the item to see how it fits our needs and proclivities.

It makes it good to buy from folks who have good return policies.

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I thought for sure by now the price of the Packout boxes and totes would have come down. Take the full sized clear lidded organizer, it’s at least twice the price of Milwaukee’s old organizer. I think part of the reason is there is a really high demand and they are having a problem keeping up with supply. They might think the market will continue to sustain that premium price once the supply issues go away, so we’ll never see a price drop.

I know both Stuart and I were excited about the Packout system because it was something new, but also it is definitely aimed at the person that hauls their tools on and off the jobsite everyday, not the homeowner/diyer. No matter what the denialists say about the cinder block drop tests, the Packout boxes are built sturdier than Dewalt or Ridgid, and when you are dragging something behind you every day you’re going to pay a premium to get something that lasts longer.

I think the small tool tote is ridiculous, and the pocket layout isn’t great on the other totes either. When I’ve used the middle sized tote, most of the tools end up in the bottom of the tote. It’s definitely an area for improvemtent.

When it’s my own personal money on the line, I use HF boxes for organization. They stay in my shop and maybe I carry one to where I need it. $4 after discount is way better that $20+ when I don’t need something so rugged.

What little I have seen of the PackOut stuff is impressive, but it is way overpriced.

I love my Rigid Pro gear at home, but they need to expand. The lack of smaller organizers really kicks that system in the nuts.

I bought into the Husky Connect system for all my stuff at work, and it does reasonably well for the money. The cantilever boxes and their inability to stack really weights it down though. And the brittle clear plastic they use for lids concerns me. I bought the big rolling box (not the hand-truck one in the stack, but the job-box-wannabe) and liked the idea of it; a big place to throw all the bulky stuff, then stack my box with all my hand-tools on top and roll out a cabinet (I’m a network engineer who does a bunch of field work). Great idea, but one of the #*$@ plastic latches used to attach the boxes together broke the first time I hit a bump, dumping the toolbox (which thankfully stayed closed).

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