Ergodyne recently announced a new tool carrier, the Arsenal 5843 Tool Backpack. Tool backpacks have been around for years and are typically aimed at repair and maintenance techs, electricians and telecommunications workers, and other trades that must climb with their tools or carry them to distant locations. Most packs of this kind have many small interior compartments to fit tools like pliers and screwdrivers, and one or more larger compartments for cords, water bottles, and the like. The Arsenal 5843 has all of those things plus something I haven’t seen before, a place on the side for carrying tools that are too tall (more than 18”) to fit inside. The manufacturer calls it a tool holster and shows it holding a pipe wrench. I could see using the holster to carry a small sledge hammer, medium size pry bar, or perhaps even a cordless recip saw (handle down—blade up).

The pack has seven exterior compartments, the most interesting being a large open pocket with cinch straps. Ergodyne shows it holding an electrical cord. Above that pocket is a medium size pocket with a flap. The side across from the tool holster has a large mesh pocket and a place to clip a tape measure. There is a small zipped pocket on the back panel and three more small pockets on the hip belt. The interior contains two large zippered compartments with a total of 26 interior pockets, 11 webbing loops, and 8 D-rings.

The suspension system is similar to that of outdoorsman’s hiking pack, with substantial padding on the shoulder straps, back, and waist belt. The pack has an adjustable chest strap and D-rings on the shoulder straps. There is a hand grip (handles) on top and ventilation space between the back pads.

To insure durability, the pack is made from 1200D (D for Dernier—a measure of yarn thickness) ballistic polyester with a PVC backing and uses YKK zippers. According to its maker it has been third-party certified to carry 50 pounds. It could probably carry more—though really, 50 pounds of tools is about as much as I’d want to carry while climbing or walking to the work area.

The Arsenal Backpack is made in China and is expected to retail for around $135. In terms of price that puts it between the Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC ($240) and comparable models from CLC (model L255—$110; model 1134—$95) and Klein (model 55421BP-14—$110 and model 55456BPL—$100).