Like a toolbelt only more minimal?
November 13, 2015 6:36 AM   Subscribe

For my job, I need to visit homes with these tools: measuring tape, flashlight, drawing tools (a couple pens), a notepad, business cards, my phone. I need something kind of like a toolbelt, only more minimal. Somewhat stylish or neutral, if possible. What kind of bag or solution am I looking for?

I have some larger bags but what I find is that if it's a bulky bag then things get lost inside of it. I need something small that can be cross-body or on the hip, maybe? I keep setting down my pen or measuring tape and losing it. Or I leave my big bag (with laptop and other materials) in one area of the home and then find myself in the attic without the flashlight.

I love the idea of a toolbelt, where you pull something out, use it, and just throw it back in a pocket. But a toolbelt would be overkill. I'm also a petite woman who will be dressed in attire that a toolbelt would not go with. And my clothes don't have good enough pockets to rely on. Although, maybe there's a stylish jacket with pockets?

Help me come up with a solution here!
posted by amanda to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like a small fanny pack might work. Everything close at hand, no need to put it down, available in many styles and materials.
posted by jon1270 at 6:41 AM on November 13, 2015

Is a work apron out of the question? I wear one at my retail job, it's unexpectedly convenient.
posted by WesterbergHigh at 6:43 AM on November 13, 2015

Looks like "hip pack" is another term for the same sort of thing. eBay link.
posted by jon1270 at 6:45 AM on November 13, 2015

Best answer: Kipling and Le Sportsac have some cute waist bags, while Jansport and Chrome have sportier options.
posted by neushoorn at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2015

You might look at a nurse's belt pouch (link is just an example vendor, no idea about their specific product). There are tons of variations, so look around to find one that is just right for you.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: What about a smallish cross body satchel? It would have enough pockets for what you need plus it would be snug, portable with everything in reach when you need it.

I'm sure there are much better and stylish options, but something ala this satchel I found via a quick search.
posted by crayon at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sounds like a job for a tool waist apron (a.k.a. nail apron). The available options are fairly neutral, but if they're not stylish enough you could DIY one out of more attractive fabrics or commission one on Etsy.
posted by fifthpocket at 6:47 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Look on Etsy for "hip belt." There's plenty of options out there, though I don't know what you exactly would want to go with your wardrobes. I have several of them and make them work with my wardrobe, anyway!
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:48 AM on November 13, 2015

A roll?
posted by kmennie at 6:50 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: First thing I thought of was the cool hip bags I've seen Gabrielle Anwar wear on Burn Notice. Strangely, you can google that successfully.

Leather Hip Bags
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:53 AM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

An electricians tool tote might work for you. Klein Tools has quite a few to choose from. DeWalt has a huge selection of tool totes.
posted by X4ster at 6:55 AM on November 13, 2015

You might want to look at the Duluth Trading Company's selection of belts and pouches. The have various rolls and pouches available. Something like this, perhaps. Ignore the fact that it's a listed as a"men's" pouch, it's just something they do over there. I have one of their aprons and it's nice and durable.
posted by bondcliff at 6:56 AM on November 13, 2015

A garden tool tote might be more stylish or fashionable.
posted by X4ster at 7:02 AM on November 13, 2015

Best answer: When I used to go out to measure buildings, I'd just put everything in my messenger bag, and that worked fine for me, but cameras were generally a bit bulkier then, and I'd also be carrying a 100 foot tape. What I really coveted was one of the metal clipboard boxes that contractors use. I don't know if you can get one deep enough for a quality tape measure (I usually clipped mine to my pants once I was in the building anyway), but you could certainly knock out the pad, writing tools, a camera, phone, and a scale or straightedge if you felt like carrying one. Bonus is that if you're sketching on loose paper instead of a pad, there's a clipboard on the front.
posted by LionIndex at 7:04 AM on November 13, 2015

Cargo pants seem like they would be perfect if that's an option. They do make more "stylish" ones (if, unlike myself, you don't consider Carhartts the apex of fashion). More feminine ones don't have as big pockets but should be adequate for what you're describing, except perhaps for the tape measure if you use a big one. But most tape measures have clips that would let you clip it onto your belt/ waistband/ outside of a pocket, and you can also get tape measures with flowers and such printed on the case if that's important to you if it's more visible on your person.
posted by metasarah at 7:10 AM on November 13, 2015

A more minimal tool belt? That's a tool pouch. You can get all kinds of shapes and sizes that go on a belt or you can get one with a shoulder strap.
posted by ssg at 7:15 AM on November 13, 2015

Best answer: I love this Kinies fanny/hip pack - not neutral or minimalist, but definitely stylish.
posted by Mchelly at 7:22 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think it depends on exactly how active you are while working. If that's minimal, a Tom Bihn Cafe bag is very lightweight, sleek and easy to access while wearing, and they come in several sizes. They are also amazingly well made -- I've had mine for over a decade and it's still going strong.

Otherwise, I'd nth a fanny-pack style. If I had an active job, I'd probably get something like a Trash Bag, which are indestructible but still look pretty nice (though of course stylish is a relative term).
posted by veery at 7:37 AM on November 13, 2015

Best answer: How about a storage clipboard? A couple of small tools would fit into the right one.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:38 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Tom Bihn Side Effect sounds perfect for this--it comes with a shoulder/cross-body strap, and for $5 more you can add a waist pack.
posted by mama casserole at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you google "utility apron" you will get a wide range of results that all seem like they could suit your needs.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:46 AM on November 13, 2015

Best answer: ScotteVest makes jackets full of pockets large and small, so that might work.

There are a bunch of pouches that you can slide onto a belt. Amazon is lousy with them (search for "belt pocket"). Here's one.

Urbantool makes some really cool gadget holsters. One of them might work for you.

I needed something similar to what you're describing, and after a little experimenting, I had a leatherworker friend fabricate something.
posted by adamrice at 7:48 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

What about a running belt? You could probably get additional little holsters that clip on to the belt if you need additional room.

Here are a couple of possibilities: one two three four

There are a lot of options in various sizes, colors, etc, and they're usually fairly inexpensive.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:02 AM on November 13, 2015

When I needed something to hold my phone, small notebook, and cash at a farmers' market, I looked at a waiter apron. Ultimately, I ended up getting a cheap 2 pocket canvas apron/nail pouch at Walmart for under $2 and I'm happy with it.
posted by bCat at 8:03 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

What about one of these handbag organiser things? You can pull it out and set it on the floor by where you are working without having to carry your bag around. The added bonus is that you can just transfer the organiser from bag to bag if you change them up.
posted by like_neon at 8:10 AM on November 13, 2015

Something like Paqlite's offerings might work?
posted by HermitDog at 9:38 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tactical pants are popular among geeks that have a lot of "every day carry." They're essentially cargo pants with extra pockets (and sometimes other options like reinforced knees.) Here is an example.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:36 AM on November 13, 2015

Response by poster: My job is not strictly utilitarian, I will often be wearing dresses or skirts (with leggings and boots), so cargo pants and anything that relies on clipping to a sturdy pant's belt won't work for me. My job requires that I maintain a level of style.

I'm agog at how many options have been mentioned here. This is so great!
posted by amanda at 10:43 AM on November 13, 2015

Best answer: How about the Eagle Creek Guide Trek? I'm on my second one. I had the first one forever and leapt at the chance to buy another when they started making them again. It comes in black and olive green. It's lightweight and can be worn cross-body.
posted by bentley at 10:48 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you search for "women's travel vests", you'll find things with a number of pockets meant to fit with some sort of business casual style.

No specific recommendations, I have a vest with many pockets but I chose a very utilitarian one. But it's been very useful to have a specific place for everything, and once you get in the habit of using it it's easy to not set things down. And being able to put the vest on and have all the right tools is great.
posted by yohko at 1:54 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I came here to second an electrician's pouch. There are nicer ones out there made of leather. It could easily be paired with a basic nice looking belt to either go around the waist or to use it as a shoulder strap.
posted by Nackt at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Chemistry/general studying resources?   |   How to overcome jealousy/insecurity? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.