I was excited when Jackson Palmer reached out to me and offered to send me one of their tool backpacks to test out. I’m a big fan of backpacks for doing service work, and have used Klein and CLC’s rigs in the past. I wanted badly to see if there were other brands around competing in the space. There are other brands that have backpack options, namely Dewalt, VetoProPack, and Milwaukee, however I’ve not yet tried their versions.
Upon receiving the Jackson Palmer bag I found the quality of material higher than anticipated. It seems to be a very rugged bag, with a ton of pouches and slots for tooling out however you see fit. This bag at first glance has the look and feel of a technician bag.
The front of the bag has a buckle-style pouch that I would imagine you could use to put a roll of wire, or a wrapped up extension cord in. Beyond that the use of this pouch is a bit lackluster. It opens too far, and is too loose to use it for any other purpose. The top carry handle seems sturdy, but my personal preference is to take away the need for 2 handles that need to be Velcro secured to one another. The Velcro will wear out in a very short time, and just having to have an extra step between me and my tools doesn't sit right with me. I'd prefer if there was just a single rigid handle on the back side, so I can set the bag down and open zippers without anything impeding me.
After opening the bag up I started looking at the pouches. This is where I was the most excited to be. There are several different pouch sizes on both sides of the main tool compartment that appear to be for screwdrivers, pliers, nut drivers, dikes, testers, etc. However when I started to fill the pouches up none of my tools would fit! All of the pouches are only about 4" deep! Whoa, that's a terrible design flaw. All of the hand tools that an electrician will need are going to be 8-12 inches long, so almost every tool I put in here was not adequately accounted for.
Putting screwdrivers, files, nut-drivers, or anything with a handle and shaft would not work in the top row, and that's the only slots they gave in the entire bag for these tools. The remaining pouches are wider, but still only the same 4" depth! I tried putting my Lineman's Pliers, Side-cutting Pliers, Needle Nose Pliers, Multi-meter, and everything else I had in this bag. All of the tools were loose in the bag, and would most likely fall out of every pouch if this bag tipped over in the back of my truck. Very poor oversight on the design of this bag for practical use. Inside this compartment I also found a zipper and opened it to find a possible document holder, or tablet slot. This is not a bad idea to have, possible spot for loose drillbits, gloves, etc.
One neat thing that I found inside the bag was two extra portable pouches. One of them was around 5"x7" and could be used to store pencils or paddle bits. The other is a standard 4"x3" zippable pouch that is designed to hold small drill tips, or bits. This is a great thing to find inside the bag when you open it up, but I don't see myself using them due to the way they're designed. I think more effort in the rest of the bag would be appreciated much more than free pouches in the inside.
Upon inspection of the outside of the bag I found a netted water bottle pouch that would work for holding a bottle of water, or maybe a multimeter. This netting is not a very good choice of material in my opinion and will most likely rip the first time it scrapes across my toolbox or a piece of wire sitting in the back of my truck. There's also no external clip or slot for a tape-measure or to hang a drill from. They did manage to get a small nylon loop on the bag for hanging rolls of electrical tape from, and I think that is about the only thing this bag has to offer for an electrician's everyday use.
The rear of the bag is the best designed part in my opinion. There are pads on the bag to soften the feel of it on your back. The shoulder straps appear to be very rigidly put together, and would withstand long term use. They've even included a buckle so that if you 2-strap this backpack on your back, you can keep the middle clasped to have a tighter fit while wearing the bag. The bottom of the bag is hard and flat, which is a must in these types of bags. I think they nailed the look and functionality of the bottom of this bag.
In summary, this bag is not a professional tool bag. There are a lot of features missing, mainly any ability to put tools in it. I rate this bag a 2 out of 5 stars as it completely misses the point of it's function, but still has some use for someone other than a tradesman. This would be a neat backpack for a kid to go to school with, a college student, a photographer, or maybe a once-in-a-while tool user that may work in the home-services field, but just needs to keep a few tools nearby for "just-in-case" use.