Stacking Portable Tool-Storage System
Clear lids, open-top totes, and easy-locking connectors make Milwaukee's rolling Packout system an easy choice for job-site storage.
A few years back, I wrote an article on modular toolstorage systems from DeWalt, Festool, and Bosch (see “Toolbox Evolution,” FHB #232). I continue to use all three of those setups, so I was really excited to check out Milwaukee’s new offering in this storage category. Like the other options, Milwaukee’s Packout system consists of modular boxes that stack and lock together, but there are some departures in its design as well.
Let’s start with the basics: The three standard boxes have a 16-in. by 22-in. footprint and depths of 6 in., 11 in., and 20 in. Each of these boxes comes with some kind of interior tray or trays for smaller tools, bits, and blades. The largest sports wheels and an extendable handle and accepts other boxes on its top, hand-truck style. There are two sizes of organizer boxes, each with removable bins and clear lids. Unique to Milwaukee’s system are three sizes of open totes—10 in., 15 in., and 20 in. (not shown) and two soft-sided bags (not shown), which also lock onto the storage boxes. When loaded with tools, the largest box is too heavy to lift but easy to roll, thanks to its large wheels. Actually, that particular setup of mine took a fall down a set of stairs last summer and was no worse for wear afterward. The secondlargest box still holds a huge load of tools, and it has both a briefcase-style handle and a large, folding top handle.
I really like the box-to-box attachment system on the Packout. The single latch on the front of each box is easily operated, and the connection is secure enough to inspire confidence when you lift a stack. The boxes can be opened while they’re connected and are large enough to hold even full-size tools such as a worm-drive saw. I was surprised how much I liked the 15-in. tool tote, as I don’t usually like open-top tool storage . I’m also a huge fan of the clear lids on the organizer boxes and their removable interior bins. Milwaukee is now offering a shorter organizer with smaller bins, but I’m still hoping for more customizing options, such as router-bit inserts.
Kit Camp, a finish carpenter and teacher of middle- and high-school woodworking in Portland, Ore.
Photos: courtesy of Milwaukee
From Fine Homebuilding #280