The Tool Bag

I had never really found a tool bag I liked for keeping in the bus. If I used a big bag, box, or duffel bag, I just filled it up with useless crap. If I went too small, I could never find what I was looking for.

I realized my problem was just not being organized. I was carrying way more than I needed for side-of-the-road emergencies. I decided to make a tool bag that held only what I needed.

Here`s what I figure I need to keep in the bus at all times. Note that several of the items are double duty.

  • 12" Crescent Wrench Mostly used for turning the alt nut when doing valve adjustments.

  • Combo Ratchet 3/8" & 1/2" I`m covered with this ratchet no matter what size the socket is.

  • 20-in-1 Screwdriver The bits are stored in a rotary launcher style holder in the handle. It has square bits, torx, allen, as well as 4 phillips and 2 flat heads.

  • 10mm Ratcheting Wrench This thing is amazing for setting the timing. Its ratcheting feature makes loosening the distributor clamp a breeze!

  • Points File I use this thing for points as well as spark plugs. Handy!

  • Points Lube A small amount of Bosch points lube.

  • Magnetic Spark Plug Socket I bought this at Autozone for $6 or something. I haven`t dropped a plug into the tinwork yet! (I would always drop at least one with my "normal" socket. I hate fishing around in there...)

  • Gatorgrip Socket This thing is awesome! Best $9 I ever spent! It grabs even nasty rounded nuts and gets them loose. You can see them here: Amazon.com. The ratchet looks like a piece of crap though. Walmart sells just the socket.

  • Telescoping Magnet Pickup Tool Everybody needs one of these...

  • 10mm Deep Socket

  • 12mm Deep Socket

  • 13mm Deep Socket I only carry deep sockets because there are very few times I require a standard socket, but many times I need a deep one.

  • Hose Pinchers For pinching off fuel lines, vacuum lines, etc.

  • Socket Extensions Just two shorties. I may decide to include a 9" one later on.

  • Feeler Gauges

  • Vise Grips

  • Needle-Nose Pliers / Crimpers Sears sells a brand of tools (besides Craftsman Tools) called "Champion" or "Companion" or some such. Under that brand I found these pliers that combine needle nosed pliers, wire cutters, and crimpers all in one. And the quality is really good too!

  • Pocket Knife

  • Combo Pen / Mechanical Pencil This pen/pencil is made by Avery and I love it.

All that stuff is what I feel is necessary to carry around for emergencies, as well as most junkyard trips. And I had to find a way to organize it into a neat package.

I decided to go with old denim pants for the material. I have a big bag of old Levis I`ve been saving for their material. Good worn denim cleans up nice even when greasy, is durable, and the frayed edges look cool.

I started to plan the layout carefully, marking positions with pencil on a big sheet of paper. Then I thought about the material I was using. Old denim gives itself well to haphazard designs. No perfect organization necessary! So I started eyeballing the pockets and straps, I passed on using pins and doing a neat job, instead holding things together by hand.

That method made things look sloppy and fun. I think it turned out great. I used a couple of pant cuffs for handles and a couple bits of Velcro on the pocket and to hold it closed.

I used this bag at the junkyard last week when I found a BA6 gas heater. It got really greasy and grungy in the process, but I just tossed it in the washing machine (along with the clothes I was wearing), put a cup of Tide in, and it came out perfectly clean. These pics were taken after that...

I marked up a pic of it showing what tools are where:

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