The Milwaukee Packout Tool Box: The Pros, The Cons, and The Alternatives
Is the Milwaukee Packout Tool Box, or more properly the Milwaukee Packout Storage System, right for you and your tools? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on what tools you have, and how you use them. The Milwaukee Packout Tool Box is essentially a “pit box.”
A pit box is, at heart, a large tool box or collection of smaller tool boxes that are designed to be wheeled around like luggage. Made famous by the pit crews of several racing circuits, pit boxes let you lug large, heavy tools straight to where they are needed, but can also keep a large collection of smaller parts or pieces organized. A pit crew needs all of their equipment to be highly mobile, and can’t afford to lose even half a second fumbling around in a big drawer for the right socket extension. Pit boxes are, then, smaller and more portable versions of a mechanic’s roller cabinets.
Are Pit Boxes Like The Milwaukee Packout Tool Box Only For Mechanics?
Certainly not! Pit boxes are used by people all over the world for a wide variety of purposes. If you need to move a collection of tools, of fishing tackle, of manufacturing samples, or virtually anything else quickly and have them all ready-to-hand at a moment’s notice, then this kind of pit box is an excellent choice.
Pit boxes are particularly loved by paramedics and other emergency first-responders, who may need to bring a wide array of medications and first aid equipment to an injured person far from the ambulance or rescue vehicle.
Should You Buy A Milwaukee Packout Tool Box?
That’s the real question. We all need a sturdy, secure, and convenient way to protect and organize our expensive tools, supplies or equipment. Since a good tool box isn’t cheap, we’d like it to last for decades. Before you decide whether the Packout tool box system is the right match for you, consider your options carefully.
For example, does it matter to you what your tool box is made of? Some people swear by aluminum. Others prefer the long-term durability of high-impact resin. Others are fine with clear plastic, on the basis that the need to see the contents from the outside trumps protection and weatherproofing.
Is a single pit box like the Milwaukee Packout system going to be large enough for your tools or equipment? If you really have a lot of gear, you might be better off with something vehicle-mounted rather than on wheels.
Do you think you might need a storage solution designed specifically for the type of gear you use, or will something general-purpose but adaptable suit you better?
Today, we’ll look at how the Milwaukee Packout Tool Box performs in these regards. We’ll then look at a few examples of DECKED tool boxes and portable storage systems to compare and contrast the two.
Why You Might Like The Milwaukee Packout Rolling Tool Box
The Milwaukee Packout Rolling Tool Box was hardly the first pit box on the market. Other manufacturers blazed that trail decades ago. But this did allow Milwaukee Tool to field a fully mature product on their first try. You don’t always have to be innovative, if you can deliver a quality product with all the ‘bugs’ worked out.
At the core of the Milwaukee Packout tool box system is a set of modular tool boxes, the largest of which is essentially a 2-wheeled dolly that the rest attach to securely. The dolly accepts not only the hard modular tool boxes but also a variety of bags and soft storage options. Each hard box attaches to the top of the box below it, locking securely into place.
Each individual box is relatively weathertight, and plastic-and-metal latches secure the lids tightly. Each large storage box also boasts an aluminum rail at each corner, to ensure that the bottom boxes can support the weight of everything on top of them.
In terms of security, each box accepts a padlock on a plastic flange on the lid.
The entire Milwaukee Packout tool storage system includes three tool storage boxes – one small, one medium and one large. It also comes with 2 smaller, lighter boxes for keeping your small pieces, fastenings and miscellaneous buts organized.
Finally, the deluxe version of the system comes with three open-top, soft-body totes. These totes will latch onto the tops of the storage boxes, which is a feature they might have overlooked.
Inside the larger tool storage boxes you’ll find 1-2 small removable trays. These can be easily taken out when the lid is up, allowing you to access the depths of the box more easily. Because they sit flush with the lid when it is closed, nothing can fall out of the tray into the box proper, or move from one side of the tray to the other.
The bottom-most wheeled box and the medium-sized box above it can each handle up to 100 pounds of tools or other equipment. The smaller one on top can handle up to 75 pounds. 275 pounds sounds like a lot, and it is. You wouldn’t want to drag much more around with you for more than a few yards, wheels or no wheels. If you need to transport more than this, you may want to consider a vehicle-mounted tool storage solution.
- The build quality of all the boxes is very good, and they all seem quite strong enough to do their jobs.
- The boxes connect to each other well and securely.
- Each case is reasonably waterproof.
- The system is modular, and within certain limits can be easily reconfigured.
Why The Packout Rolling Tool Box Might Not Be For You
To address the elephant in the room right away, the Milwaukee Packout Tool Box system is expensive for what it is. You do get value for money, but this may be the single most expensive pit box system of its kind available today.
The other issue is convenience. If you have the space to fully disassemble the Packout Tool Box system before you get to work, great. But when the boxes are stacked, you can only open the top box. This can prove to be a major inconvenience in tight workplaces. While you can avoid this by buying drawer units that fit into the basic Packout system described here, you may find that they are too small – they won’t hold a circular saw, for example.
Different Versions and Products in the Packout Rolling Tool Box Line
Milwaukee Packout 3pc tool box kit
This is essentially a ‘starter kit’ for the Packout modular tool box system. It comes with the large, wheeled box and two smaller tool storage boxes which mount on top of it. Totes and organizers are not included in this set.
Milwaukee Packout tool box 48-22-8426
The 48-22 is the 22-inch rolling tool box that forms the base of the Milwaukee 22 in. Packout modular tool box storage system. It accepts an interior organizer tray, but does not come with one.
Milwaukee Packout small tool box
This is the shortest tool box that you can buy to be a part of the modular Milwaukee Packout tool box system. It can be placed at any position in a stack, but can only be opened when no other tool box is on top of it.
Milwaukee Packout xl tool box
This is the largest tool box you can buy to be a part of the Milwaukee Packout tool box system. It can hold up to 100 pounds of equipment, and measures 554 x 394 x 422 mm.
Milwaukee Packout 2-drawer tool box
This is a 2-drawer tool box that fits into the modular Milwaukee Packout tool box system. Both drawers are secured by a single latch. Note that the drawers can be opened while this tool box is part of a stack.
Milwaukee Packout 3 drawer tool box
This is a 3-drawer tool box that fits into the modular Milwaukee Packout tool box system. All three drawers are secured by a single latch. Note that the drawers can be opened while this tool box is part of a stack.
Milwaukee Packout wheel service kit for rolling tool box
These are a pair of replacement wheels and hardware for the Milwaukee Packout rolling tool box model 48-22-8426
Milwaukee Packout compact tool box
Also called the Packout 10 in compact tool box, this is a tall, thin tool storage box designed to be a part of the Milwaukee Packout modular tool box system. 2 can be mounted side-by side on top of a standard Packout box. Each can hold up to 75 pounds of tools or gear.
The DECKED Drawer System – An Under-Bed Packout Tool Box Alternative (300)
If you prefer to have your tools easily accessible at truck-bed height, or simply need to move and store more tools than the Milwaukee Packout tool box system could ever hope to handle, then you might consider something like the DECKED Drawer System.
These drawers are mounted on the bed of your pick-up or working truck, under a secondary truck bed of reinforced high-density resin. This high-impact top is generally more resilient than a truck’s actual bed, so you still have access to plenty of cargo space on top.
Perhaps the most relevant features of the DECKED Drawer System are the drawers themselves. Each of these high-capacity drawers can be pulled out independently, and each can store up to 1000 pounds of tools, equipment or other cargo safely and securely. Each can be easily subdivided, and contains both smaller tool boxes and movable dividers. In fact, the drawers are designed to hold our DECKED D-Box and DECKED Crossbox plastic tool storage boxes. This makes the DECKED Drawer System a tool box transportation and organization system that is superior to the Milwaukee Packout tool box system in many ways.
One of those ways is a heavily reinforced locking system. Another is the fact that we offer different versions of the DECKED Drawer System to fit today’s most popular vehicles perfectly.
The DECKED Tool Box – An In-Bed Packout Tool Box Alternative (300)
DECKED Tool Boxes are designed to be mounted behind the cab in the bed of a pick-up or other working truck. The DECKED Tool Box is made of high-impact plastic resin, along with ample aluminum and steel reinforcing. The final result is an impressively strong and waterproof tool chest with an incredibly secure armored locking mechanism. Even on a trusted job site, you need to protect your tools.
How is the DECKED Tool Box competitive with the Milwaukee Packout tool box? We’re glad you asked. Ours features a watertight gasket seal, a spring-loaded top door and a full 73.4-gallons of internal space. It also functions as a tool box organization system, as it is designed to fit our smaller storage tool boxes inside. The DECKED Tool Box even ships with DECKED D-Box and a DECKED Snack Tray inside. Optional additions include additional tool boxes, space dividers and a ladder for easy access on tall truck beds.
So, now you should have a better idea about whether the Milwaukee Packout Tool Box really does everything you need it to. And if it does fall short in one or two areas *cough* security and space *cough*, you know what other alternatives we can provide.