One of the most impressive innovations that we saw at the Milwaukee 2017 New Product Symposium (#NPS17) was their new PACKOUT Modular Storage System. This groundbreaking new storage system seems to be generating a lot of buzz, and was somewhat unexpected by the Coptool crew. The new PACKOUT system does very well in addressing current issues with modular storage systems and introduces innovative and forward thinking solutions that will definitely please the Milwaukee Tool user base.
Milwaukee introduces PACKOUT as the first “truly modular” storage system. What they mean by this is that it is the most diverse and innovative modular storage system available. The PACKOUT system is unique in that it can stack more than one size of storage, and even includes first ever modular soft storage bags. This is done with the use of top and bottom cleats that universally fit every PACKOUT storage option. The cleat design is very simple to use, yet tough enough to withstand jobsite abuse. The system works by simply placing any PACKOUT box or bag on top of another and sliding it backwards in to locking place. The release mechanism can be found on the face of most boxes and is a simple one handed release design that works quickly and smoothly.
All PACKOUT units are IP65 weather sealed and feature a super durable impact resistant polymer design that Milwaukee has proven to be superior to comparable Modular systems. They also all feature a Milwaukee TICK mounting spot as well as reinforced padlock holes to secure your tools. The TICK mounts are placed inside the boxes on the lids to keep them secure from damage or removal. The PACKOUT system offers a solution to large job storage as well as smaller, more specialized storage solutions that are all compatible with one another to make it the ultimate modular storage system.
The initial release will come this September and will feature 8 different storage options in a range of sizes and functionalities. The lineup will include:
- Rolling Tool Box (base of the system), 48-22-8426 ($130)
- Large Tool Box, 48-22-8425 ($80)
- Small Tool Box, 48-22-8424 ($70)
- Organizer, 48-22-8431 ($45)
- Compact Organizer, 48-22-8435 ($30)
- 10″ Tote, 48-22-8310 ($80)
- 15″ Tote, 48-22-8315 ($100)
- 20″ Tote, 48-22-8320 ($130)
Rolling Tool Box, 48-22-8426 ($130)
The PACKOUT Rolling Tool Cart seems to be the base model so far among the PACKOUT system. While we don’t have any measurements yet on any of the boxes or bags, the rolling tote is the largest. Of course, every option in the system can be very well utilized alone or with other PACKOUT boxes or bags, but the rolling cart is the only model with wheels and a handle so it becomes very useful when using multiple PACKOUT storage options to move them around.
The rugged 9” rubberized wheels are built tough and are large enough to take on rough terrain and stairs without shaking things up too much. While the handle requires two hand operation to release and retract, it has a very rugged design that is rated at 250 lbs., just like the crates themselves. It has a very wide, comfort molded rubber grip in the middle. This feature becomes very useful when compared to narrow, metal handles that have buttons in the middle that can become finicky and hard to use when moving heavy loads. It feels very sturdy even when the rolling cart is stacked high with several boxes loaded with tools. Some other rolling carts boast heavy carrying loads for their box components, but do not actually meet those standards with the handles that can bend slightly and be flimsy under load. When constructing a rolling cart of this size, I would probably say that the handle is one of the most important components to get right. A rolling cart like this pretty much becomes useless, or a huge pain at least, as soon as the handle goes bad. Cheap handle construction will cause the handle to ultimately bend or break over time, making this really just a big, back breaking, tool box that has to be carried by the side handles. From what we saw at NPS17 and through testing it out, it seems that a good deal of thought went into designing these handles.
The box also features two side handles for vertical lifting or carrying that rotate up and snap in place downwards when not in use. The lower back side also features a sturdy foot-step that makes going from stand-still to mobile quick and easy. The two corners on the opposite side of the retractable handle have aluminum bars for corner protection against impacts. This feature can be seen on some of the other PACKOUT tool boxes as well.
The inside is very large and mostly squared so that design intrusions don’t impact the storage. It comes with one inner removable tote on the inside that can be switched to either side for smaller storage as well.
Large Tool Box 48-22-8425 ($80)
The Large PACKOUT Tool Box has a very sturdy looking construction with several impressive features that have not before been seen in modular storage. It has the same top and bottom surface area and design as the rolling cart, so that it can be stacked perfectly on top. Like the rolling cart, it also has a reinforced hole for padlocks as well. The latches are very well constructed, and open and close with ease. It also features the aluminum corner guards on all four corners like we saw on the rolling cart.
This box also features a large top handle that spans the width of the box for easy portability. This type of handle would be preferable if there were some organizers attached to the bottom, or if it was loaded very heavy. It also features a front handle that snaps into its retracted position when not in use, similar to the side handles on the rolling cart. This allows for the box to be carried vertically as well. If you wanted to carry in front of you, there are also small grips on the side that could be used to carry the box.
In the demo at NPS17, the box had a cordless circular saw fit perfectly in one half of the box, to give a rough estimate of the size. It comes with a removable tote with two compartments that could fit several hand tools.
Small Tool Box 48-22-4824 ($70)
The Small PACKOUT Tool Box is very similar to the larger one, with some different features on the inside. It is the same length and width as the large box and the rolling cart, but about half the height. If Milwaukee were to ship their cordless drills or impacts in an upgraded hard case, this would be the one they would come in (No word on that happening yet, but just an idea for size). It also lacks the wider top handle that the large tool box comes with, but does still have the front handle that can be used to carry the box vertically. Square sides and edges ensure that this box can be stored flat or vertically as well, just like its larger counterpart.
The inside is laid out a little differently though. Rather than having two large compartments, it features one large middle one with two smaller ones on the side. The demo model at NPS17 was nicely laid out with an M18 Impact, charger, and battery all in the one middle compartment, and used the side ones for accessory storage.
There are four different removable bin options for the side storage. The two bottom parts come with optional dividers and appear to be slightly deeper than the two top ones that fit right on top of them. As for the top ones, one features a snap-top lid that has 3 small compartments and one longer one that spans the width of the box. The other is open and has no dividers, good for maybe some screwdrivers, pliers, pens or pencils. Overall, this is a perfect box for your compact drills and impacts, as well as any bits, or small parts you may toss in the case with them.
Organizer 48-22-8431 ($45)
The PACKOUT organizer is a very well designed addition to the modular storage world. The exterior design is very similar to the small tool box, without the aluminum corner guards. It features the same top handle that can be used to carry the box vertically, and can still be stood up on its side like the other boxes even though it does not have the corner guards.
Inside the organizer, there are 10 total compartments: 8 small square ones, along with two large ones that are twice as wide as the squares. There is also a long gap in between both sides to allow for storage of longer parts or bits. The lid is clear to make finding parts quick and easy without even having to open the box or remember which one you put them in.
The lid has a weather proof ring along the outside to prevent weather damage and is molded to fit the inside compartments perfectly. This being said, the compartments inside cannot really be changed around much, as doing so will make it so the lid will not close properly. It is sealed tight to the bays so that parts cannot migrate across bins. The removable compartments also all feature mounting hooks so that they can be hung anywhere with a screw or on a hook.
Compact Organizer 48-22-8435 ($30)
The Compact PACKOUT Organizer is the half-sized twin to its larger counterpart. Imagine taking that bigger one and cutting it right in half. The one minor difference here is that the latches are now placed on the corners of the box rather than on the front face. This also marks the first half-sized storage unit.
Two of these smaller organizers could be stacked on top of the same tool box, rolling cart, or even large organizer side by side, and will fit one of the soft-side tool bags right on top. One of the Milwaukee reps showed a neat combination of attaching one of these compact organizers to the bottom of a tool bag, and then carrying both around by the tool bag handle on top.
10″ Tote, 48-22-8310 ($80)
The new PACKOUT system from Milwaukee brings with it the introduction of the first soft-sided modular tool storage solutions. The 3 bags are all constructed from 1680 denier ballistic material and feature a hard bottom with cleats that enables for use in the PACKOUT system and also allows for extra rigidity and durability.
The release latch is on the bottom front of the bags rather than on the front face, and is just as easy to use. The smallest bag is 10” and has one large sub-divided inner compartment with some interior side compartments as well. This bag is perfect to dump several hand tools in, and the interior dividers keep them from laying down flat in the bottom of the bag under a pile of other tools.
On the outside there are some small and larger pockets as well as some metal loops that can easily be used to tether some tools or rolls of tape to the outside, like seen in the picture. It features a soft handle with rubber grip on top.
15″ Tote, 48-22-8315 ($100)
The slightly larger 15” tote offers some upgraded features from the 10”. The inside is divided into two compartments, one side that contains several pockets that would be great for screwdrivers and other hand tools. The opposite compartment is completely open and would fit a cordless drill or impact as well as some batteries.
On the outside there are several smaller pockets and zipper pockets, as well as some adjustable straps that are perfect for strapping a level into. This bag comes with a hard top handle and a carrying shoulder strap attached to the metal loops on the outside, for easier portability.
20″ Tote, 48-22-8320 ($130)
The largest soft side PACKOUT tote is 20” and looks like a wider version of the 15” bag. Its design is nearly the same, except its wider capacity allows for storing larger tools. The sample picture has a cordless Sawzall in one side of the bag and a good amount of hand tools stored on the opposite side.
The outside of the bag has a few zipper pouches as well as small and large pockets for hand tools, pens, pencils, etc. The front straps have the capability to fit a slightly larger level than the 15” and it also features tape measure clips on the side. It comes equipped with the heavy duty hard handle and removable shoulder strap as well for heavy loads.
We were as impressed as we were surprised by the introduction of the PACKOUT system. Not only is this a huge step forward in modular storage, but Milwaukee has really left room for improvement. I can almost without a doubt say that the beginning 8 products are not the last ones we will see from PACKOUT, whether it be adapted into more storage solutions or even into Milwaukee tools themselves. There is definitely hope for more PACKOUT accessories and expansion in the near future following their release.