Are you looking for a new garden tote to hold all of your hand gear?
One that has the ability to house those odd-sized blades and long-handled tools? And the quality to last more than a single season?
Then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve sifted through the many available options online to find those that offer only the best in design, materials, and construction.
There’s a Difference in Quality?
To be honest, there are many garden totes on the market that are flimsy and cheaply made, lacking the details that give a bag strength, durability, longevity, and a professional-looking finish.
In the assembly line process, key details such as anchoring bar tacks, serged seam edges, double stitching, and box stitching are the first steps eliminated to save time and reduce costs.
What Are Bar Tacks?
A bar-tack stitch is a very tight row of short zigzag stitches that form a “bar” to add strength to fabric. Because of the tightness of the stitches, pulling the thread out is nearly impossible. You can see bar-tacks where the belt loops and pockets are attached to your jeans.
Using cheap zinc or stamped aluminum findings is another favorite tactic to improve the bottom line.
There are also many budget-friendly garden totes out there that come with tools included. But these are usually inferior in quality, made of cheap materials to cut costs and improve profit margins – and they don’t offer very good value.
As with tools, better quality tote bags are often found in the professional market. To that end, a couple of the bags reviewed here are actually marketed as tool totes for tradespeople.
Constructed to a higher standard, they have a higher price tag, too. But they’ll be able to handle the weight and stress of your garden utensils without falling apart.
Bottom line – A well-designed gear bag doesn’t just hold tools, it helps you to become (and hopefully stay) organized, so you can spend more time in the garden – where you want to be!
Gardening Tote, Bucket, Bag, and Caddy Reviews
The Best : The Apollo Bucket Garden Tool Organizer
The Apollo Bucket Garden Tool Organizer is a well-constructed, apron-style caddy that fits any standard 5-gallon bucket. Designed with the gardener in mind, it conveniently accommodates tools of different sizes and shapes.’
Apollo Precision Tools is an American company that produces high-quality, competitively priced hand and power tools designed with the home repair enthusiast in mind.
This bucket organizer is black with green or pink trim, and it’s designed to fit any standard 5-gallon bucket. It quickly and easily attaches to the exterior with an adjustable Velcro strap, and secures with a hook and loop.
It has a total of 34 pockets of various sizes on the exterior, from small, narrow pen holders to large expanding pockets suitable for odd shapes, like a trowel or hand cultivator. There’s plenty of room for a water bottle, and it even has a secure pocket for your cell phone.
Please note that, as of the time of this writing, the listing for this product on Amazon.com describes 14 interior pockets. This information is incorrect, and customer service at Apollo Tools has confirmed that there are no interior pockets.
The Apollo bucket organizer is made of durable 600-denier polyester with a PVC coating. Denier, a denier count, or simply the letter “d” followed by a number, indicates the fabric weight or its stiffness. The higher the number, the more dense it is. A 600-denier fabric will provide plenty of body for a garden tote.
Fabrics coated with an application of PVC are also easy to clean, weather-resistant, strong, and durable.
This model measures approximately 13 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches, and weighs only 1.1 pounds (without a bucket attached).
Please note: the bucket and tools are not included. This product consists of the apron organizer only.
It comes with Apollo Tools’ lifetime replacement warranty, should any parts be defective in material or workmanship.
What Others Are Saying
The following remarks are a compilation of the most frequent comments from verified purchasers at Amazon.com.
Happy shoppers give the Apollo bucket organizer top marks for its well-made construction, the variety of pocket sizes, and its quick and easy bucket attachment.
Reviewers appreciate that when attached to a bucket, many of the pockets on this apron are long enough to accommodate longer tools, and several are wide enough to handle larger-sized tools. Plus, the convenience of the covered phone pocket is a nice touch.
Quality materials and construction components get several positive mentions. Customers note that the sewing techniques are sound, with plenty of reinforcement throughout, and that the dense fabric holds up well to the wear and tear of tools, even the pockets that hold sharp, pointed pruners. Plus, the water-resistant material can be hosed off for easy cleaning.
Many owners also report that with the adjustable strap, the Apollo organizer is easy to attach to a variety of 5-gallon buckets with varying circumferences. They say that the caddy stays snugly in place without slipping, even when fully loaded.
On the negative side, there are two common threads to note.
The first is from a small number of reviewers who found it difficult to cinch the attachment strap tightly enough to prevent the caddy from slipping when loaded with tools.
The second item is from a few reviewers who had the attachment strap break after only relatively short periods of use, but this seems to be a rare complaint among the otherwise good reviews.
An attractive and convenient organizer for your garden tools, the Apollo Bucket Organizer is a hit with online shoppers who appreciate its solid and sturdy construction, as well as its user-friendly design.
The variety of pockets is well-suited to house small and large or odd sized tools, and the durable fabric holds up to abrasive wear and tear admirably.
A quality garden tote for under $20, the Apollo bucket organizer offers very good value for the cost, and is ideal for those with a mix of large and small hand tools.
Our Favorite Gatemouth-Style Tote: The Ensign Peak Deluxe
The Ensign Peak Deluxe Gardening Tote Bag delivers the goods in this soft-sided, gatemouth design tote bag. Gatemouth simply refers to the ability of the mouth to open wide without constriction, thanks to the soft build.
This feature makes it a natural for odd-sized shapes and objects, with easy access to the interior.
Manufactured to professional standards, the robust 600d vinyl-backed polyester and sound construction techniques result in a rugged bag that will pass the test of time.
With roomy pockets and soft sides, this bag is ideal for those who like to use mainly short-handled tools – although there’s plenty of interior room for some larger ones as well.
The Ensign Peak trademark is held by an American wholesaler, the A. E. Robison Company, which provides the retail market with a wide variety of bags including backpacks; computer, lunch, and travel bags; and utility totes, like this ample and attractive garden kit bag.
The sturdy gatemouth tote is constructed of resilient polyester in dark grey with black trim, and features 10 exterior pockets, a roomy interior with another 4 pockets, a durable double-strap handle, and a strong, rigid bottom.
It’s constructed of rugged 600d polyester fabric with a heavy vinyl backing that offers excellent abrasion and water resistance for a long life. Pocket edges and interior seams are finished with rip-stop seam binding.
The tough nylon strapping used for the handles is securely attached to the body with rivets and box stitching, to reinforce high stress areas and prevent tearing. Each pocket is firmly anchored to the body with tight bar-tack stitches for reinforcement.
Each end has twin expanding pockets, plus a large, flat pocket. The front has three expanding pockets, and the back has one long pocket that measures about 8.5 x 3.5 inches. There are four interior pockets for extra storage space.
You’ll find that the exterior pockets are good for holding short-handled tools, while the spacious interior has plenty of room for long-handled utensils and other bulky items.
The Ensign Peak garden tote measures approximately 12 x 9 x 7.5 inches, and weighs only 6.7 ounces.
What Others Are Saying
The following comments are a compilation of the most common remarks from verified purchasers at Amazon.
The Ensign Peak garden tote receives top marks from satisfied shoppers for its durability, rugged material, sound construction details, and convenient layout.
Reviewers find it to be strong and durable, with polyester that’s tough enough to withstand sharp, pointed tool tips. The handles are sturdy, and overall characteristics are of high quality.
Pockets are conveniently sized for hand tools, seed packets, water bottle, and phone. The large back pocket is ideal for holding items like gloves and a notebook.
The interior has ample room to hold longer tools, plus an assortment of larger items.
The only common theme on the complaints side comes from a handful of reviewers who would like to see some deeper pockets.
The soft-sided Ensign Peak Garden Tote Bag proves to be a reliable choice for a durable kit bag of good quality.
Professional sewing techniques have been used to prevent ripping, and the design is well thought out, with convenience and functionality for the user in mind.
Ideal for those gardeners who prefer using short-handled tools, the Ensign Peak bag gives great value for the price.
Most Outstanding Tool Bag for Heavy-Duty Performance: Custom Leathercraft 16-Pocket
Designed for tradespeople, the Custom Leathercraft 16-Pocket Tool Bag with Center Tray is one tough customer that can handle whatever a gardener throws into it.
Multiple pockets, sturdy construction, and the ultra-handy, multi-compartment storage tray make this bag a natural for those who prefer a hardier garden tote. It will easily accommodate tools of all sizes.
Customer Leathercraft is an American manufacturer of work gloves and gear, such as tool belts, pouches, and carriers.
This soft-sided, 16-pocket tool bag is constructed of rugged polyester, and it features eight pockets and sleeves inside and out. You can easily sort and organize tools and gear of different sizes and styles, and it has enough space to hold long-handled tools as well.
The interior is divided into three sections: a narrow center pocket, and two wider pockets on each side. On the interior of one side pocket, web loops help to maintain the position of each tool, and the other side has a freestyle design for larger or more frequently used pieces.
The center pocket includes a multi-compartment plastic tray that’s very handy for containing smaller items like clips, pot toes (to raise pots up from the surface of your patio or deck and prevent staining), and plant ties.
There’s also a convenient zippered compartment on the back to safely store valuables like keys or a phone, without worry of them dropping out.
The handle and adjustable shoulder strap are both made of durable nylon that’s padded for extra comfort and grip when carrying.
This tool bag measures approximately 16 x 9 x 9 inches, and it comes with Custom Leathercraft’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of defects in material and workmanship for the life of the product.
Just a note for clarification: at present, the heading on the Amazon.com web page shows this product as having 15 pockets. But the description mentions 8 interior plus 8 exterior pockets, my trusty abacus counts 16, and the product description on Custom Leathercraft’s website lists it as having “16 pockets and sleeves.”
More pockets are always a good thing in my book, so no complaints here!
What Others Are Saying
The following comments are compiled from the most frequent comments of verified shoppers at Amazon.com at the time of this writing.
The Custom Leathercraft 16-Pocket Tool Bag is a hit with tradespeople as well as gardeners, crafters, and artists, thanks to its very functional design, quality components, and the convenient multi-compartment plastic tray.
Its design has been thoughtfully executed to accommodate gear of various sizes and shapes, so there’s a spot for every tool – making it easy to keep everything organized.
The strong and durable carrying strap is a nice touch, as it frees the hands to carry other items. Plus it’s light, making it portable and very convenient to carry about.
Reviewers report that the overall construction is of good quality, with a sturdy base, pockets, sleeves, and handles all holding up well, even with the hard daily use of tradespeople.
However, a common complaint is that the bag is soft-sided, as opposed to being rigid. When the plastic tray is removed, the inner walls tend to lean or flop when the pockets are loaded with heavy tools, a somewhat irksome issue for some tradespeople.
The Custom Leathercraft 16-Pocket Tool Bag offers a handy, well-designed tote to store and carry all of your favorite hand tools and gear for the garden.
With solid components and sound construction, it’s put together to handle the tough, heavy load of professional trades.
Well suited to hold a mix of large and small gear, this reasonably priced tool bag would be right at home with any gardener who’s looking for tough durability in their kit bag.
Craftsman Tool Tote
From Craftsman, the well-known makers of hand and power tools, we have this delightful tote – and my favorite version of it is available in bright candy-cane pink.
This soft-sided bag features a spacious interior and numerous pockets, straps, and loops to keep everything securely in place.
Zippered mesh pockets on each end let you easily see the contents at a glance, four expanding pockets on the front provide more space to organize your gear. Plus, there are two Velcro straps on the back to attach items like a water bottle or electrical cord.
The interior has 16 loops of wide elastic securely stitched to the wall to hold taller tools in place, plus some narrow pockets for gear like scissors, markers, and plant tags.
This Craftsman tote has a lightweight, tubular steel handle that’s securely riveted to the end walls, and a thick foam grip so you can transport it in comfort.
It measures approximately 15 x 10.75 x 10.5 inches, and comes with Craftsman’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of material or manufacturing defects. This tote is also available in blue/black.
What Others Are Saying
The following comments are a compilation of the most frequent remarks from verified shoppers at Amazon.com.
By far, the majority of reviewers are crafters and artists, and they love the spacious interior and clever layout that accommodates a plethora of tools and gear.
The assortment of zippered mesh end pockets, elastic loops, and extendable exterior pockets make it easy to quickly and efficiently organize gear, regardless of its shape or size.
The sturdy yet lightweight construction and the comfortable foam-padded handle make the Craftsman tote very portable, ideal for carrying about in the garden.
The sewing techniques used in its construction are sound – the edges are cleanly finished, elastic loops are secured with twin rows of tight and short stiches to reinforce stress points, and double stitching prevents frayed edges.
Happy shoppers give the Craftsman Tool Tote in pink top marks for its consistent use of high quality materials, the roomy and spacious design, and of course, the dazzling color color!
The distinctive color of the pink version of this Craftsman tool tote is certainly eye-catching, but the real value is in the standards consumers have come to expect from a brand that’s known for affordable quality.
Its sturdy build proves to be very durable, and the foam carrying handle makes moving it about a breeze.
The generous interior is well suited to hold a variety of gear and equipment of different sizes and shapes, and keep it organized right at your fingertips.
Gathering the (Tote Bag) Threads
Pretty in pink or tradesman tough, there’s a gear bag available for every style of gardener.
We’ve picked those that show the best qualities in terms of materials, convenience, and value – all that’s left for you to do is pick the one that suits you and your tools!
Do you already have a favorite tote, or any ideas to make garden gear bags better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – we always love to hear from you!
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Apollo Precision Tools, A. E. Robison Company, Custom Leathercraft, and Craftsman. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Lorna Kring
A writer, artist, and entrepreneur, Lorna is also a long-time gardener who got hooked on organic and natural gardening methods at an early age. These days, her vegetable garden is smaller to make room for decorative landscapes filled with color, fragrance, art, and hidden treasures. Cultivating and designing the ideal garden spot is one of her favorite activities – especially for gathering with family and friends for good times and good food (straight from the garden, of course)!