Nantucket Diddy Bagg

I bought this bag about four years ago at a boat show, intending to use it as a home for tools on my sailboat. I ended up using it more as a transport than a permanent home for tools, in part because I liked it so much and found it so useful that I didn’t want to be limited to using in solely on the boat.

I use it anytime I need to cart tools out of the shop for a project whether at the boat, in the house or farther afield. It holds a lot and the tools are protected. I end up making fewer trips back to the shop because it’s quick, easy and safe to carry those tools that I’d otherwise hesitate to take, but end up needing. I assembled a wine storage unit for a restaurant on the fourth floor of a mall, and it was really helpful to load the Diddy Bagg up and configure the straps so I could wear it like a backpack. It left both hands free for carrying other stuff.

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A ditty bag is a traditional tool carrier for marine use. Unlike a hard toolbox, it fits just about anywhere and is less likely to ding your shin (or a pretty piece of varnished mahogany) if you bump into it. The Nantucket Diddy Bagg adds to the traditional bag’s usefulness: It’s larger, has lots of individual pockets for delicate tools (can safely carry a sharp chisel) and it’s stiff enough to protect its contents.

The bag’s outstanding features are its straps and zipper. The adjustable straps allow you to carry it in a variety of ways, including as a backpack, and the zipper allows you to lay the whole thing out flat for access or cleaning. You can even attach it to the wall as a permanent, yet portable, means of tool storage.

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Its weaknesses are that it is really too big to be a perfect boater’s ditty bag and the zipper is hard to operate. One could wash the bag and soften the canvas, but it might eventually get too soft and not be sufficiently rigid to stand up when full. So I opt to live with a hard to operate zipper rather than risk a flaccid bag. I added leather pulls on the zipper, which helps, but it still requires a firm pull.

-- Quinn McKenna  

[Note: For those looking for a more affordable alternative, Harbor Freight sells a Canvas Rigger Bag for $15 that serves a similar function, and it gets stellar reviews.--OH]

Nantucket Diddy Bagg
$170

Manufactured by and available from the Nantucket Bagg Company