March 15, 2010

ToolRider GSR Suspension Rig - Review

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There are two main factions in the tool belt world; the leathers and the nylons. It's sort of like the carpenter version of the Sharks and the Jets. Us? We usually dodge the question by opting for the simple nail pouch with a separate hammer loop. Our quasi-supervisory role at work doesn't allow us to spend too many days fully tooled up. But on those days when we're forced to do it, we go for the old leather belt that we have. In our opinion, there's something about them that just feels more...well...authentic. But we don't have anything against the nylon belts, it's just that we've never really found one that we've been all that into. They seem a little too modern and futuristic for us.

But we're open-minded folks so we jumped at the chance to review the the nylon ToolRider GSR Suspension Rig when Rooster (also makers of McGuire-Nicholas rigs) offered to send one on.

First, when we took this thing out of the bag we immediately thought, "oh man, this thing is HUGE." It seemed like there were pockets and hooks everywhere, not to mention pockets within pockets (and hooks within hooks?). We couldn't imagine ever strapping this thing on and even if we did, would filling it up with tools make us unmovable?

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We persevered though and strapped it on. Once we did we were amazed with how much smaller it felt. It's a heavy-duty belt, but it sure didn't feel like it. In fact it didn't look like it either. It felt very comfortable and once we loaded it up, it still felt comfortable. A lot of this can be attributed to the padded belt that manages to shift a portion of the weight off the back and on the hips. But even if it does get overloaded (or you're like us and you have no waist to speak of), the belt comes with padded suspenders as well to further distribute the weight.

So there's comfort, but what about durability? The only way to really test this is to wear the thing day in and day out for a few years. But we don't have that kind of time.So along with the belt Rooster sent a sample of the fabric they used (1680 denier ballistic nylon, a precursor to kevlar). The little square piece has a slice cut into it and printed on it is a dare to rip it. We tried and couldn't. Then we stuck the sample to the fridge and asked everyone who came in the door to try to rip it. Over the past few weeks we've seen a lot of red straining faces, but the slice on the fabric hasn't gotten any bigger. To say that the fabric is strong is a bit of an understatement. And not to mention that the pockets are double-lined with the fabric. So don't expect to see any nail punctures or wear holes anytime soon.

toolrider_side2.jpgThe belt has pockets for pencils, nails, and a cellphone. There are two that are big enough for a 12-volt drill and one that's perfect for a small block plane. There's even a space for identification (which is a little strange, seeing as most of the carpenters we know are trying to hide from the law) and not one, but two hammer loops; one metal and one nylon, which can also hold a framing square.

We wore the belt during a couple small projects, one on a roof and one on a ladder and once we got used to the pocket placement, we really started liking it. So much, in fact, that we're no longer in the leather-only camp of tool belts. We've been turned. The ToolRider is very durable, extremely comfortable, and designed with the needs of the user in mind. If you're looking for a good belt to last a long time, find a store that carries this one (Home Depot) and try it on, see what you think.

The ToolRider sells for about $90-$100.

At Amazon.com and Home Depot

Read More in: All Reviews | Benches, Stands, and Storage | Clothing | Safety

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at March 15, 2010 5:00 AM

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