Occidental Tool Belt – Leather vs. Nylon


A basic toolbelt setup consists of a belt, a tool bag, and a fastener bag. If you’re right handed the tool bag is on the right and vice versa for lefties. Here we look at a two identical setups from Occidental: one in all leather, the other a leather/nylon mix.

Component System

These sets are made from individual components I brought together myself. I paired a three pouch tool bag with a three pouch fastener bag over a 3” leather belt. This is your basic carpenters belt. I then added a hammer loop, which turns this into a basic framers belt. For me it’s a frame to finish belt.

The tool bag has 3 pouches and 8 tool holders. The fastener bag has 3 pouches, a speed square slot, and 5 tool holders.

Leather vs. Nylon

Aside from the difference in material, these two sets are the same. The only dimensional difference is the nylon outer fastener bag is 1” longer than the leather. This is a better size for nail strips. Another difference is in how they are sewn.

The leather pouches are folded into themselves and a the bottom. The nylon bags are sewn around the outer edge and are rounded at the bottom making them easier to work out of. The leather bags together weigh 3.7 lbs and the leather/nylon weighs 2.7 lbs.

Hammer Loop

The pre-assembled component system I’ve been using for the past 6 years (seen above) is Occidental’s 8080DB. That system comes with a low hammer loop, which I was never able use without my framing hammer constantly tapping my legs.

For this setup I chose the high mount hammer loop model 5059, shown below. I still get a leg tap here and there but it’s a 98% improvement.

High Mount Hammer Loop

The front hammer loop is great for my trim hammer, which is 3″ shorter than my framing hammer. So it’s not such a knee knocker. That said, I usually carry my trim hammer upside down in the left main pouch to avoid it smacking the floor when I bend down.

Cool Feature

One cool thing that’s different between my 8080DB (below left) and the black nylon tool bag B8017DB (below right) is on the black one Occidental rivets the inner tool holder to the outer pouch, creating a third tool holder pocket where I keep my level (see above). This also keeps the pocket closer in, making it a better drill holster.

Tape Left or Right?

Many right handers prefer the tape on the left and the pencil on the right because you don’t have to cross over and it saves a move when using a speed square. Vice versa for lefties.

For me, being right handed, I find it easier to grab and replace the tape from the right. Half the time I’m not using it to make a mark anyway and using it left handed means reading the tape upside down. But, with my new set up I went tape-left and i’m getting used to it.

I used to keep my chalk line in the top left fastener pouch, where I now keep my tape. I picked up the High Mount Tape Holder model 5037 to see if I could keep the pouch for the chalk but find the belt more comfortable without it. It’s better if you center it in the back but I don’t like to reach that far.

High Mount Tape Holder model 5037

So Which One Is Better?

The leather setup is a pound heavier but I can barely tell the difference. And, even though it’s not broken in yet, I find the leather more comfortable than the nylon. It’s quieter too, as it slides against the leg. Cost wise, the leather runs around $15 more per bag over the nylon.

The leather nylon hybrid, on the other hand, is easier to work out of due to the way the pockets are sewn. With my large hands the more open pockets won the day.

Bottom Line

Anything you get from Occidental is top of the line so it’s hard to go wrong. If you’re in the trades you know what you want but hopefully this helps clarify the difference between the leather and nylon sets.

If you’re just starting out a component system is great because it can be built up or down to suit your needs. I like this particular set up because, as a remodeler, it gets me from frame through finish.

To learn more about check out this video review and thanks for stopping by.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here