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Crawlspace Tool Bags, Boxes, Etc.


Eric Russell
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I know it's been wore oout on here, but I'm looking for some ideas on what you go in the crawlspace with and how. As in...flashlight, probe, camera i.e., and then how you tote it in there. I wear tyvek coveralls, and, without a belt, there's nowhere for tools on my person. I've tried dragging the bag with me, but the bag I was using was flimsy and I had to dig around in it to find what I needed. I wear gloves and a respirator, and I'm looking for more rigidity but still functional. Any ideas??? Come on...chime in on this one!

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I know it's been wore oout on here, but I'm looking for some ideas on what you go in the crawlspace with and how. As in...flashlight, probe, camera i.e., and then how you tote it in there. I wear tyvek coveralls, and, without a belt, there's nowhere for tools on my person. I've tried dragging the bag with me, but the bag I was using was flimsy and I had to dig around in it to find what I needed. I wear gloves and a respirator, and I'm looking for more rigidity but still functional. Any ideas??? Come on...chime in on this one!

Covering my person.

Key coveralls, painter's head sock, North full-face respirator, hockey elbowpads, diver's water shoes, nitrile gloves.

Carry with me:

Camera in left breast pocket.

Flashlight in left hand.

Rock pick in right hand.

Mode of transportation:

Krawlgear Krawler.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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To the previous list add some lighting....

A couple 14v-18v battery types; "ambient" light is remarkably nice in nasty crawls.

I use a Fenix TK11 flashlight; tiny, lanyard is foolproof, unbelievably bright, tight, focused beam and halo. I've left it on for hours and it doesn't run down, only dim slightly for hours thereafter.

I use a 18" probe; a little extra reach is nice. If it's wasn't a complete hassle to hawl around, I'd carry a 42".

Knee pads.

Whatever camera you like least; whatever it is, it will get screwed up.

I see an inordinate # of dirt crap floor crawlers; I can only dream about a Krawler.

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Tyvek coveralls with integral footies and hood

1/2 face respirator

Mechanics gloves with leather palms

"Patella" brand gel filled knee pads (well worth the $75)

LED headlight

Hand held pistol grip flashlight

Camera left breast pocket

Cell phone

Occasionally carry survey tape to flag defects

90% or more homes in area have crawl spaces. Usually about 3 feet clearance at high spots and 18 inch clearance under ducts and beams. Homes less than 15 years old have pipes supported near joists, older homes have pipes at or near grade.

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My first digital camera was a Fujifilm. I was so disappointed when it broke. My next/current one is a Samsung. It has lasted well but does not take as good a picture as the Fuji. I am going to try another Fuji. I like to keep it under $100 if I can but $159 not too bad.

Thank goodness I don't get many crawlspaces and when I do most are fairly roomy. I have many that I don't even put the coveralls on, just the knee pads.

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Mode of transportation:

Krawlgear Krawler.

So you bucked up and purchased one recently?

Do you ever regret the purchase, or is it pretty sweet?

What percentage of crawlspaces does it work well in?

Thanks.

I've had it for years. I don't regret the purchase, but I wish that it came with hard wheels instead of pnuematic tires. They go "flat" every so often and I have to recharge them.

I probably use it in about 50% of crawlspaces:

If the crawlspace is big enough for hands & knees, the Krawler is pointless.

If the crawlspace is a forest of posts & pierpads, then it's too much trouble.

It works best when the clearance is in the 12" -18" range.

It rides right over 4" drain lines.

It's great in bare dirt because it kicks up little dust.

It's great in wet crawlspaces because I get less wet.

It does *not* work well on pea gravel in plenum crawlspaces because it just sinks into the peas.

I'm most thankful for it when I have to do those condos where the crawlspace extends across 5 or 10 units and the entry hatch is invariably on the opposite end of the building from the unit I'm inspecting.

It's also a real help in those early 1900s storefront buildings where the crawlspace is 12" tall, 40' wide, 100' long, has no vapor barrier, and is filled with broken glass, asbestos, broken sewer pipes, etc. With the Krawler, I just sail through those where before it I was down there for half of the inspection. And I don't come out of there looking like I just wrestled with a heap of barbed wire.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Coveralls

Mud boots

Glove (left hand only)

Screwdriver in left hand (for stabbing, lots of termite damage here)

Streamlight C4 LED in right hand

Camera in shirt pocket with lead hanging out of coveralls

Right hand stays off the ground and clean

Use left hand to help crawl

Marc

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. . . I see an inordinate # of dirt crap floor crawlers; I can only dream about a Krawler. . .

Why? Those are the crawlspaces where it's the most helpful.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

They're usually overturned earth and extremely "lumpy", or clearances where I'm scraping chest in dirt and back on joists.

Do you think it would work in that application?

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They're usually overturned earth and extremely "lumpy", or clearances where I'm scraping chest in dirt and back on joists.

Do you think it would work in that application?

They do remarkably well on overturned dirt, either rolling over the clods or shearing them off.

With my body, the thickness of my chest is about 10-1/2". With the Krawler under my hips, the distance from the earth to the top of my butt is also about 10-1/2", so it's a wash. If I can fit my chest through an opening, the butt -- riding on the krawler -- will follow. If it doesn't, I just scoot the krawler down to my thighs while going under the obstruction. Your chest and butt aren't as well-proportioned as mine so it ought to work for you as well.

However, with cloddy, overturned earth, I often have to take strongly winding, serpentine paths where I bend my body laterally. The krawler is absolutely no use in those situations. While it can turn on a dime, you still need a wide radius because your whole body has to rotate like a helicopter rotor. If there's a narrow path, you have to go straight in and straight back out on the krawler while, without it, you can just curl into a ball to turn around.

If you're thinking about one, you might do what my partner, Mark, did. He made one from parts he scrounged in his shop. (He's been experimenting with his design since before Krawlgear existed.) His latest version uses wheels from a golf bag, some aluminum angle, and some aluminum plate. This is his version #7 and it works really well. He said it contains about $40 worth of parts. It's a little lighter, a little smaller, but higher than the Krawler.

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I think I've had this camera for close to 2 years now with no problems. It's outlasted any other work camera I've used. Crawlspace dust will ruin an ordinary camera pretty quickly.

I agree completely with the notion of a waterproof camera with no external moving parts. Crawl spaces (and inspections in general) are H3LL on cameras.

I bought the extended warranty with my previous camera. Lucky me - it went in about 3-4 times for repair to the moving shutter that covered the lens. The only problem I've had with my current Pentax Optio is that I've used it so long that I've actually worn out the battery contacts. It's going on 5 years now.

The Fuji is a strong contender to replace the Optio when it dies.

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If Jim says it's good, then it must be good, so I'll add the Krawler to my list, but at over $300 I'll likely attempt to make one first from the pictures at their website. I tinker that way for recreation, in wood, metal and cardboard.

I don't get why the krawler should be placed under the hips instead of at the upper back. What if someone made a simple garment that straps on like a knapsack. 2 krawlers sewed onto it but not connected to each other. Strap it on with velcro at your vehicle, walk over to the entry point, lie on your back and shove off.

There's this piece of heavy equipment that has a joint in the middle. It can turn very tight radii. Something like that.

Marc

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If Jim says it's good, then it must be good, so I'll add the Krawler to my list, but at over $300 I'll likely attempt to make one first from the pictures at their website. I tinker that way for recreation, in wood, metal and cardboard.

If I needed another, that's what I'd do. And I'd use solid wheels.

I don't get why the krawler should be placed under the hips instead of at the upper back.

If you put it under your back, your arms hang over the sides and interfere with the wheels.

What if someone made a simple garment that straps on like a knapsack. 2 krawlers sewed onto it but not connected to each other. Strap it on with velcro at your vehicle, walk over to the entry point, lie on your back and shove off.

There's this piece of heavy equipment that has a joint in the middle. It can turn very tight radii. Something like that.

Marc

Sounds cumbersome. If the point is to be able to move through tight spaces, it might be more of a hindrance than a help.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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