Picnic has always been my favorite outdoor activity. Just the word itself makes me both nostalgic and excited. Aside from the fact of bonding, another great thing about a picnic is the food itself. However, bringing meals outside might keep them from retaining its hotness or coldness.
That is why it is necessary for me to have the best lunch cooler to store our food and drinks. The list below are the five leading brands of the best lunch coolers I have for you that by reviewers and customers strongly recommend. Check out if the products below suit your taste on the perfect picnic lunch date with your family and friends.
Top 10 Picks for Lunch Bags
To those picnic lovers, I have listed the best lunch coolers that earned the most significant approval and highest recommendations of reviewers, sellers, and customers. Said products are proven and tested by the users.
Hence, their comments and ratings are considerable factors in listing them as the top five. Every lunch cooler has its unique features, so check them out and find what best suits your interest.
1. PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure
You might be wondering what made this product rank as the first on the customers’ choice. It is a total package with its built-in freezing gel. It means more space for food because you do not have to buy separate freezing gels. To get the internal freezing gel to cool, fold it neatly and place it inside the freezer overnight.
When you wake up, all your favorite meals will be as fresh, and drinks are cold even if stored for a few hours. This feature provides you with the long-lasting insulating ability allowing you to bring or take home food, minimizes waste, and saves a few bucks from your wallet.
The product’s overall dimension of 25.91 x 11.91 x 21.08 cm can keep all your favorite food and drinks together in one sitting with locks closely zippered, keeping the right temperature within the bag.
Its seams are strong that water cannot even get past it. It means that it is difficult for your food and drinks to topple onto the ground. The bag material is of safe and non-toxic polyester with no lead. If you do not want to carry it by the handle, the buckles are super convenient.
You can put it together with tote bags, backpack or even trolleys for you to drag wherever you want to go. Are you having a hard time bringing your favorite yet perishable meals?
No worries, you can take them to picnics, school, work and even anywhere now with PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip closure. What makes it even better, is that it has many designs for you to choose from.
2. Coleman 9-Can Soft Cooler with Removable Liner
If a bulky lunch cooler is what you are looking for, then the Coleman 9-can cooler is the one for you. With its dimensions of 23. 88 cm in height x 17.02 cm in width x 25.91 cm length, this cooler is built for 9 cans of beverages and other kinds of meals for bigger servings since it has a big space.
Its main section is zippered with linings that heat to prevent leaks and melted ice soaking the bag. This feature grabs the attention of most customers because of its ability to prevent bacteria and molds from forming and entering the bag.
This lunch cooler has a separate freezing gel because of its removable liner. This pliant lining is easy for cleaning. If you are not in the mood to use the liners, you use ice for substitute and save space as well. The bag contains many sections outside where you can place tissues, utensils and extra food as well.
Because of its big size, it has a multi-way strap and large handles on the sides to fit your way of carrying the cooler especially when it fills to the brim. It also provides a shock cord hooked to the side for convenience in bringing the full and heavy lunch cooler.
Coleman 9-can cooler eases your worries for a big picnic. It has plenty of room for all the food and beverages you need when you hang out with your relatives and your circle of friends.
This way, you can enjoy their company and fill their stomachs with your delicious cooking!
3. MIER Adult Lunch Box Insulated Lunch Bag Large Cooler Tote Bag for Men, Women, Double Deck Cooler
When the type of lunch bag useful for both picnic and everyday use is what you want, MIER adult insulated lunch box suites you. This bag comes in two sizes: medium and large. It has a handle on top of the bag for you to carry easily.
If you merely want to sling it, it has an adjustable strap that goes as short as 34 cm and a long as 68 cm. If you want to separate your food from the beverages, it has a top and bottom compartment for the easy arrangement along with a front zipper and pockets.
The top compartment is a “dry” curve-shaped pouch fitted for chips, cookies and smaller type of food while the bottom compartment is where you put big meals and cold beverages. The pockets and front zippers are where you can place your utensils or other accessories.
Its inner insulators are in the bottom compartment that provides strong liners to keep the balance of the temperature. Since the insulators are thick, it is sure that your hot meal or cold drink will remain as it is regardless of the environment outside.
You might want to purchase this when you want an all-around lunch bag to be used daily or special occasions. There are two sizes to choose from, and you can easily arrange the food.
In that way, getting your meals will be as easy as snapping of fingers.
4. Insulated Lunch Bag S1/S2: InsigniaX Lunch Box/Cooler/Lunch Bag for Adult Women Men Work School
If you are the type of person who enjoys having various meals to choose from just like I do, then pick InsigniaX lunch box. It has an interior with lots of room and space for your sandwiches, burgers, drinks, and even side dishes.
Its big size can even hold a thermos or lunch containers due to it having the dimensions of 25.4 cm in height x 12.95 cm in width x 23.37 cm in length. Aside from that, it can withstand the weight of the many meals and beverage you put in due to its polyester-made material, which is toxic-free.
If you want to save even more space than what it already offers, then fret not because it offers a front zippered pocket and two side net-pockets where you can place soda cans and water bottles.
When I mention about its ability to preserve the temperature of food, this has foam padding and polyethylene vinyl acetate or PEVA insulators that keep the actual temperature of the food and beverage to last long.
However, it would help if you have a separate ice pack for this. Since it is for several meals, its handles are sturdy as well.
With removable and adjustable straps and a top handle, carrying the big lunch bag will feel like nothing for you. The zippers prove to be very robust, that it could prevent the food from knocking over. Everyone needs something to carry his or her food.
Lunch coolers do the trick, but this specific lunch cooler can keep its contents cold for five hours.
Pretty cool, huh? Well, guess what, not only is this perfect for you but you can give this to someone else too because it has available gift-wrapping. Awesome!
5. Everest Cooler Lunch Bag, Black, One Size
Are you looking for the perfect lunch cooler for your picnic date? Fear not because the Everest cooler lunch bag is here to save you. Its dimensions of 21. 29 x 15.24 x 18.42 cm can fit meals for you and your companion.
Because of its appropriate size for small meals, this is ideal for what you want to bring to work or school.
This model can quickly be carried anywhere because of its adjustable strap that extends up to 116.84 cm. The product is helpful storage for your favorite snacks on road trips. You can place other stuff such as tissue, spoons, and forks inside the front pouch and cans or bottles on the side pocket.
This light and robust lunch cooler that comes in different designs for your liking can store both hot and cold drink.
Just ensure your freezing gel or ice pack. It can maintain the correct temperature because of its zipper that goes on the three sides of the lunch bag and its liners that are vinyl material. Due to its simple structure, clean up would become trouble-free.
Your favorite snacks, meals, and drinks are on the go towards your destination with this lunch bag.
This suits your personal needs and your date’s. Need for me to say more?
Why Did I Pick Lunch Coolers Over Picnic Baskets?
Another term for a lunch cooler is a lunch insulator. A lunch cooler resembles your typical lunch bag; the only difference is that it has an insulating material inside of it. Lunch coolers and picnic baskets have the same purpose for storing meals.
However, the upside for lunch coolers is that they have insulators that help maintain the balance of food temperature and cold drinks inside that those picnic baskets, unfortunately, do not. Since its style is like a lunch box, it is convenient and easy to bring in the perfect picnic spot.
I have no worries during picnics when it comes to the picnic food, most notably the perishable ones because I am super confident that the meals I bring will remain and taste the same. I do not have to fuss if the food is still warm on a breezy day or if the beverages are always cold when out on a sunny day.
Whether the food is hot or cold, I can quickly put them together in the cooler and carry them single-handedly. I am still careful of the food I put in there, mostly considering the weight of the food. No matter how durable it is, l even take note of the size of the food and estimate if the cooler can take the weight.
I mean, come on, the size and weight should be proportionate in all aspects, and that includes this.
Well, rest assured that the lunch coolers are long-lasting; it is not like I go on a picnic every single day. Simply saying, the best lunch cooler can surely help you have served the ideal meals. It seems very fair, right?
What Should You Take Note of When Buying Lunch Coolers?
The most important thing you should do when buying something is to consider if it both fits your standard and your budget. In whatever you purchase, you must be aware of the usage and frequency of use.
An overall benefit is a total yes where you would be able to have it for multiple functions. These considerations also go for lunch coolers.
You know that picnics do not happen every single day, but lunch bags; they are the ones that we may need daily. In buying things, especially something that involves where we store food, we must be tedious in picking them because that is where our health lies.
You do not want something that endangers the foundation of our lives now, do we? Aside from that, when we consider our budget, do not limit it to the fact that it is only cheap.
Remember, quality over quantity. When talking about budget, it must suit the quality. Check if the product’s price is best for the service that it gives because we must be practical and not buy things that are of single-use only. Below are a few factors to bear in mind when buying the best lunch cooler.
One crucial point you need to take note of when buying is the size of your lunch cooler. The size relies on the serving portion of your meal or how many meals you want to bring on the picnic. When going out with a small group, the smaller size is practical. If you are going to prepare for a bigger crowd, then it must be something that can fit all the meals.
Lunch coolers come in a wide array of styles. It may have the simple black and white color or a full floral printed pattern, or whichever design you prefer. There are lunch coolers that are multi-layered to separate the hot meals from the cool ones. Some may even have a compartment for utensils, plates, and even tissues. It is solely up to you to pick the best lunch cooler that catches your interest.
Considering that you are bringing the meals outside, the lunch cooler must be sturdy with a good handle for you to bring confidently without the worries of spilling over. The seams, zippers, and handles must be able to withstand the weight of the meals.
Consider your convenience in choosing the best lunch cooler that you should carry.
Lunch coolers have internal insulators made of multiple coverings. The outer covering construction is durable although it is light materials such as vinyl, plastic or polyester. The inner covering contains the leak-proof material commonly from aluminum and foil.
In-between the two coverings are the insulating foam that is usually polystyrene or rigid urethane material.
It regulates the air and temperature within the lunch cooler. Aside from the internal insulation coverings, never forget to check the interior lining if it is properly secure for the lunch cooler’s insulator to function well.
In lunch coolers, the thicker the insulator foam, the better the insulation’s ability in maintaining the temperature inside the lunch cooler.
Cleaning Lunch Coolers and Eliminating Foul Smell
Keeping the cleanliness of food containers is an absolute must because it is where you place what you invest in your body. Clean it thoroughly so that your body would not deal with the consequences.
- Immediately after using the lunch bag, take out the leftover food to avoid the smell of mixed food from sticking to the lunch cooler. If ever the smell is already in the bag, you can use a small amount of baking soda to remove the bad smell.
- In cleaning it regularly, you can use antibacterial tissues or wipes and towels to take out dirt and clean them. If you want complete cleaning, it is possible for you to put it in the washing machine. However, lunch coolers are not at all the same. They may be similar in material, but each has its ways of cleaning as stated in the instructions and manuals given by the manufacturer in preserving the quality of the lunch cooler.
Benefits of Lunch Coolers
Safe and Fresh Food
Lunch coolers keep the temperature of the food and beverage as they originally were. No matter how far your picnic site is to your home, rest assured that your meals would remain safe and fresh. You can enjoy your hot meal and a cold drink as If they were just from the pan and fridge.
Easy to Bring
Convenience is what you should always consider when purchasing products. Luckily, with lunch coolers, you can have all your favorite picnic meals packed in one. This avoids bulkiness and is not space-consuming. It is also very durable to bring different kinds of meals in one hand.
You can always save money with lunch coolers because they are not only for picnics, but they are also for all-around use too. You can use it for storing your food to work or your kids’ lunch to school.
You can also use it for traveling. Instead of buying food in restaurants or your local fast-food chain, you can have your favorite home-cooked meal with you anywhere and avoiding their pricey cuisine.
How can you keep food hot or cold in a lunch box?
To keep food hot or cold in a lunch box, here are some effective methods:
- Use Insulated Containers: Invest in high-quality insulated food containers specifically designed to keep food hot or cold. These containers have double walls and are insulated with materials like foam or vacuum insulation, which help maintain the desired temperature.
- Preheat or Precool the Container: Before adding hot or cold food, preheat or precool the insulated container by pouring hot or cold water inside and letting it sit for a few minutes. This helps create a stable environment for better temperature retention.
- Use Thermal Insulation: Wrap hot food in aluminum foil or place it in a thermal pouch to provide additional insulation. For cold food, use ice packs or freeze a water bottle and place it alongside the food to keep it cool.
- Layer with Thermal Materials: Layering your lunch box with thermal materials can provide extra insulation. Consider using insulated lunch bags, thermal liners, or even a small towel or blanket to create a barrier between the food and the outside temperature.
- Pack Food at the Right Temperature: To maximize heat or cold retention, ensure that the food you pack is at the desired temperature before placing it in the lunch box. For hot food, make sure it’s piping hot, and for cold food, chill it in the refrigerator before packing.
- Minimize Air Gaps: Reduce air gaps inside the lunch box by packing it tightly with food. The less empty space there is, the better the temperature retention will be.
- Keep the Lunch Box Closed: Once the food is packed, keep the lunch box tightly closed to prevent heat or cold from escaping. Opening the lunch box frequently can cause temperature fluctuations.
What is a bento box?
A bento box is a traditional Japanese lunch box that consists of compartments or dividers used to separate and carry a variety of food items in a single container. The term “bento” refers to a packed meal or a meal box in Japanese cuisine.
Bento boxes are typically designed to be compact, portable, and visually appealing. They come in various materials such as plastic, wood, or metal and often feature a lid to secure the contents. The compartments within the box allow for organized and portioned servings of different dishes, including rice, vegetables, meat or fish, pickled items, and sometimes even desserts.
How does an electric lunch box work?
An electric lunch box, also known as an electric food warmer, is a portable container that uses electricity to heat or warm up food. Here’s how it generally works:
- Heating Element: The electric lunch box is equipped with a built-in heating element, usually located at the bottom or sides of the container. This heating element is responsible for generating heat to warm the food.
- Power Source: The electric lunch box needs to be connected to a power source, such as an electrical outlet or a car adapter, to supply electricity for heating. It may come with a detachable power cord for easy connectivity.
- Temperature Control: Most electric lunch boxes have temperature control features. They may include adjustable thermostats or pre-set temperature settings that allow you to regulate the level of heat based on your preferences.
- Food Compartment: Inside the electric lunch box, there is typically a food compartment or multiple sections where you can place your food. These compartments are usually made of heat-resistant materials like stainless steel or food-grade plastic.
- Heating Process: Once the electric lunch box is connected to a power source and the desired temperature is set, the heating element starts to generate heat. The heat is then transferred to the food compartment, gradually warming up the food inside.
- Heat Distribution: The electric lunch box is designed to distribute heat evenly throughout the food compartment, ensuring that all parts of the meal receive adequate warmth. This helps prevent cold spots and promotes uniform heating.
- Thermal Insulation: Some electric lunch boxes come with insulation features to help retain heat and keep the food warm for an extended period. This insulation helps maintain the temperature even when the lunch box is unplugged or disconnected from the power source.
Ever since I was young, lunch coolers have been my friends that I could trust with my lunch and snacks. There are times that I use them for picnics and outdoor activities.
It turns out they are better than the traditional picnic baskets that we use because the freshness of my favorite burger and the brain-freezing coolness of my soda remained. If you wish to go on picnics, lunch coolers are commendable.
If you have already picked the best lunch cooler, try going on a picnic to see if it does work. My personal preference for this review is the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure because I can save money by not buying freezing gels and not having the ice melt inside.
In other words, it keeps food fresh like a fridge. It is also foldable which is very convenient when keeping it.
Other than that, my eyes twinkle when I saw the numerous designs to pick from. Do not let my preference influence you. If you have picked another product, then it is okay. We all have our interest, and each product has something to give that suits your picnic needs.
Do not forget to check them out on their web page for more in-depth information. Cheers!
As a mom of two angels, I credit myself in making meals with high concentration yet the balance of nutrition. I pay good care about the health of my family and everyone. Thus, you will find most of my recipes focus on healthy ingredients.