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September 21, 2018

 

“Cool” Lunch Boxes and Insulated Lunch Bags for Contractors

You deserve a good lunch after a long day in the field. Here are some lunch boxes that will keep your food fresh.

As kids, the school-yard pecking order was decided by one of two things: light up sneakers or lunch box coolness. And everyone knew the coolest lunch boxes had pictures of sports stars, upper echelon cartoon characters like Batman and Scooby Doo, or global celebrities like Barbie.

As adults, the pecking order is much more complicated, and we aren’t too sure how much lunch boxes play into it honestly, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting the coolest ones around! Literally. You want a lunch box that will keep your food fresh, your smoothie cool, and that won’t limp your lettuce. No one likes limp lettuce.

Something quality, like an insulated lunch bag or a cooler, is especially necessary for workers in the field service industry. Field technicians of all specializations go in and out of the heat during each summer workday and cannot expect to have a fridge handy to keep their lunch in.

Rather than doom you to months of eating fast food exclusively, we compiled a list of four of the best insulated bags, boxes, and coolers to keep your lunch fresh—no matter where your job takes you.

How To Choose A Good Lunch Box

A lot of lunch boxes aren’t made to withstand higher temperatures or get banged around too much. The standard work lunch box is made to be taken to an office and stored in a refrigerator all day. That is not the kind of thing that you need to look for. To help you sort out what to keep an eye on, we evaluated lunch boxes based on a few key categories.

Size

Size and functionality are important no matter what you choose. What you need to look for here depends heavily on what you usually pack and whether you’ll be taking it with you or leaving it in the truck.

One thing to keep in mind though; if it’s too hot for a regular lunch box, it’s definitely hot enough for you to hydrate regularly. A refillable water bottle is helpful, but if you don’t have access to a faucet then you should make sure to pack a couple extra water bottles with your lunch. And to do that, you’ll need a lunch box that can hold the surplus.

Features

Features include things like good seals to prevent leaking, side pockets, shoulder straps, extra compartments, and more. Your mileage here depends on where you’ll take your lunchbox and how you’ll treat it.

No matter how long you keep it in your truck or how hard you take your turns, you’ll want a leak proof lunch box. No one wants to come back to a sopping mess of condensation either, so insulation of some sort is also important. Furthermore, leak-proofing and insulation will protect any important paperwork or the mobile devices that run your field service software.

Whether you want something that’s mostly fabric and machine washable or something more durable and heavy duty boils down to personal preference and knowing how likely you are to just toss it into the back seat.

Cool Time

Or, how long does it keep your food cool? This could be put under features or functionality, but given that this is probably the most important metric for judging an insulated lunch bag, it deserves a category all its own.

None of these lunch boxes will negate the need for ice packs or frozen water bottles, but that’s not their job. Their job is to keep all that cold air locked up tight so everything is still fresh when you’re ready to eat. When thinking about the cool time it’s important to think about when you usually eat lunch. How long is your average day? Do you have a lunch hour scheduled? Or do you just eat whenever you can when you have a minute between jobs? Do you snack when get the chance? All of these factor in to whether you’ll need a lunch box that keeps things cool for five hours, or a small cooler that can keep up with your crazy, unpredictable work schedule.

Stanley Heritage Cooler

You know that classic, faded, army green thermos your dad would carry camping, hunting, and fishing? This is that company. Stanley is known for their durable thermoses that can keep soup or coffee hot for hours, but they also make coolers!

Specifically, they make a seven quart cooler and thermos combo that’s perfect for an on-the-go job in the field service industry. The stainless steel thermos locks onto the top of the cooler making it easy to carry everything. The cooler itself has a leak proof seal and has separate compartments built in.

The thermos holds up to the company standard with glowing reviews. It keeps coffee hot even 12 hours after pouring it. And the two layers of insulation on the lunch box keep food cold for around 10 hours with ice packs.

Some reviewers found the cooler a little small for them however. So, if you find that you pack more than the standard sandwich, chips, snack, and can of soda, one of the other options might suit you better!

Carhartt

The Carhartt Deluxe Dual Compartment Insulated Lunch Cooler Bag (we didn’t name it, we just thinks it’s a good lunch cooler-bag-thing) is a great-sized, water-repellent, lightweight option for packing your lunch.

Big enough to hold a six pack (in case, you uh… enjoy certain extracurricular activities when you’re off the clock), the main compartment is insulated and designed to keep food cold for during long work days.The top dome includes a separate insulated compartment to keep food organized and fruits and veggies protected.

This is another one that some reviewers found small. While it does keep food fresh, if you are working a 12 hour shift you probably won’t be able to squeeze enough food in here to keep you satisfied.

ORICSSON

This ORICSSON lunch bag is another fabric option, so it will be lighter than a standard cooler if you carry it with you. An adjustable shoulder strap also lets you keep your hands free. As for sizing, they list their dimensions as 12” by 11” by 7.5”. (Or more colloquially, it can fit 16 cans!) Plenty of room for a few sandwiches or a couple tupperware containers.

The manufacturer also boasts that it can keep food and drinks cold for four to five hours without any ice packs. Add in a couple and you’ll be set for the whole day. The vinyl lining makes it quick and easy to clean and the outer pockets give you even more storage!

Finally, they offer a lifetime warranty. They explicitly state that they offer a “100% satisfaction guarantee” and to contact them if you feel even “1% discontent” with their product.

Igloo

The 14.8 Quart Playmate Igloo cooler is bigger than all the other options with the ability to hold 26 cans. Basically you could fit lunch, dinner, and a snack if that is what you needed. It doesn’t have compartments or side pockets, but its extra space means you can pack different tupperware containers or even buy your own inserts if you want better separation.

The tent shaped locking lid prevent spills of any kind and the container itself is made of impact-resistant plastic. Your food might get tossed around a bit, but it will definitely stay inside the cooler if you drop it.

Conclusion

Men and women in field service industries work long, hard hours. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the nice lunch other professionals enjoy (especially given the physical, taxing nature of many field service occupations). Hopefully one of these options will make a perfect fit for your specific lunch needs!

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