So we got a new refrigerator at work a few months ago and it is the size of a freaking midget. Our refrigerator makes it seem as though Vietnamese people love salad dressing (who knew?) because we have like 10 ranch dressings, 5 balsamics, and a lone raspberry vinaigrette. I used to put my food in the old fridge since it was a little bigger, but now that new fridge is smaller and has like a million salad dressings that have been expired since 2012, I decided to forgo the fridge to keep my lunches cold and get a lunch bag. I definitely needed an insulated one to keep my yogurt, kefir, and salads cold but figured I only needed it cold until lunchtime. My snacks after lunch never needed refrigeration so a medium-sized insulated fabric lunch bag with a few ice pack would be good enough for me. Well who goddamn knew it would take me 4 lunch bags later to find my perfect one?
The qualities I was looking for was:
1. Good insulation (of course)
3. Size (since I have breakfast, lunch, and snacks and like to use BPA free thicker plastic containers. yea I’m into that stuff)
For my first newbie purchase I bought through Amazon, and it was the Kora K-7 100 Lunch Bag. I pretty much got the cheapest one that seemed like a decent product so I purchased the purple one, and even though it was ugly as shit I kind of didn’t care. Sometimes I have an affinity towards ugly things idk. The size of this was good, but after about a month of using it I realized that when the ice packs would start melting, it would soak through the fabric and get whatever it was resting on wet. It just had a thin non-padded layer inside for “insulation” or whatever and then the designed fabric on the outside. I gave it away and searched for my next one.
My coworker saw that I had a lunch bag so she just brought me one that she bought but never used. This was the Fit & Fresh Lunch Bag. This one came with 2 small lunch containers and a solid ice pack. She gave me the one with black and white flowers so it wasn’t even ugly, but it just wasn’t my style at all. Whatever- it was given to me and the material inside was very thick so I thought it would do a way better job at keeping things cold and not leaking like the previous bag. The size was enormous and I could easily fit in huge tupperware and snacks. I don’t know who made this but instead of having a zipper at the top, it has a magnetic clasp which is like wtf is the point of all this magnificent insulation if it just RELEASES AT THE TOP? It also had some ties on the side so if you had a wider container inside the ties could be released and the bag could be widened. I guess if you had a picnic and were driving like 10 minutes to a park the cutie hanging ties and less insulation would be ok but it’s sold as a lunch bag. I used this bag temporarily but knew I needed another one.
I didn’t really like the traditional square zippered lunch that hung from the shoulder, but figured that would be my last resort since there were a bazillion of them sold everywhere. I wanted something stylish and cute so I decided that I’d just spend whatever amount on a nice lunch bag since it would be a fairly long-term use item. So I scoured through like 20 pages on Amazon looking for lunch bags and finally stumbled upon Sachi Fashion Insulated Lunch Bag. I thought this was kinda high maintenance femme looking initially, but after a while thought it was kind of a beaut. I bought it immediately, but immediately upon its arrival realized that it would no way fit all my food. I saw the user pictures on Amazon and thought there would be just enough space but unfortunately things fit vertically and I get OCD about stuff spilling. I was about to return it, but decided to give it to my niece who loved it because it looked like a purse. This design also had a small zipper on the outside for whatever small flat-ish items you wanted to bring. However, before I gave it to her I did use it to smuggle in beers to the zoo :) The insulated material was made of a thicker metallic padding that kept the beers nice and cold for hours so I definitely knew Sachi was the brand for me. “Oooh look like Chanel,” exclaimed my cousin.
I searched through all of Sachi’s lunch bags and seriously they are amazing! They have tons of designs and styles, and probably the Louis Vuitton of lunch bags!!! I finally settled on the Sachi 21-166 Insulated Fashion Lunch Bags Style 21. At this point, I knew this one would work because after the 4th time I actually measured. I didn’t like any of the bigger designs and in all honesty I didn’t completely like this design either (I have really weird style), but it was like a million times better than all of the other brands. When it came, I knew this was the right bag for me. It is wide enough to fit 4 ice packs, 4 tupperware, pieces of fruit and/or baggies of whatever. It also comes with a longer shoulder strap that attached, but I didn’t like the idea of my heavy lunch hitting my hip every time I took a step so I never use it. I’ve been using this bag for the past 2 months and I am absolutely in love with it. I’ve carried plastic tupperware, several glass containers, and nothing is too heavy for it. It is constructed well yet folds very easily for storage. I thought that with the fabric it would get caught on to sharp objects and might start to fray but it is still going strong with no signs of it going down any time soon. The ONE downside to this bag for me (yes there is one!) is that it looks exactly like a purse so when I take it with me in the mornings before the gym and after to work, I have to leave this bag in my car. I drive a truck so I have have no trunk and have to hide this in the back of my seat. Come on, you know somebody is gonna think it’s a purse and smash into poor trucky thinking they found the jackpot to only find they stole a lunch bag of lettuce and cottage cheese!!!
If you’re a guy, I got my bf this BUILT Neoprene Lunch Bag and he loves it. They also have several designs and seem a little more hip and eco-ish. They are made of wetsuit material so I am sure if you had an ice pack it would keep things nice and cold for a good amount of time. The material also stretches so if you have any odd-shaped containers or “things” that you would like to carry in this unassuming lunch bag, then it would zipper up nicely. I’ve fit in there for him a tupperware for salads, fruit, sandwiches, baggies of snacks, 2 drinks, etc… The bag has lasted for about 7 months and looks as good as new even though he carries it to work almost every day. It supposedly washes up very easily in a load of laundry as well if you want to keep it in mint condition.
So if you’re looking for a new lunch bag, go with Sachi or BUILT! Not only for usability but for the quality and design. Bringing your own lunches to work or school not only saves you money, but also helps you be mindful of your eating. You can portion control and keep things healthy.