There are tablets in refrigerators now. Full on, touchscreen computing making sure your milk doesn’t go bad. Now, we’re not saying that’s a little frivolous, except that’s exactly what we’re saying. Maybe the technological improvements the fridge was waiting for wasn’t an iPad.
That’s why we’re fans of these lunch boxes. Nobody’s gone and stuck a motherboard in one, because storing lunch shouldn’t require RAM. They’re simple. They hold stuff. You can carry them. That’s the whole point of a lunchbox. Here are some options for when you want to brown bag it.
The brown paper bag is a timeless lunch carrier. At least, it has been since the 1870s. That makes it much older than we thought it’d be and it becomes probable that American soldiers in the Spanish-American War were brown-bagging their rations. Historical tangents aside, the only real update to make to the brown paper bag was to make it more durable, which is exactly what the Marlowe Lunch Bag does. It’s a waxed canvas bag made in the same iconic style, meaning your packed lunch is the meal of a fourth grade adult. Which is supposed to be a compliment.$44
We’ll be the first ones to say we thought the only things that came in jars were moonshine and fireflies (dibs on the band name), and that lunch never even crossed our minds. But the Mr. Bento Lunch Jar proves squares and rectangles do not have a monopoly on lunch transportation. There are four separate microwaveable bowls inside the jar so each thing has its own space. The jar has decent thermal protection too, keeping things warm or cold for up to six hours. Looks like soup’s back on the menu, boys.$36+
We’re not sure why parents even made the shift away from compartmentalized plates, but now we’re the adults and we eat how we want. The LunchBots Bento Trio has three separate spaces for our meal, one big and two small, so if we don’t want our grapes touching our pasta salad, that’s under our control. The box helps with portion control too, if that’s something you’re worried about. There’s plenty of space for a reasonable lunch and you can’t really fill it beyond that anyway. It’s also dishwasher safe, thank god.$38
Flower pots aren’t the first thing we think of when it comes time to pack lunch, but the Black+Blum Lunch Pot is doing a decent job converting us. There are two stackable pots for your lunch and they’re big. The larger one is 18.5 fluid ounces and the smaller one is 10. Beyond that, we have to give our compliments to the people who designed the strap. You’d think it’d have to be more complicated, but obviously we were overthinking it. Finally, if you needed one more reason to buy, the Lunch Pot comes with a spork.$24
Looney Tunes wasn’t lying to us, which has to be the first time anyone’s said that sentence. This type of lunch box actually exists. The Stanley Classic Lunch Box is the box all those Depression-era construction workers were flipping open and pulling enormous, 17 layer sandwiches out of. It comes in two sizes. Five quarts, which is too much, and ten quarts, which is exactly right. It comes with guy they kidnapped from Carnegie deli, since one of their hot pastramis is the only thing that will actually fill this thing up.$36
It’s not the biggest box on this list, but it is the one that looks most like that fireproof safe your parents have in their basement. The Grub2Go has two pretty sizable compartments, definitely enough for your favorite sandwich, salad, fruit, vegetable, or really any solid food you feel comfortable putting in a box. And it’s airtight and leakproof, which means you can put it in your briefcase, shoulder bag, or backpack and not worry about your lunch getting all over your work. Or vice versa. It also doubles as a secure place to keep your passport.$25
Yes, these are basically boxes for leftovers, but since leftovers make the best lunch, we think they deserve a spot on this list. We suppose this is true for most, if not all, of the other picks on this list, but we’ll say it here. Whatever you ate the night before, if you didn’t eat all of it, you can put it in this box and have it for lunch. These have the bonus of being made in the US. Also, we couldn’t help but notice customers frequently bought this and the Portable Bluetooth Waterproof speaker, so we have to ask, is there some kind of hilarious party we don’t know about?$12
Lunch pails are something the children of Dust Bowl swung at their side while they skipped to their one room schoolhouse. In short, there’s not much reason to know what they are. But Objects of Use is trying to bring them back into the spotlight with their Enamel Lunch Pails. Since they’re made of steel and enamel, lunch can actually be made in the pails, as well as reheated. They’re versatile, as well as made by an environmentally responsible company. The volume measurements are all in British, but using our vague American knowledge of these things, they’re pretty decent sized. If you ever wanted to make a stew from scratch for lunch, you should get these.$30+