My first time on the construction site, I made the same mistake most newbies make on their first day of work – I used a paper bag as my lunch container.
My favorite lunch box from Stanley: at Amazon.
By the time lunch finally arrived, there was nothing left of that bag. My cold beverage had sweat out every bit of its chilly goodness, and left the bag soggy and ripped.
The sandwiches I had packed earlier that morning had also taken on all the moisture, and my cookies were barely even edible after being crushed by god knows what.
That is when I noticed that everyone around me had big, sturdy lunch boxes that housed meals that looked better than the dinner I cooked for myself the night before. And better still, their lunch boxes doubled as their lunch chairs too.
While I sat on the ground eating my soggy sandwich with my now 70-degree Powerade, I vowed to get a lunch box cooler like my new colleagues had. One that looked like a cooler, acted as a lunch chair, and kept my food cold or hot and intact throughout the workday.
It took some time for me to decide which to go with. Being the giving individual I am, I narrowed down some of the best options for lunch boxes to take to the work site with you.
Stanley 7 quart Heritage Cooler with Classic 1.1 quart vacuum bottle
This is on the more expensive side of lunch boxes, but it is easily worth the investment. It is a standard cooler style lunch box (you know, the type you take to the lake or beach) and is terrific for protecting your food if you work in harsh environments. Plus, as I said earlier, it has the added benefit of acting as a chair.
The 1.1-quart vacuum insulated bottle keeps your drink cold for the entire day, and the cooler does an excellent job at keeping your meals at a constant temperature throughout the day as well. The lunch box is leak-proof, fully packable, and if it ever breaks, it is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Should you get the Stanley Box?
This is a good enough lunch box/cooler, but it does have some shortcomings. First, the divider in the cooler is not removable, so your meals may have to be split into two or more containers. This can be a nuisance from time to time, but not too big of a drawback to disqualify it.
Second, it isn’t very well insulated. Sure, your food isn’t unbearably warm when you eat it, but if you don’t have a way to heat it up before you eat (which most of us won’t), then you will have to put up with lukewarm lunches. The thermos is awesome though.
Coleman Soft Cooler
OK, full disclosure – this is just a cooler, but it makes for a perfect lunch box on the job. It is large enough to hold forty cans, so it is capable of holding an entire meal and a half for you. It has an adjustable shoulder strap to make it easy to carry, has a front pocket and a pocket on the lid as well.
The Coleman is made with antimicrobial properties helping to reduce odors and mold or mildew from developing inside the cooler. The insulation also has heat welded seams to prevent the liner from leaking and losing any cold air.
Is the Coleman for you?
If you want a lunch box that can hold enough to keep you fed throughout the day, then this one will work perfectly for you. It isn’t a hard cooler, so it can collapse when it isn’t in use, saving you space. And because it is flexible, you can even over pack it when needed.
What don’t like about this lunch box is that it is just one large compartment. You can’t have some hot foods and some cold foods in it and expect them to stay their proper temperatures. In fact, it doesn’t do well with hot foods at all.
But if you just need some fruit and maybe a couple of sandwiches with an cold drink, this is great for that.
Six Pack Fitness Innovator Insulated Meal Management Bag
This bag is a complete game changer. It is sturdy, large, fully insulated, and has plenty of compartments that let you carry foods of different temperatures in the same bag. It comes with two reusable freezer packs with enough insulation to keep your meals fresh for up to 8 hours.
This bag comes in two different sizes; one for three meals and one for five meals. There are three microwave safe and dishwasher safe snap lid containers. Two adjustable insulated side pockets that can fit up to four 17 ounce bottles in them.
Should you get this lunch box?
This is a tremendous idea, and it delivers on most of its promises, but it has a few downfalls. To get the best use out of this product, you shouldn’t utilize the containers or ice packs that come with it, and at that price point, that is a real bummer.
If you get some high-quality containers and better ice packs, then you will love this product. But the fact that you have to upgrade it is somewhat disappointing to me.
Wrap – Up
Getting a perfect lunch box for a construction site is something that you will have to do. And whichever one is best for you depends solely on what you want out of your lunch box.
Some want a hard box that will protect their food while being a makeshift lunch seat. Others want to be able to carry several meals at once while keeping them at their separate temperatures.
Either way, make sure you get one that will protect your meal. I promise, you don’t want to be eating hot soggy sandwiches after you spent several hours in the sun pouring concrete.