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Lunchboxes For Outdoorsy Kids

Lunchboxes for Outdoorsy Kids

I recently found myself in an overwhelming internet search for new lunchboxes for my outdoorsy kids. I was looking for a blog post that would give me honest opinions on lunchboxes that had been tested by real kids.

When I didn’t find such a post, I set out to create my own. I reached out to companies and asked for samples and I polled the entire TMM team. Here is what we found. Here are the Best Lunchboxes for Outdoorsy Kids. 

Kids eating out of lunchboxes.

I personally tested most of these lunchboxes, and the others have been tested by my TMM teammates and their kids. As always, you can be sure that the reviews are comprehensive, honest, and exactly what we tell our family and friends. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments of this or individual review posts.

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Lunchboxes for outdoorsy kids stock image

Kids Lunchboxes with Fitting Insulated Bag

A child sits on a rock with his Go Green lunchbox.

Lunchboxes that come with in insulated bag are my personal favorite for one main reason: I like the convenience of not having to shop for a bag that will fit the dimensions of my specific lunchbox. Most of the lunches I pack have at least one food that has to stay chilled, so buying a cooler that I can stuff an ice pack or two in is important to me.

Additionally, a bag provides some extra space to pack snacks and/or utensils separate from the lunchbox. I can usually fit things like a bar, a baggie of chips or crackers and fruit leathers on top of the lunchbox but inside the bag.

Yes, a cooler bag is one more thing that has to be cleaned out at the end of the day and one more thing that could potentially get lost (if your kids are anything like mine). But it is still my personal favorite lunchbox system. Here are the team’s favorites.

Cleaning tip: Flip the lunch bag inside out for a deep clean of all the cracks! Most the of the rectangle bags flip pretty easily.

Bentgo Fresh with Bentgo Lunch Bag

Bentgo Fresh Lunchbox
Bentgo Lunch Bag

Lunchbox Capacity: 1183 ml

I have been using Bentgo lunchboxes for four years. When my youngest was in preschool I used the smaller size Bentgo Kids version, but once my kids were around 4 years old we needed to size up to the bigger Bentgo Fresh and that is what we use currently.

The Bentgo Fresh has 3 compartments, the largest which is full sandwich size. The largest section also has a removable divider which seems handy but I lost it too quickly to ever use. Oops! Each section is leakproof so no need to worry about yogurt running into the sandwich compartment.

The entire compartment tray is removable for easy dishwasher-safe cleaning. There are no sharp corners or places where food can get hidden and get gross – seriously this lunchbox is so easy to keep clean.

Kids eating lunch out of Bentgo Fresh lunchbox.

I searched high and low for a cooler bag to fit the bigger Bentgo Fresh. The Bentgo Lunch Bag is perfect and one cooler has lasted us two full school years of near every day use. When used with an ice pack or two, the cooler keeps food cold at least until lunch time. It’s also easy to clean and has a handy water bottle holder on the side, a feature we have never really used.

Go Green Lunchbox

Go Green Lunchbox stock image
Go Green Lunchbox with Insulated Bag
A boy eats lunch by a lake.
Go Green is one of the biggest Bento boxes on the market.

Lunchbox capacity: 1820 ml

The Go Green Lunchbox is the biggest lunchbox we tested. It is great for older kids (and adults) because of its huge 1820 ml capacity. The lunchbox comes with a cooler bag that has fun designs older kids will love, and a small stainless steel water bottle which fits inside one of the compartments.

The lunchbox is made of BPA and PVC-free plastic. The lid latches on all four sides but there’s also a “turn and lock” know in the center which ensures food stays fresh, and everything stays in its proper spot.

The lunchbox sets come with a gel ice pack which fits nicely along the back edge of the cooler. I also toss in an extra ice pack (like these Healthy Packers) which fit on the bottom or top of the cooler.

This really is the way to go if you have kids with big appetites or are packing for for a full day of adventures beyond just lunch.

Sistema Bento Box with Lone Cone Bag

Stock image of Bento Box
Sistema Bento Box
Stock image of Lone Cone lunch bag.
Lone Cone Insulated Lunchbox

Lunchbox capacity: 1650 ml

We have several team members who use and highly recommend the Sistema Bento Box with Lone Cone Bag system. The BPA-free plastic lunchbox has a removable sandwich compartment as well as a movable small container for goodies like yogurt or hummus.

The lunchbox linked is a great size for school-age kids. For toddlers, we recommend the much smaller 350 ml Sistema Lunchbox. For adults or teenagers, the Sistema 4100 ml lunchbox is a great option that several team members recommend.

The Sistema boxes have many different size options but there are different closure systems as well. The bento hinge on the back is great because the lid stays attached and it’s one less thing to lose, but it’s easy to bend back to far and break the hinge off. In our experience, the bento hinge only lasts a year or so.

Child opening a Sistema lunchbox with a LoneCone bag.
The Sistema Bento Box and Lone Cone bag are a TMM team favorite.

The two side latch style is simple and allow for the lid to come completely off for cleaning, and it’s one less thing to break.

We love the Sistema bento lunchboxes. My child has been using his for probably 2+ years without a break.

TMM Team Member Cece Romanyshyn

The Lone Cone cooler bag fits the Sistema lunchboxes really well. The standard lunchbox cooler fits the Sistema 1650 ml and smaller, and the xl lunchbox cooler fits all larger sizes. These hold up really well, keep food cold for hours and kids will love the fun prints!

Bento Lunchboxes for Outdoorsy Kids

Children with different lunchboxes at a picnic.
Clockwise from top: Jeopace green & purple, Sistema & Lone Cone cooler, Bentgo Kids, Jeopace purple, and Barfen Lunchbox.

Bento lunchboxes are Japanese-style lunchboxes designed to keep food items separate and fresh, all under one lid. Bento lunchboxes are my personal favorite because I can pack lots of different options for my kids to eat, and I don’t have to clean multiple small containers.


Bentgo Fresh lunchbox stock image
Bentgo Fresh Lunchbox
Girl eating out of Bentgo Chill lunchbox outdoors.
Bentgo Chill Lunchbox

Lunchbox capacity: 1175 ml

The Bentgo Fresh has been my go-to lunchbox for several years. It is durable, easy for kids to use, and it holds plenty of food for a 7 and 9 year old. The largest compartment, which is full sandwich-size, has a removable divider which I frequently use. The divider isn’t leak proof, but the 3 main compartments are.

My two kids have been using the same Bentgo lunchboxes for 2+ years and they are still going strong! They are very easy to clean and hold more than enough lunch and snacks for a full day.

Team Member Sarah Toal

When my kids were preschool-age, we used the much smaller Bentgo Kids. We have tried the Bentgo Kids Chill, which has a removal, reusable ice tray that fits under the food compartment. I could never get the frozen ice tray to fit just right and I found the extra parts to be too much to keep track of.

Jeopace Bento Box

Stock image of Jeopace lunchbox.

Lunchbox capacity: 900 ml

The Jeopace lunchbox is a great budget-friendly lunchbox. It is made from BPA-free plastic. The 4 compartments are leak proof and the round little one in the middle is great for any sort of dip, peanut butter, hummus or raisins. The lunchbox lid comes off completely, so no hinges to worry about breaking.

The Jeopace comes with a fork and a spoon which are integrated into the lid. This lunchbox is marketed towards kids age 6+ but I personally think it’s too small for my 9 year old. In my opinion it’s better suited to younger kids.


Stock image of OmieBox lunchbox.
OmieBox with insulated bowl removed

Lunchbox capacity: 1650 ml

The OmieBox is an awesome insulated lunchbox that keeps food cold and hot at the same time! The cold-food parts are made from BPA-free plastic and the hot insulated part is made from triple-wall stainless steel. When you preheat the stainless steel container with boiling water, it will keep food hot for up to 6 hours.

My daughter is not a sandwich-type of kid, so the OmieBox is great for her because I can pack hot pasta, soup, rice and beans or leftovers, as well as fresh veggies, fruits, cheese and other cold-items all in one. I recommend getting the OmiePod fork and spoon which comes in a silicone case that attaches to the lunchbox.

In the winter, we often bring lunches with us to the ski hill. I have packed hot soup and pasta in our OmieBoxes and at lunch time, they are still warm. The residual heat from the insulated compartment also keeps the rest of the lunchbox contents from freezing solid when left out in the cold.

I packed hot pasta in my daughter’s Omie Box at 8:00 in the morning, sent her to camp for the day, and when I cleaned her lunchbox at 5:30 that evening the pasta was still warm! The Insulated Omie Box really works!

I packed hot pasta in my daughter’s Omie Box at 8:00 in the morning, sent her to camp for the day, and when I cleaned her lunchbox at 5:30 that evening the pasta was still warm! The Insulated Omie Box kept her food warm for over 9 hours!

Team Member Sarah
Preheating the OmieBox with hot water
Pre-heating the insulated container is key to keeping food hot.
Enjoying lunch by the lake.
OmieBox is great for kids who aren’t the sandwich-type.

OmieBox is perfect for my child who doesn’t like sandwiches for lunch. I can pack her a hot entree along with cold fresh fruits and veggies, all in one lunchbox. The first OmieBox that I purchased has lasted us 4 years and is still going strong! I highly recommend OmieBox.

Team Member Sarah Toal


Stock image of the PlanetBox.
PlanetBox with lunch inside on a picnic blanket.
PlanetBox has 5 compartments, the biggest which is about half-sandwich size.

Lunchbox capacity: 1182 ml

The PlanetBox is the team favorite for stainless steel lunchboxes. The Rover is the biggest in their product line, with 5 separate compartments, the largest which is half-sandwich size. The PlanetBox is 100% stainless steel with no BPA or PVC materials. The two dipper-compartments have silicone, leak-proof lids.

The PlanetBox is super easy to clean, just toss it in the dishwasher. The clasps are also stainless steel and are very durable. And if something were to happen to your PlanetBox they have a 5-year warranty but honestly I think my PlanetBoxes will last forever. They’re that durable!

I love our PlanetBox. It is more durable than the Bentgo. My kids use them every day for school and so far so good!

Team Member Cait Carroll


Sistema lunchbox stock image.
Sistema Bento Lunchbox
Toddler in the winter using a Sistema lunchbox.
Sistema’s come in many different sizes – there’s one for every age.

Lunchbox capacity: 1650 ml

Sistema lunchboxes are a great budget-friendly, BPA-free plastic bento lunchbox. They come in many different sizes but most of our team uses the adult-size lunchbox which is 1650 ml and contains a sandwich size compartment and 2 smaller compartments. It also has a separate container and lid which fits in one of the small compartments (perfect for yogurt, dip, etc ).

Toddler sitting on bench using a Sistema lunchbox.
Sistema lunchboxes are lightweight, making them a great option for hiking.

Sistema lunchboxes are dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. They are also one of the lighter lunchboxes we’ve tested which makes them great for hiking or a school backpack.

Insulated Lunchbox Cooler Bags

Boy sitting down with a Ten LIttle lunchbox at a picnic site.
The Ten Little Recycled Lunchbox is one of our favorites.

A high-quality insulated lunchbox cooler is important in order to keep food at a safe temperature until it’s time to eat. All of the insulated coolers that we tested and included keep food cold for at least 6 hours.

Insulated lunchbox coolers come in many different sizes, so if you plan to use it with a bento or other lunchbox, make sure to compare the dimensions to ensure a good fit. More than once i’ve had to return coolers because they are too small for my lunchbox.


Stock photo of the FlowFly cooler bag.

FlowFly lunchbox coolers are a great budget-friendly pick. The 5mm insulation with food-safe PEVA lining not only keeps food cold for up to 8 hours, but it’s also stink-free. My kids used FlowFly coolers on an almost daily basis for an entire school year and they’re still in good shape.

FlowFly fits all Bentgo lunchboxes including the larger size Bentgo Fresh. They also fit Sistema and PlanetBox.

These are easy to clean by washing them out with soap and water and air drying. Kids will love the 20+ different designs!

LL Bean Lunchbox Bag

LL Bean Lunchbox stock image.

There’s a good reason why the LL Bean Lunchbox has been the favorite of many families for decades. The design is simple, zippers are user-friendly even for toddlers and we think it has the best insulation of any soft cooler we’ve tried.

LL Bean’s are also very reasonably priced at under $20 and they have frequent sales.

We love our LL Bean lunchboxes. They are super durable, easy to wipe clean and we are going on 4 years with them.

TMM Mama-In-Chief Amelia


Lone Cone lunchbox stock image.

Lonecone was founded by a mom of 3 from Boise, Idaho whose goal is to create durable, kid-friendly products that are easy to clean. We agree that the Lonecone lunchbox coolers hit all three of those marks.

The double-layer insulation, made without harmful chemicals, keeps food cold for hours. The large zipper pull is easy for even toddlers to open, and my personal favorite is you can toss the Lonecone lunchbox right in the washing machine.

These come in two sizes, standard and extra-large and in 15+ different patterns. Lonecone lunchboxes are team member Jami’s personal favorite and she has one in each size.

Ten Little Recycled Lunchbox

Ten Little lunchbox stock image.
Ten Little Recycled Lunchbox
Ten Little lunchbox full of food.
The Ten Little Recycled Lunchbox holds a surprising amount of food.

The Ten Little Recycled Insulated Lunchbox is made from 100% recycled polyester. It is Oeko-Tex certified and non-toxic. It’s very kid friendly, with large zipper pulls, buckle handle so it can be attached to a backpack, and inner mesh pocket (perfect for utensils, napkins or notes from mom).

One feature I love about the Ten Little lunchbox is that the inside is water-repellent. My kids often come home with disgusting lunchbox messes from things that spilled. Having a water-repellent inside means the mess stays contained.

These come in two different color patterns that are simple and free from busy designs.

Yeti Daytrip Lunchbox

Stock image of blue Yeti cooler.
The Yeti Day Trip Lunchbox.
The inside is hard to ensure food doesn’t get squished.

The Yeti Daytrip Lunchbox is like the crème de la crème of lunchboxes for outdoorsy kids and families. If you can get past the high price tag, you will have a lunch that stays cold (or warm – just not at the same time) for 12 hours. The lunchbox is rigid, which I really love because nothing inside gets crushed.

This is a large lunchbox (picture it fitting it 5 cans) with plenty of room for an adult-size lunch.

The Yeti Daytrip is easy to clean by wiping down the inside. If the outside gets dirty you can spray it down with soap and water and let it air dry.

Reusable Ice Packs

Bentgo Buddies ice packs in a lunchbox cooler.
Team Member Jami uses and loves the Bentgo Buddies ice packs.

I use reusable ice packs in most of my kids lunchboxes. I think the most important consideration is to order in a multi-pack. For some reason our ice packs are always getting lost so I like to have backups in the freezer.

These are the ice packs that the TMM team uses and recommends.

Below Zero

Stock image of Below Zero ice packs.

Below Zero icepacks are made from non-toxic gel. You can purchase the ones that are pre-filled with gel, or you can purchase the gel and package separately and fill yourself. They keep food cold for 8-12 hours.

The lunch size gel ice pack is a square shape, only 2″ thick and fits in most lunchboxes because of its thin profile.

Bentgo Buddies

Stock image of Bentgo Buddies ice packs.
Bentgo Buddies Ice Packs

Team member Jami’s favorite reusable ice pack is the Bentgo Buddies. These ice packs come in ten different designs and colors, including unicorns, trucks and animals. The pack of 4 costs less than $10 making this a great budget pick.

The Bentgo Buddies are small and thin and will fit in most lunchboxes. These are also great to have on hand for bumps and bruises.

Healthy Packers

Healthy Stackers ice packs.
Healthy Packers Ice Packs

I like to use Healthy Packers because they’re large yet slim and keep food cold for a long time. I also appreciate that they’re available in a 10-pack since my kids seem to lose ice packs frequently.

These are highly durable with a BPA-free hard plastic outer shell and non-toxic gel inside.

The Best Lunchboxes for Kids

Picking the perfect lunchboxes for outdoorsy kids doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether your preference is a bento-style lunchbox or a soft insulated cooler, I’m confident that this post will guide you in the right direction. If your kids are anything like mine, the hardest part will be picking out which color to buy.

Related Articles:

Lunchboxes For Outdoorsy Kids

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  • Sarah Toal is a Colorado native who now calls Jackson, Wyoming, home. Sarah, her husband Evan, and two kids August, age 7, and Harper, age 5, spend their (long!) winters snowboarding, and (short!) summers riding bikes, floating on the Snake River, and hiking. Follow our adventures and general family chaos on Instagram: @sartoal