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Reviews of Construction-Friendly Lunch Boxes for Adults

Updated on May 3, 2016
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Five Good Work Lunch Boxes for Men & Women

I made a huge mistake. On my first day as a labourer, I brought my lunch in a plastic bag. By the time noon rolled around, the bag was filled with grit and my sandwiches were squashed flat. I remember my coworker chuckling at me. What did he have? A sturdy adult lunch box; he'd had it for years!

The best lunch boxes for adults are designed to protect your meal from harm in harsh conditions. They are durable, sturdy, and often double as a stool while you eat. If you pick well, yours will last a really long time.

To help you find the best lunch box for construction work or other types of blue collar labour, I've put together a list of options that might do the trick.

Each one is suited to a different kind of work. I'll offer the pros and cons, and suggest who'd be best served by owning it. Hopefully these adult lunch box reviews will help you track down something to suit your needs.

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Hard Shell or Soft?

When it comes to adult sized lunch boxes for work in construction or other manual labour fields, you're going to run into two basic types: hard shell or soft collapsible. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Hard shell: These lunch boxes are great for industrial type jobs where the safety of your food is not guaranteed. They take a beating and keep the contents intact.

Furthermore, a hard lunch box lets a construction worker have a spot to sit when working in the field!

They're great for construction workers, truck drivers and mobile work sites.

Soft shell: If your workplace has a lunch or break room, or on-site storage that's secure, there's often no need for a hard box.

They're collapsible and easy to store when not in use. They're light in weight, and they tend to have really excellent insulation, so your cold stuff will stay cold longer. They tend to have a lot of pockets too, so you can toss in your keys and sunglasses, things like that.

It's worth figuring out which of these is the best adult lunch box style for your particular worksite.

Playmate 24

Igloo has a number of fantastic coolers and adult lunch boxes in their lineup, but I'm drawn to the Playmate 24 for a few reasons.

  • It's a rugged lunch box for adults who work. The sides are made from strong canvas, and although it's technically a soft shell it has a ton of durability. It comes with a strap for easily throwing it across your shoulder.
  • It has a formed top with a rubberized handle, and it sits on a riser base that's also rigid. That same base prevents it from absorbing warmth through the ground.
  • It does a great job of keeping things cold inside. It features 10mm of insulation along the inside, an excellent amount of thermal isolation.
  • As for storage, it has two big compartments, one in the top and one in the bottom, separate from one another (good for hot and cold). I think you'd have trouble fitting 24 cans of anything in this adult sized lunch box, but that's not to say it doesn't have a lot of storage space. It fits 15 litres worth of stuff! That's one big lunch.

One of the best and most insulated lunch boxes for men or women who work construction or something similar, this is a soft shelled container worth checking out.

The lunch box and vacuum bottle owned by Harry S. Truman.
The lunch box and vacuum bottle owned by Harry S. Truman. | Source

Stanley Classic

I like a big lunch, but I also value one other thing in the morning: coffee! If you're addicted to the stuff, you'll want to find a cooler and thermos combo, like this one.

Stanley is a familiar brand, and their Heritage Classic is one of the best lunch boxes for adults in construction or manual labour. It's rugged, it's built to last, and it all fits together nicely.

  • The box itself is a standard cooler style, with two separate compartments for your lunch and other items. The lid locks into place, keeping the contents inside and keeping everything nice and cool.
  • For insulation, this adult sized lunch box cooler makes use of foam coated with plastic.
  • You can use the lid of the cooler as a lunch tray!
  • The thermos is a classic Stanley in green. If you don't own a Stanley flask, you should know that they're the best. The vacuum bottle will keep that coffee steaming hot for a long time. It carries 1.1 quarts of liquid.
  • The whole rig is BPA-free, and you shouldn't have to worry about leaks with this one. The carry handle fits nicely over both the cooler and the thermos, so you don't have to carry multiple pieces around.

This awesome set will take a beating and keep on working. It's one of the best lunch boxes for people who need something that stands up to the rigours of hard work.

Coleman

If you're hoping for the largest lunch box for work, it's hard to get much bigger than this one. A soft-sided container by Coleman, it has the capacity to hold up to 40 beverage cans worth of volume.

Sure it's large, but because the sides are soft the whole thing can be collapsed down to a manageable size when not in use. Coleman claims that it gets as small as a phone book. That's handy if you don't have a ton of shelf space at home.

  • This is a cooler first and foremost, so it's fantastic for keeping your meal cool throughout the day.
  • The seams are welded and as such leaks shouldn't be a problem. There's also a copious amount of storage, with a front pouch, top zip area separate from the cooler, and a bungee cord on the back to let you attach stuff. It can hold your lunch, your keys, your phone, whatever you've got.
  • It's also pricetastic, one of the most affordable adult sized lunch boxes for construction work and labour.

Rubbermaid Ice Chest

As durable, industrial quality lunch boxes go, it's hard to find something that's tough enough to withstand the rigours of work in the field. When it's bouncing around in a work truck bed, your meal is in jeopardy.

I really like the size and configuration of this ice chest by Rubbermaid. It's strong enough to serve as a lunch stool, yet simple to use, clean and load up.

  • There's one big compartment inside, and it's big enough to hold up to 12 cans. The insulation isn't as fantastic as others, but the price is incredibly affordable.
  • It's a durable plastic outer shell that can hold your weight, so pull up a stool. The liner is resistant to microbes, and it's a snap to wipe down each day. The handle is convenient to lug it around, and the durable exterior can take a real beating.
  • It may look small, but this is a good adult lunch box for construction work, especially out in the field. It has a good capacity, it reviews really well, it's affordable to buy, and it's dead simple. Perfect!

Innovator

I know how it is. With a 8-12 hour work day and an hour commute, you're often away from the house for most of the day. You can't just have one meal in there, you need enough food to get you through the day.

One of the best lunch boxes for men and women who work long hours is the Innovator. They call it a "meal management" bag, because they make it possible to store up to three meals in this puppy.

  • This thing is pretty big, but it's smartly made. It comes with little containers designed to fit perfectly, no wasted space. These BPA-free containers have snap lids and are easy to grab and eat from.
  • For drinks, there are two large side pockets, large enough to hold four water bottles in total. They're insulated, so you can keep your cold drinks in one side and hot drinks in the other, if you want. It even comes with some ice gel packs to keep stuff cold.
  • There's a top compartment with an organized tray for snacks or supplements.
  • This adult-sized lunch box is well-insulated, and it is made from a durable (1680D) polyester type material that will hold up for a long time.
  • It comes in two sizes: one with three containers, one with five. If you have a long day and need a few meals to get you through it, this is among the best lunch boxes for work.

Bonus Review: Igloo Camo Box

Can you see this one? If you find that you're getting your lunch box mixed up with others, it's not a bad idea to get a distinctive one. And what's better than camouflage?

This is not only a fantastic lunch box for construction workers, it can also serve double duty on your hunting trips! It's a soft-sided box made by Igloo, but it comes with a hard top and handle, so it will retain its shape in the cab of your truck (more or less crush proof). It has a rubberized handle for easy grip, and a shoulder strap.

  • Much like the other Igloo reviewed here, this lunch box for work is well insulated and keeps stuff cold. Really cold, all day, especially if you're using ice packs.
  • It has storage to spare. The interior can hold up to 22 cans worth of volume, and it also has two sizeable front pockets for storing your keys, utensils, smokes, whatever.
  • Did I mention it's manly? It is! I had to include this item, as it's one of my personal favourite construction work lunch boxes, large and user-friendly.

Poll Time:

Where does your work lunch box live on your jobsite?

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    • Work Wear Guy profile image
      Author

      Bob 2 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the suggestion, backpacks for lunches for the working woman or man are on my list!

    • profile image

      Gina Colburn 2 years ago

      as a trades worker also, I prefer backpacks. Would like to get your input on the best ones available.

    • Work Wear Guy profile image
      Author

      Bob 2 years ago from Canada

      Good point btmims, thank you for your input. The Rubbermaid is the only one I reviewed that doesn't have either a zipper or latch closed lid, and that feature can be a must have to lots of us out there.

    • profile image

      btmims 2 years ago

      The Rubbermaid is garbage. I'm an industrial electrician, and unless they changed the construction, my older 10 qt Rubbermaid like your talking about can not keep its lid on. It will hold all 225 lbs of me, but that doesn't help me much when my food ends up all over my truck every time it tips over because I didn't secure it JUST right (upgrading to something that latches soon)