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How to Find a Cooler Bag for a Safer and Tastier Lunch.

Updated on September 28, 2011

Taking Lunch and Drinks on the Go With a Cooler Bag

Whether you want to take your lunch to work, on a day trip, or along on a canoe trip, having a small cooler bag is the perfect solution. These insulated bags can keep warm food warm and cold foods and beverages cold for several hours.

A good bag is important for allowing you to enjoy your food and drinks at the temperature we prefer them, even hours later. Of course they also provide and easy means of transport. However, more importantly, they assure harmful bacteria won't form by maintaining the temperature needed.

They're small, lightweight, and easy to clean. Learn a bit more about the options when shopping for a cooler bag on this page. If you're really on the hunt for something larger, then a soft sided cooler may be a better choice as the largest of the items on this page will hold a maximum of 6 beverage bottles.

Buying Tips

On this page you'll find small cooler bags for beverages, baby bottles and cooler lunch bags and totes. Here are just a few things you may want to consider when making your choice:

  • Storage and Capacity
    Of course the first consideration is how much space you'll need. If it's lunch for a day, drinks for a group, or a picnic for two, then the options here will work well.

    If you need a cooler bag that does more and has more versatility, there are options that can meet your needs. Some double as a messenger bag and others as a backpack where you can pack a towel and swim suit or other non-food items.

    Many of these bags also have other compartments. Some offer mesh pockets and zip pockets where you can store extra snacks, or items such as a cell phone, keys, silverware, napkins, and so forth.

    Some of these products will offer one large compartment that can be used in any manner you choose. Others offer two compartments; one for hot foods and one for cold foods.
  • Portability
    While all of these cooler bags are lightweight and of a size that can easily be carried, shoppers will want to consider how they will want to carry the bag.

    Some are carried like a purse, with short handles on the sides or top. Others may offer a shoulder strap which can be good with a somewhat heavier load or at times when you want your hands to be free. A shoulder strap that is adjustable is most convenient. Other bags may be carried like a backpack. These are ideal for those who are hiking, bicycling, or walking a great deal. The weight in a backpack model is evenly distributed and therefore ideal for heavier loads and once again, for those who want to keep their hands free.
  • Maintaining Temperature
    Cooler bags offer insulation to help maintain temperatures. Most of them will perform this function adequately for at least 4 hours; some longer. Using ice packs helps maintain cold temperatures longer. (Ice packs won't leak inside the bag like ice will.) Many bags are not waterproof, but some do offer a vinyl or plastic lining to prevent leakage. Some of these linings are even removable for easy cleaning. Some bags do use waterproof materials in their exterior construction which is particularly important when involved in outdoor activities.


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    • PaperNotes profile image

      PaperNotes 7 years ago

      My daughter needs this kind of bag so her lunch would stay warm. I start packing her food around 4:30 in the morning and her lunch break is around 11. This will be great for her. Thank you.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      These are great! I have several and use them a lot.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 7 years ago

      This is one of the best things ever invented...Nice styles, colors and sizes to choose from too...

    • BevsPaper profile image

      BevsPaper 7 years ago from Central Indiana

      What a timely article! I have used a cooler bag (the same one) for 16 years now to take my lunch to work. It was a gift from the teaching staff to the volunteers at the school my daughter attended at the time so it has the date on it. It is finally wearing out and I need a new one. Am kind of liking that green paisley lunch tote.

    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 7 years ago from Michigan

      Nice alternative to keeping a cooler in the car or finding a fridge.