Best Bag for Packing and Snacking
- What: BYO Insulated Lunch Sack
- When: Birth to college and beyond
- Why: Packable, durable, multipurpose
- Where: Amazon
I don’t know about you, but whenever I leave the house for more than an hour with kids under three feet tall, I pack snacks. It gets worse when we travel with kids. Then I pack enough snacks to get through the entire day. With three mouths to feed, it can add up quite fast. I’ve traveled with the same neoprene lunch bags from BYO for years. In fact, I liked it so much, I had two. One has since gone off on its own adventure despite my labeling system, but luckily I still have the other one.
The stretchy material means I can pack it to the gills with everything from baby bottles and baby food to snacks for myself. The neoprene material keeps everything inside warm or cool, depending on its original temperature. In extreme heat or cold, I can toss in a warm or cold pack to keep things even more above or below the outside temps, or to keep a bottle of water, milk or formula at the desired temperature. The sack fits easily under strollers, or the handle hooks on with a Toogli hook in a breeze so it can go anywhere without the need for me to actually carry it.
The bag folds flat when not in use, which comes in handy for storing it as well as if my kids eat everything in my stash. Then I can tuck the flat bag into almost any other bag and have one less thing to collect once we reach our final destination, even if that’s just our house. The bag seems small, but easily holds enough snacks for three kids for a day. I can fit an entire unopened bag of Goldfish in it, along with a horde of other snacks. I can toss in one large kids’ water bottle or sippy cup in it, and can even put all three in if needed, though then it won’t always zip entirely closed depending on the other contents.
It goes in the washer and dryer for easy cleaning, and the neoprene also soaks up any spills before they reach other bags. I continually toss more and more stuff into it, and it’s never split, broken, or otherwise malfunctioned. Despite years of use, it looks almost brand new. My kids now know the “polka dot bag” has lots of delicious things inside, and once they spot it, they can’t resist finding out what lurks inside.
The bags come in a large variety of patterns and colors, so even if polka dot’s not your thing, they have a pattern or color for you. Prices vary depending on the moment and which color you choose, but you can score one for under $10 if you shop wisely. I can’t count the number of times I’ve taken it out of the house, much less the number of major trips where we’ve shoved it into a bag between car seats or under the airplane seat in front of us, but this little lunch bag has never let me down.
Once your kids make it to school age, it can do double duty as a lunch container as well. I’ve been known to pack my own snacks in it for a day without kids, so it will serve us for years to come, even once I only need to feed myself instead of the horde of children that follow me everywhere I go.