The Laptop Lunchbox - My almost end of the year review

There are only three weeks of school left. WOW! Really?? Where did this year go? It seems like such a short time ago I was preparing the big chic's first lunch for her first day. Now our schedule is full of all of the "end of_____" events - graduations, recitals, parties, etc... And while it seems to me that the time has gone so quickly, many of our school items are starting to show that they have indeed seen the inside of a school for the past 9 months. Chic's burgandy and navy uniforms are fading, white uniforms are stained beyond hope, the backpack is scuffed and dirty, and our Laptop Lunchbox carrier is on it's last legs. When I discovered the tear on the carrier, I remembered that when we bought the lunchbox, the hubs and I both wondered how durable it would be. I decided that I'd write a little "year in review" for anyone that is considering the purchase and wonders the same thing.

When we first bought the Laptop Lunchbox, our main concern was that the chic would lose it. I mean, let's be honest...they are not the cheapest lunchbox option out there. And the hubs is notoriously "thrifty" and was, therefore, very hesitant about spending that much money. But I stood firm that the chic would take care of it and that we would be saving money in the long run because we wouldn't be buying all those plastic baggies. I can be very convincing (or annoying depending on whose version of the story you hear) so we bought it.

Looking back over the year, I have been very pleased with our purchase. The containers have been dishwashered, microwaved, and refrigerated and the lids are still leak proof. The water bottle, which I had reservations about, has never leaked, and the container keeps everything amazingly cold even hours later.

There are a few unadvertised benefits of the Laptop Lunchbox as well. It really stands out. Big chic was the only one with that lunchbox in Kindergarten and the teachers were interested in it so naturally everyone is looking out for it and recognizes it as the chic's. And because it was so unique, she was really proud of it and took great care of it. She never lost it or forgot it in the dining hall and our only "incident" was a day when she forgot to put it in her backpack and left it in her locker. THAT I can live with. Now before you think my chic must be some unusually responsible kindergartner, let me assure you that she is just as forgetful as the rest. We've lost a uniform sweater and a fleece jacket this year as well as other assorted hair bows and headbands. But the Laptop Lunchbox? Never forgets it!

So this brings me to the only somewhat disappointing aspect of the lunchbox - the carrier. I have loved the carrier for it's thermal properties. With a thin ice pack in the pocket, the food stays very cool. The lunchbox is still cold when I open it up to clean it out after school. And it seemed very durable. I really expected to be replacing containers before the carrier, but when she came home last week, I discovered a tear in the seam of the bag.


Granted, she's carried the thing to school all year, but it's in her backpack until lunch. Then she carries it to the dining hall, eats lunch, and carries it back to her backpack. The thing is only out of her backpack or locker to actually eat lunch. I don't know...I just expected it to be a bit more durable. I mean, her $10 backpack has been thrown in the car, on the pavement, in her room, in a locker, in the gym, in a dance studio, and dragged on the ground while she complained that it was too heavy and other than a few scuffs and stains, it's still perfectly fine. A replacement carrier is $19 or so and we'll end up having to buy another before next year, but then I gotta justify the fact that we are again spending more than we normally would on a lunchbox. I'm hoping that our next carrier will last longer, that maybe this was just a fluke. We'll see. If not, I may end up having to find another way to carry her container. I'm just not sure how many years I can convince the hubs that we need to spend more money.

So, would I buy the Laptop Lunchbox again? Yes. Overall we have loved the Laptop Lunchbox. We've had an unending variety of food to send to lunch and she has really enjoyed her lunches this year. We'll be taking out lunches in the Laptop Lunchbox again next year. And her sister, who will be starting Pre-K has already requested one.

Here's her lunch from yesterday:


Tomatoes (to put on her wrap), Baby cucumber, BLT wrap, Strawberries, Fruit Leather


I didn't take a pic of today's lunch. She was supposed to have a field trip, but it was canceled, but she went ahead and took the field trip friendly lunch. Didn't take pics of it though cause it was just too boring!

4 comments:

RLR said...

I'm going to suggest that it's just a fluke. It sounds like big chic's daily usage is similar to ours - lunches daily, stuffed into and pulled out of the backpack, and maybe sometimes carried separately. (Doesn't look like that last word is spelled correctly, but blogger spell-checked me!) I'll ditto all of the praises for having a lunchbox that's different that everyone else's, too.

This is the first year my kids have carried their lunches 5 days/week, and our cases are still looking good. I can see a few small places in the lining of the carrier that are starting to tear - but small, nothing along the lines of what you are seeing. My biggest challenge is that our water bottles leak - but that may be because my daughter (almost 4) doesn't close the cap tightly enough after lunch.

On the day my son left his lunchbox, he took a lunchbox in a bento sleeve the following day. Worked just fine since he was carrying it in his backpack, though I did end up sending along milk money since his water bottle was at school, too. If you are sending a drink this might not be a good option for the big chic, but wanted to make the suggestion.

I'll look forward to learning what you decide!

Melissa said...

My two cents:

- of all the countless reviews and comments I have read over the years about the Laptop Lunches system I will hear these two flaws: the carrier wears out, tears, frays and that the hinge on the outer Laptop box will crack. SO, I wasn't surprised to see your photo, I don't think it's *that* unusual for the LL system, unfortunately.

- However, my 8 year old son has carried the same backpack for three years (since Kindergarten!). It is a Pottery Barn Kids backpack and it's made of iron or something, that thing still looks FANTASTIC. It's a little dirty now, but it has nary a scuffmark anywhere. But in that same 3 year period he has totally worn out 4 (FOUR!) lunchboxes. And like your daughter, he carries it to and fro inside his backpack.

So take that for what it's worth. :) The Laptop Lunches box will fit in other lunchboxes too...I know it fits in the Crocodile Creek lunchboxes, for instance. You might have better luck looking somewhere else for a carrier for it.

Kelly Lester said...

Hi Michelle,
Another bento-style lunchbox alternative you may want to try is my very affordable EasyLunchbox System. It helps families quickly pack healthy lunches without wasting time, money, paper, or plastic. Perfect for kids and adults who want to pack a healthy lunch for school or work! FDA approved. No BPA, phthalates, lead, vinyl, or PVC. We are a proud to be a Participating Company of the Green My Lunchbox Campaign, a national campaign asking 15,000 families to pledge to pack a waste-free lunch to eliminate 1 million pounds of waste going to landfills (based on the estimate that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year - epa.gov0. Use code GREENIT through Labor Day 2010 for 10% off. - Kelly Lester,CEO http://www.EasyLunchboxes.com

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