Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: Roots Lunch Bag

It occurred to me that I’ve been sitting on this gem (figuratively, natch), and sharing could help others.

This is my son’s soft-sided lunch bag. Both of my boys are rough on their belongings. This particular lunch bag has served stoically through the 2013-2014 school year, and is currently serving the 2014-2015 school year.

And it’ll likely serve the 2015-2016 year, too.

No joshing. These Roots bags are the most durable lunch bags I’ve ever seen. I have no plans to shell out for a new lunch bag anytime soon.

If I recall, it was less than $15 CAD new at Costco. Recently I saw some with different colours still stocked in a corner of Costco near the snowshoes and bread (you can’t make this up).

They come with a stainless steel water bottle (that apparently people keep gifting unused to second hand stores, if you’ve got a kid like mine who constantly loses water bottles...), with a wide enough mouth to toss in an ice cube or four during the summer months. 

They also come with a clip on strap that we’ve never bothered to use, I’ve just lost them, put them aside for future use.

Now these lunch bags aren’t in perfect condition after 18 months, but they might as well be. They have a couple stains (is that pink crayon? Jello?). But the only items that have fallen apart are negligible ones, in my opinion: the mesh on the bottom of one bottle holder has let go, and my youngest son’s bag has lost the bungee cord to secure his bottle (but it still works fine). The stainless steel bottle that hasn’t been lost is dented up the wazoo, but is functional.

Overall importance in usability and durability:

- These lunch bags don’t smell. They have a plastic zip-out liner to ensure leaks are contained, but I preemptively put the boys’ refillable drink boxes in an empty bread bag because I’m OCD like that. And whenever the boys have a break from school I wash the entire bags themselves and hang to dry, so they get a good wash 4-6 times a year, and that's on top of the daily wipe out.

- The silver insulating lining has not cracked or gotten caught in zippers.

- The fabric has not frayed. The handle is padded and comfortable.

- The zippers are tough: they zip smoothly and haven’t begun catching on anything.

- It’s roomy. Since it's soft-sided there's some wiggle room on the dimensions listed below. Daily I pack the lunch bag’s main compartment with multiple items/containers, specifically: a sandwich container, two small containers (a serving each of apple sauce and Jello), a medium container with a muffin, and/or an apple, a refillable drink box, an ice pack (held in place by mesh), and two spoons (because using the same spoon for both apple sauce and Jello is just gross, Mom). In the past the main compartment has also held a small Thermos for hot lunch instead of a sandwich container. There’s another narrower compartment on the outside to hold snacks (a tub of crackers and a granola bar or two. And I have boys who appreciate crackers that aren’t cold).

Main compartment: 25cm/10" tall, 20cm/8" wide, 10cm/3.5" deep
Smaller compartment: 22cm 8.5" tall, 20cm/8" wide, 5cm/2"deep

These Roots lunch bags are available at Costco on and off during the year, and—being Costco—it’s one of those hit or miss things to watch for in off seasons. If you see them grab them quick, you never know when they'll be back. They’re usually promoted next to matching Roots backpacks (another great buy I’d highly recommend—$20 CAD and extremely durable, with multiple pockets for proper weight distribution and gadgets my kidlets don’t possibly need).

No, I’m not receiving any compensation from Costco, or Roots, or anyone else for this review (if only). This is a case of simply walking into my laundry room, seeing these bad boys hanging to dry, and thinking they were one of the best buys in a long time. 

So I had to share.

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