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What are the Different Types of Lunch Bags?

Lunch bags come in a variety of styles, from insulated totes that keep meals at the perfect temperature to eco-friendly bento boxes that separate food with chic efficiency. Whether you prefer a classic brown paper bag look or a modern, sleek design, there's a lunch bag to match your personal taste and dietary needs. What's your lunchtime companion?
Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky

Lunch bags are handy for packing sack lunches to take along to school or work, and most people have used those good old brown paper lunch bags at some point in time. Lunch bags have come a long way, and while the standard brown paper still works great, there are other colors and many different designs available.

You can even have personalized lunch bags printed for your child or for yourself. Everyone will readily know whose lunch is whose. This style is especially handy for big families. Siblings won't accidentally grab the wrong lunch if bags are imprinted with their names.

Standard brown bags are still a staple in packing lunches.
Standard brown bags are still a staple in packing lunches.

There are also lunch bags that are more like soft lunch boxes. They are usually square or rectangular in shape and made from vinyl or plastic. Most zip closed and have a handle. Similar in style are soft-sided coolers or insulated lunch containers. These are great for keeping food fresh until lunchtime--no more soggy sandwiches or wilted fruit. Many insulated containers come complete with gel packs that can be frozen and slipped into the bag to keep food chilled.

Lunch meat sandwiches are often packed in a lunch bag.
Lunch meat sandwiches are often packed in a lunch bag.

If you prefer natural materials to paper, plastic, or vinyl, there are also environmentally friendly, canvas lunch bags available. Made from cotton, these bags can be used over and over again. You can even choose canvas bags made from organic cotton. Just like reusable shopping bags, these reusable bags are a good way to reduce paper and plastic consumption.

Food items may be packed in resealable plastic baggies for lunch.
Food items may be packed in resealable plastic baggies for lunch.

Most canvas bags tie closed or close with Velcro™ and have handles for easy carrying. They are machine washable and drip dry in no time at all. Not only will you avoid using lots of paper and plastic bags, you will save money over time because you will not run out of bags and have to purchase more. These canvas bags are very durable and they can be conveniently folded up and slipped into a backpack or even into a pocket after use.

Reusable canvas totes bags can be used to carry lunches.
Reusable canvas totes bags can be used to carry lunches.

Sometimes lunch bags pack more than lunch. Paper sacks, soft lunch boxes, and insulated bags are also used as promotional items. They can be imprinted with a company name and logo, advertising a business or a product or service. Since they are so practical, people use them often, getting the company's name out into the public.

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Discussion Comments

anon87340

There is a whole new type of lunch bag out! Pack It is a company that makes these really cool new lunch bags that have the gel built into the liner of the bag. The bag folds up really compactly and the whole bag stores directly in the freezer until you are ready to use it. They are awesome!

They keep your food cold for up to 10 hours! Oh and there is a cool wine bag that works the same way! Very cool idea. Check them out online.

anon15158

There's a great kids lunch bag from a company called Project Kool. It was started by a young boy in New York for kids to fight Global Warming. We got two of the bags from my sister and we are bringing them into our school through a fundraiser.

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    • Standard brown bags are still a staple in packing lunches.
      By: spaxiax
      Standard brown bags are still a staple in packing lunches.
    • Lunch meat sandwiches are often packed in a lunch bag.
      By: Bert Folsom
      Lunch meat sandwiches are often packed in a lunch bag.
    • Food items may be packed in resealable plastic baggies for lunch.
      By: koosen
      Food items may be packed in resealable plastic baggies for lunch.
    • Reusable canvas totes bags can be used to carry lunches.
      By: bennyartist
      Reusable canvas totes bags can be used to carry lunches.
    • An ice pack inside of a lunch bag can keep food cool until lunch time.
      By: michelaubryphoto
      An ice pack inside of a lunch bag can keep food cool until lunch time.