Compartments for silverware
Tall enough for an upright bottle
Unable to remove the shoulder strap
No hard casing
We purchased Carhartt's Deluxe Lunch Cooler so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Whether you work in an office, drive for eight hours a day, or simply need a spot to store a snack, the Carhartt Deluxe Lunch Cooler has you covered. It is a simple, smart design with quality materials so that it will last for years. It’s large enough to hold enough food to get you through a full day at work without being too big. We tested this bag to see how it held up to regular use. Read on to learn more.
Design: Thoughtfully made
Just about anyone can use this lunch box. Upon pulling it out of the shipping box and unzipping the top, we first noticed how deep the main compartment is. We could easily put my travel coffee cup in upright and, if packed correctly, would feel confident about transporting the bag without the mug spilling. We could also fit three of my daughter’s 8-ounce formula bottles in it upright (with plastic caps on), leaving space to spare for her larger baby food containers. However, we didn’t need the lower section to store the baby food containers because they fit well in the lunchbox’s top compartment. This section is attached to the lunch box’s lid, separate from the bottom with some netting. There is an exterior zipper on the side of the lunch box. We liked this external compartment feature because if we were to pack snacks, we could reach them quickly and easily without having to rifle through the entire container.
The lunch box interior is lined with silver, waterproof insulation. There’s nothing that stands out about the interior; it’s pretty much like any other lunch box on the market. There is a little bit of padding between the insulation and exterior, but we expected more, especially from the Carhartt brand.
A zippered front pocket outside the lunch box is a perfect space to store condiments, napkins, and silverware. It’s not very big, but it’s enough space to keep what you need for the day. It has a thick padded top handle for extra comfort firmly attached for carrying hefty lunch loads. It also comes with an over the shoulder carrying strap. We found this strap incredibly helpful while carrying our 8-month-old baby on the other side.
It’s clear that the bag’s design was well thought out, but we were disappointed that the carrying strap wasn’t removable. It’s not a huge deal, but the hanging strap is a nuisance when carrying the bag by the top handle. We also wish we had the option to choose hard or soft casing. Carhartt is known for high-quality products, and while this is well-made, a hard-cased lunch container would have knocked it out of the park for us.
One thing you can count on with Carhartt is strong, durable material. We were happy this lunch box did not skimp on the fabric. It seems like it can withstand a beating. The stitching is “triple-needle stitching,” which means it is strong enough that we didn’t worry too much about the bag’s weight. The zippers all work well and are securely sewn on, and the interior insulation is stitched together nicely, making us feel confident the bag would be leak-free. The exterior material is heavy-duty Rain Defender water-repellent polyester material.
We didn’t have any spills or leaking issues, even with condensation coming off the water bottle (or my daughter’s formula bottles).
Size: Just right
The size of the lunch box is perfect. Whether we were packing a lunch for my husband, who has a hearty appetite, or our two young children, this bag fits everything and then some. The lunch box wasn’t so big that he felt uncomfortable or awkward, storing it in the shared fridge at his office. If we were going out for the day with my 8-month-old and 3.5-year-old, we could easily fit enough food, drinks, and snacks for both of them in this lunch box without worry. But, if you are thinking about packing lunch for two adults for a road trip or a beach outing, this bag might underwhelm you. It’s perfect for one adult or two children, but that’s the limit.
Performance: As expected
This lunch box requires an ice pack (or two) if you plan to keep your food cold throughout the day. In the morning, we put a cold bottle of water in the bag without an ice pack, and by lunchtime (four hours later), it was barely colder than room temperature.
When we added an ice pack with the cold water bottle, the water was cold four hours later. We wouldn’t feel confident packing yogurt for a 3 p.m. snack, even with an ice pack, but would be fine packing something a little less perishable in case it was room temperature by the time we got to it. We didn’t have any spills or leaking issues, even with condensation coming off the water bottle (or my daughter’s formula bottles).
Cleaning: Spot-clean only
Officially, this is a spot-clean only lunch box, according to the manufacturer. We got the black one which hides spots well, so spot cleaning is sufficient for that. However, if I were to spill something like baby formula inside it (or something else that makes it smelly), we’d run it through a laundry cycle before calling it a total loss and replacing it. We would probably try it on delicate and then let it air dry. Since it’s soft-sided, it can fold up and bend a bit.
Price: A little high
This lunch box retails for about $25. We feel it’s well made and performs well, but we think the price is a little high and, ultimately, you’re paying for the label. Another thing built into the price is the rugged reliability. A limited lifetime warranty covers all Carhartt work bags, packs, and gear.
Competition: One of many
BALORAY Lunch Bag: If you want something that’s a good size, the right price, and is stylish, the Baloray Lunch Bag is a great option. It retails for around $14 and will hold just a little less than the Carhartt Deluxe Lunch Cooler. Rather than a lunch box, it looks more like a cute tote bag but is still big enough to fit a workday’s worth of food. However, what you save in money you lose in performance because it won’t keep your food cold as long as the Carhartt cooler.
MIER Adult Lunch Box: If you spend about $30, you can get the MIER lunch box that is equally strong and durable but significantly larger than the Carhartt Deluxe Lunch Cooler. It will definitely keep your food cold all day long and has enough space to hold probably two workday’s worth of food. This bulkier bag will most likely anger your coworkers because it will hog up a bunch of space in the community fridge.
This is a superb, long-lasting, basic lunch box.
The Carhartt Deluxe Lunch Cooler lunch box does what it promises. It is built to last and has a simple but classic design. It’s perfect for day-to-day use, whether you have a small appetite or a hearty one. You won’t be able to pack enough food for your whole family in the bag, but if you’re looking for something you can use daily for one family member, it’s worth the money.
- Product Name Deluxe Lunch Cooler
- Product Brand Carhartt
- MPN 358100B
- Price $24.99
- Weight 0.7 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10 x 9 x 7 in.
- Color Black, Carhartt brown
- Material Polyester (exterior); insulated (interior)
- Warranty Lifetime (limited)