Both My Kids Have This Insulated Lunch Box — And It’s Lasted for Years

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

My daughter picked out her first backpack and matching lunch box in the summer before kindergarten. I let her get whatever design she wanted, and she picked out an insulated lunch box from Pottery Barn Kids

Quick Overview

What’s So Great About the Mackenzie Lunch Box from Pottery Barn Kids?

The Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Lunch Box is an insulated, soft-sided lunch box that can fit a whole meal plus snacks and a drink. There are multiple designs and sizes, and each one is super durable and easy to clean.

I was dubious at first because it wasn’t completely neoprene like the bag I’d been sending to preschool which could go in the washing machine. I figured I’d be replacing it partway through the year due to wear and stains. My daughter is about to go into fourth grade and the same lunch box she picked out in kindergarten is still going strong. 

What’s So Great About Pottery Barn Kids’ Mackenzie Lunch Boxes? 

I appreciate the recycled and food-safe materials, as well as the water-resistant exterior fabric. The insulated bag also has a zippered section, which fits a small ice pack. You could also use the zippered section for small snacks, a napkin, utensils, a note, or whatever else and, if needed, could fit an ice pack in the main box and still have room for a bento box or a full lunch.

Even when yogurt or cheese comes back home at the end of the day, it’s still fairly cool with the ice pack in there. There is a mesh sleeve for a water bottle on the side and it’s deep enough to hold my kids’ water bottles without constantly falling out, which has happened with other beverage sleeves. 

Credit: Laura Wheatman Hill

Some designs glow in the dark if you leave them out for about half an hour, which has been very exciting for my children — it makes it easy to spot a left-behind lunch box in the dark car at the end of the day. You can also personalize the outside with a monogram, picture, or name, and there’s also a name plate inside which is easy to fill in with a Sharpie. The design my daughter chose isn’t available, although my son’s  construction-printed version is still around.  

Credit: Laura Wheatman Hill

Cleaning doesn’t end up being an issue, either. When I need to, I wipe out the inner molded box and spot clean the outside. Using a bento box inside the lunch box cuts down on my need to clean it, anyway. My son, for whom I got a construction-printed version during his last year of preschool, is not known for his neatness, but the box continues to thrive with minimal damage two years later. 

Even though there isn’t a standard lunch box size, this has been the perfect size for my kids and it fits nicely in their backpacks. The hard, molded box on the inside keeps the food from getting too squished when the backpack is jammed full of books, sweatshirts, and various nature treasures from the playground.  

Pottery Barn also makes a larger “cold pack” version with a nesting ice pack inside, which can also be a divider for food and will keep things cool from the sides. There’s also a “mini” version for extra snacks or a smaller amount of food. 

I’m thrilled that these lunch boxes have held up all these years and would buy one again only if my children desperately wanted a change in design. Otherwise, there would be no need to replace the original.

Buy: Pottery Barn Mackenzie Lunch Boxes, starting at $22.50