Other Cooler Bags you can use With EasyLunchboxes Bento Containers

by on August 28, 2011 · 34 comments                       

Cooler Bag Questions Answered

I regularly get asked about other cooler bags – will my EasyLunchbox containers fit into them? Yes. Some families prefer a smaller cooler, or one with cartoon designs, or one that will easily slip into a child’s backpack, etc.

But if you like my EasyLunchboxes cooler bags, and just wanna dress them up or personalize them, don’t miss my COOLER BAG GALLERY for some super-fun ideas!

Decorating ideas for EasyLunchboxes cooler bags

 Coolers from other manufacturers for EasyLunchboxes containers

Of course I understand that my complete EasyLunchbox System (bento container + bag) may not fit the needs of everyone, and therefore, people may wish to use my compartmentalized containers with a cooler bag from a different manufacturer.

That’s perfectly fine. In fact, I encourage you to do whatever works best in your house. But it is important to note that I originally designed the containers to be carried upright in my roomy cooler bag so that:

  • since the containers are not leakproof, they would stay mess-free, even if a slightly wet item was included
  • the purposely looser lids would stay put, held down by the weight of an ice block, drink, etc.
  • lunches would look as yummy as when they’re prepared. No more scrambled food :)
The kid-friendly fit of the lids may be a bit looser than what you expect, a feature chosen in order to be easily removed by little fingers. Therefore, they are not leakproof.  Please keep this in mind when using my containers with a cooler bag other than the one I designed for it.

Ok, so what other coolers will work?

Elementary school girl lunch packed in EasyLunchboxes and a pink cooler bagFrom my customers, I have heard that certain ones from LL Bean, Stephen Joseph, Gap, Garnet Hill, Gymboree, Lands End, Laptop Lunches, Pottery Barn, SoYoung, One Step Ahead, Embark, Arctic Zone, Balanced Day (Canada), Children’s Place, Thirty one “Chillicious” and BUILT will fit my containers. In fact, Wildkin Double Decker Lunch Bags and the Built NY Gourmet Getaway are ones you can use to carry the container flat/horizontally as I recommend. Cristi of Bent on Better Lunches even posted pics of them to show the Gourmet Getaway with my containers. Click HERE to see her pics.

Over on BentoLunch.net, Shannon reviews and pictures an ELB fitting nicely into a DISNEY Favorite Characters Bag as well as ELBs fitting nicely in the Arctic Zone neoprene animal bag.

Check out the fun post that Melonie wrote about ELB containers fitting in the Skip Hop Zoo Lunchie Insulated Lunch Bag.

Skip Hop Lunch Bag is a great fit for the EasyLunchboxes food container

For Teens

The Built Neoprene Lunch Sacks are a great choice for just one container and ice block, especially for teens who may want to fit their lunch in their backpack. One mom even told me, “I was lucky to come across 2 bags from Dell that are made for small netbooks….the lunches fit perfectly inside, and tightly”. Teens especially will like the very cool lunch bags made from recycled t-shirts at ThriftTeeGear.

What if you don’t want to use an ice block? The new PackIt Zippable, mini lunch bag is the answer! More details HERE.

PackIT Zippable lunch bag is a good fit for EasyLunchboxes

Another super cool and roomy(!) cloth lunch bag is by fluf. Read a full review on Lunches With Love. Their funky fun designs will appeal to many ages of kids and older:

FLUF lunch bags fit EasyLunchboxes containers


In addition to my ELBs you may have a jumble of other lunch containers/coolers at home and want to know how they all stack up, size wise, in or out of a standard cooler. Super informative post about how some popular brands measure up on We Should be Folding Laundry.

When choosing a different band of bag for my ELB containers, just be sure that the inside of the bag measures a bit larger than my container, which is:  9.38″ x 6.1″ x 2″.

But only dry food should be packed, if your choice of bag requires you to carry lunch sideways. EasyLunchboxes are not leakproof. You would need to include a separate, leak free container for runny items like yogurt, salad dressings, juicy fruits, or sauces. More about runny items HERE.

► Also, if carried sideways, and no other items (drink, ice block) are included in this type of cooler to fill up the bag/push against the lid, I would recommend using a rubber band, ponytail elastic or bento box strap to wrap around the container for extra security.)

Laura of MOMables shared the below pic with me – my ELBs fit perfectly in this glittery cooler bag from BIXBEE:

Bixbee cooler bags are a perfect fit for EasyLunchboxes kids food containers

Here’s a Superman one from Thermos. Read all about it on Mambelly’s Lunches with Love.

Superman lunch cooler by Thermos is a great fit for EasyLunchboxes containers

BTW – If you want a BIGGER cooler bag (to hold 4 or more containers) for picnics and more, check out the Thirty-One Market Thermal Tote. Crystal’s Ramblings has written about them HERE. She has some pics with the ELBs stacked up next to them for size comparison.

BACKPACK TIP  – shared by Laura S. – “We use the LL Bean large back packs. .. The ELB cooler fits perfectly in the bottom. Plus, LLBean stands by their products. If the zipper breaks, they replace the backpack, no charge. I love LL bean!”

Hey, they fit!

Thanks to Angie of  A Whole Lot of Nothing for sharing her family’s personal lunch box story on her blog:

…we already had the girls’ LLBean lunch boxes purchased … I went out on a hunt for the perfect Bento-ish-style reusable lunch containers.

HALLELUJAH, Baby Jeebus and Oprah did not smite me that day!

I found the perfect-for-us lunch containers that just so happened to fit perfectly into the girls’ already-purchased lunchboxes: EasyLunchboxes 3-compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers.

If I was going to spend the equivalent of a restaurant lunch on containers, they better last these grubby chillrens all year. I watched the product description video on the Easy Lunchboxes website to make sure what I was getting was of a higher quality, was dishwasher safe, and was easy for the grubby chillrens to open themselves.

Again, HALLELUJAH, Baby Jeebus and Oprah did not smite me!

The first things I did when I got the containers was 1) fit them to the lunchboxes (they fit!), 2) make the grubby chillrens remove the lid themselves, and 3) pray to the almighty Baby Jeebus and Oprah….

Friends, it’s a whole new lunch-packing year for me. I feel like a proper mommyblogger!

Thanks Angie! Click HERE to read her full post.

Angie loves her camera, her remote, her girls, and her husband. Their rank in her favor changes daily. Her MessyHouse is in a constant state of disarray with random plastic doll parts, scraps of paper, 1/2-full Taco Bell cups of iced tea, and the occasional pair of little girl socks.

OCT. 30th Update – a conversation on my Facebook Wall:

  • Easylunchboxes via Kendra Peterson
    Kendra of Biting the Hand That Feeds You has a tip about another cooler bag she likes in addition to mine. She writes: “The EasyLunchbox Cooler Bag is great for packing multiple boxes or more stuff too, but I love the BUILT bags for just one lunch.

    I appreciate this tip, because I was wondering if those would possibly fit the ELBs. Yay! Good to know. :)

      • Does this fit just one easy lunch box?
      • 5 hours ago · 
      •  yes.
        5 hours ago · 

          I like those, too, but yours are cheaper :) We have Gymboree lunchboxes that fit one just perfectly, but I like how yours carry the lunch without tilting it. Guess it depends on what you’re packing, usually it shouldn’t matter much.

        5 hours ago ·  ·  1 person
      •  My kids use the BuiltNY Gourmet Getaway Totes, I bought them before I found the Easy Lunchboxes. @Tammy, I think they could hold 3 ELB’s because I fit 2 stacked with 2 Nalgene sippy cups on top when we go to the park.

        3 hours ago · 
      • We love the patterns to keep everything cool with style!
        3 hours ago · 
      • perfect size!

        3 hours ago · 

      •   These bags are so cute!
        3 hours ago · 
      • My dilemma is getting the ELB (flat) plus a small personal thermos/insulated cup (upright) in a lunchbox/bag. Do these fit an ELB and an insulated cup (upright) too?

        2 hours ago · 
      • Here is another site I found that can customize kids and grown ups lunch bags! embroideryandvinylcreations.com at seriously good prices!

        about an hour ago · 
      • Kendra Peterson These BUILT bags fit one ELB, and can hold some more stuff, but nothing else as wide/long as the ELB. But it will hold it FLAT, which is why I love it. And keeps it in place. If I have an ELB in the ELB bag by itself, if the bag tumbles over when I slam on the brakes, the ELB gets all jumbly inside. (ELB bag filled mostly to the top comes out fine.) So I use my BUILT bag when I’m packing a solo lunch, or if she’s decided she wants HER lunch in HER bag that she picked out (some random brand from Target with a kitty on it. But it carries the ELBs sideways, so I have to carry it flat for her.) I still love my ELB bag. But I’m of the mind that you need different bags for different situations. Most days I bring 2 lunches, so the ELB bag is my go-to. But if I’m packing my lunch in an ELB and her lunch in a Japanese-style little bento, I can fit them both better in the BUILT, since the little one won’t be sliding around as much.

      • Easylunchboxes Kendra- I don’t have a PR dept., but if I did, it would be all yours. THANK YOU! :) – K

        • 11 minutes ago ·     Like
      • Kendra Peterson Nina, I don’t think it would fit them like that. THe ELB completely fits the bottom snugly – stretches the neoprene a bit even. So the cup/bottle would have to be fairly short. The top zips closed, which brings the sides together, so it’s much skinnier at the top. They do make water bottle carriers, which are also good with the $5 off/2 deal, and you could use a carabiner clip on the handles to keep them together

        10 minutes ago ·  ·  1 person
      • Kendra Peterson Since I’ve kinda been ‘stuck” using ELBs the past few months (best ones for in-car eating, which is what most of our lunches have been lately,) I realize how much more I love them than all the others I own. So even the days where we’ll be sitting at an actual table to eat and I COULD use a different bento-type, I still use my ELBs! I’ve gotten SO spoiled! :)

        6 minutes ago ·  ·  1 person
        • I’ve used the Built tote to hold up to 3, since that’s all we had for months – they fit, but it’s tight with 3, you can’t fit an ice pack. 2 EasyLunchboxes with ice pack fit perfectly in the Built bag though. We did buy the ELB cooler as well, eventually, because it can hold 3 ELBs PLUS an ice pack. Like Kendra said, they are handy because they do hold the ELB snugly and flat.
          I’ve been meaning to post pics of what our lunch totes hold, so now seemed as good a time as any, hopefully that will help some people :) http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.308032839223816.96085.269657006394733&type=1
          about an hour ago · 
        • We use the Built totes, also. The boxes fit in the bottom, a water bottle and utensil kit fits on top. Another plus for us is that the Built bags fold down COMPLETELY flat and are machine washable. Perfect!

          52 minutes ago · 
        • The folding flat was one of the big selling points for me when I was lunchbox shopping. I have 5 kids and can FINALLY fit all their lunch boxes in a drawer, and they can take a beating in the washing machine too, which is great for my messy 7 year old, we wash his a couple of times a week.
          I’ve found out that the Easy Lunchbox coolers can fold flat as well – not quite AS flat as the Built totes, but close. 2 ELB cooler bags (all I have) folded flat are equivalent in height to 3 Built totes – in case anyone is wondering. The Built totes fold flat with their full height though, so are 11.5″ in depth, and fit better in a drawer as opposed to on a cupboard shelf, whereas the ELB coolers fold with the lid tucked under, so need only 7″ depth, and could be stored on a shelf. If you fold the Built bag down to the depth of the ELB cooler, they are both the same height. Just in case that helps anyone :)
          14 minutes ago · 
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1 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] August 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Hey, thanks for sharing my post!
Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] is the cool author of..Friday Fun Day! See Also: I’m Inviting More Men To My BedMy Profile

2 Kelly Lester August 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm

You were the inspiration for this one! Thank YOU Angie :)

3 Astrid August 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Land’s End bags also fit. Thanks for the post, Kelly!!
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4 Donna August 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

When I pack something runny such as applesauce or yogurt I add a bit of press & seal over that specific compartment before putting the lid on. No messes here, and my preschooler has always used his laptop lunch box cooler to carry the easy lunch boxes in.

5 Laura @ MOMables August 29, 2011 at 9:17 am

This is our second school year using ELB in “another” lunchbox. I had an issue with a leak once at it was because I stuffed the main compartment with too much food! My bad! When I have doubts, I just use a rubber band to hold it tight (especially in my husband’s lunch box since he gets a man sized lunch). He is now using the ELB lunch bag (thanks Kelly!) since he takes 2 containers to work (breakfast and lunch)

6 Kelly Lester August 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

Thanks Laura!! It’s great that you’ve found the system/products that work best for your family. So appreciate your enthusiastic support :)

7 Kim @ out of the box food August 30, 2011 at 9:50 pm

The PackIt holds the easylunchbox containers vertically – but it’s wide enough to hold a couple of them. Depending on what foods I had in the containers I might put a rubberband around them (if I’d packed dips or something). Wish it were a bit wider to lay them flat.

8 Kelly Lester August 30, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Good to know Kim. Thanks for your comment!

9 Christina Ketchum August 31, 2011 at 7:37 am

I love these lunch coolers! My son, who has autism, really loves how it keeps all his food visible and separated. I really like them because I don’t have to waste money on Ziploc bags anymore. Thanks!!!
Christina Ketchum is the cool author of..crissyketchum: My left hamstring hurts so I need to baby it for a few days. I’m trying to figure out a good cardio workout I can do with my upper body.My Profile

10 Kelly Lester August 31, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hi Christina – thank you for your comment! I’m so glad to know that my containers are of help to your son. That really makes me happy. Thank YOU!

11 JulieS May 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I see some people say certain ones from Pottery Barn. Do you know if the Mackenzie Classic ones would work? Thanks

12 Kelly Lester May 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Hi Julie – I don’t know about that one specifically, but if you can get the inside measurements (or if the outside dimensions are at least a 1/2 inch bigger than my containers – 9.38″ x 6.1″ x 2″) you’ll be able to figure out if it will work.

13 JulieS May 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for such a fast reply. The size is smaller than that, but it’s the largest they sell. There are 2 different styles like that, both the same size. I was hoping someone would have posted specifically which PBK lunchbox they used. I already have the lunchbox and it matches her backpack. I’d like to get ELBs but would need to be able to use them with her bag.

14 Trixie Wilkie August 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

We’ve been using our ELBs with our ThrifTeeGear Bags and they fit nicely with room for the extras. A perfect combo! If something does happen to leak ThrifTee Gear Bags can be put into the washing machine and dryer, super clean! Thanks for thinking of us Kelly!

15 Kelly Lester August 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

You’re welcome Trixie! Your bags are so cool I’m gonna write up a whole post about them and why they’re a great option for teens and folks who don’t necessarily want a traditional lunch cooler :)

16 Kelli August 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm

The insulated lunch boxes from One Step Ahead also work and allow the trays to be carried flat. They come in cute colors and can be monogrammed, plus there’s a matching backpack for the lunchbox to clip to. My son loves taking his backpack and lunchbox to preschool and the director always says that I pack him the best lunches!

17 Kelly Lester August 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Thanks for letting me know that Kelli! I’ll add it to the list :)

18 Bobbi August 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Hi everybody! I use this bag for my easylunchboxes too. It is well insulated so I can keep items cold all day. It has extra little compartments too and hold ELBs flat.
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19 Kelly Lester August 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Hey Bobbi – that’s a nice one. And I love that it will keep the container flat, not sideways. Thanks!

20 June September 28, 2012 at 6:12 am

My kids are young enough to want cartoon characters on their lunch boxes, so I looked around and found this style – http://www.lunchboxes.com/scooby-doo-lunch-box.html. This lunch sack keeps the Easy Lunchbox upright and there’s room on top for a juice box and an ice pack!

21 Kelly Lester September 28, 2012 at 7:54 am

That’s adorable June! Thank you for sharing that one :)

22 Melissa Smith March 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

I wanted to add, I bought this cute pink and white striped cooler for my little one to take to daycare and it is a perfect fit! Plus, it has an extra little compartment up top for her diapers and wipes.


23 Judi C May 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

Just wanted to say that I love my Easy Lunch Boxes and Mini Easy Dippers. I bought them to use in my Vera Bradley Lunch Date (http://www.verabradley.com/product/Category/Accessories/Lunch-Date/1001423/defaultColorVariantId/176119/c/638/sc/645/p/1001423.uts?fromSearch=1). They fit perfectly and you still have plenty of room to add a drink or other food on top, keeping the box sitting flat while carried/stored.

24 Kelly June 3, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Thanks for the great feedback Judi!

25 Jennifer July 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

This will be our third year using ELBs, and we love ‘em. We rarely put wet foods in, but use press-n-seal whenever we do include something wet. Last year, we used the lunch bags from Hanna Andersson. Fit was great, but I am here to warn AGAINST using those. The lining was not waterproof, and whatever insulating material was underneath just soaked up leaks and stains. Unless you’re prepared to put them in the washing machine repeatedly (and who does that in the middle of a school week?), they get stinky fast, and I was looking forward to getting new lunch bags for next year before the school year was close to over.

26 Kelly Lester July 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for that really helpful bit of info about the Hanna Andersson bags Jennifer. And I really appreciate your continued enthusiasm for my ELBs :)

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