It’s a new school year, and that means acquiring new gear for both my children. Sure, in most cases they could keep their previous backpacks and lunchboxes, but picking out new stuff for the upcoming educational journey is part of our annual ritual. (Also, I won’t discount the theory that my kids have inherited my predilection for accessories.)
This year we were treated to a handful or review products from Thermos Brand. I’m happy to say they’ve thus far managed to satisfy the kids, and functioned well enough to keep me from pulling out my hair on lunch-making duty — the true mark of success, at least in my family.
When I was 10 I became the proud owner of a metal Transformers lunchbox that I still have today. The last few decades haven’t exactly treated it well, and my own son wasn’t overly enthused when I offered him this treasured heirloom, but Thermos provided him a shiny new Transformers lunch kit all his own. Brightly printed with the face of (new school) Bumblebee, this lunch bag is thin but durable. PEVA-lined and polyethylene foam-insulated, it’s kid-safe and easy to clean with just a damp cloth. A sturdy handle makes it an effortless take-along, and its oblong shape means it can easily be stashed in his backpack. The only drawback? Bumblebee may be willing to risk life and limb to defend Earth and its inhabitants, but he doesn’t seem to do much to keep your potato chips from getting crushed.
Still, while I may miss the little-brother-bashing bulk of old style lunchboxes, Thermos’s Funtainer insulated food and beverage containers are superior to the ’80s plastic equivalents in every conceivable way. The rugged aluminum chambers of the drink flasks are screen-printed with gorgeously vibrant graphics representing your kids’ favorite properties – I may or may not have nicked the Amazing Spider-Man 2 thermos for my own, and my daughter is perfectly thrilled with her sharp Hello Kitty model. Each 12-ounce thermos includes a coordinating leak-proof screw-on lid with its own pop-up straw, and all components (both the upper and detachable lower straw segments, as well as the flask itself) are top-rack dishwasher safe. Thermos touts these containers as being able to keep beverages cold for up to 12 hours, and while we haven’t exactly tried to hit that particular benchmark, they do effortlessly keep drinks chilled for the all-important five to six hours between lunch-packing and lunchtime.
Their 10-ounce Funtainer food jars are similarly constructed and offer to keep hot foods hot for around five hours and cold foods cold for close to seven. I’m not exactly packing soup in these bad boys just yet – as the southern summer still holds on tenaciously with its steaming fingernails – but they’re already proving a great match for things like fruit salad. Their sturdy construction and resistance to scratches/fading makes them perfect for the rough-and-tumble lifestyle of the American schoolkid, but I’d even go so far as to recommend them for brown-bagging adults. (You can find both styles of Funtainers in solid colors if the idea of busting out a Ninja Turtles thermos at your lunch meeting doesn’t exactly appeal to you.)
Features like the flip-up handle and stowable shape of the drink containers and the overall ruggedness of their food-filled little brothers promise to make these latest offerings from Thermos continue their loyal service long after your kids have begun to bug you for new ones. And the ability to pre-heat/pre-cool the Funtainers (via boiling water and your freezer, respectively) serves to give you an edge over the elements even when forced to leave your own lunch in hostiles climes – like a hot car or an overly chilly office.
Review materials provided by: Thermos