My First Lunchbox: PlanetBox Review

Education Geek Culture Parenting

PlanetBox-FeaturedMy son will be starting preschool soon, and we’ll need to send him off with his own lunch everyday. When the discussion of lunchboxes came up, I knew exactly what I wanted to get for him. One of my friends, who is a great blogger–Bonzai Aphrodite, frequently posts pictures to Instagram of her son’s lunches. Not only do the contents of the lunches inspire me, but I’ve always admired the lunchbox itself, so I went straight to her to find out what they use–a PlanetBox!

PlanetBox has a ton of options–various sizes of lunchboxes, water bottles, and bags, along with a myriad of accessories like themed magnets for decorating your lunchbox–that you can create your own kit with, but you can also get a pre-built kit without using the configurator.

The Rover is the perfect size. Photo by Will James.

We went with the Rover kit mainly because my friend recommended it. It holds 4.5 cups of food which is plenty for a toddler, and will more than likely be enough through his entire school career. And because everything is made out of really nice stainless steel, there’s not reason it won’t last that long. We really liked the stainless steel versus something plastic for longevity and health reasons.

So what did we get in our kit?

The dippers fit right into the PlanetBox and seal nicely when the lid is locked. Photo by Will James.

The Rover has three differently shaped and sized compartments for snacks, one little treat spot, and the larger main dish compartment. The Rover also includes one Big Dipper and one Little Dipper. These are stainless steel cups with food grade silicone rubber seals. The neat thing about them is that when they are placed into the lunchbox and the lunchbox lid is latched, it puts pressure on the dippers to seal them. Just the engineering thought that went into that little piece is quite indicative of how well designed and made PlanetBox is.

I love these little utensils. Photo by Will James.

We also added on the optional utensils. Like the lunchbox and dippers, they are made from dishwasher-safe stainless steel. They are undersized to make them perfect for kids to use, but not so small that I’d feel awkward using them myself in a pinch. I love the matte finish of the utensils (they get all beat up and scratched anyway so why make them shiny?) and the embossed PlanetBox logo on the handle.

Pink BottleRocket. Photo by Will James.

PlanetBox also makes a great stainless steel water bottle they call the BottleRocket. All of the bottle parts are dishwasher safe and there is no straw, just a great silicone drinking spout. I can’t count the number of bottles we’ve had to get rid of due to no longer being able to keep the straw clean. And unlike a lot of water bottles without straws, it doesn’t make that sucking noise while drinking. It also has an easy to use button and latch to keep it tightly sealed when not in use. After showing him how to do it once, my son had no trouble getting it opened and closed on his own. Because the bottle is double-walled and vacuum-insulated, it will keep drinks cold for up to 12 hours. It can be used for warm liquids as well, but be careful because with the insulation, warm drinks will not cool very much. Make sure anything you put in it isn’t any hotter than you’d want your child to drink.

So now that we have all of this stuff, how does a toddler carry all of it? PlanetBox has three options–a Sleeve, a Carry Bag, and the JetPack. The sleeve is exactly like a laptop or tablet sleeve–its slim and flat and covers and protects the PlanetBox so it can be placed inside another bag. If your child already has a backpack they use, this might be a good option. The JetPack is a full-sized backpack with special compartment just for storing a PlanetBox. This is a great option for older kids (eight-years and up recommended) who need a backpack and use a PlanetBox. We went with the middle-of-the-road option–the Carry Bag.

The Carry Bag is a perfect slim carrying case for your lunch. Photo by Will James.

The Carry Bag is made out of 100% recycled polyester fiber and fits perfectly with wanting to make my son’s lunch as environmentally friendly as possible. The bag has a main compartment that fits the Rover (or Launch) lunchbox. The main compartment also has two small elastic straps for holding down the utensil set. The mesh pocket can hold an optional ColdKit if you need it. The bag has two outside pockets–one that is intended for a water bottle (naturally the BottleRocket fits perfectly) and one that can hold a separate snack (it’s perfectly sized the a Big Dipper). The bag also has an adjustable handle and strap so it can be carried in-hand, or over the shoulder. The messenger bag aesthetic on a toddler is just too cute. One last thing of note is that the zipper pulls on the Carry Bag are perfect for little fingers with their soft loops.

Under the Sea Magnets. Photo by Will James.

The BottleRocket and Carry Bag (and other bags) come in a bunch of colors and designs and can be mixed and matched. Since my son’s favorite color is pink, we opted for a pink bag and water bottle. PlanetBox also makes over 30 different magnet designs that can be placed on the front of the lunchbox itself for further customization. My son loves underwater animals (we are thinking marine biology might be in his future), so we went with the “Under the Sea” set, although “Rockets” and “Dinosaurs” were also in the running.

Owen loves cherry tomatoes. Photo by Will James.

Coincidentally enough, although we wanted the PlanetBox for my son’s first day of preschool in September, it arrived in the mail the day before we needed to pack him a lunch for daycare. Because everything is dishwasher safe (except for the magnets–don’t wash those), we threw all the pieces into the dishwasher (make sure the silicone seals and spout are placed in a utensil basket), and got everything ready to go for the next day. My wife did a great job of filling up the PlanetBox with a great meal and snacks–pears, tomatoes, carrots, and leftover pizza–plenty of food for a toddler for several hours.

Packing Tips. Photo by Will James.

If you need any help or inspiration for packing your PlanetBox, there is a handy Packing Tips card included, but you can also find several Instagram and Pinterest folks posting pics every day as well.

Owen sporting his PlanetBox. Photo by Will James.

Obviously my wife and I love the PlanetBox. It’s better for the environment than paper and or plastic bags. It’s better for our son since only stainless steel is touching his food and drink. It’s convenient because it’s dishwasher safe, and, if you pack lunch the night before and throw the whole thing in the fridge, it keeps itself pretty cool for a few hours even without any ice or a Cold Kit. But the most important thing is that my son loves it. Even before he got to carry his own lunch to daycare for the first time, we had company over the same day it arrived, and he had to show each and every person exactly how it all worked.

Note: I received a PlanetBox kit to review but all thoughts and opinions above are my own.

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12 thoughts on “My First Lunchbox: PlanetBox Review

  1. We have had the PlanetBox for almost a year and it has held up well. We tried various other “bento box” options and this is the only one that has survived. There is an option for small silicon cups (Pods) that we use to keep small crackers or fruit separate. The Dippers do seal well. They also make a small snack size version of the box and combined with the full size it is enough food for a full day of school for my daughter.

    1. I saw the little silicon cups, and I’m pretty sure that will be our first addition to our set once we start using it regularly. I’m optimistic that the PlanetBox will last at least through the elementary school years!

  2. We’re big PlanetBox fans (my wife got one for herself as well), and we often say that we should get a sales commission from them, since it seems like everyone on the planet comments on it when we’re out and about.

    1. I don’t know if anyone has decided to buy one based on this, but I am trying to convince all of our friends with kids also entering preschool to check them out 🙂

  3. We love the PlanetBox too! I have two rovers for my younger kids and a shuttle for my older kid. They hold a ton of food – but my kids happen to eat a ton at lunch. When they plan their meals with the LaLa Lunchbox app, they actually do so with the PlanetBox compartments in mind, so everything gets filled regularly.
    We haven’t yet purchase the water bottles but wow, the struggle is real with that straw issue, so I expect to purchase 3 of those soon.
    By the way, we’ve had planet boxes for years and they’re still like new! These things are so well made.
    Good luck with your lunch packing!

    1. I haven’t heard of the LaLa Lunchbox app, but I’ll definitely be checking it out. So happy to know you’ve been using them for so long and they are still going strong!

  4. Love Planet Box with all my mama heart. The compartments are fun and my kiddo loves getting so much variety. It’s easy to clean and durable and light and, well, it’s perfect!

    Also Owen is adorable. <3

  5. Love that you let your son get a pink lunchbox! Props for being amazing parents!

    1. It’s his favorite color, and it’s just a color. He has shoes, pants, shirts, and even dresses that are pink. But he also loves wearing black!

  6. Hi! Thinking about getting a Rover for my soon to be Kindergartener (and of course little brother because brothers) and I’m hoping since you’ve had yours a few years you can follow up this post with your current impressions? In addition to your overall experience, the main drawback for me is I’ve heard that juicy foods (pickles, oranges/cut berries) tend to leak throughout the box and into the carrying case, any experience or advice regarding that issue? Thanks!

    1. My son still uses it everyday and he’ll be finished year two of preschool next month. And he goes to outdoor preschool where it gets beat up pretty good and for the most part it still looks and works almost like brand new. The carrying case itself did not last but thats mostly because until the preschool figured out to get a metal box, squirrels attacked and ruined quite a few lunch pails. The metal PlanetBox inside thankfully saved the lunch 😀 The main drawback is that juicy stuff will spill out if its not in one of the ‘dippers.’ However, if you’re using those, as long as something isn’t really runny, you should be fine. I’ve often sent him with a thick Lentil soup or similar in the bigger dipper container without any leaking issues! Thanks for reading!

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