From those very first days at school, lunchboxes are a staple EDC item for anyone hauling a homemade meal to work. Sure, it might not offer the exotic appeal of a lunch out, but there’s ample benefit to be had from brown-bagging it. Whether it comes down to cost-efficiency, nutritional needs, or using up leftovers — amongst a host of other reasons — there’s no shame in bringing your lunch from home. Besides, there’s no feeling worse than a mediocre meal out — especially when your pantry featured far better options.
But no one wants to be the office dork, and picking a lunchbox that won’t make you the laughing stock of the lunchroom is a tricky proposition. While some offer superior functionality, they’re not necessarily workplace approved. And though a brown paper bag is almost always a safe bet, we’re well past the days of single-use products being en vogue. So rather than settling for a subpar lunchbox or — worse yet — succumbing to the snack bar, have a gander at our picks for the best lunchboxes for men.
Plain Metal Dome Lunch Box
Reminiscent of 1950s construction worker lunchboxes, this domed metal option more than looks the part. However, not every man needs his box to be industrial-grade, and, in some cases, it may be more of an office eyesore than it is a badge of burly manliness. As such, this lightweight option is a perfect pick for those dining al desko. Featuring thinner-grade tin and a collapsible handle, this plain metal dome lunchbox can carry lighter-duty lunches with ease. After all, just because you’re not lugging your lunchbox around the job site, it doesn’t mean you can’t have one sporting some good ole rugged simplicity.
Colony Co. Canvas Lunch Bag
Few things are as classic as the brown-bagged lunch. With a history reaching back as far as 1871, the humble paper bag is well-steeped in lunchroom culture. But this is 2020, and if you care about the health of our planet, it’s high time that paper go the way of its plastic sibling. So, for those who want the look of a classic brown paper bag without the environmental impact, Colony’s lunch bag offers the ideal sustainable alternative. Made of durable waxed canvas, this sack offers water-resistance and easy cleaning, meaning no stubborn spots or stains should you experience a spill. And with a simple design free of unnecessary buckles or zippers, there are few points for failure on this roll-top bag. To put it another way — this is one brown bagger you can bring to lunch again and again.
Igloo Retro Playmate Mini
First released in 1992, the Igloo Playmate has since become a staple of the hard-side cooler scene. With the 4-quart Playmate Mini, you get the same tent-top design and insulative qualities of the full-scale models, but with the addition of grab-and-go convenience. So whether you’re sneaking in a 6-pack (for happy hour purposes) or you’re just territorial about leftovers, kiss the frustrations of the communal office fridge behind. Because with room for a sandwich and a drink, there’s little else you could ask for in an insulated lunchbox. And when paired with Igloo’s optional Maxcold Ice Freeze Block, this carry-ready cooler makes a perfect adventure accessory come time to wind down and crack open a cold one. Though there are color options aplenty, we dig the ’90s radness of this throwback release — a design featured on the very first Playmate.
Carhartt Vertical Lunch Cooler
Made with 1200-denier heavy-duty polyester, a Rain Defender durable water repellent (DWR) coating, and a front zip pocket, this option from Carhartt is equally at home bringing beer to the river or toting lunch to the job site. Measuring 7.5 inches by 10.5 inches by 7.5 inches, this soft-sided cooler can fit up to six 12-ounce bottles inside its main compartment, with room for condiments and utensils in its front zip pocket as well as an additional exterior mesh pouch for a water bottle. And with its interior insulation, it’ll keep its contents cool for up to 12 hours, so you have no need to worry about your goods going bad before break time. Unlike the rest of the options on this list, the Vertical Lunch Cooler comes standard with an adjustable shoulder strap, freeing up your hands for anything else that might be a part of the job.
Duluth Trading Fire Hose Lunch Sack
Featuring a rugged 10.7-ounce Fire Hose cotton canvas construction, this lunch sack from Duluth Trading is ready to carry the manliest of meals. So whether you’re carting casserole or hauling hard-boiled eggs, the bonded waterproof interior keeps things leak-free and wipes down quickly for easy-cleaning convenience. And with its interior foam cell insulation, your contents will stay cool for the entire commute — no matter what it entails. As if it wasn’t burly enough — full-grain leather makes up the closure, handle, and protective patches, providing robust reinforcement as well as utilitarian style. With the Fire Hose lunch sack, you’ve got an option that’ll stand the test of time.
ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Classic
A modern, utilitarian take on the bento box, the ECOlunchbox offers modular convenience in a compact package. With a three-piece nesting design, this bento container makes packing away food easier than ever. So whether you’re keeping perishables apart or you’re conscious about food touching, the Three-in-One ensures separate, squish-free containment — perfect for an entree and two sides, for instance. And should you want more space for your food, the removable snack container can be used separately, freeing up space upstairs. But the best part is that because of its food-grade stainless steel construction, this option from ECOlunchbox is free from harmful plastic chemicals.
Stanley Classic Metal Lunch Box
With a history reaching back well over 100 years, Stanley is a brand that knows how to make a product as lastingly impactful as it is durable. From all-steel vacuum bottles to camp cookware, they’ve remained committed to making high-quality sustainable products. Perfectly sized for Stanley-branded bottles and thermoses, this utilitarian lunchbox makes a great addition to your steel supplies or a solid piece around which you can build your break time essentials. Sure, it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of these other options, but there’s no substitute for a dependable design that just works. Backed by Stanley’s industry-leading guarantee, if you aren’t happy with the product, they’ll replace it. Shameless rugged simplicity from a brand you can trust makes this one a true modern classic.
ARTIFACT No. 215 Wax Canvas Lunch Tote
Born out of the Great Recession, ARTIFACT is a bonified labor of American love. And with products dedicated to quality, utility, and timelessness, you know that everything that comes out of their workshop is bound to be a ringer. Made from waxed canvas and featuring a Chromexel leather strap from the Horween tannery in Chicago, the No. 215 Lunch Tote from ARTIFACT offers premium construction with a simple silhouette. In addition to being naturally water-resistant, the waxed cotton will develop a rich patina over time, meaning this bag will only get better with use. Available in khaki, olive, and slate wax colorways, you can’t go wrong with any of these classy lunch bags.
Hydro Flask Large Insulated Lunch Box
Specializing in all things insulation, it should come as no surprise that Hydro Flask also happens to make a quality lunchbox deserving of a spot on our list. Featuring minimalist styling and maximum durability, their Insulated Lunch Box balances breakroom lunches and outdoor excursions with ease. Inside, it includes two layers of insulation to keep your food cold for hours, as well as an easy store interior pocket to hold utensils, condiments, and an ice pack. Top it all off with a flexible handle, and this lunchbox is ready to go, no matter where you might be grabbing a bite.
Prepd Colors x Tastemade Lunchbox Set
Taking the best features from bento boxes and Tupperware, this unique option combines modular packing with a modern aesthetic. While the original Prepd Pack came with a bamboo lid, the Prepd Colors Lunchbox set revamps the design with an improved construction, an even simpler shape, and an array of colors to customize your look. Ideal for those who like to prep their meals ahead of time, this option comes with a Prepd Colors Case, one large container, two smaller containers, and a set of magnetic cutlery. As an added bonus, it’s microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, meaning no meal is off the table.
Aluminum Lunch Box
First made in 1957 by a miner working for a Canadian nickel giant, there’s a reason this utilitarian lunchbox has inspired its fair share of imitators — it’s simple and incredibly functional. Designed for the days of on-the-job lunches without chairs or benches, the miner’s lunchbox proved the perfect companion when no seating was to be found. As such, it isn’t just built tough; it’s built to hold the weight of a grown man and his lunch. So whether you’re on the jobsite or doing desk duty, this nickel-plated aluminum lunchbox has your back (side) day in and day out — even if there’s a far more comfortable office chair nearby.
Filson Soft-Sided Lunch Cooler
Featuring a high-quality construction you can only expect from Filson, this soft-sided cooler makes an ideal paper bag replacement. Made from water-repellent oil tin cloth, it’ll keep the elements out on your commute, so your lunch is safe from sogginess come time to dig in. Inside, it comes with a waterproof lining, meaning no more leaks or sticky messes in the event of a spill. And with its top-loading main compartment and padded base, Filson’s Soft-Sided Lunch cooler offers freestanding access without the fuss. Finished with brass zippers and leather pull tabs, this is one option that looks more like luggage than it does lunchbox. Bring the backcountry to the breakroom with this American-made Mossy Oak-printed cooler.
Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag
The king of cool, YETI rightfully deserves to be featured on any list including insulative materials. With the Daytrip Lunch Bag, you get a reboot on a classic form factor, resulting in a capable offering from a brand that knows how to hold its own against the heat. Combining Coldcell Flex Insulation with Fold-And-Go packing, the Daytrip Lunch Bag offers unmatched temperature retention while still being flexible enough to pack down in tight spaces. Top it off with Adjustable Grid webbing and a magnetic Thermo-Snap Closure, and you have a secure lunchbox capable of changing its size on the fly. In other words, you’re packing it to hold your lunch — not unused space.
JUNA RAW Picnig Bag
Measuring 17 inches by 13 by 4 inches, this classy green picnic bag from JUNA has plenty of space for all your lunchtime essentials. So whether you’re toting taller bottles, packing pates, or carrying along some cutlery, this one has you covered. Its roll-top design and leather closure strap are as functional as they are handsome, meaning there’s no risk of accidental openings en route to your midday meal destination. And with a pair of sturdy handles for easy carrying convenience, this is one bag that can go the distance no matter how large your lunch is. Made from 100% cotton and available in black and dusty green, the JUNA Picnic Bag is a great pick for doing double duty at the office and at the park.
Monbento MB Original
A premium bento box offering made in France, the Monbento MB Original comes loaded with features in a sleek, modern package. For instance, the lid and upper container are made from beech wood, a material that sets it apart from its plastic counterparts with the added benefits of being food-grade safe and exceptionally tough. So while that plastic Tupperware container is liable to crack or stain, the MB Original will last for years to come. And should a messy meal be on the menu, this bento box comes with intermediary lids fitted with a silicone seal, ensuring that both containers are airtight and leak-free. When it comes to warming up leftovers, this bento box includes a microwave-safe lower container, making hot meals a cinch during your lunch break. With a host of colors to choose from and the option for further personalization, the Monbento MB Original offers a look for everyone. Oh, and with a Red Dot Design Award under its belt and a three-year warranty to boot, this choice is a no brainer.
The 30 Best Kitchen Gadgets
Found a lunchbox to your liking and want to take your homemade meals to the next level? Check out our guide to the best kitchen gadgets for a curation of quality culinary essentials.