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Are you looking for the best way to keep your kids’ lunches nice and cold? Find the best ice pack for lunch boxes to keep those sandwiches and yogurt tubes cool until lunchtime!
Best Ice Pack for Lunch Box
We often don’t think much about food safety for school lunches, but it’s essential to keep those cheese sticks and snacks nice and cold! Otherwise, your healthy lunches and snacks that you worked so hard to prepare can grow dangerous bacteria that may lead to food poisoning. Although this doesn’t often happen, adding an ice pack to keep food nice and cold is easy and inexpensive!
If you’re planning on using cool packs, don’t forget an insulated lunch bag! These are made to hold warm or cold temperatures. Without this, your new ice packs will have to work much harder to maintain temperatures.
There are quite a few different cooler packs to choose from, and we’ll break them all down to find the best ice pack for your kids’ lunch boxes.
How to Choose the Best Ice Pack for Your Kids Lunch Box
An ice pack is an ice pack, right? Yes and no. There are so many types of ice packs out there, and it’s a good idea to figure out exactly what you need.
- Convenient size – Measure your little one’s lunch box to ensure your ice packs will fit.
- Purpose – Do you need to cool an entire lunch box or just one part of a bento box? This will help you find the right size for your needs.
- Durability – Kids aren’t known for being gentle with their lunch boxes. Anticipate them dropping, throwing, bending, and poking these ice packs. Can they stand up to your kid being a kid? Hard packs can be a great choice.
- Leakproof – Most packs will advertise as being “leakproof,” but that isn’t always true. Look for packs with tough exteriors, and avoid packs with an obvious opening.
- Quantity – If you only have one ice pack, you’ll need to clean and refreeze the same one every day. Plan on getting at least 2-3 per kid. A multi-pack is best for families with multiple kids.
Best Ice Pack for lunch box
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Choose the Best Ice Pack for Your Kid’s Lunch Box
Traditional ice packs are bulky and take up way too much space. Nowadays, everyone’s looking for smaller ice packs that still offer long-lasting coldness. There are some amazing, affordable options, and these are 13 of our favorites!
We love that these slim ice packs come in a variety of shapes and designs to delight kids of all ages. These hard packs freeze quickly, are made from BPA-free plastic, and have a hard shell to withstand day-to-day life in a kid’s lunch box.
Plus, they’re only $10 for a 4-pack, so you can keep a stash in the freezer for any moment.
We can’t help but love these cute polar bear-themed ice packs that come in “cub” and “mom” sizes. The smallest one is a mere 5 x 2.5 inches, so they’re perfect for spot-cooling a sandwich or one section of a bento box.
Who says your kid’s ice pack can’t come in a fun design? These narwhal-shaped ice packs are perfect for fitting into a lunch box and will add some fun to your little one’s lunch.
These non-toxic, long-lasting ice packs aren’t only effective; they’re also cute! They come in different styles to suit your child’s preferences, like butterflies and dinosaurs.
They also come in a hard case that can withstand regular rough handling.
Like the Bentgo ice packs above, this set has a slim design perfect for tucking into an insulated lunch bag. We love that these are made with hard plastic and come in a larger size, which will keep every inch of those lunch bags cold.
They come in a rainbow of colors, perfect for everyday use.
We like soft packs like these because they’re the ideal size for tucking into an interior pouch in your lunch box. These gel-based ice packs are made with non-toxic materials and are puncture resistant.
If your kid likes to destroy things, they might have too much fun testing out that “puncture-resistant” label, so this is best for older kids.
These soft ice packs are similar to the Arctic Zone option above but come in a small size with kid-friendly designs (dinosaurs and unicorns), making them perfect for tucking into your kid’s insulated lunch box.
Filled with a non-toxic gel and designed in a variety of colorful patterns, these vinyl ice packs are a great choice for kids’ lunch boxes. They’re the perfect size to tuck into an interior pouch and can be frozen hundreds of times.
These might be our favorite re-freezable ice packs as they have all the benefits of a flexible soft pack, but come in a soft touch nylon pouch. This reduces the condensation that forms on the outside, keeping those lunch boxes nice and dry.
Each pouch can stay cold for about 4 hours, which is just right for a child’s lunch. They’re small enough to add two (one on the top and one on the bottom), too!
Arctic Ice makes cold packs in a variety of sizes that are known to last a really long time. They’re smaller packs, too, and are a perfect fit for school lunch boxes.
We love that these freezer packs are a handy slim design like some of the earlier options. Since they are 4 x 7 inches, they’re truly the perfect size to keep your child’s lunch cool.
Plus, this set comes in an 8-pack, making it easy to pack multiple lunches daily.
Your kids will love using these fruit-themed ice packs! They’re made with nontoxic materials and are 6 inches in diameter, ideal for keeping sandwiches and snacks nice and cold.
Each set has 3 ice packs that look like a watermelon, lemon, and kiwi. So cute!
These ice packs are more than just cute, although the penguin design is precious. These really work and can keep your little one’s lunch box cold for up to 8 hours. They’re a slim pouch and won’t take up precious real estate in your kid’s lunch bag.
If you’re looking for the ultimate cute ice pack that will make your kids smile while keeping their lunches cold, then this smiling frog-shaped reusable ice pack will do the trick!
This non-toxic ice pack is durable and safe, and unlike some other more leaky ice packs, doesn’t leave a mess of dripping water. It’s small enough that it doesn’t take up too much room in a lunch box, but large enough to keep items in a lunch box cold for hours.
It’s best to choose a hard-cased, slim ice pack that can be tucked into lunch or bento boxes without wasting valuable space. We prefer the Rubbermaid Reusable Ice Pack, Bentgo Buddies or Monkey Business ice packs as they’re cute, long-lasting, durable, and keep food cold for hours.
Ice packs work great in lunch boxes! The hard part is narrowing down your search to find the right one. The best reusable packs are hard-sided packs that withstand regular wear and tear.
Be sure to measure your lunch box to ensure your ice pack will fit. It’s also helpful to consider how long your pack will need to work. Most lunchbox ice packs work for 3-4 hours, which is perfect for taking lunch to school.
Most lunchbox ice packs last a handful of hours long enough to keep your food cold until lunch. Some brands out there hold temperatures even longer and are better for large coolers or road trips.