We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

TOM BIHN Forums Statistics


Topics: 14,827   Posts: 191,329   Members: 6,703   Active Members: 266
Welcome to our newest member, zacattac.


No announcement yet.

Best bag for carrying a lunch?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Best bag for carrying a lunch?

    Hi All:

    I've been lusting over these bags for a few years now and now that my other bag has finally been damaged beyond repair I can feel free to purchase new. As someone who walks to work, I have some very specific requirements. Most of them are met (organizational pockets, waterproof, top flap, fits water bottle, comfortable strap, no velcro), but as someone who takes their lunch to work on the daily, I'm a little concerned about the ability of any of the bags that I'm looking at to accommodate my lunch bag and the normal stuff I take to work.

    My lunch normally consists of a canvas lunch bag with a glass tupperware container, a yogurt, a steel water bottle and a steel coffee flask. Once this is in a bag, I also need to fit stuff in like an umbrella and wallet and knitting ephemera, etc.

    I've been looking at the maker bag, which I think might be just a bit too small, and the empire doesn't seem like it's structured appropriately.

    Anyone have any experience with either of these and stuffing a lunch sack in them? Or any other bag suggestions?
    Thanks for the help!

    I use a small shop bag to carry my lunch on the days that I actually bring one to work. My side effect, sweater, etc. just sit on top.
    Current Everyday Carry: S19 in Cloud/Island, 15C Cache, SE in Wasabi, SC in Fjord; Cubelets in Dawn, Canyon, and Grass, COW in Original Halcyon
    Current Travel Carry: A30 in Original Halcyon/Ultraviolet, DLBP in Nordic, PCSB in Sitka, Large TT in Sitka, SSK in Wasabi, 3DOC in Solar


      Have you considered either of the Synapses? They can accommodate a lunch and have pockets to keep other items accessible and separate.
      All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
      Edmund Burke


        If you did not require the top flap, I second the small shop bag - that is what I use for just this scenario. The Maker's Bag might work, depending on the size of your required items, but the side pockets (to hold bottles or umbrellas) are larger on the shop bag.
        "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
        "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller


          I agree with @bchaplin about the Synapse option - backpacks are best when walking it. I also agree with the Shop Bags - but they are open topped - in case you are worried about prying hands.

          As for the Maker's Bag, I think your items will all fit in it (the only thing I do not know is the knitting space needs as I do not knit). Here is a thread I made with my EDC. I carry my lunch as well - but only 1 thermos. But, even with my EDC, I have room for extra items like a 2nd thermos:

          There's a new Dyneema Bag in Town

          Note: Plant does not fit in bag ... and does not want to

          The Empire Builder would work for you too but it may be too much.
          I would even hazard to say that a Cadet might work for you if you did not need to carry a laptop (a tablet in the front compartment is good) and depending on your knitting needs (zipper may get in the way?)

          Also, how about a Swift?

          Hope this helps

          Last edited by tpnl; 11-25-2016, 11:45 PM.
          TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!


            If you consider a backpack, I'd say look at the Smart Alec. I think the flat bottom works best for carrying lunch containers.


              I can fit my llbean lunchbox or a small container in the maker's, but most days I end up carrying a small shop bag in combination with the maker's. I'm loving my swift for its lunch and hat/mitten holding power (in addition to what I carry everyday) but I'm finding myself switching back on the days I'm walking.


                We seem to carry the strangest amount of similar items: those are the glass containers that I take my lunch in. I also usually have a journal in my bag too. Seems like this might fit my requirements! This was most helpful! Thanks for your help.


                  I've actually found that the Moveable Feast is great for this, if you don't mind that it's open-topped. I carry my lunch, a book or magazine, a side effect (with wallet, etc.), umbrella, sunglasses, bullet journal, often a knitting project, sometimes my laptop, and it all fits easily. The three-part division makes it easy to keep things organized, and I love that it stands up on its own. I would say the only disadvantage is that sometimes I'm tempted to add a couple more items during the day, ending up with more weight than I want to carry (but I know that the bag won't have any trouble accommodating the weight). My commute involves partly walking, partly elevated train.


                    Playing catchup on the forum - I use the Maker Bag for a fairly similar load. I normally have:

                    - Neoprene lunch container: Mason jar salad or soup thermos, sometimes a larger flat metal food tin (4-5" wide), 8 ounce jar for yogurt and fruit, other miscellaneous smaller food containers as needed. The top usually squishes down, but it depends on what's in it.

                    - 32 ounce Hydro Flask

                    - Wallet, medication container, mini first aid kit, etc. I usually have a pair of sunglasses in one of the end interior mesh pockets and a portable battery charger in the other. (The Hydro Flask is a little too big for them, or I'd put it there, but if your drink containers will fit, they're very stable holders.)

                    - There's usually a good 2-3 inches along the top (or at the bottom, depending how you pack) for other items: I can fit a book in comfortably, a folding umbrella would be easy, and moderate knitting would be fine. The thing that makes it work for me for lunches is the width - I found that a couple of other options weren't wide enough at the base to take some of my lunch configurations tidily.

                    One of the reasons I love the Maker Bag is flexibility: I took it on a work trip to New York (from Boston) last month where I was staying over with a friend: I fit my iPad + keyboard, shorts and t-shirt to sleep in, a change of underwear and shirt for the second day, a 3D clear organizer cube with toiletries, a small Stuff Sack with knitting (two small skeins: double knit blanket square in progress) and it fit (with some bulging) with my fleece jacket when I was inside at a museum.


                      I've been carrying either size of this cooler depending on the size of my lunch containers (Escape Pod Cooler | Simple Outdoor Solutions | SimpleOutdoorStore) after Amy posted in another thread about using it with her Smart Alec.

                      I've used the small cooler in a Sprout along with a Contigo water bottle and utensils, but most often I put the larger one in a small Shop Bag along with my FJN and new Side Kick with a water bottle in one of the SB pockets. I use flat frozen ice packs for the commute, then have a fridge available once I'm at work.