We have been ardent fans of PlanetBox for three years now. And while the initial investment might make some parents take pause, we are living proof that even kids who are hard on their lunch boxes can’t ruin a PlanetBox.
There are three different versions of the PlanetBox and a series of accessories — and even a backpack! — so I’m going to walk through everything to help you decide which one is right for your kid (or you).
Want to encourage your kids to make healthy lunch choices and MAKE THEIR OWN? This free printable will help.
Which PlanetBox should I choose?
There’s the Shuttle, Rover and Launch — they each have different configurations and, in that order, they get bigger in size. They’re all made of sturdy stainless steel and feature a latch closure that really does stay closed to keep food inside.
The PlanetBox Shuttle has two compartments and, as the smallest in the family, is ideal for preschool and kids in half-day kindergarten who only need to bring snacks.
Similarly, for kids who go to day care or camp, or those who get a hot lunch served every day at school (can you feel my jealous death glare?!) and who only need to pack morning and afternoon snacks — this is your PlanetBox. It comes with a small container and leak-proof silicone lid that’s perfect for dips or hummus.
This has been my kids’ lunch box for three years straight — the PlanetBox Rover.
It’s a great size for elementary students who are in school for a full day and need to take lunch and two snacks. It’s especially ideal for someone like The K Man (and me) who doesn’t like his food touching. There are four main compartments and a little fifth area for a small treat (think raisins or dried cranberries). This also comes with a small container and lid, as well as a larger one with a lid. The compartments aren’t as deep as the Shuttle or Launch, but we fit PLENTY of food into the Rover and have never had the kids come home starving.
Awesome for older kids and teens with bigger appetites or grownups, the PlanetBox Launch is the biggest of them all. There are three compartments — one of which is big enough for a sandwich made on big slices of rye bread.
This, too, comes with a small container and lid. If you’re bringing leftovers or something that needs to be reheated, you’ll want to purchase the optional Satellite Dish — it’s glass and microwave-safe.
You don’t need all of the accessories to make your PlanetBox work, but you do need at least a couple. The rest are gravy.
This is a must. The insulated bag makes sure that even without a ColdKit (see below), the food inside will stay cool. It also has extra pockets for a water bottle and even more snacks — even though you probably won’t need it. There’s a carry strap and these clean up really well.
We are only replacing ours for the first time in three years because they’re finally starting to show some dirt, general wear and tear, and the colours are fading. But considering the starter kit (which included the Rover, containers with lids, and the insulated bag) was $95, and the only thing I’m replacing is the bag, the investment has worked in our favour.
ColdKit (ice pack)
This is my other must. Sure, the bag is insulated and it will help keep things on the cool side, but if you have any dairy or meat products in your PlanetBox, you need to keep those as cold as possible. The ColdKit is reusable and slides right into a pocket designed specifically for it inside the insulated bag. In three years, we have only had to replace one because it was punctured.
These are not must-haves but they’re nice to have. You can see them in the photos above. However, silicone baking cups work just as well if you already have those.
- 2-pack — appropriate for the Launch or Shuttle, these silicone cups are taller to accommodate extra depth. They’re too tall for the Rover, though! They look small but they can hold quite a bit and do a good job of providing even more separation between foods
- 4-pack — appropriate for the Rover, but also fit in the Launch or Shuttle. The pack comes with two sizes in four colours and lends more to your Bento box lunch needs
The magnets are what keep my kids excited about their PlanetBoxes year after year; it makes them feel new every time we buy a new magnet pack, which is once a year. They’re inexpensive and there are LOTS of designs so kids can really personalize their lunch boxes.
My main beef with the magnets is that while there’s usually a spot carved out specifically for your child’s name, no Sharpie on the planet is strong enough to withstand daily use. So you have to apply a sticker (we use Mabel’s Labels or Kidecals) if you want your kid’s name on the lid. And because I’m a label freak, I also put a label on the underside…just in case the magnets go missing. (Knock on wood, they never have.)
These have come a long way since the first set of containers that came with our Rovers. Now, the lids are silicone and secure really well around the container, creating a leak-proof seal. They’re also much, much easier for little hands to open now. We very rarely use the bigger containers but the small ones are gold for my daughter who likes to have hummus in her lunch or my son who loves to dip his veggies in ranch dressing.
There are some big ones that are nice to have around the house if you prefer stainless containers, but be forewarned that the bigger two don’t fit into the lunch boxes.
PlanetBox-branded utensils, designed for the perfect fit, are available. We use whatever is kicking around the house on the rare occasion that my kids need cutlery with their lunches.
BottleRocket water bottles
These are not something we have ever used or plan to purchase because they’re not insulated. The smaller S’well bottles keep water cold all day and fit perfectly into the outer sleeve on the Rover and Launch insulated bags.
This is a new PlanetBox product to us this year, and we LOVE the design and sturdy construction. As long as you don’t have a water bottle or bulky snacks in the sleeve of your insulated bag, all three of the PlanetBoxes — the Shuttle, Rover and Launch — slide like a dream into a special zippered “docking area” area at the very bottom of the JetPack backpack. It’s dreamy! And it means your kid’s lunch stays flat (you know, unless they have a tendency to hurl said bag once they get to school).
There are also too many pockets (zippered and otherwise) to mention and it seems like it could last for at least two if not three school years. I’ll keep you posted.
This is a pretty big backpack. PlanetBox recommends it for kids 8+, but my soon-to-be second-grader should be fine to manage it. As long as her penchant for collecting rocks in the school yard and tossing them into her bag subsides…
We are not gentle nor have we been precious with our PlanetBoxes. And by that, I mean that we usually throw them in the sink with the magnets on to wash them. We also let them air dry — with the now-wet magnets still on. The only time we take the magnets off is when we put them in the dishwasher.
This is not what I’d suggest if you want to avoid the rust that will inevitably form under the magnets if you don’t remove them before every wash:
If you want to keep them completely perfect looking inside and out, wash them (by hand or dishwasher) without magnets and dry them with a soft cloth immediately. We are clearly lazy and really can’t be bothered, so we just hide the rust with new magnets!
Still have questions about purchasing a PlanetBox? Hit me!
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