I’ve showed off bentos packed in Lock & Lock’s Mini Lunch Box this week, and while only two were shown, I’ve used a 2nd box for dinners…as well as the sister box, The Slim. It’s time to get into the details of this box and how I like it. I want to thank All Things for Sale again (affiliate link/banner in sidebar) for providing this box for review.
The Lock & Lock Mini Lunch Set is a 600ml two tier bento-style box with locking hinges on either side and a matching lunch bag. The bottom container is 330ml and the top, 270ml making it very similar in size to other two-tier bento boxes I’ve owned. The box is made of polypropylene, the lid between the two tiers, of polyethylene, and the top lid and clips, of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. Now, before you begin to think that I am a mad scientist, I’m just trying to keep you informed about your box. Before you choose any bento box, think about your use (microwave or not), do your research, and decide if microwaving in plastic is right for you. For me it is, for others it is not. It’s a decision only you can make.
The sizing on the box is fairly close to what I need according to Lunch in a Box’s Guide to Choosing the Right Bento Box. Packing the box this week, along with its sister, Slim, has left me full but not overfull. I feel I have plenty of space to pack my main dish, sides, fruit, and a dessert.
The inner lid between the two boxes contains collapsible chopsticks; the ends screw into the top. Each lunch set comes with a pair. I haven’t used these at all, as if I had to eat with chopsticks everyday it would be a great diet plan. I can never seem to get them to work correctly. While a nice addition, I do wish there was an option to buy a lunch set with the chopsticks or one with a fork. This is no deal breaker for me and a nice overall addition for those who do enjoy chopsticks or can use them more naturally than I.
For storage, the top tier does fit into the bottom tier just as the Urara Lube Sheep bento boxes which I’ve used in the past. This makes for convenient space saving. You’ll notice that the side clip has two sets of clips on it. When the tiers are stacked one on top another, the uppermost set of clips in this picture (actually the bottom set when the clip is flipped down) latches onto the lip you see protruding from the bottom tier. This holds the box together eliminating the need for a bento belt. When the tiers are nested inside each other as now, the other set of clips latch onto the lip of the bottom tier, making sure your two tiers stay locked together. I quite like this feature. I never worry about having these boxes slip slide around each other, fall around, and unnest themselves (a frequent storage issue with my old Lube Sheep boxes. Since I don’t have two boxes of the same size yet, I’m not sure how well the stacking capabilities are if you have several stored in a cabinet. Apparently, I need more boxes (excuses, excuses!).
The box fits snugly into its accompanying, matching bag…and here’s where I get a little annoyed with this set. First, the whole thing is a bit touted as “eco” but the bags contents just say “Cotton.” Not recycled cotton. Just plain old cotton, though the side of the box claims that the bag is made of “non-toxic, eco-friendly fabric materials.” If you’re looking to be environmentally conscious with this set, don’t count on the bag to do so. Count on the fact that you’re not using disposable containers every day for your lunch (and hopefully saving a wee bit of money while you’re at it). I would prefer to see “recycled cotton” or more explanation on the bags contents before I feel confident that it it truly eco-friendly fabric.
When you’re ready to go to hit the road and take your bento with you, just place your packed box in the bag, roll down the top, and the bag’s strap wraps around the box and Velcros to the bottom of the bag. I both like and dislike this feature. I like the fact that it wraps around the top of the bag to keep it closed and secure. I don’t like that it secures to the bottom of the bag because this means the bag doesn’t sit well on a flat surface. It sort of rocks. As well, the bag has no real handle…something I miss when compared to my other Lock & Lock lunch sets or other bento bags I own.
The inside of the bag is a nylon-like brown lining with a foil lining at the bottom. Don’t let the foil lining fool you; this bag makes no claims to be thermal, just “convenient to clean.” I do wish it was thermal. I like a thermal lunch bag. Other Lock & Lock sets have a thermal like lunch bag…why not this one? (oohhh, that sounds whiny! ah well, it’s true!)
The bag itself feels sturdy and like it won’t fall apart on me after repeated uses; however, I’m not so sure about that foil lining. When I turned the bag inside out to get this picture, the lining had a tear in it near one of the seams. It looks as though the fabric was cut too short and didn’t stay within the seam (its on the back corner of the bag, you can sort of see a piece of thread hanging out there). That sort of worries me. But the rest of the bag seems well-made…which is why I was pretty surprised when I found the tear.
Overall, I am not a huge fan of this bag. The box also sits VERY snugly inside, making it bit of a trick to get back out (or at least for me a few times). There is also no room in the bag if I want to pack something else for my day: piece of fruit, a snack for later, etc. I find this a bit lacking, though maybe I’m asking more of the set than is intended. Either way, it would be a nice feature of the bag.
The verdict about this lunch set? Recommended, because I would buy another (and plan to) but I’m not a fan of the bag. To recap:
- The box is 600ml, 330 bottom tier, 270 top tier.
- Be aware of the issues with microwaving plastic containers and make a choice that’s right for you. Or just don’t microwave and follow some food safety guidelines. Refer to Just Bento and Lunch in a Box for some great overviews on this subject.
- A stackable and nestable set that offers great space for lunch packing as well as collapsible feature for space-saving storage.
- Side clips lock in place in both the stacked and nested positions ensuring the box’s parts don’t fall away from each other at any point.
- Chopsticks are included, but wish there was a fork option.
- Comes with a matching lunch bag featuring a wrap-around belt to secure the bag closed during transport.
- The lunch bag is lined with easy-to-clean material, but has no thermal properties (bummer!)
- No handle on the bag and the bag’s belt secures to the bottom of the bag making it unlevel, but not badly so, when placed on a flat surface.
Next week, we’ll talk about the Lock & Lock Slim Lunch box set in comparison to the Mini…
as well as an updated review of the Lock & Lock 700ml lunch set.
Be the bento everyone!
The Lock & Lock Mini Lunch set was provided for product review by All Things for Sale (Thank you!). Other than receiving the lunch box for use and review, I received no other compensation for this post. I was under no obligation to post about the set…positively or negatively. All opinions are honest and my own.