I have a new lunchbox! Check it out:
I have to admit, I waffled a lot on this one. I was not as enthralled with the Planetbox Rover as many people were. I do love the smaller Shuttle version, and use it often. But I wanted a way to pack microwaveable foods since I like soup in the winter. And between lunch, snack and microwaveable dish, I was winding up with too many bits and pieces to wash every day.
I had a paypal credit and treated myself to the Planetbox Launch and so far, I love it! Since it is so big, I can fit all my food for the day in it. So far I have been using the big spot (with glass dish or without) and the smaller side spot for lunch, and the bigger side spot for my snack. In today's lunchbox, I easily fit both cheese and crackers in the side dish spot (you could also use the tall dipper to subdivide that spot to pack two side items) and in the snack spot, my usual small apple and spoonful of sunflower seeds fit nicely.
I love how flexible it is---you can use the glass dish or not, use the tall dipper (which is larger then it seems) or not, to make all sorts of configurations. I can truly fit a whole day's worth of food in one neat package. There was even room inside the sleeve case (barely!) for a snack bag of cereal for breakfast and a spoon for the soup!
I had feared this box would be tough to wash, but it turned out to be easier than I thought. I washed the glass dish first, and then the Launch itself just needed a rinse and a quick polish with a towel to dry it. I did the outside while it was lying flat in the dish drainer, then turned it upright on the counter and did the inside. It really was not a big deal. I was also pleased at how well the box, in its sleeve, fit into my backpack. I gave up my Easy Lunchbox (which has the same three-compartment format) in part because its cooler bag was too bulky to fit in a backpack. The Launch, in comparison, is a treat!
I also want to give props to Planetbox for its attentive customer service. My package arrived minus the ordered magnets, and with a defective hinge which had a sharp edge which kept catching on the bag and could not be fixed. A friendly rep got back to me right away and sent out the magnets along with a replacement box. I did not have to send the broken one back, either! I may take it to a shop and see if it can be fixed for use as a spare.
So, any complaints? Just small ones. Firstly, the carrier bag could use a little more insulation. When I put a loaded box into it, then put it into the outer compartment of my backpack, I could still feel the chill. On the first day, I even opened it up again to make sure nothing was leaking.
Secondly, the box is absolutely massive. That is a strength, because I like that I can truly fit my whole day's worth of food in there. But it weights a ton. If you dropped it on your foot, you could really injure yourself! Also, it takes up a lot of real estate on the table. I would have liked it better if the lid was fully removable (for instance, latches on both sides) rather than fixed permanently. Then it would take up less space while eating, and also be easier to clean.
Finally, the price. I dithered for awhile because it was almost $80 when extras like the case, the glass dish and the shipping were added in. I would not have bit if it weren't for that paypal gift balance I had. In the end, I will use the box every day and it will simplify my lunch packing a lot because I won't need so many containers every day. But, it is a very costly solution.
If you can afford it, this is an exceptional lunchbox though. Now that it's bought, paid for and done, I have no regrets. This will be my new main box!