As you may have noticed, I love to try out new lunch boxes, and when Polar Gear approached me recently to see if I would like to try some of their products, I jumped at the chance! I had seen their bento boxes and really wanted to try them, but I couldn't justify buying yet another box to add to my rather ridiculously large pile, so I was delighted to be offered the chance to review one.
The Polar Gear Bento Box looks a lot like a traditional Japanese tiered bento box, with two main compartments which stack one on top of the other. With a 1.1 litre capacity, it holds a lot more than the Japanese ones designed for children that I have tried, which makes it great for packing western style foods which tend to need more space than traditional Japanese foods such as shaped rice and sushi.
The two main compartments are separated by a white cutlery tray, complete with a matching spoon and fork, which sits on top of the bottom compartment. The cutlery isn't particularly sturdy, but would be easily replaced if necessary. The tray rests inside the bottom compartment, so you have to be careful not to overfill that layer, leaving a little space on top of your food for the tray. The top box is divided into two, with the divider built into the box.
I was very impressed with the design of the lid - it has built in clips which hold the whole box together. It does mean that you can't use the layers individually, as the whole box needs to be put together in order for it to clip closed, but on the plus side there is no need for the bento strap that is normally needed to hold a traditional Japanese bento box closed (one less thing to lose!). Six year old Small Child had a little trouble getting the layers stacked correctly in order to clip the lid back on the first time (they have to be 'just so' in order for it to work), so it would be worth getting a young child to practice a few times before taking this box to school.
Small Child was delighted when I packed his first lunch in this box - he loves trying new lunch boxes and he really seemed to like the look of this one. In the bottom half of the box I packed tortilla wrap spirals (wholemeal tortilla wrap, cream cheese and ham, rolled and cut into slices), cucumber chunks (to get the flower effect, cut a chunk of cucumber in half by cutting a zig-zag pattern with a small sharp knife around the whole thing before pulling apart), and an orange mini pepper, cut in half and de-seeded. I used a lettuce effect silicone divider and silicone cup to separate the foods, and decorated them with a silicone flower pick and some animal forked picks.
In the top layer of the box I packed an apple, cored, sliced into wedges, dipped in orange juice and arranged up and down in a row, green grapes and some Organix animal biscuits in a square shaped silicone cup. I finished it off with a couple of bright animal fork picks which I added to the grapes. I didn't need the cutlery for this lunch, so I would have had space to add a small cereal bar or similar in the cutlery tray if I had wanted to pack anything else, but the box held plenty of food so there was no need.
Small Child really enjoyed this lunch in his new bento box and ate the lot!
Overall, I am really impressed with this box. It's a great size for this style of bento box, and if packed well, would be suitable for an adult as well as a child. It seems sturdy, looks really nice and would be great for a variety of foods. The only real downside I can find is that it can be tricky for a very young child to open and close, but a bit of practice should help there. The clips hold it together well and the cutlery tray would be handy for extra bits and pieces. This box is definitely a keeper - I can see myself using it regularly (despite my teetering lunch box pile!), as it would work well for every family member.
This box comes in four colours; black, pink, berry and turquoise. It is available directly from the Polar Gear website or from Amazon UK. You can click on the pictures below to be taken to their Amazon UK listings.
Disclosure; I received a free Polar Gear Bento Box for the purposes of carrying out this review, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own. I have no affiliation to Polar Gear, and was not otherwise compensated for this review.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links; I may receive commission on items purchased through the links.