It's not too much of a secret that I really like zebra print things. When I was in high school and college I would paint my toenails white and then meticulously go back and add black zebra stripes to them. When I started making spindles, painting different zebra prints were my favorite:
So when the owners of www.simply-bags.com contacted me and asked if I'd do a blog review of their zebra print lunch tote, I was more than happy to say yes. :-)
Alright... honestly? I was a little worried it would look cheap once it arrived. I think the picture on their website makes it look kind of shiny and plasticy. But once it got here, it was clear that the picture absolutely does not do it justice. It's actually a really nice, attractive lunch bag. The fabric is a nice zebra print canvas with high quality embroidery on it. Several of the women I work with were fawning over it after it arrived. It really is that nice.
The embroidery, especially looks a lot nicer in real life.
Okay. So we've established that is a nice looking bag. But how does it work as a lunch sack? Glad you asked.
One thing I like about it is that it is especially roomy. There is plenty of room for a large sandwich, a soda, an apple, small bag of chips, 2 ice packs, with room to spare still. It's large enough to accommodate most sizes (all the ones I tried anyway) of personal frozen lunches, which is a little more than I can say for any of the other lunch sacks I've owned. So unless you eat enough food for three or own very large tupperware, your lunch should fit in this bag with no problem.
How about performance? The bag itself seems pretty sturdy. While I wouldn't recommend putting an unpadded glass container in here and then dropping it, the padding is sufficient to protect most lunchy things (like fruit) from getting banged up on the trip to and from your office. The seams are well constructed, so even with a heavier lunch, I wouldn't worry about it falling through or ripping the bottom.
The one thing I was dissapointed with, however, was the temperature control. It's supposed to be able to keep things both hot and cold and the inside and is lined in what looks like metallic bubble wrap that seems as if that's what it's supposed to do. While it did keep my frozen lunch colder longer than a re-usable grocery bag would, I definitely have had lunch carriers that out performed this one as far as ability to keep frozen things cold. After 3-5 hours, Non-frozen items I wanted to keep cold with ice packs (like yogurt and string cheese) were also colder than they would have been in an non-insulated pack, but not by much. I am curious if this has to do with the large volume of space inside the lunch sack. If I were able to fill the bag closer to it's maximum capacity, it's possible it would have maintained a colder temperature for longer.
Overall, I would give this lunch bag a B+. It's cute, fun, and has a large capacity. It's probably best for people who are simply carrying cold items to work which will be refrigerated or frozen until consumed or for people who carry items that still taste good when a bit warmer than they might be straight out of the fridge (like PB&J or whole fruit).
As a knitting bag or other tote that doesn't require keeping it's contents super cold, though, I would give it an A+. In fact, over the weekend, I frequently use it as a knitting project bag. It effortlessly carries four 50g balls of yarn, my smaller sock project bag, scissors, DPN holder and more.
If you are looking for fun, stylish, personalized bags, do check out www.simply-bags.com
In addition to the zebra lunch tote they sent to me, they have a slew of other fun lunch bags in plaids, animals prints and solids. They also have fun cosmetic bags, beach bags, diaper bags, and really just about any other kind of personalized bag you might be looking for.