“ Brand: Smash / Type: Lunch Bag „
I first came across the smash range of lunchboxes when my eldest son was starting school in 2011, and we were looking for suitable options for him to take a packed lunch to school in. The lunch is kept on a trolley in the classroom all morning, so my main priority was finding something that had good insulation. The last thing I wanted was my 4 year old accidentally eating something that had gone off through the course of the day.
We spotted a few of the bags in the range available in WHSmiths for £10. More recently I have spotted these for sale on ebay and amazon for between £12 and £15. This might seem quite a high price for what is just a lunch bag after all, but I feel that the quality of these bags warrants the high price and you get what you pay for.
My son was happy to have this bag as it is quite a cute animal character, and the eyes on the lunchbox are a bit googley as the black pupils move around when you move the bag. Although it is not a cartoon character, it still has an appeal and not just to one age group of children.
The bag is quite a large lunch bag, which for my son is quite important as he has a large appetite and likes to take a variety of items in his lunch bag. The inside of the bag has a width of approximately 19cm and a length of about 26cm. I say about as it has rounded corners so this is the widest point. The depth of the main compartment is about 6.5cm. There is a zip that runs around the outside of three of the sides, and the lid has a mesh net with an elastic top on it so you can stick a spoon in it or perhaps a bit of kitchen towel or a serviette. There is then a large name label which you can write on. There is then a seperate pocket on the front of the bag that we don't tend to use, but this is big enough to put in cutlery or another small snack. This pocket is also fully insulated. Finally, there is a zip up pocket on the side of the bag to place a drink in - a 500ml bottle with a twist opening came with the lunch bag, and this is also still going really strong after such a length of use.
The bag does keep the food in good fresh condition throughout the morning, and my son has never had any problems using the bag or bottle. My only complaint is that some liquid can leak from the bottle if it is left laid down, but we tend to stand it upright once the bottle is in the bag and my son knows to take the bottle out before he starts eating his lunch. I can usually fit in one large takeaway size tub with sandwiches in, then we have a variety of smaller tubs in which he takes bits of fruit or jelly or salad. I can also squeeze in a freezer pack if it is a particularly hot day.
Advantages to this are that the insulated material is a high quality. It is stitched into the bag well, so we have had no issues with the lining tearing. It is easy to keep the inside of the bag clean. I tend to wipe the inside with a clean damp cloth if there are any crumbs in it, or occasionally my son has left a yoghurt pot in it and got yoghurt on the bag. The bottle is washed up with a baby bottle brush in normal washing up conditions. I then rinse any bubbles out before leaving it upside down to drain. I leave it over the holidays with the lid off and I find that it hasn't got any horrible scent like you sometimes get on plastic bottles if you use squash in them. There has been a bit of disolouration but I only noticed that when we bought a second smash bag and got a new bottle. The bottle is BPA free, so I don't feel that there is anything toxic to my son.
Disadvantages for me are few - some people might not like the fact you don't get a seperate tub to put food in, but you can use your own. The outer fabric section of the bag has unfortunately become a bit grubby. It doesn't help that my son has stuck stickers all over it, but if it sits on any liquid or gets food on it, you can sponge it off, but the stains do not go. My sons bag has also become a bit scuffed around the edges, and one or two small holes are starting to appear on the outer layer of fabric. It is testament to the quality though that it is abused daily and only has small surface wounds.
Also, the bag only has a carry handle on the top, and no strap - this means that my son can find it a bit heavy to carry the whole way up to school when he also has his school bag and bookbag. I think having a shoulder strap would make it easier to use and I am not sure why one is not included. I often find that I end up having to carry the lunch bags to school while my sons carry everything else they need.
My overall thought on the smash range of bags is that they are very visually appealing with a range of characters to suit most children such as a bee, a zebra, a ladybird and a butterfly. They also do some that look more suited to the older child. The intial outlay might seem a lot, but I feel that you really cannot go wrong with these bags as they last so well compated to other types and also do their job wonderfully keeping a childs lunch from going off. I have no heistation in recommending this bag, and I would strongly encourage my sons to buy from this range the next time we need to buy a lunch bag.