Mrs. Chocolate recently did a review of the PlanetBox Shuttle, which is the smaller version of the PlanetBox Rover pictured below. I'd wanted to get the kids a stainless steel lunchbox for some time, but the options are very limited when it comes to stainless steel bento boxes. Charlie and Olive are Korean and Japanese so they're used to the bento-style of eating with a lot of side dishes. The PlanetBox Rover was the only one that seemed to fit our needs, but I hesitated purchasing one due to the price. After reading countless reviews on bento blogs about the Rover's durability, I finally bit the bullet and got one for Charlie to use when he starts Kindergarten this fall.

I purchased the entire kit that includes the lunchbox, two dipper containers for wet foods, a carry bag, customizable magnets, and also a separate ice pack. The bag has outer pouches for a water bottle and an extra snack, and inner pouches to hold an ice pack and utensils. The lunchbox itself has four different compartments for food and a small compartment for a little treat.

Here are some lunches I've packed in it this week. I typically pack a protein, vegetable, fruit, cheese, and pickles or olives, which are Charlie's favorite food. I don't pack sandwiches, but they fit in the largest compartment if you don't use the oversized bread.

baby corn, babybel cheese, pickle, watermelon, egg stars, marshmallows

roast chicken, string cheese, olives, peaches, sweet potatoes, m&m's


avocado, Laughing Cow cheese wedge, pickles, Asian pear, pasta with meat sauce, yogurt covered pretzels


cream cheese sandwich, olives/cornichon, apples, cucumber, breakfast sausage, chocolate covered sunflower seeds

P R O S :

- stainless steel, sturdy, dishwasher-safe
- one container to wash
- holds a good amount of food for a 4 year old or even an older child (they suggest it for kids 3 +)
- it looks great
- easy to open. Charlie has no problem opening the latch himself
- 26 different magnets available to customize the outside of the lunchbox
- carry handle and strap

C O N S:

- one of the priciest lunchboxes out there
- the little dipper containers are hard to open, even for me. If I need to send something wet, I will most likely use one of my plastic containers that Charlie can open easily
- With the box, the bag, and the ice pack, it is really heavy. Since the bag will be left in his classroom it's not that big of a deal, and stainless steel is just going to be much heavier than plastic.
- not waterproof which is tough to do with stainless steel (but Wendolonia had a great tip to put some Glad Press and Seal for juicier items)

The type of bento box that's right for you really depends on a lot of variables. Do you prefer plastic vs. stainless steel, how much does your child eat, are you ok with a lot of separate pieces, what type of lunches do you pack...

Overall I've been very happy with the PlanetBox Rover, and Charlie has been eating his lunches better since I started using it. It's the perfect size, I love that it's one piece , it makes food very visually appealing, and it's extremely sturdy. I suspect that we'll be using this for years to come!