YETI and Carhartt are the most popular brands when it comes to lunch boxes and lunch coolers. A good rule of thumb when looking for a Yeti or a Carhartt lunch box is that Yeti is really expensive but will last you much longer and Carhartt is cheaper but not as durable. In fact, although Yeti has only been around 13 years, most Yeti products have lasted as long as the company. Carhartt, on the other hand, has been around since 1889 but I don’t know anyone who has a Carhartt lunch box that lasted for 13 years (however, their coats and coveralls do last this long).
Keeping that in mind, Yeti does not make a ton of lunch coolers that are small enough to bring to work. Most of their products are large coolers that are best suited for the campsite. That said, they do have a few lunch boxes that make sense to take to work on a regular basis. The only issue to be wary of is theft, as anything with “YETI” on it is likely to be snatched the moment you turn your back.
Carhartt, in comparison, has a great selection of lunch bags. Many of these lunch bags are designed specifically for work or the jobsite. In fact, Carhartt’s Deluxe Lunch Bag is featured in our article on the best lunch boxes for construction workers. And although the Carhartt brand is popular and might be swiped, it is much less likely to be stolen as compared to Yeti. This makes it much more practical for work or for the jobsite.
But, anyhow, enough delaying. Let’s look at the best YETI and Carhartt lunch boxes for work. We’ll start with YETI and move to Carhartt. These lunch boxes are listed in order from best to worst, although you cannot go wrong with any of these lunch boxes because both of these brands build lunch boxes tough enough for any type of job.
Best YETI Lunch Boxes
The YETI Hopper Flip 8 is the most appropriate lunch box YETI makes to bring to work, especially if you work on the jobsite. The main reason is because of this lunch boxes DryHide Shell as well as its superior insulation. Also, it has a lot of room inside the lunch box but isn’t so bulky that you’d get sick of lugging it to work every day.
The DryHide shell is named as such because it is waterproof and stays dry when it’s exposed to water or rain, and keeps from getting saturated on even the dampest of days. The exterior also resists mold and mildew after it gets wet.
The exterior of the lunch box is also resistant to abuse such as punctures or abrasions, making it great for the jobsite. It’s even resistant to UV light so it won’t get damaged or fade if you leave it out in the sun (though on a long enough time line it eventually will). In fact, the outside material is similar to the material that is used on white water rafts, just to give you an idea of how durable the exterior really is.
Inside there is enough room to hold up to eight cans of beer (or soda for work) and hence why it’s named the “Flip 8.” It’ll also hold up to 10 lbs. of ice but that’s if it’s filled completely with ice and nothing else. If you mix an appropriate amount of ice or an ice pack with the cooler, you’ll be able to hold a few packs of ice and about six cans. The actual inside dimensions are 6 1/4” × 7 1/2” × 9 3/4”.
The inside also featured what YETI calls “ColdCell Insulation.” This is a closed-cell foam that is on both the sides and the base of the lunch cooler. The ice or icepack inside will last about 7-8 hours with this insulation when left out in the hot sun. On cooler days or days that are less sunny, it’ll keep your food cold for 8-12 hours. It also features an FDA food grade liner that is resistant to mold, mildew and bacteria. Additionally, it is 100% leakproof so even if your ice melts, it’s not going to leak out of the lunch box.
There are also some really cool additional features on this lunch box that aren’t entirely necessarily, but really add to the usefulness of the lunch box. The first is the D-Ring tie down points. This is useful for tying the box down when you’re on rugged terrain and don’t want the lunch box flopping around. The next is the HitchPoint Grid, similar in some ways to a MOLLE webbing which allows attachment for a carabiner or anything that can hook onto the bag.
Perhaps the coolest feature is the MOLLE Zinger, a retractable 36-inch lanyard that allows you to attach keys or tools to the bag. There’s also a MOLLE bottle opener, made completely of stainless and corrosion-resistant steel, which does come in handy, especially after work. The strap is removable, which is also a nice feature. There is also two side handles and a handle on top.
This lunch box measures 8” × 10 1/2” × 11 1/2” and comes in two colors (blue/charcoal and charcoal).
All in all, a solid lunch box and one of the best lunch boxes on the market. Good for work and for play, the YETI Hopper Flip 8 is tough to beat.
This lunch box is best paired with a two pound YETI reusable ice pack.
The YETI Daytrip lunch bag is the best lunch bag for a casual work environment that has that classic lunch bag look. One of the nicest features of this lunch bag is that its size can be adjusted to fit your needs. Also, it conveniently folds flat for storing after use.
It features the same ColdCell Insulation as the Yeti Flip, however, it doesn’t seal as well as the Flip so it won’t keep your food as hot/cold for as long. Instead, it has a convenient magnetic snap that automatically keeps the lunch box sealed. That said, it does so a tremendous job keeping food cold for a basic lunch bag. When folded, it is able to store a six pack and a small ice pack (1 to 2 pounds).
It also has a waterproof exterior and the lining on the inside is leakproof too. The exterior is composed out of 600-denier TPU fabric which is very durable. It can be washed easily too with a wet soapy cloth and then air dried. The inside can be washed the same way.
This lunch box measures 5 3/4” × 8 3/4” × 8 3/4” when folded and comes in three colors (navy, river green and charcoal).
All in all, a great lunch box for a casual work environment or on a jobsite where there is no risk of your lunch bag getting beat up.
Best YETI Lunch Box: Summary
YETI does not have much of a selection when it comes to lunch boxes for work. The rest of their lunch boxes (lunch coolers, really) are built more for cookouts or the campsite. Although the YETI Roadie 20 is a bit smaller in size, with its ability to hold up to 14 cans and 20 lbs. of ice, it’s still a bit too large to qualify as a lunch box. That said, if you’re looking for a smaller cooler it cannot be beat.
So, that’s it for YETI lunch boxes. We’re waiting for new products to come out that meet the harsh conditions of the jobsite without breaking the bank. YETI has yet to completely fulfill this requirement and being that they’re doing so well in the outdoor market segment it’s safe to say it’s not going to happen any time soon. However, the two options above are still pretty good choices and they’ll have to do for now.
Best Carhartt Lunch Boxes
The Carhartt Deluxe insulated lunch bag is a durable lunch box with dual insulated compartments. It is far and away the best Carhartt lunch box on the market and perhaps one of the best lunch boxes on the market in general.
The outside is 1200 denier polyester, which is what makes this lunch box so durable. If you read the article on the best jobsite lunch boxes, you’ll notice even the military grade lunch boxes are only made out of only 600 denier polyester*. This makes this lunch box extremely heavy duty and great for the jobsite. Its a bit counter-intuitive because most people would think that a military grade lunch box would be more rugged and tough, but it’s not.
Carhartt also puts what it calls “Rain Defender” technology on the outside of the lunch box. Essentially, this coating makes the lunch box waterproof, but only under light rain conditions. Only a hard shell lunch box will be completely waterproof, despite what any company tries to advertise.
The inside of this lunch box is large enough to hold up to six cans (or bottles) and an ice pack. With an ice pack it’ll easily keep your food cold for an 8+ hour shift. However, when factoring in all the variables (various ice pack sizes, weather conditions, temperatures), you could see anywhere from 5-12 hours of temperature maintenance. In general, the larger the ice pack you use the longer it’ll keep your food cold.
The front pocket on this lunch box is also insulated, so if you had something you wanted to keep from getting wet (like a sandwich) in the from compartment, you could do so. However, there’s also a top compartment on the inside, which also nice for the same purpose (i.e. storing a sandwich).
This lunch box does come with a carrying strap, however, it is a bit annoying that it cannot be removed from the lunch box (it’s sewn in). If you really didn’t like it, you could cut it off, but it’s a shame there isn’t an option to remove it. That is, however, the only real “con” on this lunch bag.
The zippers are heavy duty YKK zippers, like you see on almost all Carhartt products and the construction is very nice. There’s also a sturdy top handle if you prefer to carry your lunchbox without using the shoulder strap.
This lunch box comes in three colors: Carhartt Brown, camouflage and black.
It measures 10″ x 9″ x 7″ and carries a limited lifetime warranty.
*600 vs. 1200 Denier Polyester: What’s the Difference?
The difference between 600 denier (600D) polyester and 1200 denier polyester is that 600 denier polyester only weighs 600 grams per 9,000 meters of polyester fabric. 1200D polyester is 1200 grams per 9,000 meters of fabric, and thus is twice as heavy duty. In general, the larger the number, the more heavy duty. However, a larger denier number means the material will feel more rough as opposed to smooth like the lower weight denier numbers.
The Carhartt Vertical Lunch Cooler is the taller version of the Carhartt Deluxe with some really nice features not available on the shorter Deluxe. It is made of the same water repellant 1200 denier fabric as the Carhartt Deluxe, however, because it is taller (10 inches tall) it can fit either six cans or six 12-ounce bottles. Also, because it is designed as a vertical lunch cooler, it is also easier to pack away in tighter spaces.
One of the nicest features on this lunch box is the mesh water bottle compartment on the side. It’s fully capable of fitting a 20 oz. coffee thermos and works great with the YETI Rambler insulated tumbler (ironically enough). However, if you’re interested in bring your own drink to work or just filling up a bottle with water, it does come with a 20 oz. BPA-free water bottle (with a snap lid).
The main compartment is fully insulated, however, the front compartment is not. According to Carhartt, it should keep your food cold for up to 12 hours with an ice pack. More realistically you’re looking at about 5-12 hours depending on how large of an ice pack you use. The front compartment is mainly useful for storing condiments and utensils, as well as your phone, wallet and keys.
The shoulder strap is adjustable but it is also not removable (like the Carhartt Deluxe). That said, with this vertical style lunch box the strap seems to make more sense. Also, if you want to shorten the strap and carry it like a standard old school lunch box you can do that as well.
This lunch box measures 7.5″ x 8.25″ x 10″.
You’re probably thinking, “Wait, didn’t I already read about the Carhartt Deluxe lunch cooler?” Well, yes and no. This lunch box is actually a bigger version of the Carhartt Deluxe lunch box with several features not available on the smaller version.
For one, it can hold a lot more than the Carhartt Deluxe. In fact, this hoss can hold up to 24 cans in total. And with all the extra room, it can store enough ice or ice packs to keep food and drinks cold for up to 24 hours. This is a huge improvement over the smaller Carhartt Deluxe. The only downside is having to lug around a lot more weight.
Like the other Carhartt lunch boxes, it is made of the same 1200D fabric and is also resistant to water. The overall design is very similar to the deluxe too with one large main pocket and a front pocket too. The only differences are that the top lid, instead of having an extra compartment for storage, instead has an easy access opening for quickly pulling a drink or a sandwich out of the lunch box. Also, the front compartment is not insulated and is mainly used for storing condiments and utensils.
There are, however, some really unique additions to this lunch box not found on either the Carhartt Deluxe above or the vertical Carhartt. The first is an exterior elastic band on the top of the lunch box for storing gloves or coat and keeping it secure. The second is the option to attach (or detach) up to four insulated beverage holders on the side of the lunch box (the sleeves come with the lunch box). The beverage sleeves, once removed, can also be attached to a tool belt or a belt loop.
The shoulder strap is also padded, which is much needed if you plan on packing this lunch box to the brim. This strap is also adjustable, however, like the other lunch boxes by Carhartt, it is not removable.
This lunch box measures 11.75″ x 10″ x 10.5″ and only comes in Carhartt Brown.
The Carhartt Soft-Sided Lunch Box is Carhartt’s most basic lunch box, great for kids and adults alike. However, it is still Carhartt quality, which means it is made of quality materials and will hold up well. The only thing it lacks is a lot of the bells and whistles of the other Carhartt lunch boxes.
The outside is canvas and not the rugged and tough 1200D material of the other lunch boxes. However, given the incredibly affordable price of this lunch box, this is not surprising. Nonetheless, it is still a very durable material and comes equipped with the water repellent technology that comes with the other Carhartt boxes too. The lunch box handle is also extremely sturdy, and the lunch box itself is triple-stitched for extra reinforcement.
Inside, you can fit around four to five cans in total with an ice pack. If you’re packing food and an ice pack, you can fit around one to two drinks. The inside is insulated so your food and drink will stay cold, however, don’t expect this lunch box to keep as cold as the bigger boxes above. Though, if you freeze a bottle of water and stick it inside this lunch bag, you could keep your food cold for up to 8 hours.
The only extra feature on this lunch box is the inner mesh pocket that is on the top lid on the inside. It’s a zippered compartment that’s good for holding condiments and utensils, or even a half of sandwich.
This lunch bag measures 10″ x 7.5″ x 4″ and comes in three colors: wine, black and Carhartt Brown. The wine color is sort of a muddy purple color which makes it equally good for both men and women.
Best Carhartt Lunch Box: Summary
Carhartt has a great selection of lunch boxes and all of them are reasonably priced, especially for a quality brand like Carhartt. Given the fact that most of these lunch boxes are made out of 1200 denier fabric, which costs a lot to manufacture, you’re getting a lot of value for your money with Carhartt too. That’s not to say that YETI doesn’t offer a lot for the money, you are indeed getting what you pay for. However, it’s hard to justify the price unless you plan on using the YETI for outside of work too. Overall, we pick Carhartt as a better brand for lunch boxes, but you cannot not go wrong with either choice.