As our kids have gotten older, we know they prefer lunch bags to lunch boxes because it’s so much easier to shove into a backpack–especially when they may or may not have a locker. And of course, it doesn’t look so “little kid”

The key is finding a lunch bag for teens that is cool enough that they actually pull it out and eat the food that is in there. (Hopefully food they’ve packed themselves, ahem.) And that generally means keeping it simple — no cute patterns or cartoon characters, unless they really love it.

So we’ve rounded a few lunch bag recommendations here for tweens, teens and big kids — but as with anything involving tweens and teens, we always suggest letting them weigh in on the final purchase. That way it doesn’t end up in the back of a closet somewhere. – Liz, with Lisa

Now, getting them to clean those lunch bags? That’s a whole other story. But we think they’re up to it.

Lunch Bags for Teens and Big Kids Who Have Outgrown Lunch Boxes

Cool lunch bags for teens and big kids who have outgrown the lunch boxes


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Hydro Flask makes an awesome insulated lunch tote that's perfect for teens and older kids

Insulated Hydro Flask Lunch Tote
Many teens head straight from school to sports practice, play rehearsal, or other after-school activities, so a small lunchbox just won’t hold enough food for both lunch and after school fuel. We were so happy to find this limited edition 8-Liter Hydro Flask Insulated Lunch Tote from a teen-favorite brand.

There a few colors available from the official Hydro Flask Store on Amazon, and from The Container Store online, or you can always check the Hydro Flask website directly.

Related: 20 cool backpacks for teens this year | Back to School Guide

Herschel Supply Insulated Lunch Bag is great for teens and older kidsInsulated Herschel Alexander Zip Tote
You know we’re big fans of Herschel Supply’s durable backpacks for teens, so no surprise, we were thrilled to find they make insulated lunch bags for teens too. In three neutral but elegant colors, I think they’d pass the teen test for style, And for eco-friendliness, since the main body is made from 100% recycled materials. As for me, I like the limited lifetime guarantee, free ground shipping, and 30-day return policy.


Coleman Insulated Lunch Bag is great for teen athletes -keeps drinks and snacks cool for 20 hours!Coleman Insulated Lunch Bag
If you’ve got an athlete who’s downing sports drinks and chowing down on snacks all day, this Coleman Backroads Series Cooler Bag makes a terrific lunch bag for your (still) growing teen. It’s ruggedly handsome, leakproof, roomy as heck, and keeps everything cool for up to 20 hours. Terrific find, and under $40 on Amazon.

OXO good grips insulated lunch bag is great for teens going back to school

OXO Good Grips Insulated Lunch Bag
I love everything from OXO (with one minor exception but that’s not relevant here) — and I’m so happy to see they’re now making an affordable insulated lunch bag that’s under $30. In fact at the Container Store, it’s on sale for $19.99 for a limited time, which is even lower than Amazon’s prices. Order it for pick-up at your local store if you’re able, and save on shipping too.

Sunny Bird's roll top lunch bags for teens are terrific for back to school

Sunny Bird Insulated Roll Top Lunch Bag
I love the styling of this simple roll top lunch bag from Sunny Bird that comes in over a dozen colors and patterns, including the cool two-tone lunch bag above, right along with that smart khaki and black. Looks like it’s roomy enough for the basics — according to the images, I see a wide bento box for a sandwich on the bottom, two oranges, and two cans of Coke. Because of course we’re all sending our kids to school with two cans of Coke these days. Hurry and you can grab an extra 7% off with a coupon on site.

This wildly affordable lunch bag for teens looks great and gets nice reviews

A Super Affordable Lunch Bag for Teens
For a bargain pick, yes, it’s one of those ‘brands” on Amazon that comes from who knows where. But the Tellumo Lunch Bags are a great affordable lunch bag for teens. (Like, super super affordable!) They’re quite attractive in that nice “Oxford cloth” polyester exterior, come in a few great neutral colors, and get sweet reviews.


Cool Lunch bags for Teens: The Brown Bag in canvas from Italic Home on EtsyBrown Bag Canvas Reusable Lunch Bag
Nothing says too cool for school like a retro brown paper bag lunch (and maybe a pair of classic Ray Bans). But the waste isn’t ideal. That’s why we’ve been longtime fans of the “Brown Bag” Canvas Lunch Bag from Italic Home on Etsy, which is also super popular with our readers!

Related: These 8 single-use products are going away in our lifetimes. Here are alternatives to make switching easier.


Disposable brown paper lunch bags that are made from recycled Kraft paper and are biodegradable tooRecycled Paper Disposable Lunch Bags
if your teen is prone to losing bags, or for convenience reasons truly needs something disposable, we get it. Skip the baggies or plastic store bags and instead check out these recycled brown Kraft paper bags we found. They’re not only made from recycled paper, but they’re biodegradable (provided they’re disposed of properly, of course), which makes us feel better about single-use products.

Cool Lunch Bags for Teens and Tweens | Stasher Bags are a perfect alternative to disposable baggies

Stasher Bags For All The Stuff
Sometimes teens don’t need a full lunch bag; just a few baggies full of snacks to keep them sated. I that’s the case, be sure to stock up on Stasher resealable storage bags, which have become everyone’s favorite eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic sandwich bags. There are the perfect sizes for sandwiches (even big ones), snacks, protein bars, cut veggies, or whatever they like to bring. Plus they really don’t leak and yes, you can pop them in the dishwasher!

But again, no judgments. if your teen or tween really needs the convenience of reusable bags,  grab a box of these compostable sandwich bags or send them to school with one of these eco-friendly bowls with lids, like the ones you see at salad bars. It definitely beats plastic.