Insulated lunch bag

It’s been such a hot, hot sum­mer here in Aus­tralia. Dur­ing our road trip to Ade­laide, the tem­per­a­ture reg­u­larly rose above 40 degrees cel­sius.  It’s hot even back in Syd­ney, and the other day it was 48 degrees where we live — which turned out to be the hottest day in recorded his­tory. Yikes.

So even though I had been putting off mak­ing insu­lated lunch bags till now –despite sev­eral requests from cus­tomers -, this heat wave has pushed me over the edge. As usual, my cre­ations are inspired by neces­sity — I couldn’t have sur­vived the four-day road trip through the swel­ter­ing heat with­out a con­stant sup­ply of cold water in our Esky bag.

Here’s my new insu­lated lunch bag — tote bag style.

insulated lunch tote bag

For the insu­la­tion effect, I used a prod­uct called Insul-Bright. It’s just like a quilt wadding, but bulkier.  I used water­proof rip­stop nylon for the lin­ing, to keep the bag dry outside. 

At first I didn’t par­tic­u­larly enjoy work­ing with these mate­ri­als. I’m not a fan of syn­thetic mate­ri­als, and the com­bi­na­tion of Insul-Bright and nylon was was a bit too much. I think that’s why I chose this very natural-looking linen bird fab­ric to com­pen­sate for the mostly syn­thetic mate­ri­als. But soon I got used to it.

And I love the result! The tote bag-style lunch bag is super cute, don’t you think? It’s small enough to be cute, but large enough to con­tain all that you need for your (or your child’s) lunchtime — a cou­ple of con­tain­ers, a small water bot­tle, a piece of fruit, cut­lery… and a bar of reusable ice block to keep every­thing cool.

insulated lunch bag with lunch stuff inside

Next I put the bag through a rig­or­ous (??) sci­en­tific scrutiny to test its effec­tive­ness. I put an equal amount of ice cubes in two glass jars, and put each jar in the insu­lated lunch bag and my reg­u­lar draw­string lunch bag, along with a bar of reusable ice block each.

The result? Two hours later, most ice cubes were melted in the nor­mal can­vas lunch bag, but most were still intact in the insu­lated bag. More­over, the bot­tom half of the reg­u­lar lunch bag was soaked wet from the “sweat” of melt­ing ice, but the insu­lated bag, thanks to its nylon lin­ing, was com­pletely dry. Four  hours later, the ice cubes had just melted in the insu­lated bag, but the water was still icy cold. Suc­cess! Of course, I’m not claim­ing the home­made lunch bag works just as well as pro­fes­sion­ally made Esky bags. But it cer­tainly is a big improve­ment over my other lunch bags.

ice cube test for insulated lunch bags

The larger bag below was the very first ver­sion of the bag I made — which turned out to be too big. But that’s okay, because it’s the per­fect size for a mason jar I use to make yoghurt. I love home­made yoghurt, but I was feel­ing that wrap­ping the bot­tle in my child’s win­ter sleep­ing bag was a lit­tle unsightly, as effec­tive as it is. Now I can make yoghurt in style.

insulated lunch bags, version 1 and 2

Here are some more lunch bags I made for my shop. I just love this linen bird fab­rics. So beautiful.

three insulated lunch bags in linen bird fabrics



  • Donna Dut­ton

    These are lovely bags and the fab­ric is so sweet! Please could you tell me what it is called and per­haps where it is avail­able from?


    • Asako

      Thanks Donna. :) I think this fab­ric was avail­able only in Japan, and they have long been dis­con­tin­ued, unfor­tu­nately. Very sad. I have a few more lunch bag kits avail­able with these fab­rics though, on my Etsy shop here: