If you’re looking for a way to keep your products and meals fresh for a long period of time without a fridge, then a good meal prep bag is what you really need.
But before buying one, you need to consider some major issues to make your choice a decent one. This handy guide will hopefully help you make sure the meal prep bag you’re going to buy is perfect. Also, you can check out information and description of particular brands and models of the best meal prep bags already on the market right on this page. So let’s get started.
WEIGHT AND VOLUME OF THE BAG
When it comes to picking the right meal prep bag, first you need to think about the way it would be carried to the destination point like your favorite picnic spot or summer cottage. You need to keep in mind that the car coolers may have as much capacity as 50 liters. So it would be quite problematic to move it from one place to another. Moreover the bigger the volume, the more cold accumulators they come with, the longer you can keep the food cold and fresh.
MATERIAL OF THE BAG
Very often meal prep bags are made of durable synthetic fabric with great waterproof properties, that doesn’t let ultra-violet rays inside the bag.
A good meal prep bag is covered with nylon, polyester or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from outside. These materials are easy to clean from any kind of dirt, while drying them takes little time as well. To make the bag hold its shape the manufacturers can add insulating insertion made of specially prepared foam, which is placed right between the top of the bag and its inner compartment.
When buying a meal prep bag you should pay your close attention to its interior part, because this is the space you’re going to keep the food and cold accumulators.
Sometimes manufacturers try to make the inner compartment more spacious by using thick polyethylene of various colors instead of high quality PVC material capable of light reflecting. No doubt in such bags meals would go stale quicker, the storing time would be reduced to three hours at most even if the bag is packed with cold accumulators.
According to this source, meal prep bag typically includes the following three layers:
- External layer made of light colored plastic
- Inner compartment where the food is stored
- 3-5 centimeters urethane foam between the two layers
This makes it possible to keep the products fresh up to 12 hours without even using cold accumulators. Yet if you put some inside, this time could be increased up to 24 hours or more.
FABRIC THICKNESS OF THE BAG
Once you hold the meal prep bag in your hands, try to feel how thick its sides are. In case you don’t feel any insulation between the external material and inner compartment and the sides themselves seem thin to you, the bag you’re looking at can be hardly called an insulated container as the insulation itself provides temperature maintenance inside for storing the food. When this layer is absent, the heat will easily and quickly penetrate inside the bag, and you may no longer be sure if the products are fresh.
INNER (PROTECTING) LAYER OF THE BAG
The inner protecting layer of the meal prep bag should be made of high quality PVC material. In addition to the fact it can be easily cleaned, it also dries in no time. Very often this inner compartment layer is made of specially produced PVC looking like amalgam or interior Tetra Pack coating. It perfectly keeps the temperature inside stable preventing the food from getting warm.
ROLLERS AND SHOULDER STRAPS
In case the meal prep bag is not that big, you can easily carry it, say on your shoulder. For this reason the bags come with wide a handy strap with a soft shoulder pad on it. Otherwise when the bag is large it is equipped with two kinds of supporting rollers and a telescopic handle with versatile fixing positions.
LOCKERS AND HANDLES
One should never underestimate the quality of lockers and handles while choosing a good bag. Lockers can prevent unwanted visitors inside your bag including cats and dogs. Very often they are built into the handles, they are easy to use and close your bag safely enough.
UTENSILS AND COLD ACCUMULATORS
You can keep the food inside your meal prep bag compartment fresh for longer periods if you put special sources of cold in it. The number of cold accumulators usually depends of the capacity. Keep in mind that the meal prep bag is capable of maintaining cold temperature for only up to 3-4 hours without cold accumulators. Putting an ice pack increases the storage time up to 24 hours. The ambient temperature influences this time as well.
Some manufacturers offer meal prep bags that come with special utensils sets. This option has its own pros and cons. On the one hand, it makes the bag heavier and more expensive. On the other hand, this promises the use of the bag to be more convenient.
QUALITY CERTIFICATE AND WARRANTY
When it comes to buying a meal prep bag one should be very careful and make sure the item has warranty. Asking a sales person for a quality certificate is also a good idea. These simple precautions may help you protect yourself from poor quality or even health destructive purchases.
Usually a good meal prep bag can be replaced by a more functional variant like car coolers. They are capable of keeping low temperature for longer periods of time and may be charged with any source of power. For instance, some car refrigerators may not only be plugged in at a socket, but also at a cigarette lighter. Hence the cooler can be easily used at home, in the office or during the trip.