The idea of packing a cooler and heading off for a day out with family and friends is a great tradition that we’ve surely all experienced at some point in our lives. Whether it’s heading to the beach with sandwiches and drinks, or to the park for a cookout of mammoth proportions, insulated food bags have been right by our sides. Even times when it’s not been you doing the cooking, you’ve still enjoyed the benefits of these bags thanks to the myriad of pizza, and other World Foods you’ve indulged in throughout the years. They are a simple solution that prevents your good time being ruined, so it stands to reason that you want to find the very best insulated food bags in preparation for your next Big Day Out™. Fortunately, we’ve got the answers for you right here, time to dig in.
The Best Insulated Food Bags
Number one in our picks for the top insulated food bags is the NZ Home Extra Large Grocery Bags which comes as a two pack and, like all insulated bags, is reusable time after time after time. That’s not the only reason we’ve picked them, though; there’s also a durable zipper, ensuring proper insulation despite potential years of use, which is further achieved by the extra thick thermal materials. Furthermore, any of you who like to pack as much as possible into their bag will be pleased to know that the handles are reinforced, meaning you can guarantee you’ll make it from car to kitchen, and supermarket to park in just one quick and easy trip. You can combine this with an insulated water bottle from our list.
Dual refined zipper for durability
Extra thick thermal materials
- BrandNZ Home
- Weight3.04 ounces
This KIBAGA Premium Insulated Food Delivery Bag also comes as a two pack and is ideal for picnics, catering and delivery services, providing excellent results whatever the occasion. The thick layer of insulation is perfect for keeping food hot or cold – and even somewhere in between – while the water repellent material protects the food on rainy days as well as your vehicle from any unfortunate spillages. The insulated bag is also easy to store in the trunk of the car through simple folding, and will also sit comfortably on the back of motorcycles without the food itself suffering any damage, which we all know is the absolute worst thing after the anticipation of something delicious.
Thick layer of insulation
Ideal as picnic, catering, or delivery containers
Fits easily into car, trunk or back of motorcycles
- Weight2.8 pounds
When it comes to looking for insulated food bags that offer the very best in terms of value, there’s nothing better than the marvelous Earthwise Food Bag. Another pack of two, this is a convenient and reliable product that sits perfectly straight in the shopping cart, on the conveyor belt, and on the floor for super simple retrieval and food placement. It’s also water-repellent and leak proof, ensuring the big day isn’t ruined by a bout of clumsiness. What ensures its value, though, is the size. The large capacity provides enough space for up to 40 pounds of food and drink, meaning you might just be able to fit enough food in for the whole neighborhood and even have enough left for anyone seeking seconds or even thirds. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best soft sided coolers.
Sit perfectly straight to easy food placement
Water-repellent and leak proof
- Weight3.99 pounds
Complete with an extra strength zipper, this Ateny Commercial Quality Delivery Bag is perfect for both professional and home use, offering a substantial amount of interior space as well as all of the features to ensure you can keep your food hot or cold for hours on end. Designed primarily for delivery workers, it’s more than prepared to look after its precious cargo no matter how far you need to travel. The pliable inner structure means that it’s both flexible but robust, while the tough double handles make it super easy to carry without causing unnecessary pain. Whether you’re one of the delivery angels that make the metropolitan life just a little more bearable, or a grill-loving dude wanting to prepare everything as it should be, then this bag has you covered. Be sure to also check out our list of the best lunch boxes for more great items like this.
Extra strength zipper
Perfect size for full-sized table pans
Retains both cold and heat
Pliable inner structure
- ModelFood Delivery Bag
- Weight2.2 pounds
While you can find insulated bags of any size, many people are primarily looking for large insulated bags to save them carrying too much and giving them the chance of having room to spare for an extra six-pack or bottle of wine. This BlueVoy Insulated Food Delivery Bag offers this size, as well as heaps of other useful features that make it an all-around quality bag with multiple uses. The 8mm foam insulation ensures heat retention (or the opposite, if that’s what you need), while the water-resistant lining protects your shoes from dreaded mystery drip. It’s not just a one-season wonder, either, as the durable zippers mean that this will more than likely serve your family for generations to come.
Water resistant lining
Commercial grade quality
- Weight2.4 pounds
Risen Gear’s Insulated Food Delivery Bag does everything you’d expect such a bag to do – and we believe you have quite a good idea by now – but also gives you a little extra, as well. Unlike other bags we’ve identified so far, this one comes with a usefully adjustable divider, which is perfect for when you want to store both hot and cold in the same place and don’t want to ruin the temperature of either. Made with high-grade aluminum lining, the divider, as well as the rest of the bag, protects the temperature with ease, ensuring that everything arrives just as intended. There’s also extra handles for when you may have packed too much food, and are too proud to admit it, at least someone is there to help you carry the load.
High-grade aluminum lining
Premium and durable YKK zippers
- BrandRisen Gear
- Weight3.5 pounds
Our pick for the premium thermal bag out of all thermal bags in the whole world is the Etz Thermal Heavy Duty Commercial Food Delivery Bag. It comes with ultra-comfortable ergonomic side handles to make those large orders a little less cumbersome to carry, and also has a bright orange zip which, while some may consider it garish, assures easy identification to where the top is, saving precious time. More importantly, though, it’s designed with double insulation meaning double the fun (sorry) and more effective thermal or cooling features, which is doubly (sorry again) enhanced thanks to the divider, which fits comfortably within and means any stresses over whether or not food will keep will not be worried at all. Our handy guide to the best meal prep containers features more great products like this.
Ergonomic side handles
Easily identifiable double zipper
- BrandEtz Thermal
- Weight2.75 pounds
Offering something that other thermal food bags seem to completely ignore, the Rachael Ray ChillOut Insulated Tote Bag is much easier on the eye than probably any other bag we’ve selected. Offering a variety of colors, you can feel like this bag is truly yours, as well as ensuring you’ll never leave it behind – not that you would, anyway. The five-gallon capacity means you can fit plenty of items in without feeling like you’re having to stuff it, and the additional exterior pocket gives you a few more storage options. It uses antimicrobial technology to prevent anything nasty growing in there, and it temperfoil lining means that your food is sure to be looked after perfectly.
Leak proof and easy to clean
Exterior slip pocket
- BrandRachael Ray
- Weight12 ounces
High-grade nylon is an excellent design for making reliable insulated food delivery bags and the Homevative Insulated Bag is a great example of how well it works. This is just the beginning, though. There’s also three-quarter inch insulation that keeps your food at the perfect temperature regardless of whether it’s hot or cold. As a bonus, Homevative provides a lifetime guarantee, ensuring that you’ll be well looked after if there are any issues. One more thing: similar to the Rachael Ray, it’s bright red if you’re after something a little different than other standard bags, which if nothing else is just fun.
High-grade nylon durability
Multiple functions for variety of professions
Three-quarter inch insulation
- Weight2.95 pounds
Just in time for the start of the game we’ve arrived at our final product and it’s the B&C Home Goods Insulated Commercial Food Delivery Bag, it comes with side mesh pockets for that crucial bit of extra space, as well as tough, robust handles and a durable zipper to guarantee everything remains secure over years of hustle, bustle, wear, and tear. Furthermore, the thick layer of insulation gives you peace of mind that food stays just right, ready to serve up a piping hot meal as soon as you step out of the car and towards a table surrounded by salivating mouths and eager, hungry eyes. Love this product? Check out our review of the best backpack coolers for our top picks.
Additional side pockets
Thick layer of insulation
Extremely durable zipper
- BrandB&C Home Goods
- Weight2.1 pounds
Insulated Food Bag Buying Guide & FAQs
How We Chose Our Selection of Insulated Food Bags
If you’ve read all that and aren’t quite sure how we came to our conclusions, please be assured there is a method to our madness. Here’s how we did it!
Reviews - Because we don’t have the time or the money to throw a thousand parties in the park - especially considering the weather’s starting to turn - we turn to reviews to get an idea of how useful (or useless) something is. They’ve proven incredibly helpful in allowing us to separate the good from the not so good, so thanks, Reviews.
Quality - If you’re thinking of investing in insulated bags for food transport, you must be able to rely on the quality, and this is something we took into consideration when selecting our products. This means they actually keep food and drink at the right temperature, the zips are durable, and the handles won’t fall apart if you put just a little too much inside.
Price - Insulated food bags aren’t necessarily expensive but everyone has their own budget so we’ve done our best to find as much of a variety in pricing as possible so everyone can afford something.
Features To Look For In Insulated Food Bag
What features do you need to look for in an insulated food bag? Find out below.
Size - The size you select will depend on what you need it for. If you’re delivering pizzas, you need a pizza-sized bag. If you have a wider variety of food or want to use it for groceries or larger picnics, then Large insulated cooler bags will obviously be a better bet.
Materials - You’ll have a choice between nylon food bags and vinyl food bags. Nylon will cost more than vinyl, but the nylon bag offers breathability, which will allow the food to keep warm while also letting steam escape, preventing soggy food and plates full of disappointment. While vinyl bags don’t offer this, they are cheaper, and so if you’re not planning on making long voyages then they’ll be more than suitable.
Foam Insulation - You can choose between polyvinyl chloride (PVC) insulation, polyurethane (PU), and polyester (which doesn’t have an abbreviation, sorry polyester). We’ll go into the difference between them below. If you’re looking at an insulated bag to keep food cold or warm and it doesn’t use any of these materials, steer clear.
Hardboard Bottom - The hardboard bottom helps the bag to keep its shape when placed flat as well as when it’s carried. It prevents food from knocking into each other and causing potential spillage.
Pockets - Extra pockets are always appreciated no matter what the occasion, some will be mesh and can be used to carry cutlery, while others can be an additional thermal pocket to keep sachets of sauce or similar small items.
Insulated Food Bag FAQs
Q: Which Type Of Foam Insulation Is The Best?
A: We went over this briefly above and each type of foam insulation has their benefits, but if you really want to get into it, it goes like this:
PVC is cheapest to manufacture and is resistant to grease, oil, and chemicals.
PU is both flexible and able to withstand all manner of wear and tear. The open cell design makes it breathable, preventing sogginess nor trap odor.
Polyester is comprised of open cell formations and is as breathable and flexible as PU however because it’s stronger, it costs more, too.
Due to this, polyester is arguably ‘the best’ for any kind of food transporting occasion. However, as we’ve mentioned before, you can get away with lower quality materials if you don’t need to use it all the time or for long periods. If you’re merely using your bag to transport groceries from the car to the refrigerator, then there’s no point splashing the cash on the most expensive product unless you want to, that is.
Q: How Long Do Insulated Bags Keep Food Cold Or Hot?
A: It will depend on the quality of your insulated bag as well as how packed it is and whether you’re using it to keep something hot or cold. On average, it’s expected to lose around 5 degrees of heat every hour if you’re looking to keep something warm, which means you can’t cook a roast and then travel across the country expecting it to stay piping hot.
Conversely, cold things stay cold for longer, as you may have noticed if you’ve ever used a thermos for iced coffee vs hot coffee. Again, this depends on starting temperature and capacity, but it’s possible for frozen things to stay like that for as long as three days.
Q: Do Insulated Food Bags Need To Be Refrigerated?
A: You can if you want, but the foam insulation does all the cooling work for you. If you placed a thermal bag with cold food in the refrigerator, there’s not a lot - if anything at all - that would change and you’d be doing nothing but taking up space that could be used for beer, steaks, or cheese!