This is a lunchbox that boasts a lot, but unfortunately, thats all it does, boasts.
Meet the “Robust” by Compleat.
The guys at compleat write on their packaging that they developed these boxes “from a frustration of the limitations with current Lunchboxes”.
Sadly this is one of the most limited boxes I have come across, and you can be sure I’ve come across quite a few!
The overall look of this box is certainly a good one, I’m not sure on your tastes but it certainly appeals to mine.
It takes on a futuristic feel and with it all being hard plastic, worrying about the rain getting into you lunch is a thing of the past.
At the front it has a zigzagging of neon green elastic cord to hold a drink or a newspaper but this has the added feature of a pouch-like piece of canvas which helps keep a 500ml drink from sliding out of the elastic completely. It’s an interesting touch but would have been nicer if it had sides, instead of just a bottom, so there is even less chance of it escaping and would work better on smaller bottles.
The parts on either side which look like little storage compartments without lids are for all intents and purposes, nothing.
They take up rather a lot of room to do nothing and would have looked better not being hollow, since as it is it looks like there’s something missing.
They seem to be included solely for the purpose of making this box stand upright which is a shame because they add a lot of bulk where it wasn’t needed.
Inside, it’s a bit of a puzzling affair.
At the top, middle and at the very bottom (out of sight in this picture) it has clips for pieces of elastic to thread through, but it only has elastic through the middle two clips.
I can only guess all of them were supposed to be the same as the one in the middle, even on the packaging it states “Practical straps inside” while only showing one. I’m guessing it was a very late omission which is a great shame because it would have made this box a lot more useful.
As for the one strap that is there, it’s okay for a bag of crisps, though it is a little tight so they could get crushed somewhat.
With that in mind it might be okay for a chocolate bar or something, but certainly not a sandwich which would turn into a ikky squishy goo.
The neon green edges on the inside of this box are all made out of rubber and there is also a strange rubber guard that keeps the one container that does come with this in its place.
It has a couple of tabs that wedge their way into the container to stop it moving which may also stop you adding any other container of your choice to this if you don’t want the included one all the time.
Unfortunately there is another factor that would stop you putting the containers you want into this……anywhere.
Space, space, space.
The space in this box is extremely awkward.
It is too thin to fit regular sized containers and if you put them on their sides, well, your food won’t stay in your container for long, especially with food you would put in a bento box like rice, chicken and vegetables.
Here is one configuration that fitted but as you can see, I needed to put a belt around the container just to stop it popping open and any nice bento packed in this is going to be a mess, if still inside at all, by lunchtime.
The container that comes with it really does show how strange a shape this is.
On the bright side, the container with it is dishwasher and microwave safe, good quality and seems airtight but it will only really fit this and it’s awkward shape and size means you couldn’t really use it for a bento meal.
Going back to the dishwasher safe aspect, this is a slightly odd one.
The whole box, case and all claims to be dishwasher safe, okay, I can see why you would dishwash the small dish with it, and even the outer box, should it get general crumbs and muck in it over time.
Unfortunately, the elastic on the inside of the case doesn’t come off and the elastic and pouch on the front have no way to be removed either.
I’m not sure if these things were considered when they say it’s dishwasher safe but I don’t think I’d risk putting elastic and canvas in for a spin myself.
There is one set of detachable straps and again, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
On the front of the case there are two holes where a strap can attach via hook clips.
I was expecting, with the look of this box, that it would be an awesome rucksack but instead it is a messenger style case.
This is a premium priced item at £25 RRP so it does seem pretty cheap considering you only get a small container and a case with one elastic strap inside and a rubber guard of sorts.
All in all, this box is okay for carrying around convenience foods, a dairylea dunker, a packet of crisps, a sandwich if you cut it the right way and a pot of dessert maybe but considering this box was all about getting rid of “the limitations with current Lunchboxes” it has done the complete opposite.
I’m sure there is a good chance that if you are taking the effort to buy a lunch box, make lunch for yourself and take it around with you, you would likely want to choose foods that you couldn’t just buy from your local supermarket when lunch time comes around, which wouldn’t require you to carry around this big case.
Unless you can find insanely thin boxes that can fit upright in this, it’s only advantage over a usual rucksack is that food won’t get crushed.
For the price tag, I wouldn’t buy this but for any price tag it may be useless to you depending on how you use your lunch boxes.
If you put packets of prepared food in with a small container of food you have prepared yourself it may suit your needs but then so would most other bags.
If you make meals yourself and need them to be upright, without forking out more money for extra containers which I’m not sure you can actually buy anyway, this box is not for you.
It is a shame because most of the quality seems good, it’s just the ideas are poorly thought out or executed which is sad because it goes against its entire point.