Best Containers for Packing and Heating Meals when Travelling

Eating out when on the road can get not only be expensive but difficult when arriving somewhere after restaurants and even room service have closed for the night.  We've done the hard work for you and found the best options for pre-packing your food and taking it on a trip.

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Meal Heating Options When Travelling

HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven

The HotLogic Portable oven is used by many pilots and flight attendants and allows you to take home-cooked meals with you when flying and heat them in a hotel room or crew room at your leisure. Unfortunately this can't be used in flight but is great once you arrive at your destination.

The Hot Logic can be used with most containers, including glass, plastic, Tupperware, or metal.

Aerocoast Coolers

Aerocoast have a range of coolers which accommodate both food in an insulated compartment but also allow room for all the other bits and pieces you might need when travelling. 

It can be a little confusing trying to figure out the differences between all the options so I did a little research for you and came up with this:

EFB is the Electronic Flight Bag which is integrated in the Cooler II options and a separate attachment in the Cooler options. 

The food compartment in the Cooler II is slightly larger but the laptop section is a little smaller than in the detachable EFB which is available with the Cooler. The Cooler II also has an expandable bottom section and allows you to attach the water bottle to it. You can purchase the water bottle separately or for a reduced price if you purchase the EFB + Cooler II combo.

Both bags are designed to fit over a luggage handle. 

The eBags Crew Coolers were originally designed for use by pilots and flight attendants. 

The Crew Cooler II is the larger of these insulated bags and will fit a number of meals and snacks for longer trips. It measures 38.1 cm (15" ) wide x  26.67 cm (10.5") high x 21.59cm (8.5") deep.

If you're looking for something smaller to suit day trips, the Crew Cooler Jnr is 26.04cm (10.25") wide x 19.05cm (7.5") x 12.7cm (5") deep.

Both have the main, insulated compartment, top zip section for dry goods and a fold out front pocket. Both bags are designed to fit over a luggage handle. 

Fitpacker Packing Lunches for Pilots

Fitpacker Insulated Bag and Containers

Fitpacker designed their containers specifically for meal prepping. You can fit four containers in the insulated bag. The containers are BPA free, microwaveable, freezable, dish washer safe, stackable and suitable to use in the Hot Logic Portable Oven. 

Reusable Containers

Containers such as the Rubbermaid Lunchblox Range are durable and reasonably priced. They are available in a range of sizes and sets which are perfect for packing various meals and snacks and making sure they stay fresh.

Containers for Heating Meals on the Plane

Aluminium containers such as the Tigerchef Durable Aluminium Containers can be used for reheating food onboard and then discarded. 

Keeping Your Food Cold When Travelling

Carry leakproof, resuable ice packs like the Ohuhu Ice/Hot Water Bag which can be filled from the ice machines in the hotel and emptied if required when going through security and refilled later.

You may be able to take solid ice packs through security at times or frozen water bottles smaller than 100ml are acceptable. For more information on what food can and can't be taken as carry on in the USA you can check out the food information on the TSA website but essentially, the final decision rests with the TSA agent on the day. 

In Australia there is no limit to liquids you can take through security when travelling domestically. When flying internationally, you can review the restrictions on the Australian Border Force website here. Be aware if flying domestically but through an international airport - carry on restrictions still apply. 

For more ideas, suggestions and advice, you might like to join one or more of these Facebook groups: Pack It Up (Pilot & Pilot Spouse Meal Planning) and  Airline Crew Lunch Box Ideas and Wellness Tips.

Have we missed your favourite meal bag? Send us an email or reply in the comments and let us (and others) know what works best for you!


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