Review: PlanetBox Rover

by Wendy on June 27, 2013

Review: PlanetBox Rover lunch box

Let’s talk about the PlanetBox Rover!

PlanetBox sent me this lunch box just under a year ago to try out and review. Normally, I like to review products within a few months of receiving them, but this one slipped away from me and I’m only now managing to write down some of my thoughts on this fabulous lunch box. But my irresponsibility is your gain because after using it for so long I’ve really had a chance to put it through it’s paces. After packing more than 75 lunches in this baby, I feel well qualified to evaluate the Rover’s strengths and weaknesses.

PlanetBox Rover

Let’s start with the basics. When I received my Rover it was the only product PlanetBox made. Now they have a larger box, the Launch, and a newly…er…launched…smaller box, the Shuttle.  The Rover holds up to 4 1/2 cups of food in five compartments. It is made of high quality stainless steel. The main box is not air-tight or waterproof but it comes with two smaller containers that are. They work great for dips, applesauce, yogurt, etc. I’ve also had good luck covering sections of the box that contain juicier items like nectarines with a little Glad Press and Seal which works very well to contain drips when the box is being carried.

keep fruit juices in check

The Rover Complete sells for $59.95 and it comes with the following items:

  • the main lunch box
  • one small little dipper container
  • a large little dipper container
  • a set of magnets (19 themes to choose from)
  • a carrying bag (7 colors to choose from)

PlanetBox also sells this box without the bag or the smaller containers for a little less money but because it’s difficult to find a different brand of lunch bag this box will fit in I don’t recommend going that way.

PlanetBox Rover

What I Like:

Oh man! I love this lunch box. Where do I start?

Let’s begin with the looks: I love how it resembles an old school lunch tray! The stainless steel looks great and after a whole year of regular use it looks almost brand new. There are a few small scratches on it where the smaller containers have rubbed on the lid but they’re barely noticeable. And food looks great packed in it. The separate compartments help keep me on track to pack a balanced lunch — veggie in one, fruit in another, protein in the third one and a carb in the last one. Easy peasy! There’s room to do fun stuff, but you can keep your lunch simple and it will still look good.

3rd Grade Bento #645

It’s also sturdy. We’ve yet to put a dent in it and because it’s stainless steel it can go in the dishwasher on the bottom rack. I don’t know about you, but our top rack is always jam-packed, so this feature is wonderful. And unlike some other lunch boxes, this one doesn’t have a ton of pieces to wash and keep track of. I personally don’t find lots of pieces annoying, but I know many people do.

Overall, I like the design of the bag. There are two roomy outer pockets for napkins, water bottles or whatever and inside there is a mesh pocket to hold an ice pack and some straps to add flatware. (Neither of these are included.) The Rover fits into the bag perfectly, of course, but most of our other larger boxes fit in it too which adds a nice level of versitility.

PlanetBox in Bag

What I Don’t Like:

Unfortunately, you can’t talk about the Rover without talking about the price. At $59.95 for the set, it’s one of the highest priced lunch kits that I know of. It’s definitely an investment! Do I think it’s worth it? Yes, I do. I’ve already spoken about the quality of the box and based on what I’ve seen so far I can see our PlanetBox Rover lasting for many more years. It works well for my four-year-old’s lunches, but I also send it to school with my eight-year-old so I know it can grow with a child. And the cool appearance ensures that it won’t be rejected for being too baby-ish when my kids get a little older. Finally, when you consider that a bag is included with the set, the price starts being pretty similar to the end cost of buying another box and purchasing a bag separately.

Another thing to note is that the Little Dippers can be hard to open. Neither of my kids can open them consistently. My preschooler always has to ask his teachers to help him get at his hummus and I’ve sent yogurt in the larger Dipper for my older son a few times only to have it come back untouched because he couldn’t open the container.

Finally, there are the magnets that are used to decorate the outside of the box. I should note that both of my boys love them (we have the rainforest design) and they insist that we put them on every time we use the Rover. The magnets come in lots of cool/cute/fun/funky designs that I love and I understand that they are there to make a plain steel box more appealing to kids. But I have to admit that they drive me crazy. They are always getting misplaced. I sometimes forget they’re on the box and run them through the dishwasher accidentally which damages the pictures on them. And because they are large and thin they often fold onto themselves which has caused them to wrinkle.

The Bottom Line:

But here’s the bottom line. I love our PlanetBox Rover. My kids love our PlanetBox Rover. Both of my boys request that I pack a lunch in it at least once per week and I am happy to do it because I think it is fun to pack and it always ends up looking pretty. I have over 30 lunch boxes in my collection and I reach for the Rover week after week because it’s my favorite of all of them!

The PlanetBox Rover is available for purchase from the PlanetBox website and from

Disclaimer: PlanetBox sent me a Rover lunch box to review. I was not otherwise compensated for writing this review. The giddy, loving feelings I have expressed here are an accurate representation of the emotions I have developed around this lunch box over the past year of use. Yeah — I recognize that’s a little weird.

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  • Venia Conte

    We love our Rover, too…so, I totally get the giddy, loving feelings. If this is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. ;) It’s been my go-to box for two years and you’d never know it wasn’t new. Definitely a case for “you get what you pay for”.

  • Amanda

    I love, love, love the Planetbox, and have recommended it to friends. The issue with the dippers being hard to open is a problem, but little hands just aren’t as strong or coordinated as ours. Adult helpers in the lunch room are always willing to help.

    My kids tell me they get TONS of compliments on their planetbox, and even tell people the URL when asked “where’d you get that?!” We’ve had ours for two years (everyday use) and have only had an issue with the bag getting too worn. I contacted PlanetBox, sent a picture of my problem, and they sent me a new bag right away. The actual Rover could last them a lifetime! It’s worth the high price tag!

  • Rachel Beard

    I never noticed the straps to hold the silverware before! I use that pouch for the ice packs, but now I will check to see if ours has utensil straps too!

    Also, our dishwasher is right next to the fridge, so when I wash the Planeboxes, I just pull the magnets off and throw them directly on to the fridge. When I unload, I put them right back on the Planetbox. It is a good system for us. :)

  • Rachel

    Does the Rover fit in the laptop lunchbox container? The measurements look pretty similar so I thought it might…

  • Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Lunch Box Comparison Chart: How 6 Popular Boxes Stack Up | Wendolonia

  • Shannon

    We have two Rovers and two Shuttles. We just bought the PlanetBoxes without case in the case of the Rovers (we bought bag with Shuttles, only because there was a sale). We LOVE our PlanetBoxes. I have two sons with autism and they had trouble opening all of the other containers I would send and they were hard to wash. The BIG draw to me was ONE piece and how easily it washes in the dishwasher time after time. I held off for a long time in ordering because I thought they looked huge online. Not at all. They are perfect and not heavy. My boys go to a school that has a refrigerator so we just send the Rovers in their backpack.

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