Tag Archives | stainless steel water bottles

Eco-Friendlier Wheeled Backpack

I’ve known all summer that I’ll be writing a back-to-school review for wheeled backpacks, but it’s taken me months to find a company that sells a more eco-friendly backpack that has wheels!  You know the backpacks on wheels that congest school hallways? …why yes!  I finally understand why they are so popular. I have a son that simply cannot manage a large, full-day school backpack. He complained of neck and back pain all last year and I would watch him walk from my car in the morning struggling to balance his full back-pack into the school. I knew this quest would be difficult because although there are many green backpack options – they don’t have wheels. My search ended when I discovered Lands’ End where I found a backpack on wheels that is PVC-free and mad without flame retardants. Would I have liked recycled materials and locally made? Of course, but these just don’t exist yet and I like to give large companies a positive nod when they are making responsible decisions like not using PVC.  The backpack arrived a few days ago for me to review and I love it. More importantly, so does my son. One tip I learned when purchasing a backpack online is you need to gauge the size of the backpack compared to your child. The Lands’ End site does a great job with showing you with each backpack design how it measures and how tall the child should be.  Click here to see an example of this chart – I would have requested the wrong backpack without the help of this diagram.

The backpack for Angelo has a handle that adjusts to two different levels and it reaches quite high – my older son could use it no problem and he’s tall. The child can also wear the backpack because shoulder straps tuck out of a secret zippered compartment if you decide to ‘wear’ the pack on your back. The kids like the cool factor with this!  There are also different compartments inside the backpack…a sleeve for lunches to be tucked in and separate from papers and books – this can be a bonus when a child’s lunch leaks. Also, a must for me…pockets on either side for reusable water bottle. Most of my stainless steel water bottles leak now…I don’t really care, but they need to be upright in a backpack otherwise all of the books get wet.

So heading back to school, if your child needs a backpack with wheels to give his/her back a break…think of
Land’s End. They are a large company, that can provide very quick turnaround for service/questions and have lots of designs that kids & moms will enjoy.  I’ll post my back-to-school supplies recommendations next week, along with my picks for sending your child to school with a litterless lunch system.


Related Posts:

Skip Licensed Backpacks and Check out Ecogear



Back To School With Thermos

It’s getting close to that time – back to school is almost here! This year, more than ever, the focus for parents is packing litterless lunches. Eliminate PVC and non-recyclable materials and invest in some wonderful reusable items for lunchtime. The brand Thermos has been around for a long time and are known for their quality.  I’m very excited because I get to talk about a new water bottle from Thermos. I was surprised with how much I love their new Roho stainless steel water bottle. It takes a lot to impress me with water bottles…I’ve only ever reviewed 2 brands. The Roho style bottle is perfect for on-the-go adults and kids that attend school all day. What makes this bottle different from the many stainless steel models and brands out there? The difference is how lovely the drinking spout is and the design of the leak proof lid. Kids simply press a button and the lid bounces open – then there is a curved area for drinking and the experience is awesome. Thermos sent us a skull/roses design and my boys flipped when they saw it. It’s the ‘it’ bottle to use in our house right now. . . and that includes my husband and I. It’s refreshing for us as adults to not be sucking water out of sports cap bottles all the time – we all feel a little more grown up. These are hydration bottles made from top quality stainless steel (18/8), the bottles are dishwasher friendly, and there is a cool design for anyone in the family. If you are looking for a double walled bottle to keep liquids hot – there are lots of options on the Thermos site, just click here.

I do worry about my kids playing with the top so much as the button seems to be irresistible for them – but these bottles are a good price point, hold 24 oz of liquid and are readily available at Target, London Drugs, etc. If you can pickup extra tops for the bottles when you purchase them – it might be a good idea.  Also, I appreciate the fact this is a leak proof bottle. I’m not even sure why manufactures would create a product that leaks and then market it to parents that are packing lunches going into backpacks. I love leak proof food containers, bottles, anything getting packed and jostled around in a backpack come September.

Next up – what if you want to send your child to school with a hot lunch?  Left over stir-fry, soup, etc.? You need make sure you are purchasing a double walled container that is made to hold hot liquids, food, and is leak proof. You don’t have to look any further than Thermos. I’ve used Thermos for years to pack soup for on-the-go outings with toddlers and now have the flexibility of packing hot lunches for back to school with my older kids. I’m not a huge fan of commercialized products for school, but sometimes it helps children feel like friends are surrounding them for the return to school and these jars are my favorite material ~ stainless steel. My kids were very jazzed about the Spiderman and Fairies Funtainers they’ve been using this summer for transporting snacks. These containers can also keep hot lunches warm for 5 hours making them the perfect item for kids returning to school that like to eat soup. For adults bringing hot food to work…I’ve been using the Vacuum Insulated Food Jar and the Dual Purpose Food Jar and they are awesome! Again – must have items for parents returning to the work routine wanting more options other than a sandwich.

Last item is for on-the-go mamas that are flying around getting kids from school to sports to after-school activities. Thermos is selling PVC free insulated lined purses that help keep your snacks cool or warm when you are dashing all over town. I have used it all summer to transport cold water bottles on our excursions, but it’s been listening to my kids talk about it that makes me smile. I’ve overheard my older boy telling his friends “hey, do you see my mom’s purse? It’s really not a purse – it’s a cooler!” So funny to listen to…but such a handy accessory for moms. We’re all transporting stainless steel water bottles and stainless steel containers for snacks – so why not keep these items insulated? All summer long I’ve been using it and just keep my camera, keys, and cell phone in the handy pockets located in the front. All items from Thermos are PVC free which is probably the number one requirement with shopping for back to school supplies this year for parents looking to pack healthier and litterless lunches this September.

Canadian customers can use the Thermos site www.ThermosBrand.ca to check out the handy list of retail outlets selling their brand. US customers can visit www.Thermos.com and shop online.   Enjoy the quality and styles Thermos offers with your back-to-school shopping this year!

Related Articles:

Lunch Bags – Reusable and Litterless Lunch Systems
Litterless Lunch ~ Back To School With PlanetBox
Graze Organic – Ditch Plastic Sandwich Bags Forever!


Lunch Bags – Reusable and Litterless Lunch Systems

Lunch Bags have transformed from the concept of traditional brown bags into functional and stylish lunch systems. We received our camouflage ACME Lunch Bag from the online store Every Little Bit and I’m so happy with my testing of my first ever lunch bag. Additional features to the ACME lunch bag is it’s roomy compartment with adjustable strap and ice pack.  The size of the ACME brand is big enough for an adult sized stainless steel water bottle and several reusable containers. The bag comes with an ice pack that fits into an inside pocket so anyone sending meats, yogurt, salad, etc. can rest easily that it’s cold enough to sit all day before eating. Every Little Bit does have a girlie color in the ACME brand lunch bag (although I love green camo for both boys and girls) in a fun Berry color, both with the great price point of $20.95.

Researching littlerless lunch systems has long been a favorite topic at Mommy Footprint. I talk to parents wherever I go and ask what their favourite system of packing lunches for kids that are in school all day. What I’ve learned is that everyone has a different system or preference to how lunches work – both parents and children. It’s interesting how some parents really like packing food in separate containers, while others find that a system that’s attached via a tiffin or lunchbox style works the best for their household. After hearing from several parents they enjoy using lunch bags – I turned my search to find an eco-friendly option and the ACME bags are a fantastic product. More things to love than their design and size is they are PVC and lead free.  This year, PVC- free products are a must with kids returning to school!  We need to start an uprising within our parent groups about how toxic and terrible PVC is for our children’s health and our planet. If the term PVC is new to you – it is the worst kind of plastic that is produced and is coded #3. It produces toxic dioxins when it’s made, off-gasses chemicals for it’s life-span, then never leaves our planet because there isn’t a way of disposing of it that doesn’t cause more harm to the environment; PVC doesn’t break down in a landfill or if it’s burned in an incinerator it again releases more carcinogenic dioxins into the air.  Not a pretty description of a plastic that is in probably most of your children’s toys and many back-to-school products that are pushed by the big box stores. Make PVC-free a focus with your back-to-school shopping this year – if not for the environment – then for the health of your kids. Okay…back to the awesome ACME Lunch Bags

I used my ACME lunch bag on my recent Geocaching family adventure and the shoulder strap was perfect to adjust to my body size. This strap can adjust back to fit a child too. The non-toxic freezer pack kept our stainless steel water bottles super cold during our geocaching outing in very hot weather. The interior lining of this bag is insulated for hot or cold food and beverages and is 100% made in the USA. It just gets better for this bag  – it can be thrown in to the washing machine for occasional cleaning and the insulated interior makes it easy for daily wipes with a damp cloth to pickup crumbs or spills.  A lot of positives and this product receives a high ‘Eco-rating’ from Every Little Bit and a high ‘Mommy Footprint’ rating for price point, quality, and back-to-school must have for those looking for Lunch Bags.  A great size for children attending full day school or adults working too!

Lunch Sacks by Ore on the Every Little Bit site are a great size for preschool kids or younger children needing snacks packed. There is a design to delight any child from Dia de los Murtos for boys (skulls) to Butterfly designs with lots of other fun themes – there is design for anyone. Sized for a snack and small water bottle – these would be most exciting for a little person entering the world of school this September. These cotton lunch sacks are laminated so they clean up easy in the wash and is non-toxic and lead free. With the lower ‘Eco Rating’ from Every Little Bit I’m guessing these bags are made overseas – the handy little tool on the Every Little Bit site measures if a product is simply a better option to traditional products or would be welcomed by they crunchiest of green people! But I love the fact they are made PVC-free with a variety of designs that would promote a 3 or 4 year old to embrace using a litterless lunch system.

For the size, quality, price point and the fact it’s made in the US – I think the ACME lunch bags are an awesome back-to-school option for parents looking for this system for packing litterless lunches in September. If you are confused whether a product is PVC-free I would love to tell you to flip over the product and look for the recycling code number 3 – but most products (in my experience) that are made with PVC aren’t coded. Instead stick your head inside the backpack, lunch sack, pencil case, etc. and smell. If you smell the yucky plastic smell – it’s likely been made with cheap plastic.  Don’t purchase these product. Also, look for supplies that are marked PVC-free on the package. It’s a big marketing factor for companies and because it costs more to develop products without PVC, these companies want you to know they are PVC-free and will mark that somewhere visible.

I hope you are finding helpful information with this series of healthier back-to-school lunch options that promote litterless lunches. Here are some related articles:

Litterless Lunch ~ Back To School With PlanetBox



Back-To-School With Stainless Steel

This year, shopping for back-to-school lunchtime items includes a much larger selection of stainless steel products. It’s no wonder with reports of plastic bottles that are branded ‘BPA-free” being tested and the results finding BPA still leaching and now the company SIGG announcing (in a very confusing bulletin from their CEO) bottles produced prior to August 2008 may leach BPA from the lining of their aluminum bottles. **  For parents and consumers, stainless steel options just keep looking better and better. Not only do stainless steel water bottles and lunch containers not require epoxy lining because it’s safe to have stainless steel directly touch your food and water, but they are easy to maintain, dishwasher safe, and if your purchase products in the 201 and 304 grades, they will last a very long time.

Sourcing and testing back-to-school lunch box products is very exciting for me at Mommy Footprint. Sometimes a product comes along that I can’t live without as a parent and they are a great fit with practical items at Green Planet Parties. Both my business partner Suzanne and I have a strong focus on products that not only are helpful to improve the conditions of our environment, but are safe for children. This September, Green Planet Parties has you covered with greener birthday parties and a greener start back-to-school.  We are proud to now carry 2 and 3 tiered stainless steel tiffin lunchboxes. These have been used in Asia and India for years and are gaining in popularity in North America. There is a shortage of these lunch systems in North America with this particular stainless steel grade (304) and the design cannot be beat.  Check out this product shot and read more…

My oldest son has loved using the 2-tier tiffin for over a year and and I’m excited to send him back-to-school using a 3-tier tiffin since he’s at school all day.  The boxes easily stack on top of each other and a very large bonus for me is only worrying about 1 lid for the top. There is a side latch with buckle to attach but it’s easy for kids and it’s very reminiscent of camping equipment we used as kids. All children love the latch because it’s fun to use. Moms can also be sneaky by strategically placing whatever item they want eaten first in the top container as it’s the first thing kids see after removing the lid.  I wonder if my kids have caught on that I’m doing this as their fruit and veggies are always in the top box.  Although the boxes are round, you can easily fit a child’s sandwich inside a single container. My GPP partner and I are thrilled to offer these to parents looking for safe and litterless lunch solutions with kids going back to school this September. Teachers, schools and children appreciate alternatives that help reduce waste and promote healthier eating.  

Green Planet Parties also loves stainless steel water bottles, but knows that children often loose or misplace these bottles. If your little angel is misplacing or hard on their water bottles, you might not want to pay top dollar for expensive bottles, so we added Water Geeks to our site to compliment the 304 stainless steel BILT bottles. Our Water Geek water bottles hold 12 oz and the BILT bottles hold 16 oz which is perfect for full day school aged children.

Like all parents, myself and the other ‘Suzanne’ of Green Planet Parties are concerned with finding safe solutions. It’s very rewarding to find products that work so well with our 6 kids (or should I call them guinea pigs) and share these products with other parents looking for practical, non-toxic and effective litterless lunchtime solutions.

** If you are worried about the SIGG water bottle you are using, check this picture on the SIGG website that diplays the old lining they were using on the inside of water bottles (that may leach BPA) and the new lining that is safe. Apparently SIGG’s customer service turn around time with emails is quick and they will replace old bottles. I personally would ask for a refund and not continue to support a company that made lots of money from concerned parents when BPA leaching from plastic water bottles first became public. The whole thing is very deceptive and company integrity is important to me as a consumer and parent.



Klean Kanteen Sports Cap 2.0 Ninja Style

One of my favorite stainless steel water bottles just got better!  Most families have one person that drinks nothing but water and large quantities of it.  My oldest son is that person and has very high standards with water bottles. He’s been testing the new Klean Kanteen sports top version 2.0 all summer and here is his expert summary, and only the way a 7 year boy could describe it.  “Mom! This water bottle is like a Ninja…in a good way!”  The ‘sneak attack’ of how much quicker the water comes from this new version of the sports cap got him so excited and I just loved his reaction. 

For those that truly appreciate the quality and safety that comes with drinking water from a Klean Kanteen bottle, you’ll love the new experience of this sports cap.  The first version would allow water to trickle out and adults or children had to work at getting the water out.  With version 2.0 the water flows easily – hence my son’s reference to ‘ninja’. He can finish his entire 18 oz Klean Kanteen bottle in one sitting and I love how much water he’s getting simply from changing the sports cap on his bottle. This is an easy and inexpensive way to jazz up an old favorite. For those looking for these new sports caps or a full spectrum of Klean Kanteen bottles, check-out the online store H20x2, dedicated to providing wonderful alternatives to disposable water bottles.  They have a large variety of accessories, Klean Kanteen bottle colors, sizes and I love their option to personalize for back-to-school! 

The trend of stainless steel for transporting water continues to be a ‘must have’ product for 2009 back-to-school children.  In my mind, stainless steel is easiest to maintain, keeps water extra cool, kids love using stainless steel bottles, and most importantly, parents have peace of mind.  Recently, articles have surfaced that Heath Canada scientists found BPA leaching from plastic baby bottles that were packaged and marketed as “BPA-free”. I would think the same could be argued that plastic sport or drinking bottles marked BPA-free could be doing the same thing.  Based on everything I have learned in 2 years about plastic touching my food and water – I keep sourcing plastic alternatives and love my stainless steel products more and more.

One tip about the Klean Kanteen sports caps; if you are sending kids to school and the bottle will be rolling about loose in a back-pack, stick with sports cap version 1.0.  If your child’s back-pack has a side pocket and the bottle remains upright in transport, then on your child’s desk at school, try out version 2.0.  It is something new for your child and they’ll enjoy the ‘silent sneak attack’ of their fun ninja bottle.



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