Back to School Product Review

Howards Category Manager Jules Ozolins joined a team of fellow mums to road test our Back to School favourites. See what they had to say about this range of 2015 essentials. As seen in the January 2015 Howards Catalogue. View the full article Catalogue HERE

There’s nothing more important than the health of our kids and though packing their school lunch may not be the most exciting daily job, it is, nonetheless, a very important one. But it doesn’t just end with the “right” sorts of foods, their health and well-being depends on how you keep their food fresh from the time they leave home in the morning until the bell rings at lunchtime.

So, with the new school year upon us, we thought we’d pool a group of fellow mums, led by Howards very own Category Manager (and mum of two children!) Jules Ozolins to road test a few of our Back to School favourites.

Camelback Chute Drink Bottles

 jules“Camelback is one of our newest bottles on range. This is a US brand. I’m a real stickler for, if it says it’s going to be leak proof, it’s got to be leak proof. I’ve had one of these Camelback Chute Drink Bottles and I’m comfortable with it in my handbag – it’s not going to spill. You simply bite on the spout to let the liquid flow. It’s been designed to be one handed and you can throw it all in the top rack of your dishwasher. It also comes in a slightly varied design call the Camelback Eddy”. – Jules

Camelback Eddy Kids Bottle

Helen“The Camelback Eddy is a good size for children. It’s easy for them to grab out of their school bag with the finger loop holder and it’s easy for them to use. It won’t spill, so you know there won’t be leaks all over homework or anything else they might have in their school bag. It’s another fun way for them to drink their water.” – Helen

Contigo Swish Bottle

jules“Contigo are our best-selling bottles. They have an auto seal technology where you press a button to open the valve. This is another one they can throw in their school bag because it’s not going to leak. It comes in an adult and child size, as well as in a mug, which is great for parents who like coffee to take to sport on a weekend!” – Jules

Sandwich Bags

jules“Lunch pockets are great if you’re after a reusable version of a snap bag; we use these at home. You can put a salad or a roll in them, it’s great for the environment and I just open it up, pop it in the top rack of the dishwasher to wash it. You could also pop it in the washing machine although the dishwasher might be slightly gentler on it. They come in a pack of two.” – Jules

Frozen Berg Bag and Set

jules“We do stock a range of licensed product and this is a huge favourite at the moment! We almost can’t keep up with the demand. It comes in a stainless steel bottle (all our metal bottles are stainless steel). You want to stay away from aluminum bottles because they have a lining on them to make them food safe that can break away over time making them dangerous. It also comes in a Tritan bottle, which is fairly new. Tritan plastic is a BPA free, durable material. The Sandwich Container is the perfect size and my daughter who is in preschool, can open it easily. These products come in different character sets like “Spiderman”, “Dog McStuffins” and “Sofia the First”. – Jules

Helen“My daughter who’s nearly five just loves anything that is “Frozen” related; she would be instantly drawn to these lunch boxes. Because they come in different sizes you can put different sized items in them. They encourage healthy eating and the drink bottle won’t leak which is always a big plus. The insulated bag keeps items fresh and cool as well. – Helen

Junior Lunch Tote

jules“I love these bags! They’re neoprene (like wetsuit material) but the good thing about them is that they are flexible and forgiving. Little hands will find the big zip easy to use as well”. – Jules

Mini Cooler

jules“This is a new range we’re bringing in for Back to School 2015. It’s patented technology. You freeze it the entire bag which collapses easily and once frozen it will keep contents fridge cold for up to 10 hours. This is comparable to Fridge to Go. You could take a room temperature drink, pop it in and a couple of hours later it will be cold. It cools from all sides as opposed to having a single freezer brick. This is great particularly in primary school where there is no fridge and kid’s school bags are often exposed to the heat of summer.” – Jules

Mel“This is my absolute favourite. My 13 year old son is an avid tennis player, so he has coaching after school and catches the bus straight from school. His lunch and afternoon tea is still cold and fresh at the end of the day. It folds away after he’s finished eating and once condensed it’ll fit in the outside pocket of his bag. He loves it!” – Mel

Thermos Radiance Dual Lunch Kit

jules“This is from the reliable brand Thermos and it’s new to our range this year too. It’s great because it has two compartments so you can carry a cold drink bottle in one section and keep something warmer in the separate compartment.” – Jules

Fridge to Go

Helen“I love that it packs neatly into the school bag and it keeps lunches fresh and cold up to eight hours. It doesn’t matter what I’ve packed the kids for lunch, I know it’s going to maintain the food at a food safe temperature so it won’t spoil by the time they get around to eating it, even on those really hot summer days. It’s like taking the fridge to school. The freezer brick stores so neatly in the freezer; it doesn’t take up a lot of freezer space and it freezes really quickly over-night, so I can just use the same freezer brick day in day out. I’ve had it for 3 years now and it’s still going strong. The quality is fantastic – you can easily wash it in the washing machine as often as needed and that makes it great value for money. It’s my favourite product. If anything like yoghurt comes home, you can even put it back in the fridge.” – Helen

Snack and Dip Container

Mel“My son often asks to have tzatziki dip with veggies for morning tea and it all seemed too hard until I got this! Because my son’s celiac he has to have gluten free food. We can’t buy packet foods, so this is really handy and a great price too. It’s so durable. Everything’s insulated and it can go in the dishwasher.” – Mel

Energy Sandwich Container

Mel“It’s fantastic for little fingers because it’s easy to open with a simple click. The ice brick that’s built into the bottom of it stays with the sandwich or whatever’s inside the box so you know it’s guaranteed to stay cool. Great for a fruit salad or salad, it also has a little drip groove around the bottom to contain all the juices so your food won’t go soggy. We use gluten free bread, which is a bit smaller than usual bread; I could store something to the side of the sandwich – it’s like a mini lunch box for us. The ice brick won’t fall out!” – Mel

The conclusion?

Mel“It’s great to use practical products that work – I do a lot of cooking, so it’s a good flow on effect. I can store things correctly now for the kids when they go to school. It completes a whole system for my home and family.” – Mel

Helen“My daughter loves the sandwich pouches. She is starting school in 2015 and it’s a big deal that she’s able to handle and access her food by herself. At preschool they’ve got a teacher on hand to help them but that’s not the case at school. These products ensure she’s school ready when it comes to lunch!” – Helen

Trudi“My daughter loves the Frozen drinks bottles. We think she’s been drinking lots more water because she’s proud of the bottle! And it doesn’t leak which I love! The mist hydrator is a great drink bottle for school and sports. It’s easy to open, nice to hold and a must for summer sport. A little spray on the face is refreshing and the kids love it!” – Trudy

jules“Everything on range is BPA free and from reputable brands. It’s all chosen for its quality and utility. But ultimately, the quality is most important as that’s how you deliver true value”. – Jules


Special thanks must go to Jules Ozolins from Howards as well as our panel of wonderful mothers Trudy, Mel and Helen. The Howards Catalogue Team thanks you for your time and your candid reviews!

© Copyright Howards Storage World, 2015.

Accurate as at January 2015.