Making Sandwiches Without Throwing Away Bags Every Day

OK, these are just cool — reusable sandwich wrappers called Wrap-N-Mats. (Just to be clear, this is not a sponsored post. I honestly just like these.)

I discovered them back when I was a nature guide, a time when I’d’ve been shamed into a steaming pile of hemp dust had I dared to bring paper napkins or plastic wrap in my lunch. It’s a simple thing: a cloth backing on a non-chlorinated-vinyl (PEVA) liner with a Velcro closure. You can wash it, which I do mostly by hand, although every once in a while I’ll throw it in the laundry on gentle.


My favorite technique was to pre-make a dozen PB&Js, freeze them in the Wrap-N-Mats, and then pull two or three out on the morning of a long hike. They’d keep cool in my pack, so they were thawed-not-yucky by the time lunch rolled around.

More eco-friendly lunch alternatives:

  • I use real metal utensils, not plastic. I picked up a half-dozen mismatched forks, spoons, and knives for a penny apiece at the local thrift store so I don’t risk accidentally losing our household flatware. Once used, I take the utensils home in the now-empty sandwich wrappers.
  • I’m a big fan of bandannas as all-purpose field wipes, and to this day I’m rarely without a couple in my pocket and diaper bag. You can get them all over (here’s one place, but there are many) for about 50 cents if you buy a dozen, although unfortunately, the organic cotton ones still seem to cost about 30 times that price.

I’m also a big fan of using lingerie bags as diaper-bag organizers, but I think I’ll save that for another day!

As parents, we essentially need to “pack a picnic” almost every time we leave the house. Any other tips?