This is a review of Fridge-to-Go cooler bag for storing and transporting breast milk on the go.
If you are looking for the best cooler bag for breast milk (and other food/drinks actually), I strongly recommend you to take a look at Fridge-to-Go cooler bag.
In this post, I would share with you the features, detailed pros and cons of Fridge-to-Go cooler bag, as well as its comparison with Coleman cooler bag.
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Name: Fridge-to-Go cooler bag
Model no: FTG-1098BK
Dimension: 6.8×6.8×8 inches
Removable ice panel: yes
How long can keep cold: up to 12 hours
How to carry: shoulder strap
Highlights of Fridge-to-Go (FTG) cooler bag
- Ability to keep milk chilled up to 12 hours
This time frame is just perfect for working mother who works a typical 9 to 5 full-time job and does not have access to a fridge at the workplace.
For me personally, I am not comfortable putting my expressed milk in the shared fridge in my office’s pantry because my colleagues put a lot of stuff in there to the point that the fridge is almost full).
If you don’t want to use regular fridge at all, and assuming you need 1 hour commuting back and fro, you need a cooler bag that can keep your milk chilled from 8 am to 6 pm (10 hours in total).
Hence, this cooler bag will be perfect for you since it can keep things cold up to 12 hours.
PS: the liquid in the ice panel will start melting after a few hours, but this does not mean that it’s chilling ability degrades very quickly. It’s just part of a natural process I guess.
2. It turns room temperature milk into chilled milk, just like a regular fridge
If other cooler bags can keep the milk ‘just cool’, Fridge-to-Go is different.
Try to touch your milk bottle 20-30 minutes after putting it inside FTG cooler bag. You will be pleasantly surprised knowing that your milk has been chilled now.
Note: Though I know breastmilk can be left in room temperature up to 8 hours, I feel more secure knowing that my expressed milk is kept chilled in FTG cooler bag, and hence, less possibility of it going bad.
3. Thin and removable ice panels
Most cooler bags does not come with its own ice panel, and thus, need the regular ice blocks that are usually bulky and take up a lot of space.
Fridge-to-go is different. Its ice panels are thin, placed at the sides of the bag in their own zippered compartment, so they don’t fumble around with bottles/ pumping parts.
The fact that it is removable means you don’t need to throw the whole bag into the freezer (which I believe you don’t prefer anyway) and just take out the ice panels instead. Typically I will put them in the freezer overnight so that they are rock hard in the following morning.
Again, since the ice panels are thin and have their own pockets, that means more prime space for the bottles and pump parts.
I can fit 4 Avent 4-oz bottles inside (occupying bottom row), and also 2 sets of breast shields (in the top row).
If you use standard neck bottles, you will be able to squeeze even more bottles inside.
5. Very durable
Mine is 5 years old (I used it for pumping for both my children) and still very usable. Really, this is one of the best investment I’ve made in my pumping journey.
6. Slim design
I love that it has a slim body (compared to other brand cooler). Whenever I go to the nursing room to pump, I only bring this cooler bag and another one small bag which houses my pump motor and no one is even wondering what’s inside.
The only one who knows that it is a cooler bag for breast milk is just my closest colleague.
Also, due to its slim design, I am able to put this bag inside my Samsonite backpack, together with my lunch bag, pump bag, and my regular stuff (purse, umbrella, water bottle).
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– Plain, mostly single color design
Well, I don’t mind this at all, in fact, I love having a plain black cooler bag.
But if fashions matter so much to you, you may not like the look of this bag.
If the look is a concern for you,take a look at Sarah Wells breast pump bag. It’s a stylish pump bag that can double as a cooler too.
– Fabrics deteriorate over the time
When you are using a 5-year old cooler bag, I believe this is acceptable. Moreover because I admit I used to overstuffed this cooler bag with big lock n lock container during our USA road trips, making the fabric is even more stretched.
But to be honest, the fabric quality is not as thick as what Coleman has (see more detail comparison below).
Various ways to use Fridge-to-go cooler bag
Other than keeping my breastmilk chilled at work, I also used this cooler bag for a couple ways that you may find useful:
– During the newborn phase
To establish my milk supply, I pump a lot during the early days of my newborns, including at wee hours.
To keep things easier and within reach, I placed my Fridge-To-Go at my bedroom together with my pump parts and milk bottle, already assembled.
Whenever I need to pump at night, I just grab my pump from that bag and be ready instantly. When I’m done, I can just place the expressed milk and the pump parts back to my Fridge-to-go.
I save my time and energy by not needing to go to the kitchen to store milk or to grab/wash my pump.
– After my baby starts eating solid: to keep puree / porridge fresh during travelling
Travelling with the extended family can be so busy, so I stocked up my baby’s puree, refreeze some of them and bring them during travelling. This saves me the hassle of preparing food puree every single morning when we were travelling from town to town.
I also had a chance to carry my baby porridge in a long-haul flight (more than 20 hours) with 2 connections when we were relocated to the United States. Again, I stocked up before hand (knowing that I may need time to get familiarize in new town) and keep my baby porridge in my trusted Fridge-to-Go. Knowing that it will be long-haul flight, I added an additional ice pack to keep the porridge good. When it has exceeded 12-hour mark, I asked a bag of ice from the flight attendant to keep everything chilled. Thanks God, when we reached our destination, the porridge still tastes yummy. In fact, it became our first meal since we were starving waiting for our apartment to be prepared.
– To store food during road trip
We are a family with special diet. Thus, whenever we go for a road trip (especially in USA), I would cook a lot and freeze them. I used my Fridge-to-Go to transport them from one to another destination. If the hotel we were staying has a fridge, the ice panel can be refrozen in the little freezer (I turned the fridge to the coolest setting). If no fridge available, we will fill zip lock bags with ice from the ice machine.
Fridge-to-Go vs Coleman cooler bag
I happened to have Coleman cooler bag which was used as my husband’s lunch bag. Here’s how it looks (except it is not collapsible and have a hard-liner).
When my Fridge-to-Go fabric start tearing (and need a good stitch), I used the Coleman cooler temporarily.
Here are my observation regarding how they compare towards each other:
- Coleman is bulkier and I could not put it inside my backpack. So, I need to carry two bags to my workplace, which is a bit more cumbersome to me. Fridge-to-Go has a slimmer design which I prefer.
- Though Coleman looks bigger, it is less spacious. Thus, it fits fewer pump parts and bottles. I got to take out the hard-liner to get more space. Additionally, since there’s no dedicated compartment for the ice panels, they kept moving around and constantly need re-arrangement whenever I replace my milk bottle after pumping. Extra time wasted.
- Coleman has a sturdier built and thicker fabric / zipper, which I predict will last longer compared to thinner Fridge-to-Go thinner fabric.
PS: Once I had my Fridge-to-Go stitched back, I switch back to Fridge-to-Go again, lol.
Alright! This comparison completes my Fridge-to-Go reviews for storing and transporting breast milk. I hope this review is beneficial for you who are looking for the best cooler bag for breast milk.
So, if you are looking for a cooler bag which can keep things cold (especially breast milk) for long hours (8-12 hours) with space-saving design (not to forget it is long-lasting, hey, mine is 5 years old), I strongly recommend you to get Fridge-to-Go cooler bag. Don’t forget to check the serial number. Some model keeps things cold up to 8 hours, usually for lunch purpose, some up to 12 or even longer. Here’s the one I would recommend for breast milk: Fridge-to-Go FTG-1098BK, up to 12 hours chilling, with top opening (easier to put milk bottles in) and shoulder strap for easy carrying.
What about you? Have you used cooler bag before, being it for breast milk or for other food/beverage? Which one is your favorite?