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In the following sentence:

彦一{ひこいち}さんがのこった荷物を見たときは、皆の握り飯が入っているお弁当など重そうなものしか残っていませんでした。

I don't understand how the part in bold fits into the sentence. Without that part I have

When 彦一 saw the remaining baggage (stuff in bold) there were only heavy looking things left.

The bit in bold I think is "bento boxes containing everyone's rice balls and the like". How does that fit with the rest of the sentence? Is it just a parenthetical statement describing the baggage that 彦一 saw?

I recently came across this link which suggested similar constructs were not possible. Under what circumstances can I use such a construction. For example could I say "If bob goes to Tuvalu -- a small island in the Pacific ocean -- he will need to take a towel" using the same grammar? Here's my attempt:

ボブはTuvaluに行くなら、太平洋にある小さな島タオルがひつようだ。

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「[彦一]{ひこいち}さんがのこった[荷物]{にもつ}を[見]{た}たときは、[皆]{みな}の[握]{にぎ}り[飯]{めし}が[入]{はい}っているお[弁当]{べんとう}など[重]{おも}そうなものしか[残]{のこ}っていませんでした。」

The part in bold only gives an example of the 「重そうなもの」.

「重そうなもの」 such as 「皆の握り飯が入っているお弁当」

My own TL: "When Hikoichi saw the remaining belongings, there was nothing but some heavy-looking stuff like everyone's riceballs left."

Moving on...

Your sentence 「ボブはTuvaluに[行]{い}くなら、[太平洋]{たいへいよう}にある[小]{ちい}さな[島]{しま}タオルがひつようだ。」 makes almost no sense after the comma, I am afraid.

You can say:

「ボブは、太平洋にある小さな島、ツバルに行くなら、タオルがひつようだ。」 or

「ボブは、太平洋にある小さな島『ツバル』に行くなら、タオルがひつようだ。」

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