9 Backpack Essentials for College: Don’t Forget These!

by Melanie Studer
Backpack Essentials: What You Must Have

Backpack essentials for high school or college helps with college success!

Packing an organized backpack for high school or college is essential to academic survival. It is much smarter to plan ahead for classes, emergencies, and daily occurrences than to just throw a bunch of stuff in your pack and go. Grab this list of backpack essentials before your teens head off for college!

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One thing that all the students I asked had in common, was that they didn’t think about any of this before they were in high school or college, depending on the age of student I asked. Now that they have been in school, these are the things that they make sure that they always carry.

Each student and schedule will be different. Sometimes even from one semester to another, so think carefully, and readjust as the semester continues. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Backpack Essentials for College:  What You Must Have

Here is a list of college student backpack essentials

I gathered this list from six current college students. There were no differences for the high school students I asked. It just depended on their class load at the time.

  1.  Wireless earbudsThese will come in handy for walking across campus, working out, and listening to music while studying.

      2.  Chapstick– This is long-lasting and has both UVA and UVB protection. It comes in a tube, not a stick, so it won’t melt.

      3.  Water bottle– This bottle is great with many features. It folds up, has a wide mouth, leak proof, and is BPA free.

      4. PlannerBasic or bullet, makes no difference! Just make sure you use one!

      5.  Jacket or sweatshirt-This is always great if there’s a cold classroom or you are just cold in general.      

      6. Portable charger– You will need one for your phone for sure, but an extra charger for your laptop is a good idea as well. You never know what kind of day you will have! Here is a smaller option.      

      7. Small office supplies–  I asked a number of students what this would include for them. These are the things that they listed. Small stapler, post-its, graphing calculator, tape, pencils and pens.        

      8. A small pouch for personal items-Kleenex, hair ties, your favorite pain reliever, feminine products, and gum.      

      9. Last but not least, an umbrella!-Don’t get caught out in the rain with one. This particular one is windproof, which also comes in handy.


This is by no means a complete list of college backpack essentials!

However, when you are planning on your first semester at college or your last semester, the biggest takeaway I have gotten from the students that I spoke with is to be organized and be prepared for a long day. One thing I forgot from this list would be hand sanitizer, (these are cute and clip onto your key ring). Don’t forget it! Backpack Essentials for College:  What You Must Have Be sure to check out my complete lists for dorm room essentials and college school supplies!

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The Best Books to Give At Graduation: 29 Great Choices

What Will Your Freshman Will Really Need in Their Dorm Room

10 Tips For Making a Care Package for Your Teen

15 Best Bible Verses to Help Your High School Senior

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

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  1. Great list! We sent our middle daughter off this past year, and all of this was in hers! Hand sanitizer was another big one! THANKS !

    • Thanks! I will have to add that!

  2. Thanks for the helpful article! There are so many articles on dorm room essentials, and, while those are important, I’ve never seen a post about backpack essentials. There are some great tips in here, so everyone listen up. Cheers!

    • Thank you! My son felt like there were many things that he always kept in his backpack, so I thought I would write a post about it!

  3. These are really good and useful ideas … thanks!

  4. I think those ideas are useful for anyone who uses a backpack like those who love to travel. I use my Google online calendar instead of a planner, though. Less to carry. I remember my daughter getting a backache from wearing a backpack to school.

    • I know a paper planner is old-fashioned, but my boys all use regular planners for some reason in addition to reminders in their phones… I will have to make a pin for travelers!

  5. Though my students have long since graduated, my grand-students are just getting started. Sharing your posts with their parents! <3 🙂

  6. These are all great suggestions, I am just happy those days are gone forever!

    • LOL!!

  7. Yes, great list. When I was in college, I had a quick walk from the dorm to the building where all my classes were held.
    I don’t think I even had a backpack, but I certainly could have used an umbrella now and again. Chicago Weather!!


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