Here are the top 21 college backpack essentials you need to always have in your school bag to get you through a long day of classes. Prepare your backpack with these items so that you are ready to face anything! It can be tough to figure out what essentials need to go into your college bag every morning. There are certain items that, while not mandatory, will make life much easier on campus. Here are some of the things I always have in my college backpack and some other suggestions!
black backpacks for school, you will need to keep college backpack essentials in whatever bag you choose.
Writing utensils, pencils, sanitizer, snacks, and pens are a few examples. You can never go wrong with these essential items, and we will explain each one in detail. College students need these backpack essentials for a variety of reasons.
The 21 Best College Backpack Essentials
1. Personal Essentials
Personal essentials like your keys and wallet are something you need to carry in your backpack all of the time. Keep the keys in an outside pocket, so they are easily accessible when you need to get into your dorm or apartment throughout the day.
Make sure your wallet is tucked away safely in an inside pocket. Keeping it in a pocket will prevent it from sitting at the bottom of your bag. You don’t want to have any credit cards, ID, cash, etc., just floating around in your backpack all day! Put them somewhere easy to reach but still safe and secure.
2. Laptop and Laptop Charger and Battery Pack
A battery pack is another college backpack essentials every college student should keep with them at all times for those long days on campus. With so many things to check throughout the school day, it’s always nice having a backup battery pack. Always have a power cord for your laptop too, it will be easy to charge your computer in between classes or at the library when you have free time. These are especially good for students who live off-campus because they won’t be able to swing back to their dorm room to charge their laptops. A battery pack is a great way to keep a charge when you are studying outdoors too.
3. Hand Sanitizer and Sanitizing Wipes
Sanitizing wipes are the college backpack essentials you need for those long, tiring days on campus. Sometimes you are stuck in class all day, and there is no time or place to take a break to wash your hands.
During the day, you may find yourself sitting in a spot that doesn’t look quite clean. If you have some sanitizing wipes with you, just give the seat a quick cleaning and feel better about sitting there. You can also wipe down any area that looks or feels grimy. Sanitizing wipes are perfect for when you’re outside of the classroom too.
We all know how gross public places can get! Wipe down the handles of your backpack before grabbing, throw some in your purse for on-the-go use, carry some with you to wipe off surfaces before you lean on them or put your phone against them, etc.
Sanitizing wipes are that college backpack essentials every college student needs.
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4. Portable Phone Charger: An Important College Backpack Essential
A portable charger or power bank – this is an absolute must because it’s the only way to keep your phone alive when there’s no access to an outlet. For safety reasons, it is a must always to make sure your phone has a charge. So don’t be the type that lets your phone die; take matters into your own hands with this portable phone charger and excellent backpack essential.
- ✅【From INIU — the SAFE Fast Charge Pro】 Experience the safest charging with over 38 million global users. At INIU, we use only the highest-grade materials, so we do have the confidence to provide an industry-leading 3 years warranty.
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- ✅【Charge THREE at Once】With one USB-C port and two USB ports built-in, it can juice up THREE devices simultaneously. Triple-port design allows you to share portable power with families and friends.
- ✅【Even Wider Compatibility】Unlike the market’s most power banks incapable of charging low-current accessories, INIU portable charger can work with not only all the phones, tablets but your smaller devices like AirPods, Bluetooth headphones, fitness trackers, smart watches, etc.
5. Headphones or Ear Buds are a College Backpack Essential
I always make sure to carry my headphones with me at all times, and this is another college backpack essential you should always have in your bag. Headphones are crucial to a college backpack, whether you use them to listen to music, podcasts, or lecture notes while walking around campus. When you’re tired of hearing everything around you and just want some peace and quiet, in this case, headphones can be your best friend. Make sure to have a pair in your backpack at all times, just in case.
- Enjoy music all day long with up to 15 hours of total playtime. Three hours of non-stop listening per charge plus 4x additional on-the-go charges with the USB-C charging case.
- Customize your fit with silicone in-ear tips in three sizes ensuring a comfortable fit with passive noise cancellation for an immersive sound experience.
- Tap or talk - stay in control without reaching for your device. Use touch controls to effortlessly navigate through tracks and calls, or tap to activate your device’s voice assistant for hands-free control.
- Developed to keep up with you, the water-splash resistant design (IPX4) ensures that no weather or workout will stop your beat.
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6. Re-Usable Water Bottle or a Travel Mug
An excellent backpack includes a compartment for a water bottle! It’s essential to stay hydrated while in college. Not buying plastic water bottles all day long is also a great way to save money and the environment. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day by carrying your water with you in a reusable bottle.
Alternatively, you can refill your bottle at any water fountain on campus. Using a refillable water bottle will prevent you from having to buy water throughout the day.
Make sure you get a leak-proof travel mug; if it tips, you don’t want your beverage getting all over your school supplies.
- Seal it in: leak- and spill-proof Travel mug thanks to AUTOSEAL lid
- For the long Haul: Stainless Steel double-wall vacuum insulation keeps drinks hot up to 5 hours or cold up to 12
- Lend a hand: one-handed drinking convenience on the go
- Lock it up: lock feature prevents accidental pressing of AUTOSEAL button
- Squeaky clean: underside of lid opens up for thorough cleaning
Travel mugs are also a must-have college backpack essential. You can use the travel mug for drinking coffee, tea, or water. Alternatively, you can bring tea bags and fill up hot water in the cafeteria.
7. Healthy Snacks
Another thing to add to our list of backpack essentials for college is healthy snacks. If you get hungry, you’ll want to have some snacks on hand just in case! Healthy snacks are great because they will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day while eating nutritious food. When trying to memorize and study, it is vital to keep your energy up with healthy food. A snack bag will prevent you from stopping for fast food between classes, which can be expensive and not very healthy.
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- ✿【Chef-Formulated Plant Based Snacks】– Tasty but healthy jerky beef sounds too good to be true, but we’ve made it possible. Each serving of our beef jerky snack pack features heart-healthy ingredients known for their rich nutrient profile including king oyster mushrooms, tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut, and maple syrup. Each serving of this delicious vegetarian meat treat contains only 170 calories, 7g of fat, 22-23g of carbs, plus iron, magnesium, and calcium.
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I always pack in my college bag essentials: some healthy nuts, which are a great source of protein, mushroom jerky, and some dried organic mango. I prefer to make a mix; I’ll use unsalted walnuts, 1/2 salted cashews, unsalted roasted hazelnuts, and then mix and match any other nuts that I have on hand. Sometimes I’ll add a sandwich or healthy chips to my college backpack too.
These three backpack essentials for your college bag will keep your energy levels even during the day!
8. Stylus Pen for Touch Screens
Another college backpack essential for any student is a stylus pen for touch screens. Touch screens are everywhere now, so it’s necessary to have a stylus pen if your hands are dirty or wet. If you keep the stylus in an outside pocket, then it will be easy to access when needed.
If you’re an avid user of smartphones and tablets, then a stylus can be your best friend. It will make it easier for touch screens and help with selection accuracy when typing or swiping! You’re not alone if you’ve struggled to highlight a phone number buried in the text. A stylus can be used as an alternative on your smartphone or touchscreen device so that selecting specific lines becomes easier!
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- 【Precise & Sensitivity】 - Touch screen ipad stylus pencil tip is clear and thin which allows you to see through and fine point. You can get a more quiet and accurate writing and drawing experience.
- 【Universal Stylus】- Compatible with Smart Phones, Android Tablets, Touch Screen Laptops /PC. (Apple/ iPhone/ Ipad pro/ Mini/ Air/ Android/ Surface) and other capacitive touch screens devices.
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Our List of 21 College Backpack Essentials Will Help You Get Through The Day!
9. Textbooks and In-Class Materials
Textbooks and In-Class Materials are more examples of something you will need to carry in your bookbag. The in-class materials are often: study notes, flashcards, graphs, and binders. Having the right books and in-class materials for your college backpack is imperative for you to study for your classes on breaks during the day. I am the type that always chooses to make use of every moment of spare time, and I love to study during those breaks.
10. School Planner
A planner is a must for any college student, and it is one of the college backpack essentials every student should have. A planner allows for better time management and will help you stay on top of your work, classes, and social life. While you can keep track of your life on your calendar app on your phone, sometimes it’s nicer to see it all written out. I would recommend having a small planner that you can carry with you everywhere, just in an emergency. You should also consider purchasing a more oversized planner that you can leave at home or your dorm for when you have time to sit down and write things out.
You don’t want to miss out on anything when you are in college!
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11. Pens and School Supplies
Another college backpack essentials every student needs are good pens with a variety of colors. Writing instruments are great for both classes and taking notes in your planner. Stock up on pens and make sure you always have some on hand in your backpack.
- Ballpoint pen with bold 1.4mm point helps you confidently communicate your thoughts
- Soft grip for comfortable everyday writing
- Reliably vivid ink brightens up your notes
- Convenient retractable design and color-matching barrels
- 12 ballpoint pens in assorted colors that bring your writing to life
As easy as it is to use your phone for everything, I always recommend having a planner and pen on hand during college. If you are in class or studying at the library, sometimes it’s just easier to jot notes down with a pen instead of typing them into your phone. Having pens with different colors allows you to color-code your notes and planner. Color coding your class notes is a great way to study for tests, as the colors will help you remember what information goes with which subject.
Flashcards are always good things to have on hand, especially if you are in a science program; having anatomy flashcards in your backpack will allow you to review the material quickly. Often there will be a pop quiz or an exam that needs study time. You must have the correct flashcards when studying during your breaks during the day. I am a studious multitasker who prefers to make the most of each moment of spare time by studying while I am on my class break.
13. Scientific Calculator
Another college backpack essential is a scientific calculator; most students will need a calculator for at least one class, whether math, science, or history major. There are many types of calculators; some will be specific for math or science, while others might have functions that are more useful to statistics students. Knowing what you’ll need a calculator for will help you decide on which one to buy.
- Graphing calculator handles calculus, engineering, trigonometric, and financial functions
- USB on-the-go technology for file sharing with other calculators and connecting to PCs
- Includes all USB cable + 4 brand new AAA batteries.
- Includes Guerrilla military grade screen protector set
- Certified Reconditioned. Looks and works like new.
A scientific calculator with all the functions might be helpful for math and science students. The good thing is that all students can use them, so it is irrelevant whether you need all of the calculus or graphing functions. Even though it has these advanced functions, a scientific calculator will still work for basic tasks.
These calculators can range in price, so it’s essential to research them before purchasing one. Whatever your major or class schedule is, having a scientific calculator will come in handy during the college semester.
14. Gum and Mints
One backpack essential for college students is having gum or mints on hand. Keep gum or mints on hand in case this happens while you are walking around campus. Gum or mints will give you fresh breath while also quelling that craving for something sugary while on campus.
Sometimes listening to a long lecture on a complex topic, you can increase your attention by popping a piece of gum into your mouth. Doing this can help keep you alert without having more caffeine.
A pack of gum or mints will keep you from getting that dreaded pre-class morning breath that can turn away potential friends and dates before you even meet them. FYI: keep xylitol gum away from dogs and other pets. Do not leave the gum in your backpack on the floor with the zipper open so a dog can grab it.
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15. Tampons or Menstrual Pads
Anyone with a monthly menstrual cycle needs to pack tampons or menstrual pads in their backpack. When you are new on campus, finding out where to go for these can be daunting. The items you need should be kept in your dorm. Nevertheless, don’t forget when you have classes all day and don’t want to leave class because you aren’t familiar with the campus.
A tampon in your bookbag will come in handy in an emergency. Keep extra tampons in your bookbag in case your period decides to start. You never know when or where it will happen, so don’t be caught off guard!
If you are prone to dry skin then A travel-size bottle of hand lotion is another one of college backpack essentials that’s always great to have on hand while you are out and about on campus. You never know when your hands or face will get dry. Especially in the winter and with all of the hand sanitizing, your skin can dry out quicker.
Having a travel-sized bottle of hand lotion in your backpack will help keep your skin moisturized, even if you have to reapply throughout the day.
- Mini lotions for trial, travel and gift-giving
- Borage Dry Skin Therapy Lotion, For treatment of atopic dermatitis, eczema and other dry skin disorders
- This lotion is specially formulated with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate stabilized vitamin c and with the amino acid, L-ergothioneine, to help improve the redness, flaking and moisture loss associated with mature skin
- Country of origin is United States
Another thing you should carry in your college backpack is an umbrella, they are inexpensive, and they come in different styles. Having an umbrella for college is vital if the weather changes; you’re going to want one on hand because it can get very windy outside, and it’s often hard to carry a big umbrella with you while running to class or walking between buildings.
A good umbrella will take up very little room, so I always keep one in your backpack for rainy days.
- WINDPROOF: Maximum strength automatic open close foldable compact umbrella that withstands winds up to 70mph to prevent inversion.
- RAINPROOF: Invisible coating on the umbrella canopy allows rain to roll right off for superior water repellency, durability and defense against the elements thanks to NeverWet technology.
- AUTO OPEN CLOSE: Easy to use with just one hand. One push of the button opens the button, one push closes it.
- COMFORTABLE AND COMPACT: Wide tie strap for easy, neat storage with textured, metallic handle for a secure grip.
- EASY AND DURABLE: 43-inches; folds to compact size of 11-inches. Care instructions: Leave open to dry. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
18. Stethoscope (for those med, nursing, vet, and science students)
The next college backpack essentials some students need are a stethoscope, especially for those med, nursing, vet, and science students. Many times you will be practicing and learning how to use the stethoscope with your classmates. Having a stethoscope on hand during those hands-on learning activities can be super helpful and valuable.
- Monitor and assess a wide range of patients
- Detect normal and abnormal sounds and rhythms
- Useful in non-critical care environments such as a medical office, general ward, OB/GYN, ambulatory clinic or urgent care
- 5-year warranty
- Fun and vibrant; match color and finish to your personality
Nursing students, medical students, and veterinary students will learn to take the vitals in a classroom setting before graduating. Carrying your stethoscope is an excellent way to prep for the challenges that lie ahead as a medical professional. Just be sure to choose the best veterinary stethoscope if you are trying to become an animal doctor.
19. A Mini Emergency Kit
A mini first aid kit is excellent for a college student’s backpack. It’s the ultimate in emergencies. It has 66 high-quality supplies, including everything you might need to take care of minor cuts and bruises on your college journey!
You won’t be able to go wrong with our great value emergency pack. Also, a mini first aid kit is an excellent addition to your college backpack essentials; add your tampon or maxi-pad to this mini kit, so you don’t have too many little bags floating around.
- Small But Mighty - Be prepared for emergencies with the Thrive Mini First Aid Kit for home and travel. It includes 66 must-have pieces of first aid supplies to ensure you’re equipped for the unexpected.
- One Compact Kit - Unlike other bulky first aid kits, our emergency medical kit can easily be taken anywhere. Store it with your travel essentials, in your survival backpack, luggage, purse, or diaper bag
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- Thrive Trust - Our FSA/HSA approved survival first aid kits are manufactured in a modern, sterile, registered facility. If you encounter any problem with your first aid kit for car emergencies, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
20. Hoodie – A Must Have Backpack Essential for College
Another item I always have when on campus all day is a hoodie. I have worn hoodies since I was in high school, so they are something that not only keeps me warm when it’s cold but also provides me with peace of mind. With a hoodie or zippered sweatshirt, you won’t have to worry about shivering in the classroom.
If you go to college in a warm climate, then usually the school has the AC blasting. You will be cold in the school even if it’s hot outside. A hoodie is always great to have on hand if you need something light or just want an extra cushion in case your chair isn’t comfortable.
21. Cold Brew Coffee or a Tea Bag – Backpack Essentials
Most college students are running on little sleep between studying, socializing, work, and other obligations. Having a pick me up like a can of cold brew or some tea bags is essential.
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I always have a can of cold brew in my backpack, and I consider it one of the number one college backpack essentials. It helps revive me, especially around those late-night study sessions where you need to be alert and awake.
Also, having some tea bags around is a great way to have some warm beverages on hand. Having these two college backpack essentials for your bag will allow you to have some tasty, refreshing drinks on the go or in between classes. I love being able to sip some green tea while listening to a lecture.
As a college student, you can never be too prepared for those long and tiring days. Keeping the items mentioned above in your backpack will help ensure you are ready for anything that mother nature throws your way and any other situation that may arise throughout the day. Being organized and prepared is half of what makes or breaks a stressful day. With these college backpack essentials on hand, you are all set for anything!
Being prepared is key to keeping sane and reducing stress during long, stressful days on campus. Our list of college backpack essentials is designed for students looking for quick solutions while they’re in class or on the go.
From hand lotion to cold brew coffee, there are plenty of ways you can keep your skin moisturized and boost your energy without taking up too much space in your bag. Whether you’re a nursing student, a medical student, a vet student, or just trying to get through those late-night study sessions, our tips will help you succeed!
Just be sure you learn the differences between a backpack and a messenger bag before you decide which one to get!