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August 8, 2019 5 minute READ

7 Essentials for Back to School

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It seems like back-to-school time comes faster and faster every year. The summer fun has just begun, and then it’s time to pore over checklists and see what still fits in the closet. We’ve put on our thinking caps, inverted and multiplied, and come up with the least common denominator list of essentials that most anyone headed back to class will need.

BackpacksA sturdy backpack. While it may not be filled with heavy textbooks and a dictionary, you still need a place for your stuff. Might we recommend the Pivoter from The North Face and the Refugio from Patagonia? Both of these models are feature-rich with both a computer sleeve and a tablet sleeve. They offer good organization with a separate compartment for keys, pens, pencils, and snacks. Men’s and women’s fit are available, and each has two water bottle pockets. Of course, there are other options that might fit your needs; you can find those HERE.

Water BottlesA water bottle or two. Hydration is important to maintain our bodies in good working condition. Most of us don’t drink as much water as we ought to, but when you have water close at hand, you’re more likely to hydrate regularly. The options for water bottles are almost endless, but we’re showcasing two of our favorites – one that is insulated and another that will keep your water at room temperature. Hydro Flask is a modern marvel. It keeps hot drinks hot (up to 12 hours) and cold drinks cold (up to 24 hours). There are so many configurations and colors to choose from we couldn’t pick just one, so here’s the LINK to the whole collection. Check out the options for coffee and tea lovers alike.

For those of you who don’t like drinking from a metal bottle, try CamelBak. So, you like to drink your water through a straw – no problem. Or, if you prefer to guzzle it from a free-flowing lid, there’s an answer for that, too. Replacement parts are available for lids, bite valves, and straws – and using your own water bottle reduces the waste stream.

LunchboxesA lunch box. I’ll trade you my chips for your peanut butter sandwich. Who doesn’t like lunchtime? You get to take a break from studying. You can catch up with friends and talk about the geometry proof you’re working on or you can do a little last-minute cramming for the test next period over a sandwich and a piece of fruit. Lunch boxes can run the gamut, but we have a couple of suggestions here. The insulated lunch box from KAVU features a zippered mesh pocket perfect for holding a napkin and utensils and a main compartment for your sandwich, apple, and cheese stick. There’s even room for a juice box or a canned drink. Of course, you can go old school with a tin lunch box featuring your favorite artist (like Bob Ross), movie heroes (like The Avengers), or research subject (like dinosaurs).

JournalsA journal. No matter how technologically savvy we become, there are still things that we’ll want to write down in our own handwriting. Musings and observations from the bus stop, a haiku about flip flops, a recipe for tortilla pie, or Suzie loves Bobby (scribbled 1000s of times) might be at the top of your list to jot down. These fun small and mid-sized journals from Peter Pauper Press are perfect for capturing thoughts in the moment, and they’ll look good on the bookshelf later.

Power banksA power bank. We know the feeling. You look down at your tablet, and it says “7% charge.” Uh-oh, and you have two more chapters you need to read before study group starts. You don’t have to head back inside to charge up, you can do it while you’re relaxing in your favorite reading spot in the park with a power bank. Choose from the Kodiak from Outdoor Tech or the Flip from Goal Zero. These chargers fit in your pocket, purse, or backpack and are perfect for giving your devices a needed charge until you can plug back in.

Rain jacketsA rain jacket. Into every life, a little rain must fall. It pays to be prepared for it. And, don’t let the name fool you – a good rain jacket is an important piece to wear year ‘round. Not only will it protect you as you make your way across campus in late summer’s pop-up showers, but it can be layered with a fleece for a functional winter combo. Check the Arcadia II jacket for women (also available in curvy sizes) and the Watertight II jacket for men, both by Columbia, for basic protection. For a few more features, like pit zips that work great for temperature control, look for the PreCip jackets for men and women from Marmot.

SnacksSnacks. When the three o’clock slump hits, you need a snack to keep you going. Mast Store Provisioners has a myriad of snacks to fit the exacting specifications of just about anyone. From dried okra (yum!) and animal crackers to wasabi peas and spicy cheese nuggets, there are snacks to wake up your mouth and to tide you over until supper time. 

Back to school is an exciting time – new friends, learning something new, fun adventures. As Louis Pasteur observed, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” and with these seven essentials you’ll be prepared to meet your new challenges and opportunities.  

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