Instead of scratching your head thinking about “What should I keep in my backpack in college?” let me give you the college student backpack essentials you need to carry with you every day!
There are certain items you should always keep in your backpack in college.
As a senior, there are several items I keep with me at all times.
Here are some of the things I always have in my college backpack and some other suggestions!
What To Carry in Your Backpack For College:
What you carry in your backpack in college is not too different from what you need in your backpack in high school.
The only main difference is it is lighter and should vary on what day is it since your class schedule is totally more flexible than in high school.
In college, you need to think ahead more than ever before.
Instead of spending money on water each day, you should carry a water bottle OR you should always keep a small stapler, just in case your professor wants your essay stapled.
No matter what your major is nowadays, you will need a laptop.
This is probably the most important college student backpack essentials. My major is mass communication which requires us to have one due to the amount of work we do online.
Even though there are some old-school professors who will require you to take notes by hand, you will still need a laptop for homework and assignments. Using your own personal laptop will save you time and the worry of finding one on campus.
My personal preference for any college student is to buy a MacBook Air. Unless you are an engineering student or are a heavy laptop user like me, I wouldn’t recommend a Macbook Air. I know some majors require students to use Windows/PC laptops.
I personally needed a MacBook Pro because I use several editing software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, while having tons of other applications open.
I think a MacBook Air fits a majority of college students due to its design being for the everyday, casual laptop user. Simply find out what laptop you need for college and figure out what fits your budget.
You can always save up and upgrade in the future (like what I did!)
Obviously, you need a notebook to take notes in. I’m sorry, even in college, you’ll need a notebook despite having an expensive laptop. Some professors are just old-school.
Depending on the class, you’ll only be able to use a notebook. Many classes I’ve taken have policies where you can’t take notes on a laptop or tablet.
Getting a notebook is pretty much required in college.
Get yourself a Five Star Notebook. This notebook is called Five Star for nothing. The Five Star Notebook was one of my top backpack essentials for high school.
It still is for me in college. The Five Star Notebook has some of the best quality paper that is easy to rip out without getting those gross ends. It also is durable and lasts forever!
The next thing to have in your backpack is a planner. Planners are a big must for every college student. Trust me.
With a planner, you’ll be able to keep up with all the assignments you’ll receive over the semester in one place. It’s also better to write your assignments down because you’ll remember them.
Most planners last a year or a year and a half. I like to splurge on planners because it’s worth it. I particularly love Ban.do’s planner due to the adorable design, functionality, and ease of use.
AND THEY HAVE STICKERS.
I love them and will continue buying them every year until I have my own stationery business…one day.
4. Pens & pencils
Just like a notebook, you can’t avoid not having a pen or pencil. Please do not be one of those people who show up with a phone, laptop, and AirPods and couldn’t manage to get a pen or pencil. Bring a few because you’ll need them for notes and that random pop quiz, your professor might give!
If you want to lighten the load and both carry both pens and pencils every day in your backpack. I recommend Pilot Erasable Pens! They are slowly becoming my favorite pens because of how they are erasable!
5. Pencil case
You need somewhere to place all those pens and pencils. I always carry my pencil case around with me on campus and I don’t know what I would do without it.
Some professors won’t take essays if they’re not stapled. In my PR classes, my professors require essays or assignments to be stapled, or they will not take them.
Packing a stapler will save you from searching the building for a stapler, especially if no one in your class has one. I love this mini stapler.
Also, don’t forget the staples!
I personally love this panda one because it’s small and I can carry it in my pencil pouch. Don’t judge it by its small size! It gets the job done without any issues!
7. Water bottle
Everyone knows about the wonderful Hydro Flasks. They are so popular because of how great they are. A Hydro flask bottle can keep a drink cold for 24 hours!
However, I encourage you to buy a water bottle of any kind. Water is the main component of our bodies. Walking around campus can make you exhausted and maybe even dehydrated. Drinking water keeps you healthy, awake, and energetic.
Getting water from a water fountain saves you money.
It is also easy to become dehydrated walking around all day without a drink. With a water bottle, you also do not have to worry about sharing water or touching public fountains.
Water in vending machines can get pricey every day. As a freshman, I used to spend almost $3 every other day on Smart Water. A water bottle should have been one of the main things I should have carried with me around campus.
8. Umbrella & Rain Gear
Rain gear, such as ponchos, umbrellas, and rain boots, is vital from my campus experience. The weather can be predictable. One minute it’s sunny and not a single cloud in the sky.
Then suddenly you leave class and it’s raining cats and dogs! Meanwhile, you don’t have an umbrella to protect the printed essay for your next class and your expensive laptop.
Ever since my first laptop got water damaged, I’m always checking the weather and keep both an umbrella and poncho in my backpack.
If I know ahead that it will be a rainy day, I wear rain boots and a raincoat. I have two pairs of boots: booties and tall boots. I also keep an umbrella on me every day.
9. Organic Tampons & Pads
This is one of the top college girl backpack essentials. Organic tampons & pads should be some of the things that you should always carry in your backpack. It’s similar to high school.
Although there are probably some spots on campus where you find free pads, it’s rare that a bathroom would have actually had some for free. Keep some in a pouch or small section of your backpack just in case!
You can also get an organic period subscription box so you don’t even have to think about it. Your period essentials are delivered to your door every month.
Always carry headphones or earbuds with you at all times. Why?
Because when you want to go to study in a coffee shop during its peak hours, guess what? There will be tons of people and students rambling on about the most random things, distracting you.
Find yourself a study playlist and tune out the world! (Or you know, catch up on those video lectures you put off.)
AirPods are great for everyone, especially students. They do not get tangled up like headphones or earbuds and connect so easily if you own an Apple product. I recommend them to any and everyone.
11. Laptop & Phone chargers
Bring your chargers! I have a specific case for my chargers. You never know when your phone might need charging. There will be afternoons will you’ll decide to stay at the library and study.
The last thing you’ll need is your laptop dying. I suggest buying an extra charger for both devices. One for your backpack and one that stays in your dorm or apartment.
12. Gum & Snacks
No matter what you are doing, you’ll need to eventually eat. Some days you’ll be hungry at lunchtime, and some days you’ll be hungry in the middle of class.
Some days you’ll be crunched on time and won’t have time to walk across campus for a meal. Snacks are one of the best things to always keep in your backpack.
I recommend bringing a few snacks such as chips, dried fruit, granola, or cookies, and place them in your college backpack. These snacks are typically found in vending machines, but you can purchase a bulk on Amazon.
This will save you so much money later on.
Personally, snacking in between classes is how I roll most days. I’m a busy body. I have back-to-back classes, and my lunch break doesn’t come until 1:30 in the afternoon. Also, running around campus from class to class will burn calories quickly, so a snack will help.
13. Hand Sanitizer & Antibacterial Wipes
Let’s face the truth: college campuses are full of germs, especially now with the pandemic. Even before this crisis happened, campuses were germy.
From the classroom, library, student union, and everywhere else in between, it is not as clean as they look.
Most freshmen get sick in their first semester of college due to the number of germs their body isn’t used to. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in a classy little pouch on my backpack handle and keys.
I also use any hand sanitizer that’s around campus, such as random stations and on desks.
Antibacterial wipes are great for when you have to go to a place where germs are plentiful and you have to place your laptop or notebook there. Gently wiping the desk will prevent germs from getting on your stuff. Backpacks also carry germs since they are placed on floors, grass, and desks. Cleaning them will also help.
14. Pepper Spray
Always carry pepper spray with you on campus.
Safety should be a priority for you. There are several kinds of pepper spray that you can carry. If you don’t want to have it in your backpack, you should have one in your keychain.
15. Lip Balm
If you don’t like to have dry cracked lips, then lip balm is one of the things you should always carry in your backpack. I have different kinds of lip balms in my backpack.
I recommend getting any EOS lip balm because of its sleek design and nice scents.
Similar to lip balm, if you don’t like having dry skin, then you should carry a travel-sized bottle of lotion with you at all times.
Nothing is more embarrassing than walking outside of my apartment and realizing that my knees are dry and ashy in the sunlight.
You should have at least a hand bottle of hand cream or lotion with you to prevent this from happening.
I love everything made by Grown Alchemist. Their products smell amazing, and it’s all cruelty-free and vegan.
Finally, you can carry your textbooks with you. It’s not a necessary item to have in your backpack, but if you have to study and on campus all day, it’s nice to carry a textbook.
I personally used to have all my textbooks in e-book form to save money.
This blog post what all about college student backpack essentials!
WAIT! Before you go, you might want to read these posts:
- 13 of the Best College Backpack For College Students
- 25 Things I Wish I Knew Before College
- Things That Every College Student Needs Right Now