When I was a student…way back in the stone ages according to my kids, one of my favourite things to do was get prepared for the year or semester ahead. I am not usually one who likes to shop, but there was something about buying all the new school supplies, whether I was in kindergarten or getting ready to finish my university degree, that made me almost giddy with anticipation. Okay, maybe not “giddy”…I’m not a pixie or something. However, there is something to be said for starting the school year out on the right foot, and one of the best ways to get that good footing is to make sure you’re properly geared up. So, I’ve thrown what I’m hoping is a useful little checklist for stuff you’ll likely need when you’re getting packed up for back to school.


One Backpack to Hold It All

The most important piece of kit you’ll need is the thing that’s going to hold all the other things you’ll need. It has to be big enough to hold everything, from your tablet and smartphone, to your books, notebooks, chargers, and yes, even that laptop. So, put down that flimsy Spiderman backpack (seriously, put it down!) and take a look at the Burton Fathom 44L Outdoor Backpack. This military-inspired pack holds tons. It has a padded compartment that fits up to a 15” laptop, dedicated tablet sleeve guards, water bottle pockets, plus it has a plush air mesh back panel to keep you cooler while lugging all your gear around.


Cover Your Equipment

Even though the Burton backpack has a padded compartment for your laptop, it’s always a good idea to also have a dedicated sleeve, for extra protection, and for when you’re traveling light with just your trusty laptop. The Swiss Gear 12″ Laptop Sleeve is a good choice, with an exterior made of Polytex, and a front pocket for your accessories. While you’re at it, make sure you have a good case for your smartphone, because you want to avoid having the unnecessary expense of replacing a cracked screen, or whole bricked phone. If you’re an Apple fan, check out the OtterBox Symmetry Fitted Hard Shell Case. It’s durable and slim, and provides a lot of shock absorption. And with a one-piece construction, it is easier to install on your phone. For those in the Samsung camp, there’s the OtterBox Commuter Galaxy S5/Neo Case, which similarly offers sleek, yet tough protection.


Feed Your Head

Of course, we all know that all school work and no play, makes Jack a very grumpy student. So, make sure you pack your bag with some solid headphones for when you want to kick back and listen to some tunes to drown out that chatterbox on the bus, or catch something on NetFlix in-between classes. I like the very affordable Sony Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphonesbecause Sony is always a top name in audio, and you just have to own noise-cancelling headphones these days, so you can retreat into your own cone of silence…or cone of Drake, whatever floats your boat.


The Rest of It

Another gadget you’ll need to survive the semester is some sort of portable charger or back-up battery pack. If you’re like me, your smartphone runs out of juice mighty fast, especially when you’re streaming content or playing Pokemon Go. So something like the mophie juice pack reserve Battery or the Insignia Portable Charger are both great for making sure you never run out of power when you need it the most. And to keep all your various laptop chargers, cables and battery packs organized, invest in something like the JanSport Digital Burrito Accessory Pouch, so you don’t have a tangled mess inside your pack when you’re looking for something. Finally, you also need a good reliable pen with which to take notes, and the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint Fine Point Rollerball Pen is hard to beat, delivering a steady, even flow of ink consistently, and precisely.

So? Are you packed for Back to School? Does my list give you some ideas of what you’ll need this year? What have I left out, or what do you think are essential back to school supplies? Let me know in the comments section below.

Steven Hill
I am an award-winning writer, freelance journalist and blogger who is a self-confessed geek and tech lover. When not playing the latest video games or salivating over the newest gadgets, I enjoy cooking for my family, mountain biking or snowboarding the deep powder on Whistler Mountain.