• Mykayla Marek

Backpack Essentials For College

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

Howdy! Today I'm going to share a list of essential items to keep in you backpack while in college. Before we get into the items to put in your backpack, I'm going to begin by talking a little bit more about the backpack you choose itself. Also, this article contains a couple of affiliate links from Amazon that I may receive a small profit from, but I only link products that I fully trust and would use for myself and this does not affect the price you pay for these products.


First of all, you will need a good, sturdy backpack that will protect any sort of electronics you have inside of it. Choosing a backpack with a laptop sleeve is a must-have if you want to keep your laptop or tablet as safe as possible. Also, having multiple zippered pockets and places for water bottles is another necessity when it comes to looking for the perfect backpack. I purchased a North Face brand backpack right before I started college, and I absolutely love it! I used it my entire freshman year, and it still looks brand new! I remember growing up, I would always purchase a cheap backpack before school began, and once the school year was over you could see all of the wear and tear my poor backpack had endured. I would always have to buy a new backpack after a year or two. What I love so much about my North Face backpack is that the material used to make it is so strong and durable. They cost more than a backpack you would pick up at Target or Walmart, but this will last much longer than one of those backpacks. While I was unable to find the same exact backpack I bought last year, click here to view another backpack made by North Face that is extremely similar to mine.

Laptop or Tablet

The most important item you will put in your backpack is either your laptop or your tablet. While in class, you can use these items to take notes, look up information you don't know, and sometimes even follow along with PowerPoint slides if your professor provides you with them. There are even times where professors give out assignments to do during class that can only be completed on an electronic device. When you are not in class, you can use your computer or tablet to complete homework, study, or have some downtime (Netflix, Hulu, reading, YouTube, etc). Please do note, though, that some class or homework assignments can sometimes only be completed on a computer and do not work on a tablet.


Next, you'll need a charger or two! Your computer, tablet, or phone is completely useless to you if it dies! Make sure you keep either your computer or tablet charger on you, and also your phone charger on you. You don't want to be that person that has to constantly ask to borrow other people's chargers.

Earbuds or Headphones

Sometimes, you'll need to watch videos for certain classes. Other times, you'll want to listen to music while studying or catch up on a show. For these occasions, you will need earbuds or headphones so you're not having to play any video or music out loud in public. This allows other peoples' studying to be uninterrupted and keep what you're watching a little bit more private.

Wallet and College ID

Another thing you'll want to keep in your backpack for college is your wallet, including your college ID in it. While many men can fit their wallet into their pockets, women usually cannot due to smaller pocket sizes. If your wallet does not fit into your pocket, keep it in a safe and hard-to-reach place in your backpack. Do not leave your wallet in an outer pocket or in the very top part of your bag because it is very easy for wallets to be stolen from bags in these places. On another note, keeping your college ID on you is a good idea. Depending on the college you attend, you might need your ID in order to check out a book at the library, use your meal plan, get into your dorm, or get into other buildings on campus (typically late at night). Also, some businesses and restaurants will give you a student discount if you can show them your college ID.


One of the most important things I keep in my backpack is my umbrella! There have been many times where I forget to check the weather, leave for class, and when I get out it's pouring outside! When it comes to having an umbrella, it's always good to have it all the time instead of only when you think you'll need it. This has saved me from coming home soaked multiple times! When picking out an umbrella to keep in your backpack, choose one that is compact but durable. I highly recommend the brand Repel's travel umbrellas! For a plain black travel umbrella, go ahead and click here. For a colorful version of the same exact umbrella, go ahead and click here.

Notebook Paper

Another essential item for your backpack is notebook paper! Even if you plan on taking your notes on your computer or tablet, sometimes you may need a loose sheet of paper for in-class assignments or for scratch work. Also, if you are taking a class that requires step-by-step math or a class that has many complicated equations, it is a lot easier to take these notes by hand just because it takes so long to find any sort of special characters and format equations correctly.

Pens, Pencils, and Extra Erasers

What good would your notebook paper do you if you don't have anything to write with? Pens, pencils, and erasers are another one of those things that people will get annoyed with if you continually ask for them. While pens and pencils should be pretty self-explanatory, erasers may not be. Pencils come with tiny little erasers on them already, but if you make as many mistakes as I do, that little eraser will be gone fast. Having some extra erasers to stick onto the end of your pencils for when you need them is a great way to make sure you're always prepared.


Having at least one folder in your backpack is necessary for all of the loose sheets of paper you'll be given in class and around campus. If you don't have any folders, all of your papers will get bent and possibly lost in your backpack. I've been able to get by with just one folder each semester so far, but I know other people are a little bit more organized than me and like having a folder for each class they're taking.


My last item on this list is tissues! Most classrooms and public places in college do not have a box of tissues just lying around like in high school. If you want to avoid going to the bathroom for toilet paper or paper towels to blow your nose with every time you need to, bring a package of travel-sized tissues along in your backpack!

Class-Specific Items

Some classes might require you to have items that you have to bring and use specifically for that class. You can either find these items listed on you class syllabus, or your professor will tell you while in class what you need. Items I've been asked to bring to various classes are iClickers, goggles, scantrons, rulers, and projects. Not all classes will require the same materials, and you might not need these materials for every single day you have that class.

I hope this list is helpful! If you have any questions or believe this list is missing anything, leave a comment down below!


About me

Howdy! I am an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University studying Urban and Regional Planning. I balance a full time class load, two jobs, a relationship/friendships, and staying active in clubs and events at my school.

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