College Backpack Essentials

School is now in full-swing and a perfectly stocked backpack can make all the difference! Long class days mean you need to be well prepared and this list will hopefully make that a little easier for you! So now I give you my absolute, without a doubt, college backpack essentials!

college backpack must haves

*Some links in this post may be affiliate links, to read my full disclosure policy, click here.

Need more college suggestions?! Read me “Ultimate College/Dorm Shopping List” here!

1. S’well Water Bottle

This is absolutely non-negotiable. Walking all the way across campus is no joke, and having water on hand will allow you to quench your thirst immediately. I choose to use the S’well water bottles because it keeps my water cold, literally, alllllllllllll day! I put ice cold water in when I leave for class at 1 and it’s still cold at 9 at night whenever I’m headed to a late night pom practice. S’wells are SO worth the price and I’ll probably never turn back! But bottom line is, have a water bottle on hand always, and thank me later. 🙂

2. Planner

What did I ever do before I got in the habit of using a planner?! Oh yeah, scrambled around always wondering if I was forgetting something. You may have been able to get away with it in high school,  but in college with so many assignments being due at different times, as well as balancing work and any extra activities you may have, a planner is a MUST. It takes a while to get used to it, but once you get in the habit, you’ll wonder how you ever remembered anything without it! I used a Lily Pulitzer planner last year and loved it. They have the absolute cutest planners around! Any planner will work though, one planner does NOT fit all. Find what works for you.

3. 3-Subject Notebook

In high school I always wanted to have a separate binder/notebook for each class and have everything color coordinated… Ain’t nobody got time or money for that in college. Get yourself a multi-subject notebook and use it to take the best notes of your life. Lots of your classes will be lecture heavy and that notebook will become your best friend during those all night study sessions. 😉

4. Headphones

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t manage without music. Class days are no different! I use my headphones to listen to Spotify when I”m walking to and from all of my classes and to my car. Sometimes I even imagine I’m in a music video when walking across campus. Oh come on, you know you do it too.. Oh….Just me? Ha…ha..ha. But seriously. Those headphones will be your saving grace from talking to people you went to high school with, never spoke to, but that suddenly decide you need to be best friends.

5. Pens and Pencils

I feel as though this is a given, but come test time there WILL be someone in your class that has no pencil for the scantron. Mark. My. Words.

6. Mini Stapler

Never think you’ll need one? Think again. Those Comp 1 and 2 papers won’t staple themselves! Good thing is, they’re very cheap!

7. Laptop

I try and take my laptop everywhere. If you have break between classes, having this on hand will allow you to work on homework efficiently, as well as do online classes if you have those! I bring my MacBook Air along to fill Etsy orders in my spare time on campus! (Did I mention I make & sell custom Snapchat Geofilters on Etsy? Check me out here. 😉 )

Obviously, the backpack must-haves will vary from person to person and what their schedule/preferences are. But hopefully a little look into my personal essentials will spark something that you may not do, or may not have thought of before (I’m looking at you freshies).


Need more college suggestions?! Read me “Ultimate College/Dorm Shopping List” here!


What are your essentials? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂