Must-Have School Supplies: 12 Backpack Essentials for College Students

It’s almost time for classes to start again, but circumstances are different this year due to the coronavirus. Some schools have opted to do full online instruction while others have implemented a hybrid model. No matter what your university is doing, it’s important to still have a backpack to keep all your essentials.

Hand sanitizer

It was important to have this before, but now it’s more important than ever to keep hand sanitizer on you at all times.


If you’re taking any type of math class, you probably already know that you need to have this. Even if you’re not, you should still keep one with you. You never know when you or a friend is going to need it.

Water bottle

A reusable water bottle is essential so that you stay hydrated throughout the day. Having a reusable one also keeps your drink at its designated temperature all day.

Pens/ Pencils

These tools seem obvious, but that’s why you might forget about them. Try to just have a couple of each in your backpack for when you have in-class assignments or tests.

Loose leaf paper

Sometimes a professor will want you to take out paper for a pop quiz or assignment and you might not want to rip out one from your notebook. You can keep loose leaf paper in the folder pocket of your notebook or separately in its own folder to ensure that you’re always prepared for whenever you have to write.

Lip balm

I think we can all agree that having chapped lips can be annoying. Keep chapstick in your bag for when it’s cold outside or for after you eat.


You may think that you don’t need them, but they come in handy, especially during the cold months. Keep a pack of tissues in your bag to use for when you have a runny nose, need to clean something up, or use as a napkin.


I can’t say how many times I’ve had to go back to my dorm while I was doing work on my laptop because my battery was dying. Prevent this from happening by bringing your laptop charger (bring your phone charger just in case too!). Even if you end up not using it, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can even get a portable charger so that you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet!

Earbuds/ Headphones

If you have online classes, earbuds/ headphones are essential. This will ensure that you can hear your professor during class without getting sidetracked by any distractions. They’re also great for when you want to listen to music while doing your work!

Post-it Notes

Post-it notes can be helpful if you quickly want to write something down, need to make a to-do list, or want to use it as a bookmark in your textbook.

Gum/ Mints

These are great to have, especially after a meal, to freshen your breath. They’ll also keep your breath minty all day long.


You may be out doing your work at the library and start to get hungry. Avoid having to go back to your apartment or dorm to get something to eat or spending money eating out by bringing healthy snacks!