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10 Backpack Essentials Every College Student Must Have

This post is all about backpack essentials every college student needs.

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If you’re a big planner like I am, then you’ve probably wondered what things you need to put in your backpack for college.

Sure, it’s easy to just throw a bunch of stuff in, but it can get disorganized really easily that way. And then the worst part is not having something when you need it.

This post is going to show you 10 backpack essentials you absolutely need to make your life a lot easier in college.

Affiliate links are used ~ meaning that *at no cost to you* I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. Full disclosure can be found here.


Backpack Essentials:

1. Wallet

Cynure Women's Large Zipper Card Organizer Long Leather Wristlet Clutch Wallet for Ladies, Black
  • Length: 7.48" (19cm), Width: 3.94" (10cm), Thickness: 1.57" (4cm).
  • 12 Credit Card Slots, 1 ID Window, 1 Zipper Pocket, 2 Full-length Bill Compartments, 2 Concealed Compartments, 1 Wrist Strap.
  • Saffiano Leather Featuring Anticrease and Scratchproof.
  • Features: Ultra Large, Double Zipper Around, Gold Tone Hardware, Eco-friendly , Smell-less, Smooth Zipper.
  • All-in-One Large Zipper Around Wallet Holds Credit Cards, ID Cards, Coins, Cell Phone, Checkbook, Receipts, Coupons, Passport. Fit Most Phones. As IPhone XR/11 Max/11 Pro Max.

Duh! You’re definitely going to need your wallet with your debit/credit or gift cards.

If you have quite a bit of stuff to hold in your wallet, then you should opt for a bigger one. If not, a smaller one will do just fine.


2. Lip balm

Carmex Daily Care Moisturizing Lip Balm Pack, Lip Balm With Sunscreen in Fresh Cherry, Strawberry and Wintergreen - 0.15 Ounce (Pack of 3)
  • 3 pack of Carmex Daily Care Moisturizing Lip Balm Pack With Sunscreen in Fresh Cherry, Strawberry and Wintergreen
  • Daily Care lip balm with SPF 15 helps provide everyday protection for your lips
  • Water-resistant lip balm stays put to help your lips look and feel healthy
  • Carmex Lip Balm tubes are available in fresh cherry, strawberry and wintergreen flavors
  • Convenient stick packaging makes lip balm easy to apply and take with you

Chapped lips will never be a thing.

Make sure you always keep your lip balm in your backpack in case you eat or if it’s cold outside. Your lips tend to get drier then.

Personally, I keep two in different pockets just in case one runs out (I really hate dry lips!)


3. Laptop

You absolutely need a laptop for college! The library is always available, but a laptop is more convenient. (P.S. If you don’t have one just yet, check to see if your library has some available)

I took my laptop with me to my nonmajor classes (I majored in accounting, so I preferred to write in those classes).

Sometimes your professor will talk really fast, making it hard to take good notes. In that case, it’s easier to type your notes up if they aren’t already provided.

Related:  14 Habits of Successful College Students that will Boost Your GPA


4. Binders/notebooks

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In some classes, it’s better to write your notes instead of typing them up. That way, they commit to memory.

You can either get binders and notebook paper for this purpose or get spiral notebooks (I used both).

I’d recommend the 1″ binders instead of the larger ones because they can be bulky and heavy to carry. Get a 1″ binder for each class; that way you can switch them out easily according to your schedule.

Related: 12 Essential Items Every College Student Needs to Get Through the Semester


5. Hand lotion

Jergens Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Moisturizer, Travel Size Deep Conditioning Moisturizer, 3X More Radiant Skin, 3 Ounces, with Pure Shea Butter, Dermatologist Tested
  • REVIVES DULL SKIN WITH A RADIANT SHINE - Warmly scented, its lightweight formula hydrates and boost sheen, leaving it 3x more radiant.
  • FORMULATED WITH PURE, AFRICAN SHEA BUTTER - Shea butter is known for its ability to restore skin by helping it hold moisture for an enhanced sheen and luminosity.
  • 3X MORE RADIANT SKIN - Enriched with African shea butter, this formulas melts into dull, dry skin, revealing skin that's 3x more radiant and deeply conditioned with no sticky or greasy after-feel.
  • DEEPLY CONDITIONS FOR SILKY SMOOTH SKIN - Improves skin's moisture barrier for a deeper condition for silky smooth skin with long -lasting hydration.
  • UNIQUE, ILLUMINATING HYDRALUCENCE BLEND - Formulated with our breakthrough Hydralucence blend, this Daily Moisturizer provides long-lasting hydration for visibly enhanced skin tone, texture, and luminosity.


If you’re like me, you hate dry skin. I absolutely hate having dry hands, so I keep some hand lotion on me at all times!

They definitely come in handy when it’s cold because winter really dries your skin out.


6. Pocket Tissue

Kimberly-clark Corp 11975 Kleenex White Facial Tissue (Pack of 16)
  • Pocket Pack!
  • 10 Tissues per Pocket Pack.
  • White Facial Tissues.
  • One order contains a counter display of 16 pocket packs for a grand total of 160 tissues.

Major, major, major backpack essential!

These are often overlooked when shopping for college but they definitely come in handy.

You never know when you’ll accidentally spill something while eating or have to wipe some water off your desk. Save yourself a trip to the bathroom to get some tissue and carry your own.


7. Planner

HARDCOVER Academic Year 2020-2021 Planner: (June 2020 Through July 2021) 8.5"x11" Daily Weekly Monthly Planner Yearly Agenda. Bookmark, Pocket Folder and Sticky Note Set (Spring Floral)
  • 14 Month Planner (June 2020 through July 2021) w/ MONTHLY TABS
  • 2 Page Monthly Spreads followed by 2 Page Weekly Spreads
  • POCKET FOLDER on back inside cover
  • BONUS** Matching Bookmark/Page-Finder and **BONUS** Sticky Note Set

Another important backpack essential!

One minute you’ll have one assignment that’s due in a week. Then you’ll blink and have 6 papers, 3 exams, 4 events to attend, 2 quizzes, and 1 overdue assignment to turn in the next week.

This is when you will absolutely need a planner to stay organized.


8. Pens & Pencils

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Can’t take notes without them right?

I’d recommend these mechanical pencils (pictured above) because they are absolutely amazing and the eraser is so smooth. I also love the feel of the pens mentioned above as well.

Related: 30 Things that will Transform Your College Dorm Room


9. Gum or Mints

We’ve all had an experience when someone was just a little too close and personal with us when their breath wasn’t exactly pleasing. (Hopefully, that wasn’t you! haha)

These are great to have on hand so you can have minty breath all day.


10. Emergency kit

Narwey Small Makeup Bag for Purse Travel Makeup Pouch Mini Cosmetic Bag for Women (Small, Purple)
  • ✅ MULTIPLE STORAGE COMPARTMENTS - One main compartment with 5 small pockets neatly organizes your makeup. Main pocket in decent size holds many small items. Left side pockets hold your concealer or lipsticks, while right side easily holds your travel mirror or travel brushes set.
  • ✅ HIGH QUALITY - Thick fabric, nice lining, reliable double zippers, zip-top closure.
  • ✅ WATER-RESISTENT - Water-resistent and durable fabric protects your gear from spills, easy to wipe down.
  • ✅ LIGHTWEIGHT & PORTABLE - 6.7*2.7*5.1 in/ 17*7*13 cm, weigh only 3 ounce, decent size without any bulkiness.
  • ✅ CUTE GIFT - Perfect for daily use or travel. Perfect as period bag or period pouch. Each of these small cosmetic pouch has vibrant color.

If you’re a girl you already know. I’m talking pads, tampons, wipes, etc, etc. Whatever it is you like to keep in your emergency kit; make sure you have it at all times!


This post showed you 10 college backpack essentials you need for the semester. Like it? Share it on Pinterest!

10 backpack essentials every college student must have


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Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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