For some teens, the end of summer is an exciting time: maybe starting a new school, getting new classes and teachers, meeting up with friends who have been on hiatus all summer, and working towards getting into the college of your dreams. For others, you may be wishing the break would never end. But the only thing worse than the end of summer is starting the school year unprepared. 

Whether you’re a first-year student or a soon-to-be graduating senior, setting yourself up for success this year can make all the difference. There’s always room for improvement; have a look at your current go-to school supplies. Have you been using your mom’s laptop for homework? Have your brown paper bags always ended up spilling your lunch, thus ruining your backpack you’ve had since middle school? It might be time to upgrade with the best back-to-school gear.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Key Selling Point: For college applications, essays, or procrastination, this laptop will be your number-one asset to get you through the year.

Weighing in at just over four pounds and less than an inch thick, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a lightweight resource that will be super helpful this year. The laptop comes in an almond color, making it stand out from the crowd. It operates Windows 11 and runs on Intel 11th Generation Core i3 for speedy processing, making it an ideal choice for multitasking — so you can write your English essay, read up on the Civil War, and email your physics teacher for an extension, all while listening to Spotify. 

The IdeaPad features a 15.6-inch multitouch screen for easy navigation and a built-in 720p webcam that can be covered with a shutter, making video chatting with friends or online classes a breeze. The 8 GB system memory ensures all of your programs run seamlessly, while the total storage capacity holds up to 256 GB so all of your assignments can be stored in one place without the need for a USB drive. With an array of uses and for such a reasonable price, this laptop is a great choice for the student who’s ready to ace this year.

Rockland Heritage USB Laptop 16.5 Backpack

Key Selling Point: Keep everything neat, organized, and easy to carry from home, to class, and everywhere else.

Retro is still super popular, so even your parents would agree that the Rockland Heritage USB Laptop Backpack looks great. Its neutral blue material and faux leather trim makes a statement (without being too extra). More importantly, this bag is incredibly functional and lightweight, so you can transport everything without putting any extra burden on your shoulders. It features adjustable shoulder straps, a padded, 16-inch laptop compartment, two side pockets, an anti-theft back pocket, and two front pockets for your books, folders, tech, makeup, or whatever else you may need for your day. 

This ingenious design is tear-resistant and easy to clean, making it a great choice for navigating the messy halls. The internal organizer compartment is a life saver, as it aids in keeping your phone, pens, charger, and keys from rattling around in the bottom, while the external USB cable creates the easiest on-the-go charging. A cool, organizational bag is one of the most important back-to-school essentials, and you simply can’t go wrong with the Rockland Heritage backpack.

Nimble Eco-Friendly CHAMP Portable Charger

Key Selling Point: Keep your phone charged and stay connected throughout the day.

One thing that can put a crimp in your day is your phone dying while you’re out of the house. Nimble’s CHAMP Portable Charger is a must-have if your phone isn’t the best at holding its charge, or if you sometimes forget to plug it in before bed. According to the manufacturer, with the CHAMP’s 18 watts of fast charging, your phone’s battery can be brought up 80 percent in as little as 30 minutes. The tiny charger can be easily tucked into your backpack or pocket, making for easy charging during classes without having to plug into an outlet. 

Despite its tiny size, this power pack is equipped to power any of your USB-compatible devices with ease, and it’s even capable of charging up to two devices at once. What’s better, is that you’ll be making a great choice for the environment with this gadget, as it’s made of eco-friendly, recycled materials and the packaging is free of plastics and harmful inks or dyes. With this purchase, you’ll also receive an e-recycling bag to discard up to one pound of your electronics in an environmentally conscious way, for free, through Nimble’s One-for-One Tech Recovery Project.

Bentgo Modern Leakproof Lunch Box

Key Selling Point: Bento lunches have grown in popularity lately; now you can create your own with this leak-free, sustainable lunch box choice.

School lunches can be expensive (not to mention gross), so if you’d rather bring your lunch with you, Bentgo’s Modern Leakproof Lunch Box is a useful and stylish choice . Available in five  matte colors (orchid, dark gray, mint green, navy, and white), the Bentgo won’t be confused with your little brother’s lunch box. With a hard outer shell, this lunch box keeps your food squish-free, and the separators will keep your salad dressing out of your chips. 

The Bentgo Lunch Box’s metal clip is both functional and sleek, keeping your lunch box securely fastened to avoid leakage throughout the day. Because your lunches may vary from day to day, the removable divider can create an extra compartment for when your lunch is a four-courser rather than three. The internal tray can also be removed for easy microwaving, so you can enjoy a hot meal without having to find an extra dish.

Bentgo promotes sustainability by encouraging the avoidance of single-use plastic containers, their products are made without BPA, vinyl, lead, or PPC, and they are supporters of Feed the Children. In purchasing this stylish lunch box, you’ll not only have the convenient and hassle-free transportation of your food, you can also feel good about doing your part for a greener world.

Soundcore by Anker Life Note 3 XR

Key Selling Point: Immerse yourself in crystal-clear audio and drown out the noise of your commute with these wireless earbuds.

On your way to school, walking down the hall, or during your lunch break, sometimes you just need to pump yourself up with some tunes. With the Life Note 3 earbuds, you can listen to your music, podcasts, or lectures with ease and comfort, thanks to their ergonomic design and a range of eartip sizes to choose from. These earbuds are also perfect for making calls or recording, as the six built-in microphones remove background noises, allowing your voice to come through clearly. 

With the Soundcore app, you can customize your listening experience with a variety of listening modes, noise cancelling, or white noise for study sessions, and bass levels (which are powered by 11mm dynamic drivers). For the nights you need a break from homework, activating Gaming Mode via the app will create an even more immersive audio experience. For those who are often misplacing their tech, activate “Find My Headset” within the app and your earbuds will emit a loud noise to help you find them. With seven hours of listening time from a single charge, and 35 hours with the charging case, it’s hard to believe these tiny earbuds can pack such a punch — and for such a low price.

HP 128 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive


Key Selling Point: Take all of your projects, presentations, and assignments with you to school, with none of the risk.

Taking your laptop to school can be a gamble — whether it gets stolen, broken, or lost, it may be best not to take that chance. With HP’s 128 GB Flash Drive, you can pack your laptop’s entire memory into your bag and only add less than half an ounce to the load. This flash drive has a storage capacity of up to 128 GB, which may be more than enough for your essays and PowerPoints, but then the leftover storage can be used as a backup for your entire photo or song collection.

With a USB 3.0 interface that’s backward compatible with USB 2.0, transferring and downloading files is fast and easy, so you can quickly run over to the library computer on your break, plug it in, and print out your homework. HP’s intelligent, contractible design makes the USB more damage-proof; but even if you were to damage or lose it, the low cost would justify buying another, just in case.

There’s only a few weeks left of summer, but there’s still plenty of time to get all of your back-to-school essentials. With any of these amazing finds, navigating classes, assignments, and extracurriculars can be just that little bit easier, and you can show up looking too cool for school — so to speak.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

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