Back-to-School Gear for Tech-Savvy Students
In an increasingly technological world, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other electronics have become an integral part of the student experience. Every level of academia — from elementary schools to colleges and universities — is encouraging laptop or tablet use both in and out of the classroom.
Since technology has become so vital to students, they need gear to transport all their electronics and to help improve their studying and organizational habits. We’ve rounded up 13 products for tech-forward scholars returning to school this fall — eight backpacks and four accessories that will make their student lives more efficient.
According to a 2018 study by EDUCAUSE, over 90% of collegians believe laptops are “very or extremely” important to successfully completing their coursework. That percentage is likely higher now, as technology has advanced rapidly in the last four years. Students of all ages are often required to bring these devices to and from class each day, so laptop backpacks have become extremely popular. These are the latest and greatest.
Pacsafe’s Metrosafe X Anti-Theft 16” Commuter Backpack is the ideal bag for students who live in the city or commute to school on public transportation. The slim profile allows for easy movements through busy areas such as subways or city streets. The 18L capacity of this anti-theft backpack holds more than you think, with separate padded compartments for a 16″ laptop and an 11″ tablet and several internal pockets for gadgets, cables and on-the-go gear. There is a quick-access zipper pocket on the shoulder strap perfect for holding AirPods; this pocket also contains a card slot for easy access to a transit or credit card. The unique sideways opening of the main compartment makes it easy to access belongings with minimal hassle. Not only is this bag functional, it’s also packed full of security features, including cut-resistant fabric, lockable zippers, a hidden storage pocket and a clip on the strap that allows the bag to be secured to fixed objects so it can’t be stolen.
The Metrosafe X 16” Anti-theft Commuter Backpack from Pacsafe keeps students’ laptops and other belongings safe. Available in Tan, Dark Denim, and Black. 17.3” x 11.8” x 3.9”. MSRP: $149.95
Sales contact: Kat Blanchard, email@example.com, 206-858-7977
While many laptop backpacks only fit 13” or 15” devices, the ELEMENT 17” Nylon Two-Tone Flap Over Laptop Backpack from McKleinUSA holds up to a 17” laptop. This bag is effortlessly stylish and provides plenty of space for books, notepads and other student necessities. It’s made with ballistic nylon and features a classy leather trim, front and interior zipper pockets, a business organizer, a padded laptop/tablet compartment and a cushioned back.
Students will stay organized in style with the ELEMENT 17” Nylon Two-Tone Flap Over Laptop Backpack from McKleinUSA. 17″ x 13.8″ x 4.5″. MSRP: $140.
Sales contact: Chettha Saetia, firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-235-0600
LiteGear has partnered with Joey® to launch a new class of “smartbags.” The new Mobile Pro 3.0 has 11 security, lighting and mobile power features built into the bag with the Joey® electronic system. In-bag phone charging means students won’t ever be stuck with a dead phone. 74% of Americans don’t wear watches; the light-up clock on the Joey device is always on and automatically updates in new time zones. All “non-smart” bags have the “black hole” problem, but the Mobile Pro 3.0 features a bright, built-in LED light to help find things in the bag. Accidentally leave the bag behind? A phone alarm sounds. Accidentally leave a connected phone behind? The bag alarm sounds. Someone tries to take the bag? Both alarms sound. Using only a single wall outlet, the Joey optimizes charging of a phone or other device and the bag at the same time. The Mobile Pro 3.0 has a padded laptop pocket, padded smartphone and tablet pockets, front organizer and accessory pockets and two internal file pockets. The removable front organizer pocket turns into a shoulder bag, allowing students to bring this smaller bag to class or on outings when their laptops aren’t needed.
With Bluetooth connectivity and in-bag charging via a built-in battery, the Mobile Pro 3.0 with Joey® from LiteGear is the ultimate choice for students who want to stay plugged in. Available in Black Magic and Blue My Mind. 17” x 10” x 9”. MSRP: $249.95
Sales contact: Magi Raible, email@example.com, 707-319-7371
Made from recycled PET bottles, the sleek and stylish Re:Cover Backpack from Solo NY is an affordable choice for environmentally-conscious students. The fully padded laptop compartment fits up to a 15.6” device, and the quick access pocket is perfect for smartphones or other small electronic devices. A zippered compartment on the front of the bag has an organizer section and key clip to help students keep track of all their supplies. Side mesh pockets provide extra space for a reusable water bottle or travel mug; a black camo design lines these pockets for some subtle flair.
Solo NY’s Re:Cover Backpack is a stylish and eco-friendly option for students of all ages. 14.75″ x 11.25″ x 7″. Available in Grey and Red. MSRP: $69.99
Sales contact: Nick Byrne, firstname.lastname@example.org, 631-434-7070
The lightweight yet durable Commuter Backpack from Mobile Edge features a classic design and cushioned back support — perfect for busy students who have to lug their books and laptops around all day. The computer compartment has locking, anti-theft zippers and fits up to a 15.6” laptop. A built-in external USB charging port and cable allows devices to be charged from anywhere. The backpack is made of scratch-resistant, non-abrasive and water-repellent Oxford fabric, and a reflective back panel offers high visibility. Other features include padded shoulder straps for user comfort; zippered pockets for notepads, pens, and miscellaneous items and convenient exterior pockets to hold a water bottle or umbrella.
With three roomy compartments, students will be able to fit their devices and all other school essentials in the Commuter Backpack from Mobile Edge. Available in Black and Gray. 19” x 14” x 8”. MSRP: $79.99
Sales contact: Paul June, email@example.com, 714-399-1400
Perfect for student athletes, the Cool Convertible Sling Bag from CoolDudeChoice can be transformed from a minimalist sling backpack into a spacious duffel in seconds. This multipurpose innovation replaces the need for multiple bags. It’s spacious enough to fit a laptop and features a hole for headphone cords and multiple pockets to carry a charger, phone and credit cards. The Cool Convertible Sling Bag is also an eco-friendly choice, as it is made from recycled plastic bottles.
The Cool Convertible Sling Bag from CoolDudeChoice makes transitioning from school to sports or weekend getaways a breeze. 13″ x 9.5″ (Sling Bag), 13” x 9.5” x 16” (Duffel Bag). MSRP: $55
Sales contact: Tushar Desai, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-429-6741
Smart and stylish techies will love the Kenneth Cole Reaction Women’s Sophie, Emma, and Chelsea Laptop Backpacks from Heritage Travelware. The Sophie 15.6-Inch Nylon Techni-Cole Computer Backpack is made from durable, water-resistant nylon and features a mesh back design with thick but soft ventilated padding for ultimate support. It’s equipped with front and side organizer pockets to store all school essentials and has “Techni-Cole” RFID protection. The Emma 15-Inch Laptop Computer Bookbag is fashioned from chic, diamond-quilted polyester and has a fully lined, tear-resistant interior that includes a full-length zippered mesh pocket and two open-top accessory pockets. The Chelsea 15-Inch Laptop Travel Backpack is made from a stylish chevron quilted polyester twill and features a trolley strap that fits over most luggage upright handles for hands-free carrying. Both the Emma and Chelsea bags feature self-repairing coil zippers designed for long-lasting use.
Featuring padded laptop storage, roomy main compartments and internal storage for all school essentials, metal tone zippers make the Reaction Kenneth Cole Sophie, Emma, and Chelsea Laptop Backpacks from Heritage Travelware shine just a little brighter. Sophie is available in Black, Navy and Wine. Emma is available in Black. Chelsea is available in Black and Navy. MSRP: $175
Sales contact: Heidi Klein, email@example.com, 630-752-1930
Anything but traditional, the Baseline Traveler Backpack from Briggs & Riley is a multi-functional masterpiece, as it offers multiple compartments for electronics and accessories and a separate packing area for clothing. It’s great for college students who fly home for breaks or drive home on weekends — they can pack their clothes right next to their laptops and tablets. Zippered side compartments provide extra space for other travel essentials. The padded, ergonomic shoulder straps ensure optimum comfort.
Briggs & Riley’s Baseline Traveler Backpack is the ideal laptop bag for students who travel frequently. 18″ x 12″ x 8.8″. MSRP: $329
Sales contact: Julie Hoffman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 631-741-1933
A reinterpretation of the classic school backpack, the MSN Cargo Bag from RAINS features dual front cargo pockets secured with signature carabiners — perfect for holding smartphones, earbuds, and school supplies. The design’s prominent flap also has a carabiner, completing the look. This waterproof rucksack holds an internal laptop pocket and spacious main compartment. The silhouette is finished with side-mounted compression snaps and adjustable webbing backstraps. The bag is cut in RAINS’ signature waterproof PU fabric, engineered for carrying strength, durability, and a smooth feel.
The waterproof exterior of the MSN Cargo Bag from RAINS is perfect for students in rainy climates or any scholar with a utilitarian aesthetic. Available in Black, Navy, Slate and Fossil. 14” x 13” x 6”. MSRP: $110
Sales contact: Jen Lavino, email@example.com, 631-848-5365
Tech Accessories Every Student Needs
It comes as no surprise that most students won’t go anywhere without their smartphones. The Plus Sized myPhone Wallet with Wristlet from Big Skinny is the tech accessory every busy student needs. It securely holds a smartphone (even inside its case) and all the usual essentials that are tucked into a wallet, plus more. Two additional, extra-large inside pockets easily hold passports and other traveling papers. The proprietary nylon microfiber material means the wallet is tough, lightweight and water-resistant. In front is a zippered coin compartment (also great for college students who need a spot to hold their dorm or apartment keys); inside are five credit card pockets, two clear ID pockets and a billfold area that’s big enough to accommodate even oversized foreign currency.
BigSkinny’s Plus Sized myPhone Wallet with Wristlet keeps smartphones protected and conveniently houses cash, passports, and multiple ID and credit cards. 6.125″ x 4.125″ (Wallet), 6.125″ x 3.75″ (Cell Phone Pocket). MSRP: $35.95
Sales contact: Stephanie McBride, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-909-7017
Made for school and gym lockers, the innovative Fingerprint Sport Lock from BenjiLock eliminates the need for a key. This small, versatile lock doesn’t require a combination and stores up to 10 fingerprints for multiple users. The stainless steel shackle offers students peace of mind that their belongings won’t be tampered with. Complete with a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, each lock comes with a USB charging cable.
Traditional security meets technological innovation with the Fingerprint Sport Lock from BenjiLock. Available in White and Red. MSRP: $29.99
Sales contact: Robbie Cabral, email@example.com, 626-319-0124
With onanoff’s award-winning Fokus headphones, students can access the best of both audio worlds at the touch of a button. Music mode features a full, dynamic bass and a premium audio experience, while FokusMode enhances spoken audio content, minimizes listening fatigue and helps prolong concentration. FokusMode is ideal for online classes, learning languages, listening to podcasts, making phone calls and more. These headphones feature a built-in premium microphone; passive noise cancellation; call and track control; removable, washable ear cushions and an adjustable headband.
onanoff’s Fokus headphones enhance spoken audio for online classes, podcasts and calls. Noise cancellation allows students to fully concentrate on their studies. MSRP: $49.99
Sales contact: Filippo Schiavon, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31 6 33881944
Built for durability and organization, the Accessory Bags from Topo Designs enable students to keep track of all of their electronics accessories. These pouches come in three easily transported sizes and are great for everyday use. The micro size fits earbuds, cards and cash; small is perfect for pens and charging cables; medium is great for wrangling power blocks, small notebooks, chargers and other large cords. Each bag is made from 100% nylon (some colors from recycled nylon) with high abrasion resistance — equating to a longer product lifespan — and features a heavy-duty YKK zipper and fully-lined pack cloth interior for easy cleaning.
Topo Designs’ Accessory Bags will keep students’ tech essentials and other supplies ultra-organized. Available in multiple colors. 4.75″ x 3.25″ (Micro), 8.5″ x 5.5″ (Small), 9.5″ x 7.5″ (Medium). MSRP: $15-19.
Sales contact: Rachel Donner, email@example.com, 720-730-2547
Note: Only accepting orders for retailers with brick-and-mortar locations.
Featured in our photo are Pacsafe’s Metrosafe X 16” Anti-Theft Commuter Backpack and onanoff’s Fokus headphones.
Model: Shannon Scott