You know how people hate having a birthday near Christmas, because then the two holidays get lumped together?

Well, you know what’s just as bad? Having a birthday during “back to school” shopping season. Yep, my birthday presents were generally school clothes and a fresh pair of dress shoes. (I’m only half-kidding!)

But there is cool stuff out there for your back to school needs – stuff I’d be happy to get for my birthday!

If you’re sending junior off to college this year, consider sending some of this stuff with him:


blenderbottle gostak

BlenderBottle GoStak

The GoStak is a versatile way to carry snacks, protein powder, pills, and other goodies around without getting them mixed together. Great for the busy student who has to go to class, the gym, and work, with no opportunity to get back to your dorm room in between. It’s durable, too, so it should stand up to just about any extracurricular activity!

(And why not throw in a SportMixer while you’re at it? It’s like a mini hand-powered blender!)

Price: $12.99


Buy now:


moji 360 mini massager

Moji 360 Mini Massager

This is the product I’ve been most excited about during 2013. I would have loved to have this with me in my dorm room or even in my bag for high school track practice.

The Moji 360 Mini is an easy-to-transport massage tool that packs a punch, despite its small size. It can be stored just about anywhere and takes up no space. Heck, just keep in your gym bag.

Best of all, it’s also easy-to-use. You can give yourself a great pre-workout warm-up or post-workout massage on your first try – no training required.

Price: $29.95


Buy now:


rawrev bars

Raw Revolution (RawRev) Bars

Looking for a good snack when you don’t have time for a real meal between classes? Check out the Raw Revolution bar, which combines healthy fats (for improved brainpower), natural sources of carbs (for energy), protein, fiber, and more into one convenient bar. They’re vegan and gluten-free, so just about anyone can enjoy them.

I thought they tasted pretty good, considering how healthy they are. Plus, you can even eat them during class without drawing attention to yourself, since they’re neither crumbly nor crunchy.

Price: $1.83


Buy now:


camelbak eddy insulated water bottle

CamelBak eddy Insulated Water Bottle

Everyone needs a water bottle. Active students need one that is durable, easy to drink from, and ideally, will keep your drinks cold in warm weather.

CamelBak makes better water bottles each year, and I really like the new eddy Insulated. The bite straw is super convenient, it keeps water relatively cold, and the insulated design means condensation won’t drip all over your important papers!

Price: $20.00


Buy now:


roadid wrist id sport

Road ID

Carrying identification with you when out on an adventure is very important in your hometown, but it’s absolutely critical when you’re far from home, venturing into new territory where no one knows your name. You don’t need to get anything fancy, but I do think it’s a good idea to carry a durable, visible ID with your name and important phone numbers on it.

I’m a fan of Road ID’s Wrist ID Sport (see my review here) because it’s simple, inexpensive, and does the job.

Price: $19.95



naturebox snacks on kitchen table

NatureBox (Healthy Snacks Each Month)

What do you do during those late-night cram sessions when the dining hall is closed? You either have healthy snacks on hand, or you’re ordering Domino’s pizza!

I suggest the former, and NatureBox is a great way to ensure those snacks are always around, because they deliver a box of them to your door (or school mailroom) each month. I tested the box myself, and I was quite happy with it.

Price: $19.95



myotape body tape measure

MyoTape Body Tape Measure

Hitting the dining hall a little too hard? Eat too many NatureBox snacks?

The best way to keep track of your body and fend off the “freshman 15” before it’s too late is to take girth measurements. These are more telling than your body weight, and this tape measure is cheaper and smaller than a bathroom scale. It’s great – I use it myself!

Price: $7.50


Buy now:


swype cold and flu shield

Swype Cold & Flu Shield

You know the drill. You’re cooped up in close quarters with tons of other kids. Germs get spread, and you end up sick. Typically, this is right before an important race (or exam).

Something that might prevent that is this gel that you apply to your nostrils to kill germs before they make you sick! It sounds too good to be true, but I never got sick when I remembered to use it.

Price: $8.99



If you know of any other great products for back-to-school, please share your opinion in the comments section below!


This article was originally published on August 22, 2013. It was updated and re-published on July 30, 2018.

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