Best Back to School Gear, Minimalist Edition

Best Back to School Gear, Minimalist Edition

School is here, college is here and work is here. Welcome to September! This means you should already have the supplies to start a “new year” off, but chances are you left everything to last moment. That’s alright, most of us do.
Today we’re looking at the best back to school gear.


Fjallraven Kanken Classic
Fjallraven Kanken Classic

Before getting any of the stationery we need a place to put them into. We have chosen two good alternatives – a budget one and a splurging one. Our picks are the Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack, which has the classic Fjallraven look, ageless design and we all know that these things last forever. There’s also dozens of colours to choose from.

Buy the Fjallraven from Amazon.

Jansport Superbreak Backpack
Jansport Superbreak Backpack

Our budget option is also from a tried and tested manufacturer JanSport. The JanSport Superbreak Backpack is one of the most widespread daypacks around and for a good reason. It hits the sweet point of good price and good quality. While the lifespan may be somewhat shorter that that of the Fjallraven, then at half the price it’s still a very reasonable option. Also it seems that girls and young women seem to favour the Fjallraven while boys and young men prefer the JanSport bag.

Buy the JanSport Superbreak Backpack now from Amazon.


Now that we have a bag, we need some sketchpads and/or notepads to write on. Our pick is the Rhino 8.3 x 11.7 Inches A4 Recycled Twin Wire Notebook. It hits all the marks:

  • Made of recycled paper
  • 80 sheets, A4 size
  • Twin Spiral Lock wire to prevent coil snags
  • Durable and hard cover ensures long life

I’m currently using 3 of these notebooks and love writing to it.

Buy the Rhino Notepad now from Amazon.


Brassing Pen
Brassing Pen

Now we have the bag and notebook to write to, but we’re missing something to write with. Again we have two options – one for when you want to feel fancy and one more modest option.

The fancy option is the Brassing pen by YStudio. Brass casting of the pen will oxidise over time, making it look even better with age. It also has some nice weight to it and definitely catches peoples eye. That said the $70 price point is very steep for just a pen that people tend to lose.

If you’re the pen losing kind like most of us, then we have another recommendation for you. Of course we could tell you to get a Bic, and it would not be a bad thing, but definitely a boring one. Instead we suggest you get the Pilot Metropolitan Collection Gel Roller Pen, Black Barrel, Classic Design, Fine Point. It costs around $10 and is one of the finest quality pens at the midrange price. It has a fine point and is pre-filled with vibrant G2 gel ink.

Buy the Pilot pen now from Amazon.

Pencil case

And finally you need a place to keep your pens and pencils. For this we chose the timeless Bellroy pencil case. It’s perfect for not only your pens but earbuds, mints or lip balm just as well. What we specifically like was that the opening is wide and folds out, so you don’t have to dig around to find what you need. The build quality is also good as like with other Bellroy products.

Buy the Bellroy Pencil Case now from Amazon.

Bellroy Pencil Case
Bellroy Pencil Case

What if my handwriting is terrible (i.e. the digital options)

For those of us have the handwriting of a doctor, don’t have to write complicated formulas or just know that they are faster typing than writing then you essentially have two options – either a small laptop or a tablet (with a smartcover/keyboard). We had a good look around, but had to come back to our long time favourites, that have actually come down in price recently.


MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro

It’s the 13 inch MacBook Pro – it might seem like a boring choice, but it’s a one that makes sense. Note that you can easily opt out of the new touch bar as it has mostly proven to be a gimmick and not very useful.
I should mention that the MacBook Pro makes sense only as long as you’re not a gamer, because this is definitely not a gaming options. But otherwise MacBook Pro has plenty of horsepower to last you for around 5 years. They have a super reliable track record and are still the easiest option to use in our opinion. Oh, and they still don’t basically have any viruses.
There are also the regular MacBook and MacBook air but their tech specs are weaker and while they are cheaper, then they won’t stand the test of time that well and Macbook Pro’s have shown to be better at maintaining their price when you decide to sell it down the road.

Buy the MacBook Pro now from Amazon.



You guessed it, it’s the iPad, specifically the iPad Air 2. But there’s a gotcha – it only makes sense if you upgrade it to iOS 11. This brings the amazing new features that make it more of a workhorse, where you have better access to filesystem, dock, better multitasking and still that amazing iPad performance and full day battery life. It also will last you years and years, and is even lighter than the 13 inch Macbook Pro. If you decide to go with this options we highly recommend getting a typing cover as well. Typing on the screen is not a viable long term solution.

Buy the iPad Air 2 now from Amazon.

That’s it, hope you enjoyed the roundup! If you did and have any feedback, feel free to check in to our Facebook page here.