The 9 Best Back-to-School Products Even for the Unschooled

Every year around this time, back-to-school articles begin to appear. And every year, even though I haven’t been to school for a while, I always check them out. Maybe you can understand? While these products are most definitely intended for people who go to school, from elementary school to college, they will also work for anyone. Whether you’re looking to boost your productivity, buy a new electronic device, or even wrap yourself in new clothes for fall.

If you’re creating a new work area or just making a few tweaks to an existing setup, you should be able to benefit from a new, more powerful and compact power hub, which is what Anker now offers. Or maybe new workout clothes and comfortable walking shoes could make running around campus a little easier. There are a variety of product types for all types of school needs, as well as non-school needs. As always, prices shown may fluctuate over time.

Anker 727 Charging Station (GaNPrime 100W)

The size of an iPhone 13 Pro Max, the Anker 727 charging station has six charging ports and offers a total power of 100 watts.
ANKER

Anker isn’t the only company making its power adapters and electronics smaller and more powerful with gallium nitride (GaN) technology, but it has been one of the leading ones. Its new GaNPrime chargers come in several new flavors, including the one I think is the most relevant, the 727 Charging Station. It’s a six-port power strip with two AC outlets, two USB-C ports, and two USB-A ports.

The 727 charging station can deliver 100 watts of power, but it’s less than an inch thick and about the size of an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Its 5-foot power cable is also detachable. (If you want an even more compact version, the new Anker 615 USB power strip is also an option.)

Buy from Anker for $94.99.

Nomad Base One (Gold)

Basic nomad one
Nomad’s Base One is now available in a gold color for a limited time and is a great desktop charger for an iPhone.
NOMADIC

A luxury charger designed for a desk or bedside table, the Nomad Base One now comes in a limited edition gold color. The price may be hard to stomach, but this MagSafe charger will power at least one iPhone wirelessly at its full 15-watt speed. It also does not need adhesive on the bottom, because its weight is significant.

I loved using the Base One on my desk. It is minimal in design and adds a nice touch of elegance. Nomad describes the new gold color as an homage to the sandy beaches of Santa Barbara, California, and after seeing it up close, it’s hard to disagree. Gold is a stunner without being too bold. (The color is also available for the Base One Max, although no gold model will be available indefinitely.)

Buy from Nomad for $99.95.

OmieBox

OmieBox
OmieBox is an adjustable and insulated lunch box for children.
OMIELIFE

The OmieBox is a perfectly organized lunch box that can be modified to accommodate different lunches throughout the week. It is aimed at children who have an opinion on keeping their food tidy and neatly sorted and/or parents who prefer to do so. The OmieBox comes with a small cylindrical container that sits inside and can be used for soup or other messier foods. But if you don’t need this container, its space can be used for other larger foods.

My daughter became a fan of modular spaces the moment I showed her OmieBox. She also commented that all the color options were nice. (Adults can also fit into the bento box with the OmieGo, which is designed for larger portions.)

Buy from OmieBox for $44.95.

Two-Way Incase Transfer Tote

Two-Way Incase Transfer Tote
The Incase Transfer Two-Way Tote Bag can be used as a backpack or tote with hidden straps.
IN CASE

Maybe it’s the stealthy straps and hidden compartments that two-way and three-way bags include that appeal to me, but I like a smart transformation. The new two-way Incase Transfer Tote is both practical for a variety of uses, but also clever in how it adapts to each task. The long carry handles slip into the deep pockets on the front and back of the bag when not needed, but are accessible at all times. To carry the Incase, the backpack straps unclip and can fit into the same back pocket the strap was using.

I had been impressed with Incase’s bags for a while, and this two-way transfer tote was no different. I appreciated the soft, fuzzy interior that protected my laptop and tablet. The large side pockets also worked great for carrying a water bottle or two.

Buy from Incase for $99.95.

Satechi double-sided eco-leather deskmate

Satechi double-sided eco-leather deskmate
Satechi Dual Sided Eco-Leather Deskmate will keep a new desk looking fresh or cover up the blemishes of an old one.
SATECHI

Earlier this year when I got a new standing desk, I decided it was time to add a desk mat to my workspace. I evaluated several different ones, but chose the Satechi Dual Sided Eco-Leather Deskmate for its combination of price, style, and features. It is made of polyurethane leather, which limits the price but also allows it to be waterproof and perfectly smooth.

I particularly like the reversible design; the carpet continues to look fresh over time without the need to spend more money. If you don’t have a new or fancy desk, the Deskmate can cover up existing scratches or other dents.

Buy from Satechi for $39.99.

Apple MacBookAir M2

MacBook Air with M2
The keyboard gets full-height function-row keys, including a better Touch ID sensor embedded in the top-right corner.
Tyler Hayes

This selection is my broad enough laptop recommendation for back-to-school use. The new MacBook Air M2 is such a stellar computer that it’s easy to recommend it to most people, even without knowing what they’ll be using it for. The machine has amazing battery life for all-day use, but it’s also really fast, so it can be used for learning to program, writing articles, or doing general research without turning on noisy fans, because there are no cooling fans.

There are specific reasons for some people to consider Apple’s other computers like the iMac or MacBook Pro, but if you’re looking for a laptop that can do it all and doesn’t cost as much as a Pro, then this is it. is a great option.

Shop at Best Buy starting at $1,199.

Atoms 001

Atoms 001
The soles of the 001 shoes are less spongy than the 000s around the perimeter.
Tyler Hayes

The reason you buy Atoms 001 shoes is because you are on your feet all day or have a lot of walking to do. These shoes bounce right out of the box and continue to provide support until you decide to take them off. These are perfect shoes for several inter-campus hikes. Comfort reigned supreme in my testing, but I also appreciated the elastic laces – I never had to retie them.

Buy from Atoms for $159.

Miir Stainless Steel Cold Brew Filter

Miir Cold Brew Filter
Take an existing Miir wide-mouth bottle and add the company’s new stainless steel cold brew filter for an easy pre-class drink.
MIIR

Miir’s new stainless steel cold brew strainer slips into any of its wide-mouth bottles (starting at $39.95) and serves up a chilled drink with minimal effort. Simply add coffee grounds to the filter, fill with water and refrigerate overnight for a cold brew ready to drink before your first class. Even if cold brew is just a seasonal drink for you, as it usually is for me, this filter pays for itself after a few uses. But as summer stretches into fall here in Southern California, I’m looking forward to lots of cold brews with this low-cost strainer.

Buy from Miir for $14.95.

Reigning Champ Solotex Mesh Trail Shorts

Reigning Champ Solotex Mesh Trail Shorts
Reigning Champ Solotex Mesh Trail Short is a premium option for everyday fitness or keeping sweat at bay while running around campus.
DEFENDING CHAMPION

There are plenty of academic reasons why you might need some new fitness apparel, but you should always look at the new Solotex Mesh Trail Shorts even if you can’t think of any. The shorts are part of Reigning Champ’s new Solotex collection, which focuses on its cutting-edge Japanese fabric. The Mesh Trail is lightweight and breathable, yet has a good amount of stretch with high rebound. There is an elastic waistband with a drawstring and zippered pockets to prevent items from falling out.

If you haven’t experienced Reigning Champ clothing yet, you’re missing out. I was impressed with their luxurious fit and feel. They remain strong and able to withstand sweat and strenuous activity.

Buy from Reigning Champ for $125.

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