Backpack Essentials for Middle School

Backpack essentials

As students make the transition from elementary school to middle school, they may be overwhelmed with the number of new items they should carry with them on a daily basis. While every school, student, and level of education is different, this list covers essential items for your student to survive middle school


The first and most important backpack essential is the backpack itself. With a number of backpacks on the market, we recommend selecting a backpack that reflects a student’s personality. Our line of Balfour ID backpacks allow students to select the size and style of backpack and customize it with patches to make the bag unique to the student and their school.


As students transition from elementary school to middle and high school, a calculator becomes more of an essential than in the past. Check with the math or science teachers to check which calculator is best suited from the class work.

Flash Drive

A USB flash drive is one of the smallest, but most handy items to have in a backpack at all times. Flash drives allow students to save their work and carry it with them from class to class and even year to year. Flash drives come in several shapes, sizes, and colors, and storage capacity ranges from 2GB to 256GB. Pro Tip: Check what type of computers a student’s school uses as some flash drives are not compatible with Macs AND PCs.

Emergency Kit

Having a small kit of “emergency” items can be a life-saver when for students bustling from class to class. These items could include band aids, hand sanitizer, chap stick, hair ties, mini toothbrush, tissues, deodorant, and more.


A planner is a key to keep track of homework, group projects, and after school activities.

Pencils & Pens

These are a given in every student’s backpack essentials. Students may want to keep mechanical and wooden pencils on hand for standardized tests, pop quizzes, and class work. Try having a variety of pens, too since some teachers prefer different colors of ink.


Another classroom essential. Students may use highlighters to call out important facts, statistics, or passages in their notes or textbooks.

Combination Lock

A combination lock is crucial for those students who have a locker at their middle school.

Water Bottle

Students will never go thirsty with a water bottle stashed in their backpack. Most schools have water stations where students can refill their water bottles throughout the day and after school for practices and activities.

Notebooks & Folders

Having a variety of one, three, or five subject notebooks are essential for taking notes in class. Students may also want a binder or folder to keep track of assignments, handouts, etc. Organization is key!

Other Miscellaneous Items

A small bag full of accessories never hurts. Some items to consider: Post-it tabs, small umbrella, erasers, lunch box, crayons, safety scissors, pencil sharpener, loose-leaf paper, ruler, cell phone charger or power bank, headphones.