The Ultimate Back-to-School Supplies List

From backpacks to lunchboxes, it’s all here.

By Brandy Joy Smith
Easy Healthy School Lunch Ideas

September is right around the corner, and we all know what that means; back to school shopping. After hosting your kids at home for over a year, it may seem like a daunting task to head out into the world and purchase backpacks and notebooks. Luckily, I know that looking for school supplies can be overwhelming even in normal times. So, look no further! I’ve put together a list of the best back-to-school supplies to reduce some of the stress this time of year can induce.

While compiling this list for you, I prioritized safe products, good reviews, options for multiple ages, and of course great design and color pattern options, too. Some of the prices might give you sticker shock, but remember, most of these items are made to last several years, reducing your need to replace them yearly. Hello, slow fashion!

Backpacks & Lunch Boxes

Let’s start off with backpacks and lunch boxes. These items should be on every parent’s back-to-school supplies shopping list. Because let’s face it, even the youngest of children needs a bag and lunch box to take to daycare or preschool.

Sticky Lemons Small backpacks

These backpacks have the coolest designs, come in large and small sizes, and even have matching fanny packs. Bold, colorful and fun is the vibe from this brand; perfect for my best back-to-school supplies shopping list.

State Bags Kane Kids Backpack

These bags come in 50 color combinations so you’re bound to find something that speaks to your child. Better yet, this company is one with a notable cause. For every State bag purchased, they’ll support American children and families in need and work to shift the narrative around social justice. Learn more about the incredible work they are doing on their website.

Fjallraven Rainbow Mini

Fjallraven has a cult following for a reason. The color and size options (perfect for matching mama and babe), as well as the quality, speak for themselves. This company puts sustainability at the forefront of its production, making quality items that last. 

Away The Backpack 

For your college student going back to school AWAY from home, pun intended. This bag packs all the organizing features and a sleek design for a young adult. Not to mention it makes the perfect carry-on for those plane rides back home to visit the parents. 

Porter Utensils Set

I personally can’t stand single-use plastic cutlery and straws, which is why I love the Porter utensil sets. Compact, lightweight, and sturdy, they are also dishwasher safe. The carrying case ensures you will keep your cutlery clean and when it’s dirty it has a cover, just toss it in your backpack or purse. What more do you need?

Lunchbots Large Trio Bundle

Another bento box option with a slightly different approach and fave in my mom’s groups. These boxes are built to last a lifetime and are dishwasher safe. We originally bought Lunchbots for preschool, but my hubby and I even pack them on the weekends for picnics and outings with the kids.

Hydro Flask Kids Lunchbox 

If you’re worried about keeping your kids’ lunch cold, this is the box for you. I’ve always been very impressed with the performance of Hydro Flask products and this lunch pail is no different. It’s lightweight and easy to clean with two size options grab a matching water bottle to go with! Plus, their products are FDA food grade with a BPA-free liner. Free from toxins, free from worry!

Planetbox, Rover (Set) 

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of bento box lunch boxes. This eco-friendly stainless steel lunch set has it all. The tiny compartments are an A-type personality’s dream come true for organizing all your lunch snacks. Each Rover Set includes 1 Rover Lunch Box, 1 Big Dipper food container, 1 Little Dipper food container, Insulated Carrying Bag, and Magnet Set. These might land on the pricier side but I think it’s worth it. Get different magnets to mix up the theme from year to year.

Back-to-School Supplies

Next up, I’m diving into the best back-to-school supplies for napping materials. While your high school student or college freshman may want to take a nap during class, this list is definitely geared toward your little ones.  

Lovevery Nap Mat

I’m not going to lie, I spent more time than necessary on nap mat research. My son Liam has super sensitive skin and it can flare up with harsh chemicals. I love that this one by Loververy has organic cotton but a much more affordable price point than the other organic cotton options on the market. 

Avocado Mattress Toddler Pillow

If your toddler is at school and only needs a pillow and sheet this is my go-to. I love the size and again you can rest assured these are safe clean products. Safe, non-toxic, and breathable, Avocado fills their organic toddler pillow with 100% GOLS organic certified latex and 100% GOTS organic certified kapok fiber. Then, they stitch it all together using a gentle, 100% GOTS organic certified cotton. Sounds like a must on this best back-to-school supplies list.

Kyte, Crib Sheet 

These crib sheets are my go-to for the kids, plus the fitted sheet works great with a cot. They are the softest and temperature regulating so if you have a warm-blooded child they will be perfectly happy on this sheet made of bamboo, cotton, and spandex. 

Water Bottles

We know that as an adult it’s important to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. But do you know how much your children should drink? As a general rule, toddlers should have two to four cups, children four to eight years should drink five cups, and kids and pre-teens (nine to 13 years) should consume seven to eight cups. This brings me to my next point on the best back-to-school supplies list; water bottles. 

Thermus Funtainer 

This is perfect for little ones. What I love about Thermus is how lightweight and easy to clean they are, and the straw is removable so you can really clean the spout. It is however recommended you hand clean and dry. I’ve found they just get cleaner by hand anyway. Another cool feature is that the straw is covered so it helps keep the straw clean from germs when it’s not being used, but the best part is that it doesn’t leak.

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Kids Waterbottle 

These things can take a beating (trust me we have put them to the test.) They really do a wonderful job of keeping liquids cool, and I like how much water they hold. A word to the wise though, they don’t fit into a standard cup holder if that’s a dealbreaker for you. But a bonus is that they are BPA-free.

Yeti Rambler with Chug Cap

If you’re looking for something that holds more water for an older child or teen, give the Yeti Rambler with Chug Cap a try. This water bottle has a wide-open mouth and scores high marks for keeping drinks hot or cold for several hours. The wide mouth is the perfect size allowing you to add ice cubes if you want without being overly wide and awkward to drink from. Your child will feel able to express themselves with this back-to-school bottle, thanks to the assortment of colors from bright and bold to more muted.

Face Masks

As a parent, you may have a lot of worries when it comes to sending your children back to school post-pandemic. I get it, we’ve got a lot to consider this year. This is why I think it’s important to add masks to my best back-to-school supplies list. I’ve rounded up three of my favorites on the internet with each child’s age in mind. 

Baggu Fabric Masks (3 pack) 

These bold colors and hip prints come in both adult and children’s sizing. What makes these a big hit on the playground are the adjustable ear straps. I can’t get over the adorable designs and love how they elevate my son’s outfits. If you have to wear them they might as well look good right?! Extra points for the organic cotton and wire nose form and 3-pack, cause we all know they’re going to get lost. 

Athleta Adjustable Everyday mask (5 pack) 

Are muted tones more your thing? Need something comfortable for your teen? These masks are the answer! Not only do they have tons of reviews on comfort, but they are also very affordable. Featuring an adjustable ear strap and noise wire, one reviewer said they are even comfortable to work out in.

Rachel Shop Co Face Mask Lanyard 

We have all lost a few masks, and as I said, I’m sure there will be some casualties once school starts. That is why I’m loving these mask lanyards. The super lightweight, fun colors combos, are handmade and come in adult and children’s sizing. Bonus: this seller ships fast and you get to support a small female AAPI business!

Organizational Tools

Last but not least on my best back-to-school supplies list are things to help keep your kids organized. I’m a huge Type-A personality which means I’m an incredible multi-tasker and love organization—like love! So you can only imagine how much I enjoyed researching this section of our ultimate back-to-school supplies list.

Sticky Lemon Pencil Case  

Sticky Lemon is a super quirky Dutch brand I stumbled upon years ago when searching for a pencil case for myself (LOL.) I love how their color combos nod to retro times and really give your child the opportunity to express themselves. 

Herschel Settlement Case 

Herschel Supply Co is a Vancouver, Canada-based company that’s goal is to create a timeless product with a fine regard for detail. I am in love with all of their bags, and highly recommend you take a scan through their website. There are tons of options for adults, kids, and teens. Plus, they’ve committed to giving thousands of bags to health care facilities across North America to help front-line workers on their journeys to and from work. Shoutout to my marketing team in Vancouver for turning me on to this awesome brand.

The Name Stamp Custom 

All of these back-to-school supplies start to add up, so if you’re like me you want to keep track of it. From P.E. clothes to backpacks and pencil cases, keep track of them with a custom name label. The ink is supposed to stay for 50 washes. This was a late-night purchase I’m happy to report was worth the money.


I want to know what’s on your best back-to-school supplies list. Hit me up in the comment section below or reach out via DM on Instagram. I’m always on the hunt for sustainable and fashionable products to try. Even better if it supports BIPOC or AAPI businesses!