Back to School: 5 Items for Every Backpack

mainIt doesn’t matter if you’re on campus or on the job, there are certain things no guy should be without. Essential gear and gadgets that make – and back to school time – life easier, keep us out of trouble, and make sure all our toys in working order.

Since carrying a man purse is only for fashion designers and European tourists in capri pants, our stuff needs to fit into a backpack, laptop bag or briefcase—the only three bags a red-blooded ‘Murican man is meant to carry.

Related: Honor Grads in Your Life with Gadgety Gifts

Here are 5 gadgets that every guy should have in that bag, just in case:

Cocoon Grid-It: The ingenious Grid-It (top) isn’t really a gadget, but it’s the perfect way to keep all of your gadgets organized and within reach. Available in a number of different sizes to fit any guy’s needs, the Grid-It has a crisscross of woven, rubberized bands across the front. Just slide your stuff under the bands—phone, flash drives, earbuds, charger, pack of gum—and even the smallest thing is easy to find without rummaging around the bottom of the bag. There’s even the Grid-It Wrap that has a zippered neoprene sleeve to store your MacBook Air. If only your desk was this organized.

MSRP: $9.99 and up.

2Scosche clipSYNC: If you’re constantly recharging your phone, game or camera, having a USB cable handy is key. You’ll always know exactly where the clipSYNC is, because it has a built-in carabineer that clips right to your pack or keychain. A miniscule 2.5-inches when closed, the clipSYNC opens to a full 4-inches with a standard USB on one end and a dual micro and mini USB on the other. (They also make one specifically for the iPhone.) When the cables aren’t in use, tuck them away, clip and go.

MSRP: $14.99

3Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Mini: Powerful enough to re-juice your smartphone with up to a full charge, the Juice Pack Power Station Mini is small enough to fit comfortably in a pocket, and at less than 3 ounces, is light enough to keep in your bag 24/7 without weighing you down. An integrated LED light lets you know how much power you’ve got left in reserve, so you don’t risk running dry mid conversation, or while recording that important lecture for your buddy who’s nursing a nasty hangover.

MSRP: $59.95

4Swann HD Pen Cam: Face it, we’ve all had James Bond envy at one time or another, wishing we were packing just one of the gadgets in his arsenal. Now we can. Tuck the HD Pen Cam in your shirt pocket, click the button on the top, and the tiny concealed cam just above the clip will record up to 45 minutes of HD video and store it on a micro SD card up to 16GB. It’ll also shoot HD stills, and even add a date and time stamp to your video so if you’re having a conversation with a professor about that highly subjective C+ he gave you, or you’re recording your boss agreeing to give you next Friday off, you’ve got the proof. Oh, and it’s a real working ball-point pen too, in case you have to take notes.

MSRP: $49.95

5FAVI Pico+ Projector: When you’ve got a presentation to give, you can have everyone huddle around your laptop, or you can lug around a big projector with a whole bunch of wires and cables. Or, you can just slide the Pico+ from your pocket, attach the HDMI cable to your smartphone or tablet, and you’re showing off your ideas in crisp clear 1080p on the nearest wall. The Pico+ can also show off pics, video and power points from your computer, cable TV box, video player, camera and more—and it doubles as a battery backup, so your device doesn’t run out of juice halfway through your compelling presentation on the economics of craft beer in the Pacific Northwest.

MSRP: $349.99