New school. New gear.

Kit: Freshman Year

July 30, 2014 Buying Guides By
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Our college years have faded into the past, but that hasn’t stopped us from rethinking what we’d pack if we could do it all over again. Whether you’re matriculating this fall and looking for a leg up on your classmates, or a (clearly hip) parent prepping for one last spending hoorah before crossing your offspring off the books for good, consider your packing list officially started.

HP Envy Touchscreen Laptop


Choosing the right laptop is right up there with picking the right school. Ok, we’re exaggerating. Still, the machine you’ll work and play on for the foreseeable future isn’t something to take lightly. The HP Envy features all of the performance needed to bust out term papers and research till dawn like Intel’s 4th Generation Core i5 1.7GHz processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.7Ghz, plus 8GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive and a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 HD screen. Thanks to a special 360° hinge, touch screen functionality and the versatility of Microsoft’s Windows 8.1, it can also be used as a tablet or go into “tent mode” when it’s time to relax and catch up on Facebook or whatever other social network your hoodied roommate just invented.

Helix Taupe Desk


Freshman dorms don’t exactly mirror The Plaza. CB2’s Helix desk is a smart way to knock out work and store some text books (do those still exist today?), preserving floor space for more important activities like capping off that perfect season in Madden.

Asos Flip Flops


You heard it first here. Getting used to some form of communal bathroom scenario is one of the biggest shocks to the systems as freshman. So leave your OCD at home and embrace a new level of hygienic countermeasures, like wearing shoes in the shower. Asos’s flip flops look better than other bargain basement alternatives, giving bolder types the option of wearing them to class as well.

Alite Designs Mantis Chair


College fosters creative thinking, particularly when it comes to seating arrangements. The Mantis chair is comfortable despite collapsing to fit into most backpacks with room to spare, making it a handy addition whether the “study group” is in the room or out on the quad.

REI Nesting Tableware Set


Utensils are always optional with dorm room dining. That doesn’t mean gargling Count Chocula is ideal. REI’s nesting tableware set packs enough dishes for four and even includes a drying rack to use when you decide to wash things once a semester.

Vizio M Series TV (42-inch)


Downgrading from pop’s home theater needn’t be traumatic. Vizio’s stylish new M series line of smart TVs offer an incredible combination of picture quality and screen size for the money, plus all of the connectivity options you expect as a spoiled millennial.

Nocs NS2 V2 Speakers


Music is like, your identity, man. The second generation of Nocs NS2 monitors can wirelessly play tunes from almost any source thanks to support for Bluetooth, Spotify Connect and AirPlay. They’re also available in a slew of colors to push your personal expression to 11.

Dsptch Daypack


Forget about two strapping or one strapping and separate from the pack with this made-in-the-USA backpack from SF-based DSPTCH. It includes a padded pocket for your laptop as well as room for other critical items like a frisbee and Funyuns.

Mod Notebooks


We know writing things down is so middle school, but these ingenious notebooks leverage the power of the Cloud, letting users review doodles from a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Once you’ve filled up the pages, just send it back to Mod using the included envelope for free scanning and uploading.

Pop Chart Labs Prints


We hate to be a buzzkill, but your idea of throwing up a poster of the cast from Pulp Fiction isn’t original. Pop Chart Labs on the hand other hand offers plenty of clever prints that look good and break down tons of important educational concepts — like just how many types of beer there are, or how audio gear has evolved over the decades.

Phiaton Chord MS 530


A good pair of active noise-canceling headphones is the closest most of you’ll get to personal space next year. The Phiaton Chord MS 530s offer the added benefit of wireless listening via Bluetooth audio, because serenity shouldn’t have a leash.

SE Bikes Draft Lite


Bringing a bike to school means an 15 extra minutes of sleep before class, and that makes all the difference. The Draft Lite from SE Bikes can switch between a single-speed or fixed-gear setup, making it perfect for jaunts around campus.

PlayStation 4


These are prime gaming years, so you might as well start off with the next generation system. Who cares if the best exclusive titles will arrive right around midterm time. You know how to plan ahead right? Oh and lets honest, now: there’s no way a Kinect would work in your tiny room anyway.

Baxter of California WhiteWood Candles


There will be scents in your dorm you’d rather not smell. Any of the three Baxter of California’s White Wood candles will fill your room with sophisticated aromas, but we prefer the mixture of Mandarin, Mission Fig and Bergamot offered by number two. Buy several. You’ll burn through them faster than you think.