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The Best College Gifts That Will Actually Last Through Undergrad, And Beyond

Photo: Tim Gouw (Unsplash)

When it comes to shopping for products, I believe in the buying right the first time. If you pick up something terrific, even when it may cost more than you initially wanted, you won’t need to pay more for a replacement quite as soon.

Just in time for back-to-school, our team compiled this list of awesome things that are built to last. A few are co-op winners, and some are things that we owned during college, and still use today. These products are guaranteed to survive long after your kid’s fascination with Romantic poetry and binge drinking comes to a close.

Feel free to use the comment section to recommend the stuff you swear by, too. No product is too insignificant.

The GORUCK GR1 is a two-time champion in these parts. Not only is it the readers’ favorite everyday backpack, but it’s also their favorite under-seat bag for traveling. It offers a terrific design, built in America from “Special Forces Grade Materials,” and includes a lifetime warranty.

So, when we say it’ll last your freshman beyond college, we weren’t kidding. -Tercius

There is only one king of mice and it is the Logitech MX Master 2S. With a super comfortable form factor, a rechargeable battery, adjustable DPI, awesome scroll wheel, a side thumb wheel for horizontal navigation and gestures, and the ability to connect over Bluetooth to three devices simultaneously—this mouse has it all.

It’s not only my pick for the title of best mouse ever, it’s also a reader favorite. Pick it up for your favorite teenager and never look back. -Tercius

Your teen’s music taste will likely be cemented during college. And let’s face it, listening to music through a smartphone’s speaker or that crummy Bluetooth speaker from an Amazon Lightning Deal isn’t ideal for this leg of your kid’s musical journey.

Here I present to you two options: the Marshall Stockwell II and the Sonos One. The first is one of the coolest speakers I’ve ever seen and it’s built like a tank. It’s powered by Bluetooth and sounds amazing.

The second is the Sonos One, one of the most affordable ways to get into the Sonos ecosystem and a speaker that you can build a Sonos collection around with. It sounds terrific, and works over Wi-Fi. -Tercius

I do not—I repeat, DO NOT—endorse buying a $925 coat for a teen. I’ve been eyeing this Canada Goose Kensington Parka for years, and I can’t even bring myself to purchase it. But, if I was going to drop a sizable portion of my rent on a piece of outerwear, it would be on this coat. At that price, you can bet it will last a lifetime. - Chelsea

UGG shoes might not be as trendy now as they were in 2009, but I still own half of the pairs I got my freshman year of college. Out of all of my UGGs, the Coquette slippers are by far the best.

When you’re too lazy to tie your shoes before an 8 AM class, they are there to keep your feet warm. If you have to run out of your dorm really quick to grab food, they are the shoe to turn to. You don’t have to pull these onto your feet like some other UGG shoes, they slide right on.

They are technically slippers, but I prefer to consider them a beloved pair of shoes. After nearly 11 years of use, the sole of my shoe is still in great condition, while they furry insert has begun to wear away. Which isn’t a huge issue, seeing as you can buy UGG sole inserts. -Ana

I’ve owned two pairs of Rainbow flip flops in my life, and wear them pretty much every day that the temperatures allow. The first probably lasted me 10 years? And they were still in decent shape when I replaced them with a new pair, which I’m pretty sure is over five years old, and no worse for wear. - Shep

A cast iron skillet is one of the most versatile and most important pieces of cookware can own—in addition to one of the most rugged and long-lasting ones. Whether your kid is really into bacon, or loves homemade pizza, a cast iron investment is awesome, at it doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the cheapest products on this list. If you take good care of it, it’ll last a lifetime - Tercius

Whether it’s for your kid’s first backyard party or during summer vacation, having cold drinks is essential for enjoying college life. And having an insulated cooler can definitely help with that. RTIC makes some of the best ones, and it’s hard to do better than these reader-favorite soft-sided ones. -Tercius

Dorm mattresses are an abomination. Do your back a favor and invest in a Tempur-Pedic Foam Mattress Topper. It’s way more supportive than any regular egg crate would be, and about 10 times sturdier, too. Of course, it’s also more expensive. But mine lasted for my entire ungrad career, and I have absolutely no regrets about this splurge. -Chelsea

Hydro Flasks keep your drinks cold or hot for hours, sure, but they’re also about status. It’s the most recognizable brand when it comes to fancy water bottles, and luckily, it’s really good, too. It’ll keep your freshman’s coffee warm, or the morning screwdriver cold for hours on end. Just make sure to add a Flex Boot so that the bottom doesn’t get dinged up too much. - Tercius

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About the author


Commerce Editor at The Inventory.

Ana Suarez

Ana works as a commerce editor, but her dream job would be making her senior Yorkie, Tyrone, Insta famous.