10 Brilliant Gifts for the College Kid in Your Life

iStock
iStock

If anyone needs a great holiday gift, it’s a broke college student. Give them something they’ll love (and use). May we suggest one of these?

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. KEURIG® K55 Coffee Maker

College kids may not have time between classes to make—or drink—a full pot of coffee, making them perfect candidates for single-serve pod machines. This Keurig machine makes anywhere from 6 to 10 ounces. Plus, it’s compact for easy dorm storage, and comes in several different colors.

Find It at Amazon for $80 and also at these other retailers:

2. Ban.do "After This We're Getting Tacos" Gym Bag

Ban.do workout gym bag
Amazon

Just because exercise is healthy doesn’t mean it’s always fun. Help your reluctant student get to the gym with this cheeky bag, which is sure to help him or her make like-minded friends—who might know where a student group will be giving out free tacos that night.

Find It at Amazon for $35 and also at these other retailers:

3. Moleskine Smart Writing Set

Reviewing has never been easier with Moleskine’s smart pen set, a portable digital tool that converts hand-written notes into digital files in real-time, allowing drafts to be emailed or uploaded to a LiveScribe account with the push of a button. The smartphone app will even convert handwriting into digital text, though it doesn’t always recognize messier script.

Find It at Moleskine for $199 and also at these other retailers:

4. Uber Gift Card

iStock

Joy ride: Most students can get from place to place on campus just fine, but they could probably use extra help hitting the town. Make sure they get on route safely with Uber gift cards.

Find It at Amazon for $25 and up and also at these other retailers:

5. Beyoncils

It’s hard not to be inspired by the wisdom of Beyoncé, and these nine handmade pencils are sure to remind the writer to be as confident as Queen Bey. They’re handmade and feature lyrics like “fresher than you,” “flawless,” and “I woke up like this.” For every set sold, LZPENCILS donates nine pencils—minus the lyrics—to a school in need.

Find It at Etsy for $18.

6. Roku Streaming Stick+

It's rare to find a college student these days who has a cable subscription, so you might as well give them the gift of streaming. This Roku streams smoothly in high definition and supports most major services like Netflix and Hulu.

Find It at Amazon for $50 and also at these other retailers:

7. Mophie Powerstation Mini

Mophie mini powerstation
Amazon

Help your favorite student keep smartphones charged during a full day of classes with Mophie’s ultra-fast portable charger. The gadget has the capacity to charge a cell phone about twice. Perhaps they’ll even use that extra battery power to call home.

Find It at Amazon for $24

8. State Bags KENT Backpack

Coral State Bags Kane Backpack
Amazon

Students can carry their books in style and feel good about it. For every backpack sold, STATE Bags gives one to a child in need. And it’s machine washable, just in case it ever ends up at a frat party.

Find It at Amazon and also at these other retailers:

9. Logitech Keys-To-Go Wireless Keyboard

Logitech Wireless Keyboard
Amazon

Let your student stand out in the lecture hall—and get work done on the go—with this bright-colored, stain-resistant bluetooth keyboard. Each one is compatible with both Android and Apple devices and can pack up to three months of battery power into one full charge.

Find It at Amazon for $50 and also at these other retailers:

10. Kodak Printomatic Instant Print Camera

Help them make college memories that won't just sit in a forgotten album on a smartphone. The Kodak Printomatic automatically creates high-resolution photos as soon as you capture them. The printed photos make for perfect dorm room decoration.

Find It at Amazon for $70 and also at these other retailers:

These ASMR-Ready Headphones Promise to Lull You to Sleep

AcousticSheep
AcousticSheep

What do hushed whispers, gently tapping fingernails, and Bob Ross’s voice have in common? They’re all examples of triggers that may cause what’s known as an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), or, as Dictionary.com succinctly explains it, a “calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation” that can be triggered by soothing stimuli. ASMR has recently been recognized as an effective relaxation technique for those looking to calm their nerves; now, ASMR enthusiasts and novices alike can experience it in the form of a sleep-ready headband.

Upon first glance, SleepPhones: ASMR Edition may look like just a fabric headband, but the device actually features flat speakers tucked into soft, stretchy, eco-friendly material. Unlike regular headphones, SleepPhones can be worn comfortably to bed, even if you sleep on your side, and they come preloaded with content designed to help you relax. They feature eight hours of built-in ASMR content by 16 different ASMR artists (or ASMRtists), including but not limited to tracks with rhythmic tapping and "peaceful Italian whisperings."

A close-up of the SleepPhones speaker technology
AcousticSheep

The speaker components of SleepPhones
AcousticSheep

Using SleepPhones is designed to be a stress-free experience. The speakers have the ability to play for 20 ad-free hours with a mere three-hour charging time in between. There are also zero cords involved, meaning you won’t get all tangled up as you lie down or if you have a tendency to toss and turn at night. The small button located in the back of the headband allows you to start, pause, or skip tracks and control the volume.

For people looking for ways to relax beyond yoga and meditation, ASMR may be the way to go. One study observed that subjects watching ASMR videos not only reported feeling that aforementioned pleasant tingling, but were also found to have reduced heart rates.

You can get a pair of your own SleepPhones on Kickstarter with a pledge of $75 or more. They come in three different sizes with seven colors from which to choose.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Make Shopping Easier With This Super-Light Reusable Bag

Nanobag 3.0
Nanobag 3.0

With the current state of our environment being what it is, it's vital to try to reuse, reduce, and recycle as much as possible. Every year, people consume billions of plastic bags, leading to tons of unnecessary waste. Many consumers have made the switch to reusable bags, but they're often not the sturdiest nor most attractive method of portage.

The Nanobag 3.0, which is now raising money on Kickstarter, claims to be a comfortable, easy-to-fold, high-quality bag that can reduce the number of single-use plastic bags needed per year. This super-soft sack can easily fit into the smallest of places, like the watch pocket in your jeans.

Putting a bag into the watch pocket of jeans
Nanobag 3.0

Weighing just 0.7 ounces, the Nanobag 3.0 is made of water- and dirt-repellant rip-stop fabric. You can carry about 66 pounds of goods in its 18-liter capacity, and the bag's reinforced handles work to distribute the weight evenly on your shoulder or arm. Attached to the bag is a small pouch that can carry keys or a small wallet, so you can have all your essentials in one place.

For each bag sold, one tree will be planted with the Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit organization that restores forests and reduces poverty in developing nations.

With over a month left in its campaign, the Nanobag 3.0 has already exceeded its goal of $3,831, raising over $73,000 as of June 17. By pledging $10 or more, you can get your own ultra-light and ultra-strong reusable bag on Kickstarter. Shipping is scheduled for December.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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