Photo by Brooke Andrus

The first day of the fall semester is just around the corner, and that means it’s almost time for University of Montana students to load up their backpacks with books, notepads and No. 2 pencils. But, there are some supplies that you probably won’t find on any back-to-school shopping list even though you’ll definitely want to have them on hand. Here are five examples — read carefully, because there will be a quiz. Just kidding.


It's almost time for UM students to load up on gear for the fall semester. Here's what you'll need besides pens and notebooks.

Photo courtesy of Enokson/Flickr

A lanyard



Car keys, bike lock keys, dorm keys, Griz Cards — it’s a lot to keep track of, and if you’re like me, it’s only a matter of time before one of these important items goes missing and you’re out retracing your steps from Miller Hall, to the library, to the UC — or wait, was it the Food Zoo? Save yourself the trouble of an unplanned scavenger hunt and wear everything around your neck, or at least keep it on one easy-to-find cord in your bag.


Photo courtesy of garryknight/Flickr

A bike



Even if you live on campus, you’d be surprised by how much time you can save by biking from one building to the next, especially if you have to go all the way across campus. Just make sure you bring a pair of gloves for those chilly fall days so your hands aren’t too frozen to take notes when you get to class.


Photo courtesy of cogdogblog/Flickr

A good pair of boots



Things can get pretty slick out there once the snow flies, especially if you’re on campus early in the morning before everything has been sanded. Sorry, but those Chucky T’s just aren’t going to cut it. At some point, you might have to sacrifice fashion for function, unless you want to end up eating pavement.


Photo courtesy of cogdogblog/Flickr

A coffee thermos



If you’re a frequent customer at one of the campus coffee joints, it’s definitely worth it to bring your own mug. Not only is it more environmentally responsible, but also it’s more convenient to carry a thermos — which you can tote in your bag — than a disposable coffee cup. The UC Market even offers reduced prices for customers who bring their own reusable containers.


Photo by Brooke Andrus

Griz gear



UM students love showing their Griz pride, whether they’re heading to a game, working out at the Rec Center or just going to class. There’s a great selection of maroon and silver duds at the UM Bookstore, but if you’re looking for a better bargain, check out the Griz section at Walmart, Albertsons or CVS Pharmacy.


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