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Deal Seeker: Back-to-School Backpacks (and Tech Stuff to Put in Them)

As a parent, I’ve never had a problem with back-to-school shopping—because I’m counting the days until the kids go back, and I need to do something to make those days go by a little quicker. Sure, school means I’ll have to get up early, make lunches, and drop some serious coin on clothes, backpacks, and supplies. But if summer teaches parents anything, it’s that school is totally worth the hassle.

So, to celebrate the imminent return of structure and kids with their heads in books, I’ve rounded up some back-to-school deals that’ll help you stock those backpacks with necessities for your tech-savvy progeny (or replace last-year’s peanut butter-smeared pack with something less moldy). I’m hoping these deals will help you cloak your excitement about the kids getting back on that school bus with a little effusion over deals well-scored.

Booq Boa Shift Backpack

Have you ever weighed a kid’s backpack? It’s crazy how much they carry in those things. But the Boa Shift from Booq is up to the job. It’s well-constructed, has plenty of room for huge textbooks, and sports a computer compartment with enough padding to protect any 13- to 15-inch laptop from the hazards of student life. That sweet bag is $150 at Booqbags.com—but I got you 20 percent off anything at Booq’s online store. Just use the code YAHOO20 at checkout.


Homework? Books? Class schedules? Students access all of it from tablets these days. Throw the JamSpot Tablet Stand into that backpack, and your student’s tablet will sit up and act more like a laptop or tiny TV, making working with it at a desk easier. The Table Stand even has built-in Bluetooth speakers. It’s normally $80, but I wrangled you a 20 percent discount: Just go to Bracketron.com and use the code Yahoo!20 at checkout.

iHome K1

Two universal hassles for the modern student—getting out of bed and phone batteries that don’t last the school day—are solved by the iHome K1 Bluetooth stereo speaker system. The speaker wirelessly streams music from a smart phone and it’ll blast that morning phone alarm. And the K1 also comes with a removable K-CELL “power bell": Charge the K-CELL in the K1 overnight, then take it with you to juice up your phone’s battery during the day. I got you 20 percent off: Got to iHome and use the code YAHOO20 at checkout.

Soul Electronics Headphones

My kids destroy headphones and earbuds faster than a buzz saw cuts through butter. So I know every school backpack out there needs a new set for the new year, and I got you a bunch of headphone deals from Soul Electronics: For 40% off the K-POP earbuds, use the code SOUL40KPOP. For 30 percent off the lovely JET over-ear headphones, use the code SOUL30JET. And to get 30 percent off the lightweight LOOP over-ear headphones, use the code SOUL30LOOP.

North Face Surge II Charged Backpack

The slick-looking North Face Surge II pack is even slicker on the inside: It has an integrated battery that charges your phone or tablet while you motor about school. It also has enough pockets to hide anything students might need to stash, and it comes in Monument Grey, Ink Blue / Acrylic Orange, and TNF Black. Get 10 percent off by signing up for eBags email promotions before you check out.

Power Flask

Aren’t the “bad” kids in John Hughes movies always pulling out a hip flask to prove their anti-authority bona fides? I wouldn’t condone that, of course. But I would condone this Power Flask, which can help recharge your kid’s cell phone, while possibly giving her teachers a little shock of their own. Get 10 percent off the already discounted $43 price by signing up for email promotions at eBags.com.

Recycled Rice Bag Quilted Laptop Case

Tuck that laptop into this adorable case made from rice bags by talented Cambodian women: You’ll be saving that computer from your student and a little piece of the developing world from harsh poverty. The Recycled Rice Bag Quilted Laptop Case by Nomi Network for Full Circle Exchange is only $8.25 (down from $24.00) at Walmart.com.

Microsoft Surface

This is the perfect school machine: Small and portable enough to fit in any backpack (and many purses, messengers and smaller bags), with a battery that lasts the day. The cover is a keyboard, and the kickstand on the back of the tablet holds the screen at just the right angle. It runs Windows 8 (with a free upgrade to Windows 10) and just about any Windows software you could want. Students get 10 percent off at the Microsoft Store.

One more note: Apple has just announced this year's Back to School special: When you buy a qualified new Mac at the company's education discount (you'll have to prove you're a legitimate student or faculty member), you get a free pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear Headphones. For now, the deal is available only at Apple retail stores and participating college campus stores; the deal will hit Apple’s Online education store on August 6.