The best gifts that college students actually need

For whatever reason, shopping for college students is almost always incredibly difficult. I mean, you were that age too at some point, so it should be easy, right? But alas, they’re interested in trends that haven’t reached the rest of the world yet, which makes picking out a gift they’ll really love pretty tricky.

Don’t worry, though, because we have a list of both practical and fun gifts that the undergrad on your list will actually use. From the freshman to the student abroad to the one in their first apartment, we’ve got you covered. These are the best gifts for college students of 2018, according to Reviewed:

1. For the student facing a harsh winter: Fashionable, sturdy boots

Classes don’t stop just because there’s snow on the ground, and if your loved one attends school in the Midwest or New England, they can expect to trudge through 14 inches of snow to get to English 101. To protect their feet from the cold, get them a nice pair of insulated, waterproof boots. Sorel boots are stylish and insulated to keep toes toasty tastefully, and L.L.Bean’s iconic Bean Boots are perfect for sloshing through snow and rain while still staying comforatble enough for class.

2. For the active student: The best fitness tracker yet

A fitness tracker makes a great gift, whether your recipient is trying to avoid the Freshman 15 or just wants to see how many steps they’re actually taking to and from class each day. In college, I absolutely loved my OG Fitbit Flex and had days when I nearly hit 30,000 steps while living in the furthest dorm from campus. This year, we recommend the Fitbit Charge 3, which is the upgraded version of the best fitness tracker we’ve ever tested. We especially love that it’s waterproof and has an upgraded battery life, making it our top choice for your active student.

3. For the student with zero cooking skills: A cookbook for hangover food

We get it. Sometimes a fun night out leads to an excruciatingly painful morning. For that, students are going to need a little help mustering up the energy to cook. The Hungover Cookbook comes with a hilarious quiz to determine how hungover the reader actually is and then matches them with simple and equally hilarious recipes like the Elvis Presley sandwich and a Bloody Mary that will surely help them recover.

4. For the student who needs to focus: The best wireless earbuds and noise-canceling headphones

Music is a great distraction for the walk to class and for zoning into a long study section. But to truly plug in, your student is going to need an amazing pair of headphones. Apple AirPods are our favorite true wireless headphones and they’re quite trendy with even better sound than your typical Apple headphones, but have the same classic look.

But if complete sound blockage sounds better, we recommend the Bose QuietComfort 35, which are the best noise canceling headphones we’ve ever tested. They’re comfortable and keep the rest of the world out, so students can (hopefully) crank out that late-night paper and be prepared for all their exams.

5. For the student who likes to party: A great portable speaker

No proper party is complete without music. A portable Bluetooth speaker is what every student needs so they can bring the jams from their dorm rooms to their friend’s apartment and even on spring break. The JBL Flip 3 has a nice sound and it’s splashproof, so you don’t have to worry about ruining it at the beach or from a spill. It’s also the best portable speaker under $100 we’ve ever tested.

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