Aside from a good dorm room fan.  

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Once you check off the standard college packing check list, with your bed-in-a-bag sets and storage bins and hand-written instructions on how to do basic laundry from Mom, you might be thinking “Great, all set!” But if you’re going to college down South, you might need to tailor that list a little.

There are the more pragmatic items, like bug spray and a fan, which you’re going to want to make sure you have. And the more cliché ones, like monogramed towels (seems superfluous until there’s a mix-up in the community laundry room!) and a shaker of the appropriate color combination. (Even if you only attend one game…)

But what you really need is a good water bottle. Seems simple enough, but I’m talking a GOOD one. Like the stainless-steel, vacuum insulated, technology-I-don't-fully-understand, kind of bottle.

First of all, you can’t afford to be buying plastic ones every week! Don’t do that! For a variety of reasons.

Secondly, your first semester of college is going to kick off during the HOTTEST part of the year. August isn’t the ideal time to suddenly begin walking miles and miles everyday across a big campus located deep in the South, but until they invent air conditioners for the atmosphere, that’s what we’re working with here. These water bottles keep cold beverages, well, cold, for around-ish 24 hours so they’re more than ready to accompany you on all-nighters at the library.

Swig

There are a million reliable brands offering these now too, from YETI to Hydroflask to Klean Kanteen. I recently found out about Swig, which I love because, superficially, it comes in one million really good colors (20), and a variety of shapes. I wish I could’ve replaced my long-lost plastic jug with a hydrangea-colored tumbler. The colors feel a little more nuanced than the typical lot out there, in case you’re a little burned out on…crimson, oranges, purples, and maroons (listen I went to an SEC school and after a few years you can only look at one color combo so much. Especially when you went to college during the chevron-stripe era, okay?)

WATCH: 25 Essential Recipes Every Southern Kid Should Know Before Heading to College

At risk of sounding very…“up hill both ways,” when I was in school, we didn’t have the vacuum-insulation, high-tech stainless steel varieties. I just had a big old plastic water bottle. (That I lost in JN 310 and am still sad about, FYI.) I drank a lot of room-temperature, BPA-flavored water. So get yourself, or your recent graduate a good bottle, the fine china of dorm rooms!