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Back-to-School Tool Guide

Here at dadand HQ the school supply lists are starting to trickle in. That got us thinking that we should make some kind of list of cool non-essential-but-cool-to-have school tools.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “But you’re tool guys, why are you doing back to school stuff?” Well, for one, tools are tools. Tools are something you use to carry out a particular function. It doesn’t have to be a hammer, or a wrench, or a Dual Bevel Sliding Laser Compound Miter Saw, a tool can be something as simple as a pencil. And another thing is, a lot of fans ask us, “Pete and Marty, how can we be more like you?”, and the answer is easy, use the stuff we use.

Epson Expression Home XP-430 Small-in-One® Printer ~$99


So, I’m a little out of touch with the college experience, but I used to have to go down to the computer lab with my floppy disk and wait for everyone and their roommate to print their term papers and presentations.

Not anymore, four eyes. Well, hopefully not, because you, or preferably, your parents, should plunk down $100 bucks for this little beauty from Epson. Not only do I love it’s print quality, but it has awesome features, especially for a sub $100 cost. If you don’t need it for your dorm you should at least find a back-to-school sale and stick it in the home office

Some of the features I love:

  • Wifi Direct: Lets you print without a router or wireless connection, and comes equipped with Epson Connect to print and scan from a tablet, smartphone, or computer from virtually anywhere in the world
  • Easy-to-replace ink: Four individual ink cartridges are available in different capacities, so you can replace only the color you need.
  • LCD Screen: You can preview, edit, and print photos, without turning on your computer.
  • Memory Card Slot: Pull the memory card out of your camera, stick it in the printer, and you can preview, edit, and print photos, without turning on your computer.

Fire Kids Edition Tablet ~$80


I like the Fire Tablet for kids. My 3-year-old LOVES it. She can access books, educational apps, shows, movies, and educational games. We don’t use it like a babysitter, we use it like a treat, as part of her screen time. OH NOOOO, did I just become a parent that uses terms like “screen time?” Crap.

And trust me, I appreciate a thick, heavy, cardboard kid book as much as the next guy, but I also love screens, glorious screens.

Seriously good value (from the amazon site):

  • Up to $109 in savings on Fire, 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited and a Kid-Proof Case, plus a 2-year worry-free guarantee
  • Not a toy, a full-featured Fire tablet with a 7″ IPS display and front and rear cameras.
  • 8 or 16 GB of internal storage. Add a microSD card for up to 128 GB of additional storage.
  • 2-year worry-free guarantee: if they break it, return it and we’ll replace it for free. No questions asked.
  • Unlimited, free access to 10,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited included
  • Best-in-class parental controls allow you to manage usage limits, content access, and educational goals
  • Available in blue, green, and pink

backtoschool-kindlekidsKindle for Kids Bundle ~$99

I know, more “screen time,” amirite? But this isn’t screen time, it’s book time (I stole Amazon’s headline). More and more schools are incorporating technology into the classroom anyway, so your kid will have some kind of device in their hands no matter what. And reading at least 20 minutes a day helps your child in practically every single way and the Kindle is just a way to get thousands, wait, hundreds of thousands of books at your student’s fingertips. Plus there are no games to distract them, just books and words.

There is also built progress and achievement settings, great parental controls, and my favorite feature,  a dictionary/vocabulary lookup feature so your kid can learn to use gooder words.

backtoschool-russellathleticsRussell Performance Underwear ~$10

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. And these aren’t for your high school or college athlete, these are for YOU, because Dad + Athlete = Dadlete.

Dadlete? That’s right, buddy.

Because you’re going to be the heavy lifter loading boxes into the car, driving them to college, then lugging them to a dorm room from across campus because it’s the only freaking parking spot you could find because some jerks took up ALL the “Unloading Only” spots in front of the dorm. And are they “Unloading Only”? NOOOOOOO, of course not. They may have unloaded 3 hours ago, but now they’re walking around the campus, they’re getting lunch, they’re talking about the glory days trying to impress the eye-rolling RA because they probably have soggy underpants and don’t want to walk to the spot over there.

You’re going to be doing the 40-yard-chaperone-dash when you accompany your kid’s class to the zoo and do the head count and that little kid who doesn’t listen decides he wants a snack and isn’t going to be part of the buddy system and does his own 40-yard-popcorn-dash.

And you’re going to be the one with the emotional sweats when you drop your little girl off for the first day of kindergarten and have to do the final hug, kiss, wave, and the old walk-away while your knees shake and your mind races wondering where the time went.

And guess what, for those reasons these aren’t just normal underwear, they are PERFORMANCE underwear, understand? And they have CoolForce technology, got it? And another thing is, they have IntelliFresh.

All this underwear terminology may be too technical for you, so here’s what it all means:

  • Your beans will stay cool without a dorm fridge.
  • Your fruit basket won’t get soggy in a moist environment.
  • Your piquant provolone won’t become a lame limburger.

You can only get them at Wal-mart, so you know they’re inexpensive and you know you can get them in practically any town.

backtoschool-casioCasio Calculator Watch ~$15

I know what you’re thinking already…why in the world would my kid want this when every phone has a calculator built into it?

backtoschool-watch2They don’t WANT it, they NEED it. Or at least they need to have it if they want to be as cool as Marty McFly, or ME in 9th grade. Yeah, that’s right. Marty Freaking McFly had a calculator watch. if it’s cool enough for him, it’s cool for everyone.

Yearbook-EditorYes, it’s probably against the rules to use it in class, but it’s also probably against the rules to be totally awesome, and they will be, like me, when I was editor of the Junior High School Yearbook. And I took the hottest girl in school to the 9th grade dance even though when my dad came to pick us up I was alone because she left with some older kids who were going to a party or something. (NOTE TO EDITOR: let’s remove the part where I talk about when my dad came to pick us up and I was alone because she left with some other kids, thanks.)

And that’s why they need this watch. And for $15 you should probably get one for yourself too.


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