One can observe a variety of backpacks at West Shore. There are the stylish drawstrings that are sometimes impossible to open due to the stuff inside, to the turtle-shell-like camping backpacks that hold three textbooks, and everything in between. Backpacks are very necessary at West Shore due to the lack of lockers, and many complain of their burden (One student did his I-Search project on heavy backpacks in the 2015-2016 school year). This causes some people to share the load between their pack and other items, such as purses or those huge zippable binders. There are ways to solve these problems, but this is West Shore. Just because we can innovate better than everyone else doesn't mean we should.
Normal backpacks: They usually have two to three layers of pockets, at least one side holster, and some kind of pencil holder in one pocket (that will never be used). There may be a secret pocket for marijuanas, headphones, gum, or just small objects that would otherwise be crushed by a binder.
Satchels or laptop cases: While they look great and give plenty of opportunity to sort items, they also put more stress on one shoulder than the other. This can be solved by alternating on which side the bag is carried, or by not carrying around tons of notebooks and some AP textbooks.
Buckets: No, not actual buckets. These have a main area covered by a top flap that makes a cube of space, often along with another pocket wide enough to hold pencils, phones, and other knickknacks. Easy to turtle.
Drawstrings: Often carried on exam days to show that you didn't have to bring anything besides a pencil and study guides, and you were organized enough to realize this. Due to their lack of extensions, these are best reserved for such simple situations. May also be carried by students on sports teams to keep their gear until they find a teacher who will store it. Note: these are required of exam days since real backpacks aren't allowed, unless you're bringing a purse.
Rolling backpack: The trademark of sevvies since time immemorial(and also out lord and savior, Tommy Unger). In between a normal backpack and airline luggage, these are usually abandoned after the seventh-grade year due to incessant mocking (may or may not include tripping) by upperclassmen and their owners getting tired of them flipping over NASCAR-style every time they take a corner too hard while running to class. There's a reason no one else uses them, kids.
Don't tote textbooks! Take note when the teachers give the online book, or if they don't, take pictures of the relevant pages.
Empty out old papers. If it's on edline, it doesn't have crucial information, and the teacher doesn't do notebook checks, it can probably be trashed or at least doesn't need to live in your backpack. If you need to keep them until a certain time, keep a folder at home that you would arrange just like that file you could be carrying around in your pack.
Don't carry an entire stack of loose-leaf paper. Leave some at home, bring around 30 to school, and refill it when you're getting low.
Balance your backpack: it should have adjustable straps, and recentering the weight will make it much easier to carry. Put the heavy things on top; it's a lot easier on your back.
Don't get a rolling backpack. Please. Unless your back doesn't work correctly (this is sometimes the case) and you can't find a friend to carry it, there's no reason. When you get wiser and stop rolling it, you'll still have to tote the wheel rig.
Carry gum in one of the small pockets. If it's peppermint it might be the only thing keeping you awake. 5 is the school's official currency, but a 2:1 conversion rate is also accepted for Trident, and Altoids are generally accepted for small transactions.
Make sure your backpack has side holsters (which can be zipped or not depending on your preference) and plenty of layers.
Carry an umbrella in one of those pockets. Besides keeping you out of rain if you ever have to walk to portables, you can also use them to set up canopies, have an improvised swordfight, and a number of other things that this nerd school would appreciate.
Put things in the smallest place they can go, so that larger spaces can be saved for larger objects.
Don't use that headphone threading hole. It'll just make it more difficult to get them out and back in when you're listening to something without your backpack on.
Don't save food "for later" with the exception of hard protein bars (and popcorn). It'll be squished to the bottom and you're reach into your backpack to find a punctured bag of crumbs or melted chocolate.
Carry a bag of microwavable popcorn with your flat stuff. Trust me, you'll need it one day.
Because you aren't allowed to have medication in school, carry herbs with similar effects, like ginger for nausea and peppermint for alertness, which are allowed as food items. This will also make you look worldly and mysterious, possibly getting you friends.