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Recommended Gear for Digital Nomads

Welcome to our recommended gear for digital nomads page!

Whether you’re planning for your first international backpacking trip or simply looking to uplevel your gear, this is the place to be. Below are our personal favorites based on budget, quality, and experience with the product.

Before we dive into our recommended gear, it’s important to clarify that this is not a comprehensive packing list, but rather a collection of items we’ve found incredibly useful in our travels. Depending on your destination, time of year, and planned activities, you might need additional specific equipment. Our recommendations are tailored for those who prioritize travel, with a focus on items that are compact, lightweight, and suitable for carry-on or hand luggage. For more ideas, be sure to check out our posts on optimizing your travel office and packing essentials. And keep an eye out – detailed packing lists tailored to various travel styles and destinations are on the way!

Last updated: 18th April 2024

Table of Contents

Backpacks

When selecting a backpack, it’s important to consider your specific travel needs. If you’re often on the move, a bag that’s comfortable for extended walking is essential. If you’re thinking about utilizing budget airlines, check to make sure your backpack meets the strict hand luggage carry-on restrictions. For those staying in hostels or shared spaces, it might be wise to choose a backpack with lockable zippers for security. Or if you’re relocating, assess whether this backpack will be your main travel bag or just a part of your gear. Our top picks are designed to meet these diverse requirements, offering a blend of comfort, size, and functionality tailored for the digital nomad lifestyle.

Osprey Sojourn Porter 46L

The Osprey Sojourn Porter 46L has been our go to backpack for the last decade! Even with a product redesign and a plethora of competitors on the market, its versatility and size (46L, hitting the sweet spot for most carry-on requirements), makes it an excellent choice for digital nomads. The bag also boasts comfortable straps for long walks, and its durable build withstands the rigors of frequent travel. With lockable zippers and ample storage space, it’s ideal for those who prioritize security and organization while on the move.

Osprey Farpoint 40L

The Osprey Farpoint 40L is slightly smaller than the Osprey Porter 46L, ensuring it meets carry-on requirements for even the most stringent airlines. While I do miss the extra 6L of storage space when compared to the Sojourn Porter, the back support is significantly better in the Farpoint backpack. There’s also a female version of the Opsrey Fairview 40L, however I’ve tried both and personally prefer the men’s version.

Osprey Farpoint 55L

The Osprey Farpoint 55L is similar to the 40L backpack above, however it includes a detachable 15L day bag too! The day bag is fantastic, but if you overstuff the main backpack, it’s difficult to attach the day bag. If you’re looking for variety in your packing options, this bag may be your go to choice. Here’s the female version too.

Daybags

When choosing a daybag, remember it’s the backpack you’ll be carrying around daily, so its selection should align with your travel needs. For instance, while on the road, a collapsible backpack is ideal for easy transport between destinations. Once settled, a more stable laptop-friendly bag is preferable for taking work to a cafe. Key considerations include enough space for your laptop and accessories, chargers, a water bottle, and other essentials. The right day bag should cater to these requirements, ensuring convenience and organization throughout your journey.

Packable Daybag Backpack

The Packable Daybag Backpack is our go-to choice when traveling, thanks to its ability to fold up small yet expand to accommodate all our essentials. It comfortably fits a 13-inch MacBook Air, notebooks, various accessories, a jacket, and a water bottle. The convenience of a small zipper compartment is perfect for chargers, and the front zipper allows quick access for items like my wallet, glasses, and keys. Its blend of compactness and spaciousness makes it an ideal travel companion.

Comfortable Backpack

When engaging in activities like walking, scootering, or bicycle riding, a comfortable backpack is often our preferred choice. It’s excellent for carrying a full day’s worth of items as well as even weight distribution, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy back. 

Large Crossbody / Messenger Bag

For days when style is as important as functionality, a large crossbody bag is our ideal pick. Not only does it offer ample space for essentials, but it also compliments your outfit, making it perfect for those photo-ready moments. We favor crossbody or messenger bags over totes for their superior weight distribution, which is gentler on the neck, shoulders, and back.

Small Crossbody Bag

A small crossbody bag is a convenient option for carrying just a few essential items while ensuring added security. The crossbody design offers peace of mind, keeping your belongings close and secure, which is especially valuable in crowded places or when on the move.

Fanny Pack / Bum Bag

Despite their reputation, fanny packs, or bum bags, are incredibly practical and have become a popular choice among travelers. They’re perfect for keeping important items like passports, phones, and wallets within easy reach, while also providing a secure way to carry your belongings, all with the added benefit of being hands-free.

Packable Tote Bag

A packable tote bag is an absolute must-have, particularly for grocery shopping while on the move. Its lightweight and collapsible design makes it easy to carry in your daypack, ready to be used whenever you need extra carrying capacity.

Warerproof Dry Bag

A backup waterproof bag is perfect for water activities. It ensures your phone and valuables stay dry and afloat, so you can enjoy your adventures worry-free.

Backpack Accessories

When living out of a suitcase or backpack, the right accessories can make all the difference. Although they may seem simple, these have been absolute game-changers for our travel experience. From space-saving packing cubes to secure luggage locks, these accessories are essential for anyone looking to streamline their travel routine and keep their belongings organized, safe, and accessible.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a must-have for any traveler, offering a variety of sizes to keep your belongings neatly organized. Their real magic lies in their ability to let you pack more efficiently. By filling these cubes to the brim and putting the strain on their zippers, you spare your main backpack from excess stress. One brand isn’t better than the other, simply find one that has great reviews and aligns with your budget. 

No Vacuum Needed Compression Bags

No vacuum needed compression bags are ideal for travelers venturing into varying weather conditions. They’re especially handy for compacting bulky items like puffy jackets and winter clothing. We’ve successfully used these bags to pack winter clothes flat.

Luggage Locks and Security Cables

Luggage locks and security cables are essential for those staying in shared spaces. They offer an added layer of protection for your belongings. Locking your backpack when you leave the room can deter theft, and using a security cable to attach it to a fixed item, like a bed frame, ensures it stays where you left it. These simple yet effective tools provide peace of mind, allowing you to explore your surroundings without worrying about the safety of your possessions.

Carabiners

Carabiners are a traveler’s best friend for their versatility and convenience. They are incredibly useful for quickly attaching items like sneakers, water bottles, and towels to your bag. Especially handy when you’re packing in a hurry, carabiners ensure that your essential items are easily accessible and secure. Over the years, they’ve saved me countless headaches, proving to be an indispensable tool in my travel kit.

Waterproof Backpack Cover

waterproof backpack cover is an essential item for any traveler, especially for those who find themselves in unpredictable weather conditions to protect your belongings and electronics from rain. Make sure to select a size that is compatible with your backpack.

Shoe Bag

shoe bag is especially useful when you’re constantly on the move and don’t have time to clean your shoes before packing. By storing your footwear in a dedicated shoe bag, you can maintain the cleanliness of your backpack’s interior, ensuring that your clothing remains fresh and dirt-free throughout your travels. We’ve tried using a plastic bag, but prefer these when staying in shared spaces, as they are much quieter.

Miscellaneous Accessories

Eye Mask

An eye mask is an essential item for anyone staying in shared spaces or frequently traveling. It’s perfect for ensuring a good night’s sleep in bright accommodations or during travel days on flights, buses, and trains. It’s also invaluable for light sleepers who are easily awakened by sunlight.

Earplugs

Earplugs are a must-have, especially when staying in shared accommodations or staying in unfamiliar places. They help ensure a peaceful sleep, blocking out noises from nearby temples, mosques, traffic, or nocturnal wildlife like chirping geckos and frogs.

Neck Pillow

For those who travel frequently, a neck pillow is a lifesaver. I prefer an inflatable one for its convenience and easy packing. It provides essential neck support during long journeys, making flights, bus, and train rides more comfortable.

Sarong / Travel Blanket

sarong or travel blanket is a versatile addition to any travel kit. Ideal for travel days, it offers extra warmth and comfort. It’s also perfect as a towel, beach blanket, or impromptu picnic mat.

Water Bottle

Carrying a water bottle is not only eco-friendly but also practical, as many places offer free water refills. It’s a simple way to stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste while traveling.

Headlamp / Torch

headlamp or torch is invaluable for hands-free illumination, whether you’re hiking at sunrise or navigating in the dark. It’s also surprisingly handy for reading on buses or searching for items in a shared accommodation at night.

Compression Socks

Compression socks, available in knee or ankle versions, are great for long-haul flights to improve circulation and reduce foot swelling. The ankle version is especially useful for hiking or extended periods on your feet.

Smartwool Trekking Socks

Smartwool trekking socks are a game-changer for nomads who find themselves on hiking trips. Opt for medium or heavy padding based on your hike. The taller version is my preference, keeping shins clean and preventing pebbles from entering the socks.

Sleeping Bag Liner

sleeping bag liner, particularly a silk one, is perfect for camping or staying in less-than-ideal accommodations. Silk liners are known to deter bed bugs, offering added protection for your clothes and gear. Recommended for nomads who are staying in potentially dodgy hostels, very remote areas, or hiking. If not, you can skip this.

Rain Poncho

Starting a trip with just a rain jacket, I often end up buying a poncho along the way. It provides more comprehensive coverage for both body and belongings in heavy rain, surpassing the protection offered by a typical rain jacket.

Toiletries

For digital nomads constantly on the move, we recommend packing these extra toiletry items to add convenience to your travels. They’re designed to be practical and space-efficient for your on-the-go lifestyle. Once you find yourself settled in a location for a while, you might choose to replace some of these with more permanent solutions. However, these items are perfect to pull out again for weekend getaways or shorter trips, ensuring you’re always ready for your next adventure.

Hanging Toiletries Bag

hanging toiletries bag is a game-changer for traveling digital nomads. It offers an organized and accessible way to store all your personal care items, whether you’re staying in a hostel or a hotel. Hang it in the bathroom or on your bunk bed for easy access, and enjoy the convenience of having everything in one place, neatly sorted. It’s particularly useful in shared bathrooms, keeping your essentials off wet counters and within arm’s reach.

Quick Dry Towel

Owning a quick dry towel is essential for any traveler. It’s much more convenient than renting towels at hostels, folds up small for easy packing, and dries quickly – a must-have for the nomadic lifestyle.

Laundry Bags

Laundry bags are surprisingly useful for separating clean and dirty clothes, especially undergarments. They also protect delicates during laundromat visits, helping maintain your wardrobe while on the road.

Febreeze / Deodorizer

Febreeze becomes a travel necessity to keep your clothes smelling fresh. Ideal for times when laundry services aren’t readily available, it’s a quick fix to rejuvenate your wardrobe.

Small Mirror

A small, portable mirror is perfect for those staying in dorms without ample mirrors, long travel days, or accommodation where the lighting isn’t quite right. Choose one that can hang or stand on a desk, making it easier to maintain your grooming routine anywhere.

Menstrual Cup

menstrual cup offers a convenient and space-saving alternative to traditional feminine products. It’s particularly beneficial for travel in areas where your preferred products might not be available, saving space and simplifying your routine.

First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kit is crucial, whether for minor injuries, blisters from new shoes, or too much walking. It’s a small but essential part of a nomad’s health kit.

Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm is a versatile product for relieving mosquito bites, sore muscles, and headaches. Its multipurpose nature makes it a valuable addition to any nomad’s first-aid kit.

Sunscreen

Opt for an aerosol sunscreen once you’re abroad (as its too big for a carry on). It’s handsfree application is easy to apply and quick to dry, making it perfect for on-the-go protection.

Mosquito Spray

Mosquito repellent spray is crucial for protection against mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever, making your travels safer and more enjoyable without the constant itching. It’s a small addition to your kit that can make a big difference in comfort and health.

Wet Wipes

Wet wipes are a multifunctional item for personal hygiene, quick clean-ups, and freshening up on the go. An essential in every digital nomad’s backpack for maintaining cleanliness wherever you are.

Ziplock Bags and Plastic Bags

Never underestimate the utility of ziplock and plastic bags for organization, waterproofing, and separating items. They’re a simple but effective tool in a nomad’s packing strategy.

Computers and Tech

In today’s market, there’s an overwhelming array of options for computers and tech gadgets. In this section, we focus on key items that we believe should be considered when making your purchase. Whether it’s for performance, portability, or durability, these are the factors we’ve found most critical for digital nomads in selecting their tech companions.

Laptop Computer

When choosing a computer as a digital nomad, key factors include portability, battery life, and performance. A lightweight laptop with a long-lasting battery is essential for working on the go, while sufficient processing power and storage capacity are crucial for handling work tasks efficiently. Consider models known for durability to withstand the rigors of travel. Additionally, investing in a reliable hard drive or cloud storage solution for backups is a wise decision to safeguard your work. Our personal favorite is the Macbook Air, as it seamlessly syncs data across all our devices, however your personal preference may require something different.

Camera and Accessories

For digital nomads who document their travels or work in content creation, selecting the right camera involves balancing quality with portability. Look for a camera that offers high-resolution images, good low-light performance, and durability. Accessories like extra SD cards and batteries are must-haves to ensure you’re always ready to capture the moment. A sturdy, portable tripod and a protective case can also be invaluable for on-the-road photography.

GoPro and Accessories

GoPro is ideal for nomads seeking to capture action-packed or underwater adventures. Accessories are key to maximizing its potential – extra batteries ensure you won’t miss a shot, while various mounts like a chest strap or a head mount offer different perspectives. Consider a floating handle for water activities and a dome for those stunning half-above, half-below water shots. A carry case to organize your GoPro and its accessories is also a smart investment for the traveling content creator. Or get it all with the complete bundle kit. 

Tech Accessories

In the realm of tech accessories for digital nomads, the line between ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ often depends on your specific work requirements and your travel style. This section covers a range of tech accessories designed to enhance your productivity and comfort, whether you’re constantly on the move or settling down for a longer stay in one place. While we’ve segmented these into various categories, keep in mind that your needs and preferences may differ. Be mindful of how much gear you can carry while traveling as well as what your preferred needs are for delivering effective work.

Must Have Tech Accessories

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are vital for maintaining focus in varied environments. Whether working in a noisy coffee shop or trying to concentrate on a crowded train, these headphones help create a bubble of tranquility, allowing you to concentrate on your tasks without distractions. Our personal favorites are Apple Airpods since they sync effortlessly with all our devices.

Universal Powder Adapter

universal power adapter is an essential tool for any digital nomad. It eliminates the worry of incompatible power sockets across different countries, ensuring that all your devices stay charged and functional no matter where your travels take you. We prefer this global version, as opposed to carrying country-specific adapters. Look for options that have extra USB or USB-C charging ports, depending on your device needs. 

Surge Protector Power Strip With USB

surge protector power strip with USB is a dual-purpose tool, protecting your expensive gadgets from power surges while also providing multiple charging ports. This is crucial for digital nomads who often set up temporary workstations in various locations and allows you to maximize charging devices when outlets are sparse. We prefer power strips with the surge protection option, as many advertised are portable but do not offer that vital feature.

Portable Backup Battery

portable backup battery is a lifeline for digital nomads, ensuring that your phone, tablet, or other essential devices never run out of power during critical moments, whether you’re navigating a new city, in the middle of a work session, or capturing content on the go. 

VPN

Using a VPN is critical for digital nomads, not just for enhanced security but also for bypassing geographical restrictions on websites and services. It ensures you can access all your necessary online tools and platforms, regardless of your location. Some websites restrict access in foreign countries or limit what users can see. Adding a VPN to your must-have tech tools ensures that you always have access to everything you need to run your business smoothly.

Local SIM or eSIM

Having a local SIM or eSIM is incredibly important for staying connected with affordable and reliable internet access. It’s essential for digital nomads who rely on the internet for work and communication, allowing for seamless connectivity as they travel. Most airports sell SIM cards upon arrival, just make sure your phone is unlocked before leaving your home country. 

Hotspot or WiFi Router

A personal hotspot or WiFi router guarantees you have a stable and secure connection, crucial for uninterrupted work and maintaining productivity, especially in areas where public WiFi is unreliable or unsafe. We often add additional data to our local SIM and use our phones as hotspots when wifi connectivity is poor.

Cord Storage

Efficient cord storage solutions are indispensable for keeping your tech gear organized and easily accessible. It’s a simple act, but saves tons of time and headaches when on the go.

Selfie Stick

When traveling alone, a selfie stick is great for capturing personal memories and also an effective tool for content creation. For digital nomads who want to document their travels, it offers a wider range of shot possibilities.

Nice-to-Have Tech Accessories​

Laptop Stand

laptop stand is highly beneficial for digital nomads, as it creates an ergonomic workstation wherever you go. It helps maintain a good posture and reduces strain during long hours of work, which is essential for nomads who often work in unconventional spaces.

External Keyboard

An external keyboard can significantly enhance typing comfort and efficiency, a crucial factor for digital nomads who spend substantial time writing or coding. It allows for a more natural hand position, reducing the risk of strain injuries.

Wireless Mouse and Travel Mousepad

wireless mouse and travel mousepad add comfort and precision to your mobile office setup. They’re especially useful for digital nomads who engage in design work or prefer the tactile feel of a mouse over a laptop trackpad. Be sure to check how it connects to your computer, as some computer models lack a USB port.

Portable Hard Drive

For digital nomads, a portable hard drive is not just about extra storage; it’s about the security of your data. It ensures that all your important files are backed up, providing peace of mind as you move from place to place. Alternatively, upgrading your cloud storage works too.

USB-C to Ethernet Adapter

In situations where WiFi is unreliable, a USB-C to Ethernet adapter is invaluable for digital nomads. It offers a more stable and faster internet connection, ensuring that online meetings and work deadlines can be met without interruption. Note that many places have strong enough wifi or hotspot capabilities. Check your destination before adding this to your bag. 

USB Hub

USB hub may be crucial for nomads working with multiple devices. It allows you to connect additional peripherals to your laptop, expanding its functionality and helping you maintain an efficient and organized workspace. If you’re connecting a mouse, keyboard, and external monitor, consider purchasing a USB hub to add these extras. Also, be sure to check your computer to ensure it has a USB port. 

Home Office Tech Accessories

Portable Monitor

For digital nomads who need a dual-screen setup for enhanced productivity, a portable monitor is a game-changer. It provides extra screen real estate, making multitasking and complex tasks more manageable.

Portable Desk Lamp

A portable desk lamp is essential for creating optimal lighting conditions in various workspaces. It helps reduce eye strain and creates a focused work environment, which can be especially beneficial in dimly lit or changing locations. We also love these for improving lighting when video conferencing clients or employees, as well as creating Loom videos for our staff. Options range from a super portable clip-on ring light to a standing ‘photo shoot friendly’ option. When traveling, we opted for the former, but as we slowed down, the latter is our preferred choice.

Flexible Desk Tripod

flexible desk tripod is versatile for digital nomads, useful for stabilizing video calls, recording content, or even as an improvised stand for devices. Its adaptability makes it ideal for varied work and content creation scenarios.

Wireless Speaker

wireless speaker enhances the quality of life for digital nomads, whether for listening to music during leisure time or for better sound during online meetings. It adds an element of home comfort to wherever you set up your workspace.

Podcasting Microphone

For digital nomads involved in podcasting or video creation, a quality microphone is essential for capturing clear, professional audio. It ensures that your content stands out with superior sound quality, crucial for audience engagement and professionalism.

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