Est. 2020

Digital Nomad Packing List (2022)

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Digital Nomad Packing List

When someone decides to become a digital nomad, it can be difficult to pack for. Bouncing from bus to airport is worrisome. Plus, protecting your equipment from both theft and accidental drops are extremely important. Many digital nomads also must plan for encountering multiple climates and seasons. 

However, the most important thing to consider when packing is weight. 

  • Budget airlines (especially in Europe) have very strict carry-on requirements. 
  • Also, the heavier your backpack is, the less you will want to move/travel. AND the more annoying it is. 

Primary Bag/Luggage 

Importance Level: High

The most important item for any digital nomad is the bag/luggage. 

Nothing could be worse than dragging a suitcase through the cobblestone streets of Europe. (Or getting caught with your expensive camera gear in an unexpected rainstorm.) 

Luggage sets quickly become expensive, although for luggage, expect quality for a higher price tag. 

 

At the bare minimum, expect to spend at least $100 per piece of luggage. 

Between the features and durability, it is recommended (for digital nomads) to use a backpack. 

There are numerous great companies that make high-quality backpacks in 2022. (Osprey, REI outfitters, Peak Design, etc.) . 

Backpacks must be 

  • Durable
  • Good Cost/Benefit Ratio
  • Water Resistant/Ability to Water Resistant (Easy to do if you purchase a $20 rainfly cover.)

Hours of research, YouTube videos, and discussions later, the best backpack for digital nomads is either: 

A) The Osprey Farpoint Series

Benefits to the Osprey Farpoint Series include:

Different Sizes, Ability to remove the small daypack. Carry-on compliant. Lifetime Warranty. Reputable Brand

Cons to the Osprey Farpoint Series: 

Not water resistant, Lack of Security Features, Traveling Backpack Design

 

B) Peak Design 35 L Travel Backpack

Benefits to the Peak Design Travel Backpack: 

Modular and organization within the Peak Design Ecosystem, Water Resistant without Rain Cover, Hidden Pockets, Modern Design,

Cons: Carry-On Compliant (Ish), Expensive, 

 

Overpacking on a trip

Daypack

Importance Level: High

For digital nomads, carrying two backpacks does indeed become heavy. 

However, the pros quickly outweigh the cons. 

A second backpack that is smaller (around 20 liters) is what you will use as you walk around the cities, villages, and jungles you encounter. 

As important as your large backpack, a daypack’s primary function should focus around durability. 

The best daypacks for digital nomads often have YKK Zippers, water-resistant design, and comfortable shoulder straps. 

You will not spend as much on a smaller daypack as you would on a large, backpack. However, still expect to spend around $100. 

Backpacks can be found around the world, so there is less concern regarding replacement overseas. 

However, finding “the” backpack to replace your previous awesome bag can be difficult. 

The best daypack for Digital Nomads is the 

A) Wandrd Prvke 21L

With YKK Zippers, a roll-top that expands the backpack to 26 Liters, and a weather-resistant outside, the Wandrd Prvke 21L is great for digital nomads and photographers. 

Many content creators have been using this backpack due to its sleek design and awesome features. 

B) Tarion XH Camera Backpack

Also, with a roll-top design, this backpack is for the budget-conscious. It contains a hard-shell to protect photography gear, and the material does not scratch like the Tarpaulin exterior on the Wandrd Prvke 21.

A big concern with this backpack is the shoulder strap’s longevity. However, the backpack does have a two-year warranty from the manufacturer. 

Organization Methods

Importance Level: High

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A lack of organization can cause frustration for anyone, but especially a digital nomad. 

The last thing you want to do is lose a flash drive, power cord, or can’t tell which clothing is clean or dirty. 

Products that help keep you organized: 

  • Tech Pouch 

It doesn’t have to be an expensive, $100 pouch, but this is a place to keep miscellaneous power cords and what-nots. 

  • Toiletry Bag
  • Compression Packing Cubes

The secret to every digital nomad’s arsenal, packing cubes help you organize different clothing. 

Kudos to you if you can pack all of your clothing within a medium packing cube. 

  • Using the same charging system

If you can, try to carry electronics within the same charging system. Carrying USB-C, micro-USB, etc. will cause headaches later. 

Shoes

Importance Level: High

Shoes are integral to be a successful nomad, and you will spend more on shoes than you want to admit. Yes, you can buy cheap shoes around the world, but will they be the same quality? Probably not. 

Climate aside, there are two types of shoes that you should always have with you. 

A) Pair of Sandals

Something to walk to the beach, wear in hostel showers, or days when you don’t like wearing tennis shoes. 

The most important aspect of these shoes are, “What happens if these shoes get wet.”

B) Good Pair of Walking Shoes

Tennis shoes are ideal. Comfortable pair of shoes you don’t mind walking 10km (6.2 miles) in per day.  

 

Sleep Aides

Importance Level: High 

If staying in hostels, (which some digital nomads do) sleep aides become important. 

Earplugs and Sleep Masks can be lifesavers, especially when people walk into rooms at 3 AM and turn on lights. 

Lack of sleep has been scientifically proven to cause a variety of side effects including: weight gain and a caffeine dependence. 

Laptop & Laptop Case

Importance Level: Personal Preference 

Computers differ amongst different types of digital nomads.

Depending on your individual uses, you could use anything from a Google Chromebook to a new Macbook Pro. 

If you plan on becoming a YouTube star, your computer will need a considerable amount of RAM to run Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. 

For just general web browsing, a simple tablet might even work. 

After picking your laptop/tablet, the next most important thing will be the case. 

Just like a backpack, picking a laptop/tablet case is an investment. If you purchase the right one, you may not need to buy another for a few years.

The best cases provide drop-protection and a form of water resistance. 

Camera Gear

Importance Level: Personal Preference 

Just like laptops, camera gear differs amongst digital nomads too. 

Some recent travel influencers use their phones, while others use a full-frame mirrorless camera from Canon. 

If anything, this probably is the least important for digital nomads. 

Pictures are cool, but most people cannot tell the difference between a $4o0 camera’s photo and a $3500 camera photo. 

If you are from the United States, and you want a camera, purchase your camera in the U.S. (It’s cheaper.)

Clothing

Importance Level: Low

Reasons to visit Kansas

Clothing for traveling is the most difficult to pack and the least important. 

Why? You can purchase clothing everywhere. 

The biggest suggestion to packing clothing is this: 

If you are an extreme planner, for the first 3-4 months, plan your trip around similar climates. 

For example:

Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey

Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam

This will make packing easier. When the seasons change or you elect to move across climates, purchase clothing as you go. Donate clothing items that you don’t need to charities/friends. 

Clothing is the one item that can quickly add weight to your luggage. 

Expect winter clothing to weigh at least 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) more than your summer clothing. 

  • Wherever you go, always pack/carry one pair of pants. From Mosques to Pagodas, clubbing to dinners at embassies, one pair of pants is needed at all times. If you can, avoid packing denim due to weight and how long it takes to dry. 

Toiletery Items

Importance Level: Low

Selection may be limited, but most countries do have some form of toiletry items. 

Each item is up to your discretion, but please use at least: 

  • Toothpaste
  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen (May need to pick-up prior to travel)
  • Toothbrush 
  • Tweezers 
  • Fingernail/Toenail Clippers
 

Some notes about toiletry items:

Fingernail clippers also serve the purpose of emergency scissors when need-be. 

Recently, there has been the development of more solid toiletry items such as shampoo and conditioner. 

Liquid sizes on airplanes differ amongst countries. Please research for your specific itinerary. 

Personal Items

Importance Level: High

Microfiber Towel: Digital Nomad Packing List

Each one of the next items are integral for a successful trip. 

  • Micro-Fiber Cloth Towel
  • Electric Adapter
  • External Battery Pack
  • Reusable Filtered Water Bottle 
  • Drawstring Bag 
  • Lock

Why should you pack a microfiber cloth towel?

Not every hotel/hostel offers free towels. You don’t want to use every hotel/hostel towel. Micro-fiber towels dry quickly, are super absorbent, and can be taken from beach to shower. They are also very easy to clean. 

Why do you need an electric adapter? 

The world uses 14(!) different forms of outlets and two different voltages. (220 vs. 110)

Most small electronics (i.e. computers) can charge on the spectrum between 110 and 2220. However, the differences in plugs are the troublesome part. 

Even in the same continent, electrical outlets differ. (For example, China uses type C and Japan uses type A. 

Why do travelers need an external battery pack?

Useful when you need it, worthless when you don’t, an external battery pack is for emergencies, or when your 10 hour bus ride does not have any outlets. 

Why do you need a filtered water bottle? 

A reusable water bottle servers  a two-fold mission. It reduces plastic waste and filters bacteria. 

Why do you need a drawstring bag when you travel?

Probably the most underrated item within your luggage, a drawstring bag is invaluable in day-to-day life. 

It carries groceries, provides someplace to store your stuff during beach days, and takes up minimal space. 

Why should you travel with a lock? (or 2)

Walking through markets, hostel lockers, or just daily travel on public transport, it never hurts to have additional security. 

Expensive items, especially electronics, can be costly to replace overseas. 

 

For more information about how a digital nomad packed, check out this YouTube video.

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