Digital Nomad Packing List
Everything you need to travel the world indefinitely while working remotely. Small, lightweight tech and clothing that’s ready for work meetings or adventures.
One Backpack. One Laptop. Unlimited Potential.
Pack Hacker x Aer Giveaway 2023
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Welcome to the Digital Nomad Packing List. If you’re a frequent Pack Hacker visitor, you probably already know what a digital nomad is. If not, here’s a definition from Wikipedia: “Digital Nomads are a type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their lives in a nomadic manner.”
While a little jargony, that definition certainly fits the bill. This list has everything you need to travel the world while working remotely.
We’re here to guide you through the ordeal that is preparing for such a journey. We’ve done the research, we’ve done the testing, we’ve done the traveling, and we’ve distilled it all down into one list with everything you need to succeed.
Now, before we jump into the specifics, we know that what works for some isn’t going to work for others—trust us, we get it (even the Pack Hacker team differs when it comes to certain gear). So, if the items on this list aren’t floating your boat, don’t worry. There are plenty of other options out there—and we’re here to help. We have more packing lists, guides, and reviews that’ll help you find what works for you.
The tech & productivity and miscellaneous sections of our list are all unisex, while bags, clothing & accessories, and toiletries & personal care are split into men’s or women’s focused items. Whether you’re currently traveling the world as a digital nomad, planning to, or wishing you could, it’s our hope that this list will not only help you prepare for your trip but give you the confidence to know that it isn’t nearly as stressful as you might think.
Digital Nomad Packing List Video
Standalone Bags & Organizers
These are the big hitter bags and organizers that will be used to carry everything on this list. We’re opting for a one bag travel method (well, and a sling). All the items on this list can fit into the main travel pack, although we usually opt to pull out the sling for air travel.
Whether you’re on a transatlantic flight, heading to the coworking space to get some work done, or going on a day hike just outside the city—we have an organization combo for you.
The Aer Travel Pack 3 is the latest iteration of one of our favorite bags. Its comfortable harness system is updated with well-cushioned straps and load lifters to help keep the weight off your shoulders. There’s also an option to add a hip belt, though it’s sold separately. The deep bucket shape is easy to pack, effortlessly fitting packing cubes and pouches. For everything else, there’s the front compartment with plenty of liner pockets for smaller gear, and a couple of other sneaky compartments, like a designated spot for storing an AirTag. Though we like this pack for its professional look that doesn’t single you out as a tourist, most bags around this 35L size work for carry-on travel.
For the women’s list, we went with the Aer Travel Pack 3 Small. It’s the 28 liter model of the Travel Pack 3—the latest version of one of our favorite bags. You can always size up to the 35 liter if you want, though we find this size a lot more comfortable on a smaller frame. The harness system has well-cushioned straps and load lifters to help keep the weight off your shoulders. There’s also an option to add a hip belt, though it’s sold separately. The deep bucket shape makes it easy to pack cubes and pouches. For everything else, there’s the front compartment with plenty of liner pockets for smaller gear, and a couple of other sneaky compartments, like a designated spot for storing an AirTag. We like this pack because its professional look won’t single you out as a tourist, though most bags around this size will work.
We like pairing slings with travel packs because they allow quick access to daily essentials. The Aer Day Sling 3 has a spot for everything. Keep your passport in the back pocket for extra security. Meanwhile, the front pocket is great for keys and sunglasses. For everything else, the main compartment has plenty of pockets and panels to keep a power bank, wallet, playing cards, and more. This functions as our personal item for air travel and days out on the town. Keep it tight to your chest while in transit or loosen the strap and have it closer to your hip for a more casual look. Regardless of how you wear it, this sling holds your travel essentials and looks good doing it. It even fits a Nintendo Switch. Everything else we talk about in this video fits in this backpack and sling combo.
For days when you need more space than a sling but less than travel-pack sized capacity, the Matador On-Grid Packable Backpack has you covered. It fits in the palm of your hand and expands to 16 liters. This is handy for grabbing groceries, day trips to the beach, or loading in-flight essentials into if you’re asked to check your main bag before boarding. In that case, you can put anything you need to keep a close eye on in here and use it as your carry-on or personal item. There’s plenty of storage space for whatever you need to fit inside, and its sleek look is at home with the minimal aesthetic on this list.
This Crossbody Wallet from Moment stores all of our sensitive information. It has enough space for a passport and documents like a boarding pass, transit card, and proof of immunization. It fits great inside a sling for everyday use as a travel wallet but also comes with a shoulder and wrist strap. We like to carry it on its own when we don’t need the capacity of a sling and want to look a bit more dressed up.
We like Bellroy’s Travel Wallet for storing sensitive info. It has enough space for a few cards, a passport, and documents like a boarding pass, transit card, and proof of immunizations. With everything in one place, you’ll speed through customs in no time. There’s even a pen if your airline doesn’t provide one for the declaration form—a surprising amount of function in a small package.
The RE:FORM RE:02 Card Holder is our daily driver for essential cards. It’s incredibly slim, durable, and lightweight, so it doesn’t take up much space in a pocket or sling. However, cash can be a little hard to squeeze inside, and there’s no space for coins in this model. This means you’ll need another place to store loose change if you’re traveling to a place where cash is still king.
All the small gear on this list has to go somewhere, so we use TOM BIHN Ghost Whale Pouches to keep it organized. We’re bringing along three that we move between bags as-needed. The first has all of our tiny tech accessories that are easy to lose even in a tech pouch. The second is for small toiletries, like tweezers and nail clippers. Last up is first aid items, which we’ve taken from a pre-made kit and leave in our travel pack just in case. While these pouches come in a ton of sizes, we opt for the smallest since it’s low-profile and just big enough for our gear.
Clothing & Accessories
When you only have room for a few key pieces, you need to make each one count. In this wardrobe, we’re focused on versatile clothing with a monochromatic color scheme (AKA, all black). In addition to being undeniably badass, all-black works well because you can use it in a wide variety of environments—from formal to casual and everything in between. It also helps conceal stains and allows you to easily swap and mix items as they get dirty or smelly.
These options will carry you through any climate, which is essential for travelers who find themselves on both tropical islands and in land-locked cities.
The Woolx Reaction Boxer Briefs are made with Merino wool, which means you can wear them a few times between washes. They’ve been one of our go-tos for the past five years, and you can get about 90 wears per pair before they start wearing down. If you go all-black like us, we recommend sewing different color threads into an inside seam. It’ll help you keep track of which underwear you've been wearing and which ones need to be washed.
Darn Tough’s Tactical No Show Light Socks are a bit of a mouthful, but they're great for everyday use. They offer a bit more durability and cushion than your average cotton sock. Darn Tough even offers a lifetime warranty that we’ve tested ourselves. Even though they’re on the pricier side, it’s safe to say that one purchase gets you socks for life.
Think of the Outlier Ultrafine Merino T-Shirt as your ultimate basic, whether you’re heading to a coworking space or spending the day wandering around a museum. Outlier changes their products all the time, but the Ultrafine has been a reliable staple year after year. We like the boxy shape of Cut 2, but there are other fits to choose from. We’re bringing two of these shirts so we have an extra in rotation.
Outlier’s Dreamweight Merino T-Shirt is a soft shirt good for pretty much anything. It’s made with 75% 16.5 micron merino wool spun with 25% nylon staple fibers, which is just a fancy way of saying that this shirt is super lightweight and comfortable. Plus, it’s great in both hot and cold climates, so it adds layering versatility.
The Wool & Prince Pocket Tee is made for casual days. The pocket design gives it the feel of an everyday t-shirt, and while the pocket is technically functional, it’s more for style than anything. Or, if you’re desperate, to hold a few loose coins when your pants pockets are too full. We’ve all been there. It’s made with 17.5 micron wool and features two small nylon filaments to increase durability, which essentially means reduced pilling and increased shrink resistance—great for extended time on the road.
The Waffle Crew Neck Sweatshirt from Wool & Prince can be worn as a base layer on colder days or as a standalone long-sleeved shirt—a key layering piece on this list. It’s thick enough to add warmth when you need it but won’t have you overheating when you don’t. It’s more like a soft merino t-shirt—not a fuzzy wool sweater.
You won’t always need to dress up, but the Wool & Prince Button-Down Oxford is great for meeting with clients on the road or going on a date with someone you meet while traveling. There are a ton of different styles and weights available online, so you can find what feels most natural to you.
The lululemon Comission Short is an everyday short with ABC (anti-ball crushing) technology for extra comfort. The material is a stretchy and breathable blend of recycled polyester and Elastomultiester (say that ten times fast), which makes them great for long days of walking around. We’ve found that they can get a bit smelly if you wear them frequently in hot weather, though it’s nothing laundry day doesn’t fix.
From far enough away, the Outlier New Way Shorts pass as a sleek chino. The style is versatile, whether you’re meeting up with some fellow Digital Nomads or spending a day walking around a busy market. These shorts double as swim trunks, too, with lightweight and breathable nylon material and a drawstring for a tailored fit. You get two uses out of one pair—the ultimate win-win.
Whether you're working in a coffee shop or exploring the city, the lululemon ABC Pant’s thin, breathable Warpstreme fabric has the right amount of stretch for just about any activity and has wrinkle-resistance for long days of travel. We use these for everyday wear, and they’re easy to dress up or down. There’s even a hidden zippered pocket for stashing an ID or card if you want to leave your wallet behind. Handy!
The Outlier Slim Dungarees are a staple for most of our one-bag loadouts. They're thick but still retain the breathability and stretch you want for travel. Also, they're super durable, which is a must while country-hopping. They still look slick and perform well for everyday wear.
You’ll be going through a lot of airport security lines, which is where the Arcade Ranger Belt’s plastic buckle comes in. You can go through the metal detector without taking it off, and its stretchiness is comfortable on long planerides or if your weight fluctuates while you’re traveling.
The Unbound Merino Compact Travel Hoodie is exactly what it says it is: a travel hoodie. What sets it apart is its light weight, packability, and lack of drawstrings—who needs ‘em anyway? You may find it a bit thin if you’re used to thick cotton sweatshirts, but it’s easy to layer if you need extra warmth.
The Branwyn Essential Bralette is made with Merino wool and has enough support and shoulder adjustability to be comfortable all day long. There’s no underwire, so it folds easily into a small packing cube. It even converts to a cross-back strap design, so you’re not limited in your shirt styles. For C-cup sizes or larger, opt for the Essential Busty Bra, which has a similar design with added support.
For the days a thong just won’t cut it. The Essential Bikini from Branwyn is made with Merino wool to wick away moisture throughout the day. It’s a great material for base layers, though you’ll still need to wash it between wears. Don’t worry, though—it dries fast!
The Essential Bikini from Branwyn is made with Merino wool, which is something we like to see in base layers like underwear. We’re bringing two pairs in neutral and black, since we prefer to play it safe with panty lines.
This period-proof underwear is an eco-friendly alternative to single-use sanitary products. It comes in a few different styles, so you should be able to find one that matches your flow. You can always swap it out for a Diva Cup or similar alternative, but we like that these act as a backup pair of underwear even off our cycle.
Darn Tough describes these as, “The toughest sock you’ll never see,” and we have to agree. These socks are durable, breathable, and naturally antimicrobial, so you can wear them multiple times. They also stay in place with no slipping or bunching. Darn Tough even offers a lifetime warranty that we’ve tested ourselves. They’re on the pricier side, but it’s safe to say that one purchase gets you socks for life.
Icebreaker’s Everyday Cami works well on its own as a tank or additional layer under any other item on this list. It packs down super small and the straps are adjustable so that you can find the right fit.
On hot days, you’ll be happy to have this wayre Shift & Snap Tank. Its loose design and side slits keep the air flowing, though it may feel a little high if you’re not used to showing skin. The silk-like material is lightweight, dries super fast, and has anti-odor protection, which is ideal for multiple days of wear.
The be free long tank top from Alder is made with a blend of lyocell and spandex, which is super soft, stretchy, and breathable. It works well on its own as a tank or additional layer under another item on this list. There are plenty of color options, though we’ve found the light colorway to be a bit see-through—nothing too intense, but enough that it’s worth noting. The tank is also available in an extended length if you have a long torso.
Made with technical silk, this Snap To It Tank Top can be formal when necessary but not so formal that you can’t wear it every day. It’s stretchy and wrinkle-resistant, so it’s equally good-looking and comfortable. The straps adjust in two places using snaps that you can find the right fit, and while it’s not as granular as slide adjusters, we dig the unique solution that doesn’t impact aesthetics.
We prefer to bring a one-piece suit because it can double as a bodysuit under a pair of pants or shorts. The lululemon Waterside High-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit adds a subtle trendiness to this list, though its low back may not be for everyone.
This Merino Wool Crew Neck T-Shirt from Unbound Merino is super soft, making it great for lounging around your accommodations or staying cozy during long days of travel. It can feel a bit tight after a wash, though it loosens back up after a few wears.
A basic tee is a must, and Icebreaker’s Everyday Short Sleeve Crewe really does thrive in everyday situations. It’s ideal for both working out and working on your laptop. It flies under the radar in looks, but its versatility is hard to beat.
ADAY’s Made it T-Shirt can be dressed up or down for practically any event. It’s polished enough for a business meeting and comfortable for everyday wear. We love how the relaxed fit adds some versatility to our wardrobe. Plus, it’s incredibly lightweight and quick-drying, which isn’t surprising considering it’s made of silk. Feels like it, too.
The Athleta Brooklyn Short is a comfortable do-it-all bottom for warm weather days or sleeping. It’s made with a quick-dry fabric, which means you can even wear them for exercise. The straight leg fit can be dressed up a bit, though it doesn’t look too formal with the right top.
With a high waist, an elastic waistband, and wrinkle-resistant, spill-proof fabric, the wayre Flow Short pretty much does it all. It dries quickly in hot weather, and sweat doesn’t show even on the lighter colorways. The two side pockets zip, which keeps your transit ticket from flying away, though weighing it down with heavy gear like a phone can make the shorts sag a bit.
The Fusion Straight Leg Pant from Ministry of Supply is easy to dress up for business and down for everyday wear. It’s made with lightweight materials that stretch with you, so it's comfortable whether you’re working away at a deadline or wandering around the city. There’s even buckles on the pant legs so you can adjust the hemline, though we had some issues going through the full-body scanners in airport security, so wear another pant or give yourself some extra time for a pat-down.
With its high-rise waist and wide-leg cut, this City Sleek pant from lululemon has enough style to add flair to your wardrobe without being over-the-top. It’s super stretchy and wicks away moisture on hot days. Plus, it doesn’t hold wrinkles, so you’ll be ready to roll in no time.
For days when you want to keep it casual, the lululemon Align High-Rise Pant is an easy alternative to regular pants. The material is ridiculously soft, and the high-rise waistband keeps it from slipping down. We chose the version without pockets for a sleek, seamless look, but if you want storage for your phone that’s also an option. They’re not classy enough to wear into a business meeting, though but the added comfort is an easy trade-off.
This Swift Sheath Dress from Ministry of Supply is our go-to dress because of its timeless silhouette that has a relaxed and casual feel that’s also professional enough for work and business meetings. It’s wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking, which is handy if you only break it out on special occasions. Plus, it has pockets. Need we say more?
The Spacedye Everyday Hoodie from Beyond Yoga looks casual and is our go-to for extra warmth and comfort on the plane, in a cold coworking space, or at our accommodations. The blend of polyester and elastane is absurdly soft, and though we’ve seen some pilling on the underarm seams after a few weeks of use, it’s easy to pick off.
This Lab Perforated Run Hat from lululemon is super packable with its flexible cap and bill materials. As the name suggests, there are perforated holes for venting but it still has enough coverage for sun protection. It adds a little extra style to your bad hair days. We kind of get Janet Jackson vibes, but that’s not really a bad thing.
The RAB Phantom Waterproof Pull-On Jacket is one of the most packable rain jackets we've seen to date. It keeps you dry in a pinch and is easy to add over warmer layers considering that it's roughly the size of an apple when packed. Store it in the small included pouch when you don't need it, though the pouch itself isn't attached, so you'll need to find a place to store it when the jacket is on.
Patagonia’s Nano Puff has been around for a long time because it’s a fan-favorite, and for good reason. It feels like you’re wearing nothing and has a great warmth-to-weight ratio. As for hood or no hood, it depends on what’s on your packing list. Try to avoid hoodie fatigue so that you have ultimate layering freedom.
A Buff is probably one of the most versatile things you can have in your travel bag. It works as a sleep mask, beanie, scarf, and so much more. There’s a bit of a learning curve to figuring out the folds, but once you do, you’ll love having a million uses in one.
A pair of gloves will keep your fingers warm but can often be bulky. Black Diamond Heavyweight Screentap Gloves are easy to pack and touchscreen compatible. It gives the comfort and warmth you need to answer emails on the fly on a cold day, though they’re best suited for mild weather—from 25 to 40°F (-4 to 4°C).
Sunglasses are necessary when traveling, though they can be bulky. Nooz Optics makes sunglasses that pack down super flat and stow away easily in a sturdy plastic case. They look sleek and come in a bunch of different styles. The flat lenses may take some getting used to, but the small form factor is hard to beat.
Being a Digital Nomad doesn’t mean leaving all creature comforts and accessories behind. The Groove Life Zeus Edge Ring adds a bit of style to your wardrobe without adding weight or bulk. It’s made with a stretchy silicone and has inner grooves that add breathability and prevent stretching over time.
This headband from Nike is one of the smallest and thinnest we’ve seen. It’s great for keeping hair out of your face during a workout. Just don’t lose it to the depths of your bag.
When you frequent the airport, having footwear you can easily slip on and off is a lifesaver. These Vessi Weekends look like simple lace-up tennis shoes, though they’re stretchy enough to put on without untying the laces every time. The material is waterproof but breathable, and the cushy footbed is comfortable for long days of walking around.
Chaco’s Wayfarer sandals look professional and are minimal enough to pair with any outfit on this list. The cushioned sole and soft leather upper will provide all-day comfort in a range of terrain and look good doing it.
While the Pace Hydro hat from Melin is designed for running, it’s a low-profile hat that looks good doing just about anything. The flat brim style may not be for everyone, though it packs down super small and fits easily into a small corner of your pack or sling. It even floats, so you won’t have to worry about it sinking to the bottom of the ocean if you decide to join some new friends in an impulsive cliff dive. Plus, the built-in sweatband wicks away moisture on hot days.
The Z-Trail EV sandals from Xero Shoes are super minimal for everyday wear, though the style may not be for everyone. The lug pattern provides traction if you go on wild adventures without losing out on the feel of barefoot shoes. They’re also great for days at the beach and keeping your feet off the hostel floor showers.
When we travel, we look for barefoot shoes because their minimalist form factor easily compresses to fit inside limited bag space. Vivobarefoot’s RA III looks nice enough to wear to dinner but isn’t overly formal for day-to-day wear. While the low-top design isn’t as good for protecting your ankles on motorbikes, the packability is a worthy trade-off.
The Extra Small size Pack-It Isolate Packing Cube from Eagle Creek is just-right for our undergarments. It's the perfect size for small clothing, and the poly ripstop material is super lightweight. The bucket design is easy to pack, and it doesn’t take up much space in a travel backpack.
All the tops and bottoms on this list fit within two Small Peak Design cubes, which we like for their easy-to-open design and self-healing nylon that repairs any small holes if they appear on the road. We use one for tops and the other for bottoms.
Since we’re bringing two types of footwear, shoe segmentation is a must. Peak Design’s Shoe Pouch keeps your dirty shoes away from your clean clothes. It’ll keep any sand or debris contained, and there’s even a weather-resistant zipper to boot.
Productivity & Tech
This is all the gear you need to rock a complete mobile office on the road. For the true digital nomad, this section is critical. Between all the cords, dongles, and different inputs you need for everyday work—this stuff gets real confusing real quick. But that’s why you have us, right?
We’ve got your bases covered with this simple tech system. It also provides redundancy if you lose or break a cable during your travels—let’s face it, things happen. Spending the day coworking abroad has never felt this seamless.
After a long search for a small tech kit that can keep oddly-shaped gear tidy, the Aer Slim Pouch came out on top. It easily fits all the tech mentioned in this video with room to spare. The zippered pocket keeps small dongles from getting lost while the other liner pockets are great for everything from cables to travel adapters. Larger bricks and portable chargers slot well in the remaining open space without disrupting the sleek form factor.
The Matador Laptop Base Layer has a rolltop design that fits up to a 16-inch laptop but is still one of the most low-profile laptop sleeves we’ve found to date. We like to keep it on hand because it’s an easy way to carry tech if you’re asked to check your bag. Just pull out your laptop, load some accessories in the zippered mesh pocket, and you’re good to carry it by the handle. It’s also great for some airlines who consider a laptop bag’s weight separate from your allowed carry on weight.
A laptop is one of the heaviest items in your bag, though most digital nomads aren’t able to sacrifice it for a smaller device. We opt for a MacBook Pro, but any laptop will work.
This is Roost’s current iteration of their laptop stand, and it’s a must if you’re going to be working on a laptop for long periods of time. It folds up when not in use and offers seven levels of adjustment for your laptop when it’s time to work. It’s an easy way to get an ergonomic desk setup anywhere in the world.
Apple’s Magic Keyboard is pretty standard, but we like it because it’s small, wireless, and integrates nicely with a MacBook. Though be sure to check your MacBook’s processor first, as you may need a different model from M1 to Intel. Otherwise, you can swap it out for your desired keyboard, although we recommend keeping it small and wireless.
This neoprene Keyboard Sleeve from Roost adds an extra layer of protection for your keyboard while in transit. It’s low-profile and stretchy enough to fit around more than just Apple products.
Apple’s Magic Mouse 2 is one of the flattest mice we’ve tested and is easily rechargeable. It may take some time getting used to no scroll wheel, so feel free to swap out whatever mouse you prefer here.
The MOGICS Super Bagel is one of the best travel adapters we’ve tested to date. In the center is a plug that pops out and transforms into an adapter compatible with U.K., AU, and EU wall sockets. What’s left over is a bagel shape that can host up to five charging adapters and holds an extension cable to give you a little extra reach in your preferred work space. There’s also a USB-A and USB-C port for extra charging options. The Super Bagel worked like a charm in Thailand, and even when a power surge tripped a fuse, the auto-reset had it working again in no time. We did have trouble getting it to work in South Korea, though it’s common for adapters to have issues there.
The Anker 737 is a 120 watt GaN wall charger that features two USB-C and one USB-A charging port to keep all your devices juiced up. We dig its skinny, compact design that makes for easier packing, though the length can get a little top-heavy and may fall out of looser outlets. However, the included suction cups help add stabilization, and we find ourselves plugging this into our travel adapter most of the time, anyway.
With a maximum output of 140W, the Anker 765 USB-C Cable easily charges everything on this list, from the smartphone to the laptop. We’re bringing along two. The 6-foot version is great for covering large distances, like when an outlet is a little too far away from your table at the coffee shop. Meanwhile, the 3-foot version is ideal for pretty much everything else.
Instead of bringing a cable that can only charge Lightning devices, the Meenova USBC to Lightning Adapter quickly changes your regular USB-C cable into a charger for your Apple smartphone and wireless headphones. We love how small this thing is, but if you’re worried about losing track of it, you can always leave it attached to one of the cables in your tech pouch.
For any cable combinations you’re missing, there’s Rolling Square’s inCharge X. There are a total of six combinations to play with, including Micro USB. Not only does it save you if another cable breaks, but it’s also a great way to help out a stranger while you’re traveling.
For days when there’s no outlet nearby, bring along the NITECORE NB10000 Power Bank. It’s one of the slimmest and lightest battery banks we’ve tested to date, and the 10,000 mAh capacity will have you covered during long days of exploring. It’s thin enough to fit into a pocket, though beware of the pointy corner edges when sitting down.
When you’re working remotely, it’s important to stay connected. An Apple Watch integrates seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem and will notify you of incoming texts, calls, or even upcoming meetings. You can also track your fitness, which is great on long days of walking around. While it needs to be charged every day, it’s worth having on hand—or wrist.
This USB-C Charging Dock from Satechi is a compact alternative to the standard market Apple Watch charger. Instead of an attached cord, it plugs into your laptop or wall charger directly via USB-C. This means it takes up less space on your table and in your tech pouch.
Apple’s AirPod Pro’s noise-canceling feature is phenomenal. It works like a charm when you’re trying to get some shut-eye on a plane. When it’s time to listen for announcements at your terminal, toggle on the hear-through feature. These won’t beat over-ear headphones, but they’re worth the space and weight you save.
You may not need a Lightning to Headphone dongle all the time, but this version from Ugreen is great to keep on hand just in case. If your wireless headphones die just before a meeting or you lose them in transit, you can pick up a cheap pair of earbuds and get back on schedule. Non-Apple users, you can disregard this item.
We’re big fans of the Apple ecosystem, which is why we go for iPhones, though any phone will work.
If you’re a fan of ecosystems, you’ll dig the Peak Design Everyday Case. It’s designed to work with their accessories, though it functions just as well as a standalone phone case. We dig the nylon canvas fabric shell for its soft, premium feel and professional design.
The Peak Design Mobile Tripod is a low-profile phone tripod that attaches to your smartphone and rotates to support your device in portrait or landscape mode. Set it up and take a group photo or catch a long exposure of a city skyline. You can also prop up your phone on a desk to use it as an extra screen while you work or leave it on your tray table to watch some shows if your plane doesn’t have in-flight entertainment.
Instead of using the wired headphones provided by an airline, the Twelve South AirFly Pro connects your bluetooth headphones to the entertainment center on the plane. This device doubles as a transmitter and receiver and allows you to connect up to two pairs of headphones at once to sync your movie with a travel companion.
Move files between your devices using the Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe. One side has a USB-C connector while the other has Lightning. Easily rotate it to expose the adapter you need and plug it into your device. Then you can transfer data between your laptop and smartphone with ease. Or, use it to print a travel document if there’s no WiFi on the printers at the print shop.
This Open Mini Ballpoint Pen from Olight has a compact design that stays out of the way until you need it. Use the included clip to attach it to your notebook between musings or keep it in your sling until it’s time to fill out your customs form. Some outer material is removed, which gives it a cool design and removes some extra weight.
The Notebooks from Field Notes are our go-to. The simple design offers a blank canvas for you to work with. Go for dot grid if you’re the sketching type or ruled if you’ll be doing a lot of writing. Either way, we love having a place to jot down ideas.
Our travel backpack, sling, and tech pouch each get an Apple AirTag so we can keep track of our gear. Apple makes it easy to see where your gear is if you misplace it or if it’s stolen.
Toiletries & Personal Care
Staying fresh, clean, and well-groomed on the road is an essential part of being a digital nomad (or just being a civilized person in general). You want to look presentable if you’re hitting up new coworking spaces, conducting video conferences, or just going out to dinner. Plus, all your stuff needs to be carry-on compliant so you can stick with a single carry-on bag.
Alternatively, you could just be a total slob. The choice is ultimately yours, although this section will focus on all the tools you need to look fresh and feel good.
While the Bellroy Dopp Kit looks simple on the outside, it has enough space for the toiletries you need on a daily basis. We keep small items like a travel trimmer and medication in the side mesh pockets so that they don’t get lost and reserve the main area for a toiletry bottle full of lotion, multi-purpose soap, and other large gear. We dig the magnetic toothbrush pocket that keeps it away from the rest of your gear, too.
The Tangle Tamer Ultra Mini from Denman has layered bristles that really get in there for quick, easy, and painless detangling, which is a lifesaver on windy days. It’s not the most packable brush we’ve seen, but the small form factor and relatively thin handle are easy to store in a Dopp kit. If you have more textured hair, they also sell mini versions of their Styler brushes.
This Gillette Venus Mini razor is about as small as it gets. It’s only available in pink at the time of this video, though if you can get past the look, the packability is hard to beat. Despite its small size, it’s still comfortable to hold and doesn’t slip.
The Mitty Mini is a great alternative to makeup wipes. It’s more sustainable, quick-drying, and saves space in your pack compared to a microfiber towel. The shape works well to remove makeup and is gentle on your skin at the same time.
With Subtl Beauty’s Build Your Own Stack, you can curate your own makeup palette from concealer to lip and cheek color. They come in an easy-to-pack stack, applicator included. This means that you don’t have any wasted space or unused makeup, as you can order as many or as few shades as you’d like. They accommodate a wide spectrum of skin tones, and you can even search your current makeup brand and shade on their website and they’ll provide you with their closest match.
Fenty Beauty is known for having a color match for every skin tone under the sun, which is why we went with the Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint. We’re not exaggerating when we say there’s an option for everyone. It provides minor, lightweight coverage for everyday wear. However, it may take some getting used to if you prefer a full foundation.
This Mini Mascara from Fenty Beauty has all the benefits of regular mascara, just in a smaller form factor. Its more packable design takes up barely any space in a Dopp kit. And, let’s be honest, who ever finishes a tube of mascara before it’s technically expired?
Having filled-in eyebrows does wonders for feeling put together on days when a full face of makeup doesn’t seem worth it. This Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil from IT Cosmetics has a retractable tip that doesn’t need to be sharpened—though it can break off if you’re not careful. It lasts a surprisingly long time and comes in a few shades to match your hair color.
This four-in-one makeup brush is your catch-all for pretty much any application need. On the outside are a blush brush and a replaceable concealer sponge. With a quick twist, unscrew them to expose the brow and eyeshadow brushes. While there’s no cap or cover to keep the brush and sponge (which means they’re left exposed in your Dopp kit), having all your tools in one package is hard to beat.
Menstrual products take up a decent amount of space in your bag. If you don’t already use one, it’s worth considering switching to a cup. We like the Easy-Does-It Cup from Cora because its flexible and indented design is easy to grip, making it great for those new to the menstrual cup scene.
Hair ties frequently break, stretch, and disappear into thin air, so we always toss a few in the bottom of our Dopp kit. We’ve had great luck with the brand Goody, but you’ll want to choose bands that work with your hair texture to avoid breakage.
The WAHL Half Pint is one of the smallest trimmers out there. It runs off of a single AA battery and is great for keeping your scruff managed on the road but isn’t ideal for full haircuts. If you don’t have a beard, then you’re probably good with just a razor.
This carbon fiber comb from Chicago Comb is ultra-lightweight and durable. Even though it’s small, it’s still big enough to style your hair easily. We chose the Model 2 because it’s the smallest option, though there are also larger versions.
This Travel Fusion Razor from MUHLE effectively blends form and function. It feels slicker than the type of razor you’d get at the grocery store but is compatible with razors that are easy to find worldwide. We also like that it comes with a razor sheath to protect the blade in our Dopp kit.
humangear GoTubbs work well for pastes, gels, lotions, and solid items like pills. We have a medium one filled with hair pomade or solid lotion and one small one filled with Ibuprofen. Talk to your doctor about how you should travel with and carry prescription medication.
Mineral deodorant is a natural way to fight odor-causing bacteria. It’s gentle on Merino wool compared to other deodorants and antiperspirants. While it’s on the heavier side, it comes in travel sizes and lasts for an absurdly long time. Plus, it’s not a liquid, so it won’t cause you trouble at airport security.
The humangear GoToob+ comes in a ton of sizes, and we’ve gone with the 3.4 ounce version to get the maximum allotted liquid while still remaining carry-on compliant. We’re only bringing one filled with lotion, so it doesn’t take up too much space in our toiletry kit.
Contrary to its name, the Tooletries Face Scrubber can be used on your whole body in a pinch. It comes in handy if your accommodation doesn’t have a wash cloth or you just like to freshen up before or after flying. It’s softer than it looks, though it adds a good amount of exfoliation.
Dealing with a wet soap bar is a pain, especially when it comes to tossing it in with the rest of your toiletries. Matador’s FlatPak Soap Bar Case is much better than a plastic bag—it contains excess moisture and even lets your soap dry while it’s inside.
Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Pure-Castile soap is the ultimate bang for your buck. You can use it to wash your hair, clothes, face, dishes, and everything in between. Some people even say you can use it to brush your teeth…yuck.
You may not use Matador’s Ultralight Travel Towel every day, but it’s a lifesaver when you need it. Lay it out on a beach, use it to have a picnic under the Eiffel tower, or to dry yourself off after a shower when your hostel runs out of towels—again. We like the larger size because it’s more versatile. It’s pretty thin, though.
It may not be the highest vibration toothbrush on the market, but quip is about as compact as it gets in our experience. It runs on a AA battery, which is easy to find almost anywhere in the world. Even if it dies, it still functions well as a manual toothbrush.
The Matador Refillable Toothpaste Tubes are exactly what their name says they are—travel-size tubes that you can refill with your preferred paste instead of buying a new tube every time. They come in two sizes, and we like the two-week version. Most digital nomads stay in one place for a while, so we buy one large toothpaste tube when we arrive and fill the Matador tube up as-needed for shorter trips. Or, when it’s time to move locations, leave the big tube behind and bring the small one with you to your next spot until it’s time to restock.
It’s always nice to have an emergency supply of aspirin. We bring it along in a Matador Waterproof Travel Canister, though make sure you talk to your doctor about how you should travel with and carry prescription medication. The aluminum design is lightweight and thin, so it doesn’t add much weight or take up a ton of space. Plus it’s waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about spills in your toiletry bag.
These Canku Mini Tweezers are incredibly small. They’re handy for unexpected splinters or errant eyebrow hairs, and while they can be kind of hard to pinch at first, they get the job done.
The Zwilling J.A. Henckels Ultra-Slim Nail Clipper are super small and flat, making them easy to pack. You’ll be glad to have them when you need to take care of a hangnail or it’s been a while since you’ve had a trim.
We recommend keeping some form of lip balm in your sling. We like ChapStick brand, but you can use whatever you prefer.
Even if you bring along a clear toiletry bag for your liquids, you’re better off safe than sorry by packing a quart-sized Ziploc bag. It takes up little to no room and can be a lifesaver. We like to use a VELCRO strap or rubber band to keep it organized.
Everything else! These are the little things that really take this list to the next level. If you’re perpetually traveling the world, these are the items that will help you navigate every possible situation you might encounter.
If you’re not perpetually traveling, you’ll still be able to save the day when someone needs a bottle opener in a pinch or you just can’t be asked to walk across the airport to grab a plastic fork. Multitools, utensils, carabiners, and a whole lot more.
The Vapur Eclipse is a compressible water bottle that packs down to a super small footprint when it’s not in use. We like to keep it in our bag while we go through airport security and fill it up once we reach our terminal. It even has a built-in carabiner, so it’s easy to stay hydrated without losing valuable pack space.
We love the small carrying case on these Matador Travel Earplugs, which keeps them together and blocks out dust. Plus, they can go on a keychain. They come in handy if you’re staying at a lively accommodation but have a meeting first thing in the morning.
The Heroclip looks like a standard carabiner, but it’s so much more. Flip out the hook and hang it off of practically any surface with an edge. This keeps your pack or sling off of the ground and out of the way. It’s great for bathroom stalls without hangers or cafes with limited floor space.
While it’s not a necessity to bring travel cutlery along, the GoSun Flatware Set is ultra flat and packable, so it’s easy to keep in your bag in case you stop for a quick bite and the food stall is out of utensils. It’s stored in a carry case that’s roughly the size of a credit card and includes a fork and slightly serrated spoon that doubles as a TSA-friendly knife. One of our Pros found them hard to engage, though we haven’t had issues.
If you can’t decide what to play, the Cartesian Cards Deck has multiple options to choose from. On top of being a regular deck of 52, it also has markings to set up a chess board, dominoes, backgammon, and more. The square shape can be a little difficult to shuffle, though we like having a variety of game options if there are flight delays or to break the ice at a hostel.
You’ll probably leave most of your keys at home, but we like Orbitkey’s Key Organizer for storing a house, apartment, or Airbnb key. It has a sleek minimal look and won’t jangle in your pocket or sling.
This Orbitkey multi-tool is basic but has pretty much every feature you need while traveling. Tighten a loose chair screw, open a bottle of local brew, or scrape some goop off your airplane tray table. It works great in the Orbitkey keychain ecosystem and is TSA safe, though it’s ultimately up to your officer.
This is one of the smallest carabiners we’ve ever seen. We use the Nite Ize MicroLink as a jump ring between our keychain and accessories because it makes it easy to detach the gear when needed. However, it’s worth noting that the carabiner opening is pretty small, so it can be hard to slide large fobs through. This means it may not be ideal for all of your accessories without using extra jump rings.
While traveling is a great way to learn about other cultures, it’s important to respect them, too. Depending on your destination, it’s customary to wear a mask on public transit or in stores. We like this reusable KN95 mask from Airinum because it fits snug and is comfortable around the ears for extended periods, though there’s nothing between the replaceable filter and your mouth, which may take some getting used to.
The imini flashlight from Olight is one of the smallest we’ve seen to date. With 10 lumens and a runtime of 30 minutes, it’s enough to help you see if your smartphone light isn’t cutting it. To turn it on, pull the flashlight portion out of the housing. It’s a surprisingly secure connection, so it won’t fall out on its own. Plus, with 1.5-meter drop resistance and a sturdy aluminum body, it’s safe if you’re prone to dropping your keys.
The Refillable Spray Vial from NOMATIC allows you to bring your own hand sanitizer anywhere in the world. It has an aluminum construction and anti-leak nozzle to ensure your sanitizer stays inside, and it’s easy to refill when it’s time for a top-up. The side clip allows you hang it off of your pocket, or you can use the attachment loop to keep it on your keys. While you’ll have to buy your own sanitizer refills, we dig the convenience of having the bottle on a keychain at all times.
We take the contents of a pre-made First Aid Kit and put them in a small pouch so it’s more packable. What you bring is up to you, though we recommend stocking up on Band-Aids and disinfectant wipes just in case.
See How We Pack It
This video details our exact packing process, from loading individual packing cubes and pouches to filling built-in bag compartments. Even if you don’t use our suggested travel bag, we share plenty of tips and tricks that can help you perfect your personal loadout.
We hope this list has empowered you with the knowledge, confidence, and gear recommendations you need to get out there and conquer the world as a digital nomad. This stuff can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be—and really, it shouldn’t be! We’re talking about traveling the world, so have fun with it.
Considering you just devoured all the information in this list, you might also benefit from checking out our guides page. From backpacks to coworking, Merino wool, and more, we cover just about everything you need to know to travel efficiently, effectively, and have a whole bunch of fun while doing it.
Fly on, little nomad. Fly on.
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