You scored your remote job and you know how you will make money online. Now the only thing that is left to do is fill up your digital nomad backpack with everything you need. After being on the road for over 2 years, we created our ultimate digital nomad packing list.
It is tough to start packing for your first or even fourth digital nomad tour. You actually want everything that you have at home tucked nicely into your backpack.
We have made more than a few packing mistakes during our trips and have come up with the perfect packing hacks.
With this digital nomad packing list, you won’t find yourself in an emergency of: get new underwear urgently operation.
Sure you can get many things abroad too, so forgetting something isn’t the end of the world. But, certain things are harder to find at your destinations. This is what we’ll focus on in this post.
Since you are here, you probably want to read these posts too:
- Digital Nomad Guide to Make Money Online
- 9 Uncensored Truths About The Digital Nomad Life
- How To Be Frugal – 15 Money-Saving Tricks
📌Save this packing list for later to your Digital Nomad board on Pinterest!📌
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How to pack for an indefinite trip?
Packing for short trips can be stressful enough, so an indefinite period might sound intimidating.
Fear not! Essentially it is the same as packing for a trip of 1-2 weeks.
You just need to make sure you don’t forget anything that is not easy to buy anywhere else. This is where having this digital nomad packing list comes in handy.
Why is it the same as packing for a 1-2 weeks trip? Because you cannot pack more than that! And you will have the opportunity to do laundry, wherever you go in the world.
Laundry service might not be the same as what you are used to at home, but it will be available.
Here are a few rules to take into account when making your personal digital nomad packing list:
- Pack clothes for 7 days
- Pack for different weather conditions ranging from heat waves to freezing blizzards
- Each clothing item should create more than one outfit
- Limit special care clothing (100% sheep wool sweater and suede pants stay at home)
- Always leave some extra space and don’t max out the weight.
Digital Nomad Packing List Basics
Let’s quickly walk through the basics you will need to stuff into your nomad backpack.
As mentioned before, you need to be ready for any type of weather. The list includes a variety of clothing that you should bring along with you.
Warm clothes are essential. Even if you are going to spend most of the time in a hot tropical place. Planes, trains, and busses tend to create a climate similar to Alaska. Coworking spaces like to put the airconditioning on full power too.
That’s why having a warm sweater, long pants (trousers) and a pair of thick socks are must-haves in your nomad backpack.
Below are suggested numbers of items, you can adjust according to your personal preference.
- Underwear 7-14 (more = less urgent laundries)
- Ankle socks 7
- Thick socks 1-3
- T-shirts 7
- Shorts 2
- Long pants (trousers) 2
- Sweatshirt 1 (the one you can wear with anything)
- Sport pants 1 (comfortable for long flights too)
- Sports shirt 1-2
- Sports shorts 1
- Swimming pants (trousers) 1
- Rain jacket 1
- Everyday shoes
- Sports/hiking shoes
Personal Care and toiletries
- Tooth Paste
- Ear Q Tips
- Female Sanitary products (Can be very hard to find in someplace in the world!)
- Condoms (Some places you only find cheap brands, go with the safe ones you know)
- Hand Sanitiser for travel
Can’t miss digital nomad packing list items
Now that we are done with the basics, let’s get to the interesting stuff. After being on the road for so long, we devised a few packing hacks.
We have several items that we could not do without. The following are our recommendations based on our own experience.
Digital nomad backpacks
Choosing the perfect nomad backpack is tough. When we set off, we thought a lot about which backpack would be ideal for the digital nomad lifestyle.
Throughout our trip, we changed it up a few times and now we have the perfect ones.
You will want to have several backpacks for different occasions. One main backpack to carry all your personal items and electronic equipment, and 2 others for different occasions.
Your main backpack should be comfortable, well organized, and withstand different weather conditions.
Our favorite option is XD Design’s Bobby Bag
The original one is grey and black, but these days they have a variety of colors that can fit anyone.
Why we like the Bobby Bag:
- It has an antitheft protection mechanism. You can walk around anywhere in the world, knowing your valuables are safe on your back.
- Water repellent fabric. Your stuff stays dry if you’re caught in a storm.
- USB Charger outlet. You can easily charge your phone from the side of the backpack.
As a digital nomad, you often travel to exotic destinations. You are likely to spend some time by the sea. Maybe on a kayak heading to some island, or on a snorkeling tour.
A waterproof dry bag is your best friend when your electronics are near the water. You can get a 2L or 5L dry bag that can be packed away and doesn’t take much space.
Why is this a must-have?
The reason this is so important to us is because of a snorkeling trip we have done in Cambodia a few years ago.
We were in one of those long-tail boats that are common in South East Asia. We needed to check out of our hotel the same day.
Although we could leave our things there, I decided to grab all my valuable electronics and stuff them into my backpack.
Long story short, towards the end of the snorkeling trip, a storm came in. It started pouring rain, and the waves were huge. Everyone on board was getting ready for the boat to capsize at any moment.
And there I was, sitting in a boat, getting splashed at from all directions. Fearing for my life. But also fearing for all my electronics in my backpack, in case I survive this.
Thinking fast, I found a large garbage bag on board and tucked my backpack inside of it. This saved my things, and everything was working fine afterward.
Lessons of this experience:
- Don’t bring all your electronics on a boat
- If you bring your electronics, put them in a dry bag.
A small daypack for exploring
When we go out exploring a city, we like to take a bottle of water with us, a phone battery and another couple of small things.
Carrying the Bobby Bag is too much for that. We prefer a small, low-key backpack.
A great option is the Quechua Arpenaz Ultra-Compact backpack.
Why we like Quechua Arpenaz Ultra Compact
- It’s big enough
- It’s simple and doesn’t attract attention
- It folds up into a tiny ball that doesn’t take much space.
A fanny pack for the ladies
Fanny packs are in! No, not the ones your dad used to carry around his waist when you were 5. These are trendy pouches these days.
Carrying a nice purse everywhere isn’t always an option. A fanny pack is much safer and does the same job.
You can wear them around your waist or on one shoulder.
Check out Geestock fancy fanny pack.
Waterproof laptop sleeve
A waterproof laptop sleeve only costs $10 on Amazon. Let’s be honest, your laptop costs much more than that.
Travel medical kit
During our first few trips, we neglected the idea of having a proper travel medical kit. A few cuts and fevers later, we know what we need, and a kit is recommended.
At home you most likely have a corner with some medical things like bandages, disinfect, a thermometer, etc. It only makes sense that you will have these while you travel.
There are lightweight small first aid kits you can get that have pretty much everything you’ll need in them.
Here’s a really good medical kit for under $10 that has everything that we would normally carry in our medical kit. Add to it some aspirin or ibuprofen and you are good to go.
Digital nomad sports equipment
Keeping fit while you are on the road, moving from place to place is important and doable. Check out our post with 6 must-have free workout apps that you can use to workout from pretty much anywhere without any equipment.
Here are some things to pack for keeping fit while you travel.
Swimwear and goggles
If you are like me, you take every opportunity with a pool or sea to do some laps. I always carry around with me a pair of goggles. They are small and lightweight. Also if you are at some tropical locations with an amazing underwater world, you can use them to snorkel around.
Lightweight sports shoes
As you cannot carry a lot with you. The best thing is to combine your sports sneakers with your everyday shoes.
I love the Adidas cloudfoam running shoes. They are light, look good, and are great for any sports.
This is probably one of the best purchases we ever made!
You can easily fold up this mat and shove it into your backpack. It weighs almost nothing and functions as a normal yoga mat.
Even if you are not a regular yogi, a mat is useful for many different exercises. Take abs training for instance.
There are 2 versions: 1.5 mm thick and 2.5mm thick
We have the 1.5mm thick one which is sufficient. Is an extra millimeter really going to help you anyway?
Electronics every digital nomad can’t live without
Working on the go and from different locations, all the time means you will run of power at some point. The Satechi laptop power bank is a great addition to your tech gadgets.
If you feel like chilling with your laptop on the hammock in the garden, but just ran out of battery, Satechi will solve your problem.
Or if you are on a long train ride and there are no electrical outlets, Satechi will keep you productive.
It has 3 USB-A ports (the one you charge your phone with) and 1 USB-C port for charging your MacBook. If you like to work outside and on the go, the Satechi Laptop power bank will make your life much easier.
By the way, it weighs less than 100 grams!
Carrying books around is extra luggage. Many hostels and coworking spaces have a library you can swap books in. But that means you’re entirely dependent on the books that others leave behind.
I prefer to carry my books library on my iPad. It takes a while to get used to reading on it, but eventually, you get used to it. And reading in dark mode is easier on the eyes too.
The Kindle book reader is the cheaper option. Yet, there is so much more you can do with an iPad. If you are subscribed to Netflix, you can download movies and shows for offline viewing. Useful for long journeys!
Universal adapter for electricity plugs
This one is pretty obvious, but you cannot live without it, so don’t forget it. A universal adapter will have you covered in any region in the world you go to. Get a universal adapter with USB ports so you can easily charge your phone and other devices.
Electrical plug splitter
Additionally to the universal adapter, we also always carry an electrical plug splitter with the European plugs. That way you can always charge multiple things with just one universal adapter. Sometimes there are limited plugs in hotels or cafes, so it comes in very handy.
Travel hair blowdryer
For the ladies. Not every accommodation will have a blow dryer. If you need to dry your hair after a shower, make sure to pack in a travel blowdryer.
Revlon has a pretty good travel hair blowdryer for a good price too.
iPhone Pin for sim cards
If you have an iPhone, you’ll need to pack a pin for opening the sim card container of the iPhone.
You will be changing your sim card quite regularly, so it comes in handy.
Music is a men’s best friend.
What would we do without headphones? We use wireless headphones, and it seriously makes our lives so much easier.
The Rademax Earbuds are on discount on Amazon right now.
Lightweight travel tripod
It took us a while to realize we need a tripod. Asking people to take your photo is a nice way to interact with them, but don’t expect the photos to turn out well.
To take photos together we bought a lightweight travel tripod. This is how we take most of our photos that you see on our Instagram feed.
The TYCKA Rangers 56” Compact Travel Tripod is a pretty good option for a reasonable price. It folds to a small size that fits into any backpack and is very light.
What happens to most people that travel a lot is that they get passionate about photography. You start wanting to learn more about it and take your skills to the next level.
Sure, smartphones these days have some amazing cameras built into them. But have a DSLR camera in your hands is a different game.
We use the Canon EOS 200D Rebel SL2, which is a decent camera for an amateur-pro photographer.
We like the Canon EOS 200D Rebel SL2 because:
- It is relatively light for a DSLR
- It has a great stabilizer for video recording
- Built-in WIFI – to transfer photos to your phone quickly and to take pictures with the tripod
Going swimming? Going skiing? Hiking? The GoPro camera will be your best friend!
I love taking my GoPro diving. If you are capturing all those moments with your phone under normal conditions, why not capture moments where you don’t take your phone?
If you want to pick up droning as a hobby, the DJI Spark is the perfect drone. We got ours over a year ago and we have taken some pretty amazing videos and photos from up above. If you are not a pro, don’t expect too much. It is a lot of fo fun to fly it and take pictures though!
Other important stuff on the digital nomad packing list
A Swiss Knife is not only useful if you are going camping. It is useful for so many occasions. I cannot count the number of times that I was happy to have it with me.
If you need to open a beer bottle or a wine bottle. When you need to cut something with scissors. Or even when you want to spread some chocolate spread on bread.
The Swiss Knife is a lifesaver.
A rain jacket is a must by all means. It is light and easy to take with you anywhere. We seriously cannot think of a country that we spent more than 3 weeks in and it hasn’t rained.
It always rains at some point. Having a rain jacket is your savior on those rainy days.
We use the Wolfskin Rain jackets. They are very light, high quality, and good looking.
We received this one as a gift before we left to travel. This thing organized our lives on the road. There is space for everything in this elaborate travel organizer.
We put our passports in there together with any spare cards, sim cards, and any other important documents.
Conclusions for digital nomad packing list
Packing for an indefinite period or a long trip is the same as packing for a 2 weeks trip. You should take everything that you would normally take for 2 weeks.
There will be a possibility to do laundry everywhere you go. Packing enough clothes to go for 7-14 days is ideal.
There are certain essential items in our nomad backpack that we couldn’t do without. It is those not easily replaceable things that you should definitely not forget.
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