When I first started working for myself, I only had a laptop, mouse, and headphones. I thought that was all I needed to be successful, but boy was I wrong.
Each time I went to a hostel, I saw the serious digital nomad gear that other travelers had with them. From heavy-duty backpacks to neat solar chargers, there were a ton of items I needed to add to my arsenal.
Today, I compiled my years of experience working as a digital marketer and traveling to help you choose the best digital nomad gear for your toolkit. Let’s get started!
What type of gear does a digital nomad need?
If I had to give you one piece of advice, I would say pack light. You will spend a ton of time moving from place to place, and you do not want to lug around a heavy backpack full of bulky equipment.
I’ll never forget when my duffel bag completely fell apart as I was traveling from Italy to Germany. There I was in the middle of the airport with a torn duffel with all my items spilling out. It’s safe to say I learned my lesson of overpacking on that trip!
So, I will make sure to only include portable items on this list to make your nomadic lifestyle much more pleasant.
What should you pack?
I suggest you prioritize what you need over what you would like to have. Sure, most of us want to have the latest digital nomad gear, but you should only buy it if it will improve your work output or provide a better quality of life on the road.
For daily life, you truly only need to pack for a week. Bring a mix of clothes that are breathable and dry quickly.
Even small items, like power banks and hot spots, can add considerable weight to your pack, so shop wisely!
Digital Nomad Gear for 2020 - My 9 Favorites
While you will certainly need to pack more than nine things, you should make sure you do not forget any of these items.
Herschel Travel Backpack (30L)
I love the Herschel 30 liter backpack because it was made for traveling professionals. The appearance alone is simple yet surprisingly sleek. Even better, the interior is neatly divided to make reaching important items easy. My favorite part is the front-facing organizer that lets you keep your passport, electronics, and other essentials within reach.
Although this bag is 30 liters, it still fits in the carry-on box for most airlines. I suggest this size because it lets you store your electronics, clothes, water, snacks, and other toiletries. If you go any larger, you will have a hard time getting through security or may need to check your bag.
Once you decide on your backpack, you need to choose a computer that will keep up with your busy lifestyle. While there are certainly many lightweight laptops you can buy, I recommend the Macbook Pro.
Yes, this device is pricier than many other options, but you are paying for convenience and peace of mind when you get an Apple product. Apple is known for making high-quality items that can run powerful software without lag or crashing. Buy adding the Macbook Pro to your stash of digital nomad gear, you can travel without fear of your device failing to perform.
I have used Macbooks in a few of my jobs, and I love the fast load times, bright display, and quiet keyboards. Even better, the camera quality is top-notch among laptops, which will be very important as you work with international clients.
If you want to consider other options, I suggest reading my laptop comparison article.
BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter
Electrical outlets are different across the world, and a power adapter allows you to plug in items to differently shaped outlets. But power standards also vary in different regions, and you could damage a device by plugging it into the wrong outlet.
For this exact reason, I suggest buying the BESTEK Universal Adapter and Converter. Not only does it let you plug multiple devices into foreign outlets, but the converter makes sure you use the right amount of power. You don’t need to worry about frying a device and ruining your adventure. I also chose this convert because it has USB ports for all your peripherals!
A word of warning: this device does make a quiet humming sound when on. The noise is due to the power conversion process, so you will get this with many other converters as well.
Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones
I’ll never forget when I was traveling to Paris with my brother, and he let me try on these noise-cancelling headphones. The plane was full of noisy people and screaming kids, but the world disappeared when I put these on. I cannot recommend the Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones enough!
As a digital nomad, you might find yourself working at all hours of the day, and it might be hard to concentrate in a coffee shop or hostel. With these headphones, you can block out all distractions to focus on your work.
I personally like the touch sensor on the ear that temporarily stops the noise-cancelling so you can talk to others without taking off the headphones. Also, the battery life is impeccable. I have rarely had my headphones die on me, even after I forget to charge them. Lastly, I can wear these all day without headaches or discomfort.
Even if you don’t go with this Sony model, I highly suggest you buy noise-cancelling headphones.
Hiluckey Solar Power Bank
What do you do when your phone dies but you need it to find your way back to your hostel? A power bank is a portable way to carry charge with you wherever you go.
When packing your digital nomad gear, never forget to bring the Hiluckey Solar Power Bank. Not only does this device have enough power to charge your phone multiple times, but it also uses the sun to power itself. It is perfect for multi-day hikes in Thailand and Vietnam, but keep in mind that the solar power is meant only for emergencies. You will still want to charge the power bank normally to ensure proper operation.
As a bonus, the power bank comes with a bright flashlight that just adds to its convenience. You will really appreciate the light when you need to move around a dark hostel while everyone else is asleep. If you are a backpacker, the light comes pre-set for strobe and SOS in case of emergencies.
When shopping for power banks, keep in mind that charge size is correlated with physical size. If you want a slim power bank that will fit in a small pocket, it will likely only be able to power your device once.
SCOTTeVEST Revolution 2.0
Now that cargo shorts are no longer in style, carrying all your essentials can be a hassle. And as a digital nomad, you will have a ton of gear to lug around some days. SCOTTeVEST is an innovative company that is truly in-tune to what modern workers need.
The Revolution 2.0 is a lightweight jacket that has 25 pockets for all your digital nomad gear. One neat aspect I really like is the zip-off sleeves that let you turn your jacket into a vest. It’s the only coat you’ll need as you go from climate to climate.
Any product from SCOTTeVEST is a “buy it for life” kind of deal. It is an investment in quality that will last you many years.
In 2015, I spent 3 months living with a family in Central Asia. Every weekend, I hike or travel with friends. On one trip, I drank water from a well. It was cool and refreshing, but that one drink put me in the hospital.
Bacteria and other contaminants are everywhere, especially water. As a digital nomad, you cannot always trust the local water supply is clean. And water bottles aren’t easily available in some places.
Using water filters is time-consuming and not always practical. Instead of these, use the Steripen to eliminate harmful elements with its intense UV light. Not only is it super small, but a single charge gets you up to 30 treatments. You should never leave home without it!
Skyroam Solis Lite Hot Spot
Wifi availability is improving around the world, but you will get tired of searching for open networks or paying for the internet during your travels. Also, internet speed is never consistent, and you want to make sure your business calls don’t drop because a cafe has too many users online.
You need a personal hotspot to create a private wifi network for your devices. For this, I cannot recommend the Skyroam Solis enough.
This compact device provides international 4G coverage, weighs less than half a pound, and is affordable. It also connects to 10 devices at once, so you can get all your digital nomad gear online and up to date.
Best of all, you only have to pay for what you need. Skyroam has daily, monthly, and by the gigabyte plans to fit any lifestyle.
QIK-DRY 3pc Microfiber Towel Set
As weird as this may seem, EVERYONE forgets to bring a towel with them on at least one trip. It is the absolute worst thing to happen, especially when all you want to do is shower after a long flight.
Hostels allow you to rent towels for a fee, but you will get tired of paying for these used items. Carrying your own towel is smart, but traditional cotton ones can take up a lot of space. Instead, I suggest every traveler invest in microfiber towels.
These towels dry quickly, which is perfect for last-minute showers before a flight or drying off on a hike. They are super lightweight and compact, so you can just clip them to your backpack. Also, I love how microfiber feels on my skin. It is face-friendly with no scratching or irritation.
What else should you pack?
My list only includes must-have gear for digital nomads, so you will certainly want to pack other things that fit your lifestyle. Think about where you will be living, your line of work, and how long you will be gone.
In any case, don’t forget to pack these small but useful items:
- Toiletry bag
- Sanitary wipes
- Weatherproof notebook and pen
- Combination lock
I have been a freelance digital marketer since 2014, specializing in content marketing and editing. My interest in finance and frugal living began while living overseas, inspiring me to start this blog. When I am not helping clients generate more leads or market their services, I explore the world, listen to podcasts, and dream big.