Digital Nomad Packing List
The ultimate packing list for traveling the world as a digital nomad with a backpack. We cover it all: men’s and women’s focused items from clothes to tech to toiletries and more.
One Backpack. One Laptop. Unlimited Potential.
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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. 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.
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.
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. In this particular packing 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.
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.
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.
The NOMATIC wallet is the daily driver for essential cards. It looks minimal and fits up to 14 at a time, though we like to stick to around 4 to keep things simple. We like to store coins for a paid public bathroom in the small slip pocket, and it’s also a great spot for an Airbnb key. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s also just straight-up effective.
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 Sportweight Merino T-Shirt is a soft shirt good for working out, exploring, and everything in between. It’s ideal for active days as it’s on the lighter side and made with Merino wool—no surprise there.
The Heavy Crew Neck 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 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.
From far enough away, Olivers All Over Short—say that 5 times fast—pass as a sleek chino. In reality, the material is stretchy and comfortable. There’s even a drawstring on the inside with flashy yellow tips, which allows you to loosen it after eating too many croissants in Paris. Even though they’re not meant to be swim trunks, we got in touch with Olivers and they said there’s no harm in wearing them in water, so they’re technically a two-in-one deal.
Whether you're working in a coffee shop or exploring the city, the Olivers Passage Pant's thin, breathable fabric has the right amount of stretch for just about any activity. Plus, they dry quickly. These look like a regular pair of pants but still have technical properties.
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 Midnighter Belt’s plastic buckle comes in. You can go through the metal detector without taking it off, and its stretchiness is comfortable on long plane rides or if your weight fluctuates while you’re traveling.
The Icebreaker Siren Bra 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. If you can’t live without padded cups, there’s space to add your own.
The Siren Thong from Icebreaker is made with Merino wool, which is something we like to see in base layers like underwear. They also sell a Bikini Brief version, but since we’re only bringing two pairs, 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.
We’ve all ripped a pair of tights right before a meeting or event and had to scramble to find a drugstore replacement. Sheertex’s Classic Sheer Tights are made with the same material found in bulletproof vests and are ridiculously hard to tear. They feel just like regular tights and can be used as an additional layer underneath your pants in cold weather.
The Velocity Tapered 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.
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.
The Chrome Seneca Short is a comfortable do-it-all bottom for warm weather days. It’s made with a comfortable quick-dry fabric, which means you can even wear them for exercise.
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.
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.
We prefer to bring a one-piece suit because it can double as a bodysuit under a pair of pants or shorts. The Andie Swim Malibu adds a subtle trendiness to this list. Leave it buckled to the very top for a high neckline look or undo a few to give yourself a v-neck. The buckles are surprisingly secure, so you don’t need to worry about them popping open in public.
This is our go-to dress because of its relaxed and casual feel, but it’s also professional enough for work and business meetings. It fits pretty true to size, but you can size up or down if you’d rather go for a more fitted or relaxed look.
The WoolOvers Cashmere and Merino Sweater is great on its own or as an additional layer. Not only does it look super sleek, but it’s also soft and comfortable to wear all day long.
Encircled’s Everyday Twist Top is about as versatile as it gets. It’s a 5-in-1 top that becomes a cardigan, blazer, or even a regular long-sleeve top with just a few snaps. What’s great is that you can find a style that works best for you, your style, and your needs. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can probably find more than five variations.
You won’t always need a rain jacket, so compressibility is the key to keeping it out of your way until you do. The Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket packs into itself and is one of the smallest form factors we’ve found. It works as a rain jacket on its own or as a shell over a puffer jacket.
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 lightweight pair of gloves will keep your fingers warm but can be bulky. Smartwool Liner 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.
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.
ROAV makes foldable sunglasses in just about every style you can think of and they’re some of the smallest we’ve come across. There’s no curve in the lenses, so they fold completely flat. It takes some getting used to the reflections that causes, but the small form factor is hard to beat.
ROAV makes foldable sunglasses in just about every style you can think of and they’re some of the smallest we’ve come across. There’s no curve in the lenses, so they fold completely flat. It takes some getting used to the reflections that causes, but the small form factor is hard to beat.
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.
The Versa Hat from Western Rise is crushable, which really just means super packable. The bill is made with foam but has enough structure to keep the sun out of your eyes. When you don’t need it, it lays flat and fits great in a small corner of your pack or sling.
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.
We look for barefoot shoes when we travel because their minimalist form factor easily compresses to fit inside limited bag space. Vivobarefoot’s Gobi II look nice enough to wear to dinner but aren’t overly formal for day-to-day wear. Plus, the high top keeps sand and dirt out and offers a little extra protection from the elements.
The GOBI HI IV boots from Vivobarefoot are lightweight, weather-resistant, and perform well during off-the-beaten-path adventures. They also look nice enough to pass at a meeting or nice dinner out. Ultimate versatility.
The Elemental Sandals from Earth Runners are about as minimalist as it gets. They’re great for everyday wear, though the style may not be for everyone. However, they’re great for days at the beach, keeping your feet off the hostel floor showers or even during a workout if you’re into barefoot running.
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.
For this list, we’ve gone with Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Isolate Packing Cubes. They’re a lightweight ripstop polyester and come in a few different sizes, shapes, and designs. Organization customization made easy. Our loadout consists of 3 small sizes and one extra small. The smalls are great for tops, bottoms, and cold weather gear like a sweatshirt, buff, and gloves, while the extra small holds socks and underwear.
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 Anker Nano II 65W is our choice compact and lightweight charging brick. It’s considerably smaller than a standard charger, and the flip-in prongs make packing easy. It’s also lightweight, which means it’s less likely to fall out of old wall plugs or adapters.
We’ve opted for the Anker PowerLine III Flow cables for all of our charging needs. It’s made with a satisfyingly-soft rubber and comes with a stretchy cable manager. We use the 10-foot USB-C to USB-C cable for getting to hard-to-reach outlets in a local cafe. Meanwhile, the 3-foot cables—one USB-C to USB-C and the other USB-C to Lightning—are available to charge all the devices on this list from the laptop.
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.
When you’re living as a digital nomad, you’re rarely without an outlet. Futuritza’s Pixy Mini is small, lightweight, and great for boosting your battery on the go. It’s a smaller capacity compared to other portable chargers, but the 5000 mAh is enough for topping off a phone to about one and a half power.
We’re big fans of the Apple ecosystem, which is why we go for iPhones, though any phone will work.
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.
The Apple Lightning to Headphone Dongle is one of those things that’s great to have as backup. If you lose your wireless headphones or they die right before a meeting, you can grab a cheap pair of earbuds at your destination. This is, of course, only needed for iPhone users. Thanks, Apple.
You never know when you’re going to need a flash drive, and SanDisk’s Ultra Dual Drive Go takes up minimal space for added peace of mind. It works with USB-C and USB-A devices, making it easy to print any last-minute Visa or travel documents at the airport.
This USB-C adapter plugs into USB-C only laptops and increases compatibility. There are five ports total: three USB-A, one HDMI, and one ethernet. This is handy when you’re working on a large project or if wireless internet speeds won’t cut it.
You don’t need an ethernet cable until you really need an ethernet cable. Whether you’re on a cruise ship or at a hotel with subpar WiFi, you can manually plug it in and get some sweet, sweet internet. We like the Cable Matters Retractable Ethernet Cable because it has three feet of cable while staying super packable.
This Wall Tap from GE splits one outlet into three and is the longest-lasting, most durable splitter we’ve tested yet. Each outlet is on a different side so that it can accommodate larger plugs than your average power strip. You'll be a coffee shop hero when you whip this bad boy out and free up two additional outlets. This is the smaller version, and we’ve seen larger versions popping up, so keep a close eye on what you’re ordering. We’ll do our best to keep the link updated on this list.
The Kikkerland Universal Travel Adapter is one of the most compact universal outlet adapters on the market. It works in more than 150 countries, so it can handle nearly any outlet you throw at it. Plus, it has the added bonus of feeling like a two-piece lego set.
Not all airplanes have in-flight entertainment, which is one of the reasons we pack the Joby GripTight ONE Micro Stand. It’s a mini tripod for your phone and sets up nicely on a tray table for watching movies. Or, prop it up on a ledge to take a great timered selfie in front of some ancient ruins.
Who knew pens could look so streamlined? The Bullet Space Pen from Fisher Space Pen is sleek and packable but writes like a regular pen when expanded. We recommend going for the version with the clip so that it doesn’t roll off your tray table while you’re filling out customs forms.
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.
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.
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.
These Fusion razors can be found just about anywhere in the world and are compatible with our razor handle. We really like using safety razors, but they’re not allowed on planes, so this is a convenient alternative.
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 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.
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?
One side of the Subtl Beauty Dual-End Eyeshadow Brush features a smaller pigment brush while the other side is angled for blending. It also has a telescoping handle, which makes it easy to pack back up.
The Stack Brush BFF from Subtl Beauty is a sort of catch-all makeup brush. It can transform from a dense applicator to a loose powder brush with a small adjustment of the telescoping handle.
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.
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.
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.
Our favorite part about the Soft 3oz Liquid Bottles from Gravel is that the squared edges slot satisfyingly together. They’re also just under the maximum amount of liquid you can bring on a flight, so you’re safe with room to spare. We keep a daily SPF lotion in one and toothpaste in the other.
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.
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.
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.
The sleek and minimal design of the Tweezerman Slant Tweezer is ergonomic to use. We find it useful in our first aid kit for unexpected splinters or Dopp kit for errant eyebrow hairs.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Nail Clippers are ridiculously small, lay flat, and are TSA-approved. You’ll be glad to have them when you’ve got a hangnail or it’s been a while since your last trim.
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.
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.
Gravel’s Explorer MINI Toiletry Bag has a slim form factor and versatile two-sided compartments. The shallow side is slick to keep toothpaste stains at bay while the deeper pocket holds larger gear—even the travel trimmer. It’s easy to hang next to a bathroom sink but is just as home on the countertop.
To make life a little easier at airport security, we’ve put anything that qualifies as a liquid into the Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube. When you get to the belt, all you need to do is take it out of your bag and send it through. The square shape slots in easily with the rest of our gear, and the hanging hook is helpful for saving counter space at our accommodations.
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.
Reusable cutlery isn’t a travel necessity, but the Cold4ged Forkanife is so flat and packable that it’s easy to justify bringing it along. It’s roughly the size of a credit card and is a great alternative to single-use plastic at the airport or for scarfing down breakfast while waiting for the morning train.
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.
This super small flashlight from NITECORE is incredibly bright with a small footprint. It comes in handy when your phone flashlight just won’t cut it. Use it during a power outage or on a dimly lit street when you need to find something in your sling. Plus, it’s rechargeable with a USB-C cable.
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.
Orbitkey’s AirTag Slim Case is a way to keep track of your keys. You can use the loop to hold your keys and larger fobs, though it can get a bit crowded, so we like to use a carabiner to add a little space.
We’ve added Apple AirTags to three different essentials on this list: our backpack, sling, and keys. The keys act as a floater that can go in a packable daypack or any other gear you want to keep an eye on. Apple’s UI makes it easy to find lost gear, whether you accidentally left it on the subway or it found its way into the hands of a stranger.
This S-Biner Microlock from Nite Ize is small enough to keep on a keychain until you need it. The lockable design keeps gear from detaching, so it’s handy for organizing small keychain items.
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.
These super packable Air Deck Playing Cards are one of the easiest ways to make friends on the road. Offer to start a friendly game with other people at your hostel to break the ice. They’re also great if your plane gets delayed and you need something to occupy your time during a long layover.
Traveling is one of the best ways to learn about other cultures, and it’s important to respect them, too. We bring along a reusable mask so that we can follow local customs in countries that use them frequently. We like this one from Mystery Ranch because it fits nice around the face, though any mask will do.
Tom Bihn’s Double Pouchkin is a simple small pouch with two zips and a divider, and we’ve opted to use it for first aid supplies. We got the actual contents from a pre-made kit, but we’ve rearranged them in here to save space.
See How We Pack It
If you’re curious to see how we got every item inside, we’ve got you covered. Each piece of gear on this list fits into our chosen travel bag, and this video details our exact packing process, from loading individual packing cubes and pouches to filling built-in bag compartments. Sign up to Pack Hacker Pro to get access. 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.