Digital Nomad Gear and Equipment: 25 Must-Have Items

A 10-year-old hiking rucksack, a clunky bright red PC, and an iPhone held together with hopes and dreams. That’s how I started as a digital nomad.

Fast forward to today and I’ve come a long way (both literally and figuratively). I’ve trialed big backpacks in Taiwan, suitcases in Croatia (wouldn’t recommend, lots of cobblestones), and one-bag travel around Eastern Europe.

I’ve suffered broken tech, damaged luggage, missed flights, and countless delays - all in the name of testing. After almost three years on the road as a digital nomad, I’m finally happy with everything in my backpack.

My remote working set-up, my travel bag - even my earplugs. It’s all there to serve a purpose to the best of its ability. When all that you own fits on your back (minus the boxes stored at your parent's house), you get pretty obsessed with lightweight, reliable, durable gear that won’t let you down.

In this article, I’ll walk you through my absolute must-have items for minimalist travel on the road. You’ll learn from my mistakes and find what works, what doesn’t, and what to look out for in your digital nomad gear and equipment setup.

Digital Nomad Tech and Remote Work Essentials

Love it or hate it, technology plays a vital role in the life of a digital nomad. Being able to rely on your devices is crucial - there’s no tech support in deepest, darkest Peru. Invest in good quality gear that will last years to come.

1. Laptop

A good laptop is the foundation that facilitates the digital nomad lifestyle. It’s the beating heart of your operation and must be up to the task. Look for models that are lightweight, durable, reliable, and powerful enough to handle remote work demands.

The Apple MacBook Air M3 does everything you need and does it well. It’s lightweight, durable and uber-reliable. An added benefit lies in the number of Apple stores around the world. If something does go wrong, it can be taken care of by the international in-store geniuses. No need to mention the super powerful performance of the new M3 chip which makes it a beast for remote work.

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Check out our guide to the best digital nomad laptops:

Best Digital Nomads Laptop For Remote Work
Discover the top travel laptops that are ideal for digital nomads and remote workers seeking power, portability, and performance on the go.

2. Portable Laptop Stand

Noticing neck, back, or head pain after a long day hunched over in the local cafe? Laptops are known to be neck-craning devices, but there’s a handy gadget that you can use to remedy the ergonomics of the situation. A laptop stand.

Often imitated but never beaten - the Roost Laptop Stand is the ultimate neck saver for digital nomads. Fully collapsable and weighing just 164g, it’s the perfect addition for any minimalist nomad.

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Check out our guide to the best portable laptop stands:

6 Best Portable and Travel-Friendly Laptop Stands
We compare top-rated portable laptop stands for travel. Find the ideal option for your needs, whether it’s for flights, coffee shops, or extended adventures.

3. Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

A portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a fantastic tool, offering an on-the-go internet connection wherever in the world you may find yourself. I first came across these little devices upon landing at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Everyone was comparing “Pocket-Wi-Fi” deals. My travel SIM ( with not nearly enough data) suddenly felt very inadequate. It was an awakening. Now, I seldom connect to slow, unreliable (often dangerous) public WiFi networks. My portable Wi-Fi hotspot comes wherever I go - hotels, cafes, airports.

The Simo Solis Lite is a highly versatile portable Wi-Fi device that’s crammed full of features. 4G LTE connectivity, a built-in power bank, a remote camera, and an intelligent assistant make it the ideal travel companion.

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Use the coupon code FREAKINGNOMADS at the checkout to get 15% OFF the Solis Wifi official website.
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Check out our guide to the best mobile WiFi hotspots:

5 Best Mobile Hotspots for International Travel
Discover the top 5 portable WiFi hotspots for travelers. Find reliable, fast, and easy-to-use devices to stay connected anywhere you go.

4. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Whether you’re working from a plane, train, cafe, or coworking space, noise-canceling headphones can prove invaluable. Block out screaming children, focus on a call, remove ambient noise, and zone in on some deep work. Or simply enjoy your favorite band. A quality pair of noise-canceling headphones will see you well.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 is an audiophile's dream. With industry-leading noise cancellation, great battery life, and excellent sound quality with High-Resolution Audio Wireless, they’re a fantastic choice for us nomads.

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Check out our guide to the best noise-canceling headphones:

The 9 Best Headphones and Headsets For Remote Work
Discover the top headphones and headsets for remote work and travel. Compare features, pros, and cons to find the perfect one for you.

5. Portable Power Bank

With my original traveling iPhone - a refurbished iPhone 7(?) - I was never more than three hours away from needing a recharge. Thankfully, I had a basic portable power bank that helped me through each day. Times have changed since those early nomad days. Portable power banks can now re-juice laptops, external monitors, keyboards - entire working set-ups. We’re no longer confined to public outlets and that guilty “should I be plugging in here?” feeling in the local coffee shop.

The Omni Mobile 25600 is the ultimate portable power pack designed with digital nomads in mind. The powerful pack offers multiple output options, wireless charging, and a sleek, portable design that’s perfect for minimalist nomads.

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Check out our guide to the best portable power banks for your laptop:

Best 6 Laptop Power Banks for Travel & Remote Work
Discover the top portable laptop power banks for travel and remote work. Learn more about features, pros and cons of each laptop charger.

6. Universal travel adapter

In a perfect world, all countries would use the same outlets with the same voltage. In reality, it will never be the case. Instead, nations are (sometimes seemingly randomly) sorted into four main outlet types - Type A (US), Type G (UK), Type C (EU), and Type I (AU). How do you plug your Type C laptop charger into a Type A socket? With a universal travel adapter.

Travel adapters come in all different shapes and sizes - but “bagel” wasn’t on my bingo card. The MOGICS Bagel is a high-tech travel adapter with a self-repairing fuse and retractable cable storage that offers an adapter so good that you’ll never need another. It’s one of the top remote work travel essentials

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7. Portable Laptop Monitor

A multi-screen display is one of the true luxuries of a brick-and-mortar office. Packing a traditional second screen on an around-the-world trip is almost impossible. But that’s exactly what portable laptop monitors are designed for.

I particularly enjoy a dual-screen set-up for those longer, research-focused projects. I’m a serial tab-opener with a tendency to lose my place. Now, I use my portable screen for browsing and my laptop for the main workflow. Carrying a second screen isn’t for everyone - but for me, the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks.

The Asus ProArt Display PA148CTV1 is the ultimate in portable laptop monitors. It offers a 14” second screen with 1080 FHD whilst weighing just 740g. There’s an adjustable stand with a handy tripod mount, spot-on color accuracy with 100% sRGB, and 10-point touch support.

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Check out our full guide to the best laptop monitors for remote work:

The 7 Best Portable Laptop Monitors for Remote Work
Discover the top portable laptop monitors for travel and compare the most compact and lightweight for remote professionals and digital nomads.

Digital Nomad Travel Gear and Equipment

Outside of your travel gear for remote work, what you’ll wear, what you’ll carry, and how you’ll carry it is all that’s left to worry about. Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s dive into our recommendations for travel gear and equipment for digital nomads.

8. Travel Backpack

Whether you subscribe to the one-bag mentality or prefer to check your larger luggage - the travel backpack is one of the most important pieces of digital nomad equipment. You’ll quickly learn which pack works and which doesn’t when you’re living out of it.

Look for nomad-focused rucksacks with plenty of organization options. Padded laptop/tablet sleeves, hidden passport pockets, and a comfortable harness should all be on your wishlist.

The Nomatic Travel Bag (40L) is the backpack for digital nomads. The highly featured carry-on boasts a wide opening main pocket, shoe compartment, socks, and underwear compartment, and a slew of other organization solutions. It’s the perfect companion for one-bag travel.

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Check out our full guide to the best digital nomad backpacks:

11 BEST Digital Nomad Backpacks Reviewed
Discover the best backpacks to travel and work as a digital nomad. Compare top picks, check key features, and find your perfect travel companion.

9. Packable Day Pack

Alongside a main backpack, some digital nomads opt to bring a packable day pack on their adventures. These are great for day trips, packing a tech bag for a cafe day, or simply using them as a carry-on item.

Different lifestyle choices lead to different backpack decisions - hiking fanatics may choose a technical outdoors pack. Stick to around the 15-20L mark - any smaller and you’ll struggle to pack it. Any larger and you’ll overpack.

A minimalist's dream, the Nomatic Navigator Lite 15L is a versatile everyday carry option for digital nomads. This lightweight pack boasts a spacious expandable design (15L to 21L), perfect for those of us who need a little more room on the go. Keep your tech secure with the dedicated laptop and tablet sleeve, and enjoy comfortable carrying thanks to the breathable mesh back panel.

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10. Packing Cubes

Living out of a backpack sounds a lot like the dream - right up until you can’t find *insert something you’ve packed*, because everything else you own has been thrown on top. Packing cubes are vital for organizing your rucksack - you’ll never lose your pants again, trust me!

For long, and even short-term travel - I won’t go anywhere without them. Available in different sizes, reserve one for underwear, another for socks and accessories, and a final for larger clothing.

Quality compression packing cubes that really work - the Peak Design Packing Cubes are our favorites for digital nomads. Available in Small and Medium, the organizers offer the best reputation on the market.

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11. Toiletry kit

Although not particularly glamorous, a toiletry kit is a fundamental piece of gear for digital nomads. Packing shampoos, shower gels, razors, etc. can be tricky. Space saving is difficult and kits are often bulky with minimal organization. Look for thoughtful designs, easy-clean kits, and lightweight solutions.

The Peak Design Wash Pouch (also available in a smaller size) is a carefully designed toiletry kit with a versatile interior packed full of organization options. Sit it upright on the counter or use the stowable aluminum hook to hang it in the bathroom.

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12. Hooded Down Jacket (One for Men’s and one for Women’s)

It’s no secret that we nomads prefer warmer climates, but when the winds pick up and the sun disappears, a toasty layer is one of my favorite digital nomad essentials.

A stowable, hooded down jacket is invaluable for those colder nights - especially during freak weather events (I found this out with a surprise week of -15°C in Poland). Look for lightweight, easy-to-pack down jackets that can be stowed and forgotten about when not needed.

Nano Puff® Hoody (Men's and Women's)

Available in a range of both men’s and women’s sizes, the Patagonia Nano Puff® Hoody ticks all the boxes for a digital nomad's warmest layer. The lightweight, stowable design is warm, windproof, and water-resistant.

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13. Travel Pants

Finding pants that cover all eventualities is much more difficult than you may originally think.

Your pants should be lightweight, breathable, and durable. They have to work at the beach, in a cool cafe, at a nice restaurant. They have to be comfortable to travel in and - for me - they have to have zippered pockets. Add all of these together and the wardrobe of wearable pants shrinks dramatically.

ROARK Layover Pants (Men’s Link, Women’s Link)

The ROARK Layover Pants are, for me, the best travel pants for women and for men currently available. First of all, they look great. They’re durable, comfortable and, thanks to a laser-perforated back panel, breathable. There are those all-important zippered pockets and a comfy drawstring closure. They’re just the best.

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Check out our full guide to the best travel pants for women:

12 Best Women’s Travel Pants (Tested & Reviewed)
Discover the top 12 travel pants for women, featuring comfortable, stylish, and versatile options perfect for any travel situation.

14. Travel Shoes (One for Men’s and one for Women’s)

Choosing a single pair of shoes is never an easy task and, truth be told, I will usually recommend two pairs for long-term travel. Your second pair should be running trainers or sandals, but your primary footwear has to be made of tough stuff for life on the road. I like to opt for something comfortable, rugged, and roomy that’s ready for anything.

Altra Lone Peak 8 (Men's & Women's)

A 0mm drop shoe that’s just as comfortable in the city as it is on the trail. The Altra Lone Peak has been on my packing list since I was first introduced back in 2022. Now on their 8th edition of the shoe, the roomy toebox, durable uppers, and grippy outsole take everything you can throw at them with a smile.

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15. Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is a travel accessory that everybody should own in this day and age - especially when living on the road. A quality water bottle is not only great for minimizing plastic waste but reducing our exposure to harmful chemicals present in single-use plastics. Look for quality, durable, BPA-free bottles to take on your travels.

Available in a range of different colors and sizes, the Camelbak Chute Mag is a fantastic water bottle choice for digital nomads. The BPA-free bottles are easy to clean, dishwasher safe, highly versatile, and easy to carry with their trademark caps.

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16. Quick-Dry and Packable Towel

A quick-dry towel is a digital nomad accessory that I never thought I’d use. I bought a super cheap one (my partner forced me to) for my very first trip and my eyes were quickly opened. These things aren’t just great for staying in bring-your-own-towel hostels. They’re uber-handy as a beach towel, as a picnic blanket, or as a stretching mat on those hard Airbnb floors. I’m genuinely blown away by just how often I unpack and repack my (now upgraded) quick-dry towel.

Available in sizes S to XL, the Sea to Summit Pocket Towel has a size (and a colorway) to suit everyone. Made from 100% recycled polyester microfiber, the quick-drying towel is a must-have for any digital nomad. Dimensions start at a modest 40 x 80 cm (58g) and reach an enormous 75 x 150 cm (175g).

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17. Travel electronics organizer bag

Cables make for messy backpacks. No matter your cable management system - without an organizer, you’re likely to lose chargers, adapters, and just about everything else. Electronics organizer bags are the only way to retain your sanity when storing cables on the road.

The Peak Design Tech Pouch is my electronics organizer of choice and one that I’m immensely pleased with. The origami-style pockets are super versatile and hold everything from my hard drives and SD cards to pancake lenses and spare batteries.

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18. Travel Pillow

Travel pillows aren’t something I’d have recommended previously - that is until - I learned about the ultralightweight, packable variety. Sleeping on planes, trains, and automobiles isn’t easy, and neck pain can really kill the vibe.

It may not win you any fashion awards, but an inflatable travel pillow can transform your journey (and safeguard your back). Look for inflatable, adjustable travel pillows with a small pack size.

The Aeros Premium Traveler Pillow from Sea to Summit offers premium, lightweight neck support without infringing on valuable backpack space. Weighing just 93g and packing down to the size of an earbuds case, it’s an inflatable travel pillow with a huge bang for the size/weight.

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19. Sleep Mask

A neck pillow and sleep mask go hand-in-hand and for early morning or late night international travel, it’s essential. Most airlines will supply a sleep mask for red-eye flights, but these are often designed with one thing in mind - budget. Good eye masks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes with varying degrees of luxury. We recommend keeping it simple with a lightweight, compact sleep mask that’s super easy to pack.

At just 23g, the Sea to Summit Travel Eye Shades is as lightweight as it gets. The delicate, contoured microfiber lining is ultra-comfortable and the easy-to-adjust strap ensures the perfect fit every time. It’s washable, it’s reusable - it’s perfect for digital nomads.

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20. Earplugs

Checked into a hotel with neighbors that love to party. Screaming newborn on a 12-hour redeye to Tokyo. Attending a music venue with a brand new sound system. It’s only when you need them that you realize just how essential earplugs are. Look for reusable earplugs that mold to the shape of your ears.

Loop makes a variety of earplugs for different use cases - the Switch Earplugs combine them all with a unique 3-in-1 design. Use the switch (hence the name) to flip through the Engage, Experience, and Quiet modes. You can also customize the ear tips for the perfect size and store it all in the convenient carry case.

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21. Hidden Travel Wallet

A hidden travel wallet is a great addition to any digital nomad setup and helps avoid those sticky situations in the most unfortunate of scenarios. Use your hidden travel wallet to stow your valuables during your trip. Look for those with enough space to store passports and backup bank cards alongside your emergency funds.

The Eagle Creek Undercover Hidden Pocket is just one product in a long line of hidden travel wallets and belts designed to keep you safe. The RFID Blocker puts a stop to contactless payments and the lightweight design keeps the bulk away from your pack.

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Check out our full guide to the best travel pants for women:

6 Best Hidden Travel Wallets to Keep Your Valuables Safe on the Go
From wearable wallets and running belts to RFID blockers and luxury holders. Find the best travel wallets to keep your valuables hidden and safe.

Other Digital Nomad Must-Have Gear to Consider

Last up, we’ve got the virtual gear. The less-obvious stuff that you can’t see, but absolutely need for international travel. Let’s dive into our other digital nomad must-haves to consider.

22. Digital Nomad Insurance

From theft and medical emergencies to canceled flights and lost luggage, travel long enough and you’ll experience it all. As a digital nomad, you’re likely to have your fair share of bad luck, but you can’t control the uncontrollable. That’s where travel insurance - or more specifically, digital nomad insurance - comes in. These policies are designed to keep up with you and your lifestyle, minimizing the risk without minimizing the fun.

Genki provides the ultimate packages in both global travel medical insurance (Genki Explorer) and international health insurance (Genki Resident) that are tailored to your life as a digital nomad. The low monthly payment can be arranged at any time during your trip and there’s even free coverage for many activities considered too risky by others (great if you love adventure sports).

View Rates

Check out our guide to the best digital nomad insurance for both travel and health:

The 9 Best Digital Nomad Travel Insurance Reviewed
Discover the top insurance providers for digital nomads in our comprehensive review. Compare coverage, pricing, benefits, and more.
6 Best Health Insurance for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers
Discover the top international health insurance plans for digital nomads, ensuring peace of mind and quality healthcare wherever your work takes you.

23. eSIM

The days of comparing SIM card deals in the airport arrivals hall are long gone. With the rise of eSIMs, we nomads can prepare ahead of time with a digital SIM plan that’s right for us. There’s a range of eSIM providers out there, all offering slightly different packages and perks. Look for a provider that covers your destinations, offers a phone line and, of course, provides great value.

With coverage in more than 200 countries and prices starting from $4.50, Airalo is the smart choice for digital nomad eSIMs. There’s a range of plans that cater to short trips and extended stays - both of which earn Airmoney (loyalty points valid for discounted future eSIMs).

Check Airalo eSIM Plans

Check out our full guide to the best eSIMs for international travel:

Best eSIMs for International Travel: Our Top Picks
Explore the top eSIM providers for global travel. Reliable, flexible, and cost-effective solutions for international travelers worldwide.

24. Multi-currency bank account

Traditional banks are tailored to those living in one country, at one fixed address with predictable monthly incomes and expenses. They’ll also regularly offer poor exchange rates and you’ll be charged a foreign exchange fee when using your debit card abroad. A multi-currency bank account allows us to save multiple currencies, minimize transaction fees, and benefit from real-time exchange rates for the best deals on their spending.

Wise is a true disrupter in the financial sector and has quickly become a favorite for digital nomads. Their multi-currency accounts help us nomads juggle different currencies without worrying about foreign exchange fees, exchange rates and constantly moving around cash.

Open Wise Account

Check out our full guide to the best banks for digital nomads:

14 Best Banks for Digital Nomads and International Travelers
Discover the top international banks for digital nomads worldwide with our comprehensive guide. Find out their features, pros, and cons.

25. VPN

The internet looks and behaves differently depending on where in the world you are. The titles on Netflix, the results from Google, and the restrictions placed on certain websites. Connections themselves will also vary - some are unsecured or offer weak security, not something you want when accessing the web from your work laptop.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) keeps you safe and secure and helps restore your preferred experience by connecting your devices to servers in the country of your choice.

NordVPN is our top pick for a VPN and is the service I use to connect my laptop to over 5,400 servers across 59 countries. The standard plan allows for six devices to connect to the service and additional features (Nordlocker, Nordpass, etc.) offer further layers of security.

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Check out our full guide to the best VPNs for digital nomads:

7 Best VPNs for Digital Nomads
Secure your remote work and travel with the best VPNs for Digital Nomads. Our expert review unveils top picks for reliable and fast virtual private networks.

The Bottom Line

Kitting out the digital nomad backpack isn’t easy, nor is it cheap. But you should take comfort in knowing that we all started somewhere - and with varying budgets.

You don’t need the latest, best equipment to be a digital nomad. It sounds cliche, but all you really need is a laptop. The rest is there to make your life easier.

We’re forced to live like minimalists as digital nomads and every single purchase takes space and adds weight to the backpack. Optimize each piece of kit when it’s time to upgrade. A lightweight washbag won’t improve your experience in Mexico. But when it’s time to replace the tatty leather number that’s threatening to burst at the seams - look at the best buys for the lifestyle. You’ll be amazed at what you can accrue in a year or two.

You may also be interested in:

Digital Nomad Setup: Tech Gear for a Portable Remote Office
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We'll see you there, Freaking Nomads!

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