Digital Nomad Travel Packing List

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live out of one bag? Here’s a sneak peek into a minimalist woman’s backpack.

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This blog post was so easy to write because I literally keep a Google Doc of the things I own, items I have researched and want in the future, and how I can optimize what I carry.

For the past three years, I’ve travelled the world whilst working online as a freelance website designer. This lifestyle has fed my cravings for deep conversation, interest in minimalism, and preference for warm climates.

Even when I’m not traveling, I browse packing lists on Reddit. This year, I’m learning how to minimize what I carry. You’ll find that many things (like conditioner) can be bought after you arrive somewhere.

You’ll notice that my list is quite small. I spend most of my time in warm climates, so that helps me pack light.

Here’s what I carry with me after three years of travel as a digital nomad.

One Backpack

When I first started travelling, I used the Osprey Fairview 55 (for women). I liked how the primary compartment was 40L, and included a detachable 15L backpack to use as a daypack. The 15L backpack was perfect to fit my laptop and anything I needed to carry. It was also nice to carry a large backpack that was specifically fitted for women.

Although the backpack itself could be carried-on in theory, there was a point where my bags weighed so much that I had to check the 40L compartment in anyway. 

After a few years of travelling, I downsized. I wanted a smaller backpack that would double as a day bag. I spent days researching a bag that I planned to order next time I was back in the USA.

Aer Travel Pack 2 Review

After days of backpack research, I chose the Aer Travel Pack 2 Small (28L). It’s funny because I was so excited to own one of these bags that I ordered it to Vietnam immediately… and in addition to the $25 international shipping fee, I ended up paying a $60 customs or shipping fee.

Personally, I enjoy the challenge of travelling with a 28L backpack. The bag itself weighs 1.5 kilos, which is actually a bit more than other bags of a similar size.

There are four compartments: 

  • Padded laptop compartment (which fits my 16” Macbook Pro, my iPad, and my kindle)
  • Middle packing compartment (which fits two packing cubes)
  • Front compartment (many pockets to organize your chargers, keep your pens, mouse, etc.)
  • Separate shoes/dirty clothing compartment (filling this would reduce the space of your middle packing compartment)

The bag also includes a couple extra easy-to-access pockets for things like my keys and passport, as well as a place to carry your water bottle. 

Clothing

When it comes to clothing, I keep it quite simple. I have learnt to appreciate the airy, moisture-wicking pieces of my wardrobe that feel nice in hot, humid climates.

Merino wool is a great fabric for both cold and warm climates. Recently I learnt I could use my Smartwool Baselayer as skin protection in Southeast Asia’s hot temperatures. It quickly went from a “just in case it gets cold” item to “for all climates” item!

Because I downsized to 28L, I only carry a few key pieces of clothing including:

  • Smartwool Baselayer
  • Lululemon Rainjacket
  • Aloha print blouse x2, black tops x3
  • denim shorts x4, leggings x2
  • Aloha dress
  • beanie
  • panties & bra(s)
  • Exercise: 1x shorts, 2x top, 1x sports bra, 1x trainers

Brands On My Wishlist:

Productivity & Tech

This is my favorite section! I love nerding around about the tech tools I carry around with me. Previously, I carried around a bunch of notebooks and miscellaneous books. Just like most other people, I love the feeling of buying notebooks and books – but they are a lot of weight. Now, I use my iPad as my notebook and Kindle to read books. 

Toiletries & Other

  • Manta Eye Mask
  • Pixie Cup: Not only is using a menstrual cup better for the environment, but in certain countries tampons are not easy to find.
  • Other Toiletries: contact lenses, glasses, lipstick x2, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, floss, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Bamboo Cutlery: In an attempt to reduce my plastic cutlery use, I carry a travel set of bamboo cutlery which includes a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks. Because I rarely drink anything that requires a straw, I no longer carry around a reusable straw – but you can find those as you travel as well!

What do you keep in your backpack?

Now it’s your turn! What have you found as an essential to carry on your travels? Let me know in the comments below!

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